Atrial Fibrillation

Mark L. Meyer, MD, FACP, FACC -  - Board Certified Physician

Madison Avenue Cardiovascular

Mark L. Meyer, MD, FACP, FACC

Board Certified Physician located in Midtown Manhattan, New York, NY

By 2030, more than 12 million Americans will have atrial fibrillation, the most common type of heart arrhythmia. At Madison Avenue Cardiovascular in Midtown, Manhattan, board-certified cardiologist Mark Meyer, MD, FACP, FACC, offers the best in customized cardiovascular care. From testing and diagnosis to lifestyle management and treatment, you get everything you need to live a long and healthy life. Call the office in New York City or click the provided link for help now.

Atrial Fibrillation Q & A

What is atrial fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation is a common heart arrhythmia in which your heart’s atria — its top two chambers — beat too quickly, too slowly, or in some other irregular manner. 

Because of this irregular activity, the atria can’t send blood down to the ventricles — the bottom two chambers of the heart — very effectively. This problem with blood pumping can occur in episodes, or it can be an ongoing issue. 

Am I at risk for atrial fibrillation?

About 20% of people with hypertension develop atrial fibrillation. It’s also common in those who suffer from:

  • Valvular heart disease
  • Heart failure
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Obesity

Smoking, heavy drinking, and other behaviors that are bad for general health can play a role in the development of atrial fibrillation as well. 

What are the signs of atrial fibrillation?

Some of the most common signs of atrial fibrillation include:

  • Heart palpitations 
  • Chronic exhaustion
  • Poor stamina during exercise
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Chest pain
  • Dizzy spells
  • Fainting
  • Lightheadedness

In the beginning, most people have atrial fibrillation symptoms only occasionally (paroxysmal atrial fibrillation). If it goes untreated, however, you’re likely to develop persistent or even permanent atrial fibrillation. 

Occasionally, people don’t have any obvious symptoms but learn that they have atrial fibrillation during a physical exam. 

What happens if atrial fibrillation is undiagnosed?

Whether you have symptoms or not, you should never ignore atrial fibrillation. If you have untreated atrial fibrillation, your risk of stroke is 4-5 times higher. Atrial fibrillation causes nearly 15% of strokes today, and those strokes are typically more severe than other causes.

How is atrial fibrillation treated?

Dr. Meyer performs a complete physical exam, which includes diagnostic tests like bloodwork and an echocardiogram. You may have a stress test or wear a Holter monitor to record your heart rhythm for at least a full day.  

Then, Dr. Meyer expertly assesses your atrial fibrillation and recommends a treatment plan tailored for you. The ultimate focus is restoring your heart rate and rhythm to normal while preventing complications like blood clots and stroke. 

Dr. Meyer may recommend a cardioversion procedure to normalize your heart rate. You may also need to take heart medication after a cardioversion procedure.

Healthy lifestyle changes, which can include alternative methods like yoga, stress reduction exercises, sleep hygiene support, and dietary guidance, can also be extremely important in managing atrial fibrillation risk factors effectively.

In some cases, you could need surgery if the more conservative approaches don't normalize your heart function.

Madison Avenue Cardiovascular is here for all of your heart health needs, so call the office or click the provided appointment link now.