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Atrial fibrillation is a type of abnormal heartbeat called an arrhythmia. In atrial fibrillation, the two upper chambers of the heart, called the right atrium and left atrium, twitch in a fast and irregular pattern.
The cardiologists at The Heart Center at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, are experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of atrial fibrillation, a condition that causes poor blood flow to the body.
Atrial fibrillation is an irregular or rapid heartbeat that can cause poor blood flow to the body. It is caused when the two upper chambers of the heart, known as the atrias, receive chaotic electric signals, causing them to quiver and beat out of sync and coordination with the heart’s lower two chambers, known as the ventricles.
Possible causes of atrial fibrillation may include but are not limited to:
Symptoms of atrial fibrillation can vary greatly. Some patients may not show any symptoms at all, but otherwise may include:
Cardiologists will begin a diagnosis for atrial fibrillation with a complete physical exam. In addition, the following diagnostic tests may be used:
The goal in treating atrial fibrillation is to reset the heart regular rhythm. In some cases, this may be done by treating the underlying causes.
If an underlying cause cannot be found or cured, doctors will often use cardioversion to restore the heart’s normal rhythm. This is typically done using electric shocks towards the heart through electrodes that are placed on the chest. In some cases, cardioversion is performed using medications.
The story of a patient who forms a relationship with Mercy's doctors that spans over 20 years.
Susie, a nurse and a Mercy patient, recognizes the importance of staying in tune with her body after being diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (AFib) - an irregular heart rhythm.
The cardiologists of The Heart Center at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, diagnose and treat heart diseases including coronary artery disease (CAD), heart attack and high blood pressure. Mercy's heart doctors take a comprehensive approach to treating patients through physical examinations and thorough testing using arrhythmic monitoring, cardiac catheterization, cardioversion, consultative cardiology, electrocardiogram (EKG), pacemaker, stress testing and transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE).
Dr. David Kim is the Director of Echocardiography at The Heart Center at Mercy in Baltimore, Maryland.