Atrial Fibrillation Baytown
Heart’s natural pacemaker, Sinoatrial (SA) node, acts a timer and controls the electrical system of the heart. It starts the heartbeat and makes the four chambers of the heart contract in an organized manner, to facilitate effecient pumping action of the heart.
Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is the most common irregular heart rhythm in which chaotic and fast electrical impulses replace the organized function of the SA node. This results in unsynchronized contractions of the two upper chambers of the heart with the two lower chambers. Heart contracts in a fast and chaotic manner, decreasing its ability to squeeze enough nutrient-rich blood out to the body.
AFib affects more than 3 million Americans. If untreated, it can lead to blood clots, stroke and heart failure. In fact, people with AFib are five times more likely to have a stroke than people without the condition.
Some people with AFib donít have any symptoms.
The most common symptom is a quivering or fluttering heartbeat. Other symptoms may include:
- Heart palpitation — a thumping or racing heart, ‘butterflies in the chest’ or skipping beats
- Unusual weakness or tiredness
- Fatigue when exercising
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
If you have any symptoms of atrial fibrillation, make an appointment with Dr. Shehzad Sami, a board certified cardiologist in Baytown, right away. Initial evaluation will include a detailed medical history and comprehensive physical exam.
He may order an electrocardiogram (ECG), that records your heartís electrical activity. ECG may confirm the diagnosis of AFib, as long as it’s performed during an episode of AFib.
Very commonly, a 24-hour portable ECG, a Holter Monitor, is needed if your AFib comes and goes and the resting ECG has not shown it.
If Holter monitor results are unrevealing or AFib does not occur on a daily basis, Dr. Sami may recommend Mobile Cardiac Telemetry (MCT). This test allows for longer term monitoring with the ability for patient or auto-triggered events based on algorithms. These monitoring devices help Dr. Sami determine if AFib or some other irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia) is causing your symptoms and assure the right diagnosis.
Other test may include Echocardiogram, an ‘ultrasound of the heart’, which is used to see the cardiac structures. It can provide a wealth of helpful information, including the size and shape of the heart, pumping capacity, and the location and extent of any tissue damage.
Dr. Sami will also perform blood tests to look for an underlying cause of AFib, such as an overactive thyroid gland.
Sometimes, people are diagnosed with AFib after going to the hospital emergency department during an episode and are found to be in AFib.
The most important step towards treating AFib is to make a proper diagnosis. Undiagnosed and untreated AFib can lead to blood clots, strokes and heart failure.
Here at Houston Cardiovascular Institute, Dr. Sami will take into consideration your age, symptoms, frequency of episodes, risk factors for stroke, and other medical conditions to tailor an individualized treatment plan, that works best for you.
Treatment of AFib focuses on lifestyle changes and either rate control or rhythm control. Therapies to prevent blood clots and stroke are also important.
Dr. Sami may recommend eating a heart-healthy diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables, limiting alcohol and caffeine, regular exercise, avoiding tobacco smoke, losing weight (if youíre overweight or obese) and managing stress levels.
In addition to lifestyle changes, Dr. Sami may recommend:
- Medications – to control the heart rate, treat heart rhythm, blood thinners to prevent blood clots and stroke
- Procedures – Electrical cardioversion, Catheter-based ablation, Surgical maze or Pacemaker
Contact Us Today:
If you or a loved one have any of the above symptoms or have been diagnosed with AFib, make an appointment for an evaluation and discuss various treatment options with Dr. Sami. Remember, that with the right treatment, you can live a good and long life with AFib.
Our main office is located at 6051 Garth Road, Suite 300, Baytown, TX 77521. Or you may contact us at 281-839-7949 to set up an appointment.