Atrial fibrillation is one of the most common conditions when it comes to cardiovascular disease; in this case, it occurs mostly in people over 65 years of age, however, anyone can suffer from it.
This disorder consists of the abnormal contraction of the atria of the heart, due to electrical signals that arrive irregularly, generating disordered contractions. When the beats are not frequent, blood stagnation occurs, which can clot and clog arteries or cause arrhythmias and tachycardias.
If you suffer from atrial fibrillation or you find yourself ruling out its possible presence, in we explain how atrial fibrillation is cured.
Electrical or medicated cardioversion
If you want to know how atrial fibrillation is cured, it is important that you know the different treatments that take place. Cardioversion is performed with the goal of restoring normal heartbeat.
Depending on what causes the fibrillation and its condition, either of two types of atrial fibrillation may take place:
A series of patches, such as those used in echocardiograms, are placed on the patient's chest to send an electric shock to the heart. This shock generates the arrest of electrical activity in the heart at times, so that it begins to beat again with a normal rhythm.
It is usually carried out with sedatives to avoid the sensation of shocks and in most cases, requires prior preparation with the intake of antiarrhythmics to help the heart.
It is based on drugs known as antiarrhythmics, which are responsible for restoring the normal rhythm of the heartbeat. Depending on the severity of the disease, the cardiologist will prescribe medications that in many cases are intravenous and are administered in health centers to maintain heart rhythm control. If there is an efficient response with this medication, the same or a variation will be prescribed to avoid episodes of atrial fibrillation in the future.
Before carrying out either of the two procedures, it is of utmost importance to verify that there is no presence of thrombi within the atria, because a normalization in the beats, can detach them and send them to the brain. Perform a heart test and prescribe blood thinners before the procedure.
Controlled heart rate
This method is used when cardioversion is not possible, either due to the patient's condition or any other pathology presented, which makes it impossible to perform. In this case, drugs aimed at controlling the heart rate are prescribed so that it remains in a range between 60-80 beats per minute. One of the main ones is digoxin and its variants such as verapamil or atenolol.
Depending on what each patient needs, the doctor may need to prescribe some additional medication such as beta-blockers. If so, it is of the utmost importance that they are taken very carefully as they can cause side effects such as hypotension.
Medication to prevent thrombus formation
Another way atrial fibrillation is cured is through medication. Thrombi in the heart are one of the main problems that can occur in patients with atrial fibrillation and also represents one of the greatest risks, because it increases the chances of suffering a stroke or a cerebral infarction due to the displacement of thrombi from the heart to the brain.
Medication is extremely necessary to avoid this complication and, in this case, oral anticoagulants such as Warfarin and Sintrom are used, which must be controlled from time to time, to verify if the prescribed dose is being very low and there is still a risk of thrombi or on the contrary, it is very high and makes the patient prone to bleeding.
Although there are currently safer drugs for people at risk of thrombi such as Rivaroxaban, before prescribing any anticoagulant, a thorough study of the patient's situation should be carried out and evaluate how many benefits it can provide, facing the risk posed by such medication in the case of hemorrhages.
After having exhausted the other options such as medication and cardioversion without results, a surgery is suggested where an inspection of what causes these electric shocks to disempos will be carried out and eliminate this area to restore a normal heartbeat. There are several procedures, however these are the main ones:
- Catheter: a pair of catheters is inserted from the groin to the blood vessels of the heart; with the help of electrodes located at the tip of these, small scars are created to normalize the electrical function of the heart.
- Labyrinth surgery: it is an open-heart surgery where with the help of a scalpel cuts or incisions are created in the upper chambers of the heart so that with the scar tissue, the electrical function that causes atrial fibrillation is interrupted.