Mercy's Dr. Mark Goldstein Discusses Afib

February 12, 2018
The Heart Center at Mercy - Baltimore, MD

Atrial fibrillation, or Afib, is the most common heart rhythm problem, but some people have no idea they are at risk.

When someone has Afib, the upper chambers of the heart don't beat properly, which can cause blood to pool and clot -- and ultimately lead to a stroke.

Gisela Beste has a family history of heart problems, and she has had her share of heart issues. She found out she has atrial fibrillation, but didn't know because she had no symptoms.

"No, I had no idea. I was very upset when I had another diagnoses," Beste said.

Having Afib puts Beste at risk of stroke.

"There are patients who have atrial fibrillation without symptoms. So in patients presenting with stroke due to atrial fibrillation, 20 percent of them never were known to have atrial fibrillation before, and so the question is, can we identify those patients and perhaps treat them to prevent a stroke?" said cardiologist Dr. Mark Goldstein, with The Heart Center at Lutherville and The Heart Center at Reisterstown.

According to Dr. Goldstein, researchers are working to answer that question. A recent study involved patients at high risk of atrial fibrillation with no symptoms. Researchers implanted a small device that's a little longer than an inch below the skin and continuously monitored patients for Afib over the course of a year and a half.

"The findings were interesting in that there were a large percentage of patients at 18 months that had atrial fibrillation of at least six minutes or more, and it was about 30 percent of patients. As they continued to monitor patients up to 30 months, the percentage increased to about 40 percent of patients," Dr. Goldstein said.

While the results are enlightening, more study is needed before treating non-symptomatic high-risk Afib patients prophylactically with blood thinners.

"Stroke is scary," Beste said.

Beste takes blood thinners and has a heart monitor. At a robust 83, she has a lot more life to live.

"To figure a stroke, where's it going to be? Any kind of limitation on my body, I really resent," Beste said.

View Mercy cardiologist Dr. Mark Goldstein’s interview concerning Atrial Fibrillation (Afib).

Dan Collins - Senior Director of Media Relations at Mercy Medical Center

Dan Collins, Senior Director of Media Relations

Email: Office: 410-332-9714 Cell: 410-375-7342

About Mercy

Founded in 1874, Mercy Medical Center is a university-affiliated medical facility named one of the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. by Thomson-Reuters with a national reputation for women’s health. Mercy is home to the nationally acclaimed Weinberg Center for Women’s Health and Medicine as well as the $400+ million, 20-story Mary Catherine Bunting Center. For more information visit Mercy online at, Facebook, Twitter or call 1-800-MD-MERCY.

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