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Atrial Fibrillation Specialist

Mission Heart & Vascular

Board Certified Interventional Cardiologists & Peripheral Vascular Disease located in Mission, TX

Atrial fibrillation affects approximately 9% of people over 65 and can increase your risk of heart-related issues like heart failure and stroke. At Mission Heart & Vascular, Gabriel Todd Faz, MD, FACC, FSCAI, and Kiran Mangalpally, MD, offer diagnosis and treatment for cardiac conditions, including atrial fibrillation. To get treatment for atrial fibrillation and uncomfortable heart palpitations, call the office in Mission, Texas, or schedule an appointment online today.

Atrial Fibrillation Q & A

What is atrial fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation, or AFib, is the most common type of heart arrhythmia. If you have a heart arrhythmia, your heart beats too slow, too fast, or irregularly. 

With AFib, your heartbeat is irregular, which interferes with blood flow between the upper and lower chambers of your heart.

An electric malfunction in your heart causes atrial fibrillation. AFib happens when control of your heartbeat is taken over by firing atrial tissue cells everywhere in the upper chambers, sending too many pulses to the lower chamber of your heart, which pumps blood throughout your body. 

As a result, the upper chambers of your heart beat rapidly, but your lower ventricles don't, creating fast or slow heart rhythm.

AFib can occur sporadically or be a chronic condition.

What causes atrial fibrillation?

AFib can be triggered by a number of factors, such as:

  • Sleep apnea
  • Heart attacks
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Certain medications
  • High blood pressure
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Stimulants like caffeine and tobacco

Atrial fibrillation can also occur without an apparent cause.

As you age, your risk of AFib increases. Your risk is also higher if you’re overweight, have heart disease, high blood pressure, or a family history of the condition.

What are the symptoms of atrial fibrillation?

Mission Heart & Vascular can diagnose atrial fibrillation even if symptoms aren’t present. When symptoms are present, they typically include:

  • Difficulty exercising
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Recurrent syncope (fainting)
  • Shortness of breath or chest pain
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or confusion

It’s also common to experience uncomfortable heart palpitations like an irregular, racing, or jumping heartbeat if you have atrial fibrillation. When left untreated, AFib can lead to serious health complications like stroke and heart failure.

How do you diagnose and treat atrial fibrillation?

The team at Mission Heart & Vascular use several tests to diagnose AFib, including:

  • Electrocardiogram and echocardiogram
  • Holter monitor for prolonged heart rhythm tracking
  • Blood tests to look for potential causes or underlying conditions

To treat atrial fibrillation, the team might recommend a variety of treatments including medication or surgery to control your heart rhythms.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of atrial fibrillation, call Mission Heart & Vascular or schedule an appointment online today.