There are two treatment goals for AFib—to reduce your risk of having a stroke and to bring your heart back to its normal rate and rhythm. Your healthcare professional may recommend AFib treatment and management options such as surgical or nonsurgical procedures, medicines like rate or rhythm control drugs and blood thinners, or a combination of these therapies. Because the risk of stroke is a primary concern, your healthcare professional will evaluate your risk and discuss whether you should be taking a blood thinner like XARELTO® to help reduce your risk of stroke.
AFib treatments: Surgical and nonsurgical procedures
Who do I see for surgical AFib treatments?
Because the open-heart maze procedure is usually done along with another open-heart surgery (like coronary bypass), cardiac surgeons will typically be the ones to perform it. For less-invasive procedures like pacemaker implantation, electrical cardioversion, or ablation, you will likely work with an electrophysiologist—a cardiologist with additional training—who specializes in these procedures.
Open-heart maze procedure Normal heartbeat is restored by creating small cuts on the heart that are stitched together to form scar tissue that prevents transmission of the random electrical signals that can cause AFib. If the surgery is successful, your heartbeat will return to normal.
Implantation of a pacemaker A pacemaker is a small electrical device implanted under your skin near your collarbone. Wires going to your heart send out electrical signals to correct the rhythm of your heartbeat when it senses that your heartbeat is too fast, too slow, or irregular.
Electrical cardioversion A procedure that delivers an electric shock to reset your heart rate to a regular rhythm
Ablation A minimally invasive procedure that uses radiofrequency, laser, or cryotherapy to destroy the areas of abnormal tissue on your heart that are disrupting or interrupting the normal rate and rhythm of electrical signals
AFib treatments: Prescription medicines
- Blood thinners like XARELTO® do not treat your AFib—they help keep blood clots from forming and reduce your stroke risk
- Rate control drugs to help slow a too-rapid heart rate
- Rhythm control drugs to help return your heart to a regular rhythm
Some people may be hesitant to take a blood thinner for AFib. But the reality is, even if your heart is not experiencing an episode, the risk for blood clots and stroke is still there. It’s important to treat the whole problem—electrical issues and stroke risk—and a blood thinner like XARELTO® can help keep you protected from a stroke.
I can deal with my AFib proactively, in concert with working with my doctors.
Hear how Paul and Teri partnered with their doctors to find a medication that worked for them.