Features November 2013 Issue

Dispelling Five Common Myths About Atrial Fibrillation

The more you know about this increasingly common condition, the better prepared you’ll be to treat it.

It’s estimated that nearly 3 million Americans have atrial fibrillation (AFib), with the rate of people developing this abnormal heart rhythm climbing rapidly. But despite the prevalence of this condition, there are numerous misconceptions about living with and treating AFib.

Marty Bee

When a heart is in AFib, electrical activity in the upper chambers (atria) is disorganized. The result is an unsynchronized heart beat.

Afib is characterized by episodes in which the heart’s upper chambers, the atria, quiver or beat in an uncontrolled manner. The result is reduced blood flow to the rest of the body, and a higher risk of a blood clot forming in the heart and traveling to the brain, causing a stroke.

We let cardiologist Walid Saliba, MD, Medical Director of the Center for Atrial Fibrillation at Cleveland Clinic, address five of the biggest myths about atrial fibrillation and its treatment:

Myth: Occasional episodes of AFib mean that they won’t become more frequent or last longer later on.
Truth: “Typically, atrial fibrillation tends to come back, unless there was a clear and reversible reason why it happened the first time,” Dr. Saliba says. “Usually the episodes tend to become more frequent and longer with time. This progression is variable among patients.”

Afib is present in one of two forms: chronic and paroxysmal. In patients with chronic AFib, the heart’s rhythm is essentially abnormal all the time. These individuals may not be aware of their symptoms, or they may experience what seem like palpitations or a fluttering in the chest. Paroxysmal AFib is a condition in which episodes occur occasionally, but as Dr. Saliba notes, the frequency and intensity of such episodes can vary greatly from person to person.

Myth: Medication should always prevent future episodes of AFib.
Truth: Once an individual has been diagnosed with AFib, the first course of action is usually treatment with antiarrhythmic medications. These drugs are designed to either slow down a fast or uncontrolled heart rhythm, or help make the heart muscle tissue a little more stable in order to better tolerate AFib episodes.

“One of the goals of treating AFib is to reduce the burden of the episodes, in terms of reducing the frequency and the symptoms,” Dr. Saliba says. “Antiarrhythmic drugs work by helping to achieve that goal, but they are not a cure for AFib. It is expected that you will have AFib, even if you are taking these medications, but the hope is to have less AFib while on these medications to a point that is acceptable.”

Myth: Cardioversion is a permanent fix for AFib.
Truth: Electrical cardioversion, a procedure in which electrical current is used to try to reset the heart’s rhythm, is usually employed after it appears antiarrhythmic medications aren’t controlling the AFib. During the treatment, electrical pads or patches are placed on a patient’s chest.

While it can often be effective at halting an AFib episode, it’s not a treatment that has long-term effectiveness.

“Cardioversion is just a reboot,” Dr. Saliba says. “It restores normal rhythm, but does very little in terms of maintaining normal rhythm.”

Myth: You should have catheter ablation even if your medications seem to be working.
Truth: Catheter ablation is a procedure in which a catheter fitted with a special tip is guided to the location in the heart that appears to be the source of the arrhythmia. Then radio waves are administered through the catheter’s tip to burn, or ablate, a tiny piece of heart tissue suspected of causing the electrical problems.

“Catheter ablation is considered if the medications stop working to the patient’s satisfaction or if the patient cannot take the medications because of significant side effects,” Dr. Saliba says. Ablation is usually done in more serious cases of AFib, and has been shown to be more effective in patients with paroxysmal AFib than chronic Afib. Ablation carries some risks, so be sure to discuss those with your doctor.

Myth: Catheter ablation is a one-time only treatment.
Truth: “If an ablation does not work the first time around, a repeat (or touch-up) procedure may be done to improve the success rate and outcome,” Dr. Saliba says.
Research shows that repeat ablation procedures have a higher chance of being successful.


Comments (6)

I am Alexes Hayden, i purchased chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD/Emphysema) herbal remedy from a herbal health clinic in South Africa (NewLife Herbal clinic), it really helped me. I was diagnosed of COPD in Elisabeth-bruyere Hospital Ottawa Canada in August 2014. In June 2016, I had COPD exacerbation, my condition worsened and the doctors could not help me, the Flovent HFA and antibiotics prescribed stopped working, it was a terrible experience i had, so my wife reached out for an alternative treatment. My wife's co-worker who had initially bought pulmonary fibrosis herbal remedy from New Life herbal clinic referred us to them for help. We contacted them via their website and purchased the COPD herbal remedy, i immediately commenced usage as soon as i received it, it worked miraculously, my airways are repaired. Visit www(dot)newlifeherbalclinic(dot)weebly(dot)com or email newlifeherbalclinic(at)gmail(dot)com

(Please write email/website in right format)
I did promised i will post my experience as many forums as possible if i am cured

Posted by: alexeshayden | January 2, 2017 8:56 PM    Report this comment

How can I explain this to the world that there is a man who can cure COPD, I was diagnosed for the past 9years I have being into COPD drug since then,so I decide to look for help in the internet then I found this woman post write about this great man Dr.Abumere, telling people about him that this man have cured to COPD I don't believe that because all I have in mind is COPD had no cure,thank god for my life today am COPD negative through the power of Dr.Abumere, I contacted this man for help because who write about him drop an email of the man I pick the email and emailed him for the cure this man told me what to do about the cure well am from Philadelphia so i bought the medicine from him,he deliver it to me without wasting any time because he told me my health is so much important to him,so i receive the herbal remedies on the address given to him,so i go with the instruction given to me,truly i went for check up which the doctor told me that am fully cured he was also surprise because i told him about this great doctor tho he never believed him,I'm a great testimony of it so i assure you that once you use his herbal medicine you shall be one,you can simply email him and follow the instruction given to you. Email address :abumereherbalcentre(at)gmail(dot)com
thank you Dr i will never stop sharing you testimony

Posted by: jennifersnoddy | December 12, 2016 4:57 AM    Report this comment

Parkinson disease has been ongoing in my family for long..I lost both parents to Parkinson and it is so much pain have not been able to get over. As we all know medically,there is no solution or cure for Parkinson disease and the cost for Medication is very expensive..Someone introduced me to a herbal Clinic(Native Medical Practitioner)in S.A.. i have spent thousands of dollars on medication..I said i will like to try them cos someone introduced me to them..they asked me sorts of questions and i answered back correctly..To cut the story short,they gave me some medicinal herbs and instructed me on how to apply theml..At first i was skeptical but i just gave it a try..I was on this herbal Medication for 4 weeks and i used the herbs according to the prescription..i decided to visit my doctor for another test..Honestly speaking, i never believe all he was saying until after the test when my doctor mention the statement that am Parkinson disease negative and my doctor was shocked as well....If you are out there suffering from this deadly disease you can also contact them via email: Healthherbalclinic(AT)gmail(DOT)com or website on www(dot)Healthherbalclinic(dot)weebly

Posted by: Marybob | December 9, 2016 4:31 AM    Report this comment

Good day everybody.....,
Am Peek Thomas from Belguim, live in USA,please I want the whole world to help thank Dr MAPIPA for saving my life. I thought my life has come to an end but I never knew i can be free from COPD and HERPES (HSV-2) . I have really gone through pains but thank God that today I am celebrating.
. I want to share this great testimony with you on how i met a great herbal doctor who helped to get rid of COPD and Herpes. In 2012 I was tested herpes positive and 2014 diagnosed of COPD ever since then I have been taking my medications but I was still troubled and unhappy until I met this great herbal doctor DR MAPIPA, though I never believe in herbal medicine before. I saw many testimonies on how he cured deadly diseases. I contacted him through his email;drmapipaherbalmedicinehome(at)gmail(dot)com and website www(dot)drmapipaherbal(dot)weebly(dot)com, he replied and asked me to send him my information,after that i purchased the herbal medicine,then he sent the herbal medicine to me through courier service,when i received the herbal medicine, I used it as he instructed. 30days later he asked me to go for check up, when I did the check up I was tested herpes Negative and COPD free, I am so happy, and I can not stop thanking him, I am going to live the rest of my life in joy and happiness.please this testimony is real ..
Best Regard

Peek thomas.

Posted by: peekt | August 30, 2016 8:07 PM    Report this comment

I am from USA, I was diagnosed of Emphysema (COPD) in 2015 and I have tried all possible means to get cured, i even visited pulmonologist but all to no avail, until i saw a post in a health forum about a herbal doctor from Africa who prepare herbal medicine to cure all kind of diseases including Emphysema, at first i doubted if it was real but decided to give it a try, when i contacted this herbal doctor via his email he sent me the Emphysema herbal medicine through courier service, when i received this herbal medicine, he gave me step by instructions on how to apply it, when i applied it as instructed i was totally cured of this deadly disease within 12-14 days of usage, if you are suffering of this diseases you can as well Contact this great herbal doctor via his email drlusandaherbal(at)gmail(dot)com

Posted by: Canettaguest | July 8, 2016 2:16 AM    Report this comment

I was diagnosed of Atrial fibrillation in 2011, the doctor told me it has no permanent cure, i was given medications to slow it down, this continued till i saw a testimony in a health forum posted by an Australian woman of how he was cured of Atrial fibirilation through herbal medicines he bought from a South African herbal Doctor Dr Ejiro, I contacted this herbal doctor via his email and he sent me the herbal medicine through courier service, when i received the herbal medicine i applied it for 3 weeks as prescribed and was totally cured of Atrial fibrillation (Afib), my heart is back to normal. Contact this herbal doctor via his email ejiroherbalcure(at)gmail.com

Posted by: felicia83 | December 6, 2015 5:10 AM    Report this comment

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