Discover the game-changing Afib treatment options

When you first receive a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation, an irregular heart rhythm that is commonly known as Afib, it can feel overwhelming. However, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. In addition to your circle of support, you’ll work alongside your cardiology team to develop a treatment plan that’s right for you.   

“Afib is by far the most common abnormal heart rhythm we see,” says Thomas Earl, MD, a cardiologist with Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center. “Most concerningly, atrial fibrillation can lead to a stroke, so it’s important for patients who receive the diagnosis to understand what Afib is and treat it.”

Dr. Earl explains that the treatment for Afib is generally focused on slowing down your heart rate and returning it to a normal rhythm. This can be accomplished through medications such as beta blockers and calcium channel blockers. Cardiologists also evaluate your risk of stroke and work with you to decide if taking a long-term blood thinner, which are used to prevent clots, is best for you.

“Of course, there have been several advancements over the years in how we treat Afib,” says Dr. Earl, “and even more permanently, we can offer patients procedures to alleviate Afib symptoms for long stretches of time – sometimes years. That now includes an advanced stroke prevention method for Afib patients called WATCHMAN.”

Procedures that can benefit Afib patients include:

Electrical cardioversion
A series of low-energy shocks can actually help return your heart to normal rhythm. Using electrocardiogram patches (similar to those during an EKG), cardioversion pads, and a cardioversion machine, the team will work to restore your normal heart rhythm through low-energy shocks.

Afib Ablation
One of the more common procedures for patients with Afib, ablations use hot and cold energy to block the faulty electrical pathways that are contributing to your irregular heart rhythm, with the goal of returning it to normal. You and your doctor can decide if this procedure is right for you.

WATCHMAN is a new approach offering you an alternative to the lifelong use of blood thinners if your Afib is not caused by a heart valve problem (non-valvular Afib). This permanent heart implant effectively reduces the risk of stroke without the risk of bleeding that can come with the long-term use of some blood thinners.

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Is your heart feeling funny? Don’t laugh it off!