What is Atrial Fibrillation?

What is Afib?

One of the leading heart issues that affect a lot of people is atrial fibrillation. And, it is among the leading questions we get from our patients. So, with the help of our own Dr. Sri Sundaram (one of our highly experienced cardiologists), we answer what is atrial fibrillation. Dr. Sundaram’s main interest here at South Denver Cardiology is the treatment of atrial fibrillation. In fact, in 2016 he performed the first afib ablation without radiation in Colorado.

Atrial fibrillation, or afib, is the most common abnormal heart rhythm in the United State, affecting approximately a quarter of all Americans. The arrhythmia, or abnormal rhythm, originates from the left atrium and the pulmonary veins.

Download our PDF about Atrial Fibrillation.

Symptoms of Afib

While the cause of atrial fibrillation is unknown, some of the symptoms include are well described. Patients may experience no symptoms, while others may have fatigue, which is the most common symptom. Others can experience more life-threatening symptoms such as passing out or damage to the heart.

In addition, atrial fibrillation is the most common cause of stroke in the United States. Patients with atrial fibrillation frequently have to take blood thinners to prevent strokes.

Atrial Fibrillation Treatments

At South Denver Cardiology, we first try to find any reversible causes of atrial fibrillation such thyroid abnormalities or sleep apnea.  After this, patients can choose treatment options such as rate control drugs or stronger drugs called antiarrhythmic medications.

Medical treatment is usually the initial choice but if it does not work, physicians usually advance to invasive procedures such as catheter-based ablation or surgical maze procedure. With catheter ablation, there is there is an option for cryoablation, which the freezing method, and radiofrequency ablation, which is the burning method.

At South Denver Cardiology, we offer all the treatment options that are currently available for atrial fibrillation and currently perform approximately 200 atrial fibrillation ablations a year. In addition, we are the first in Colorado and are one of the few in the nation that has done ablations with minimal to no radiation (x-rays).  We also partner with our surgical colleagues to perform minimally invasive surgical procedures.

South Denver Cardiology is 1 of 100 physician groups in the United States that can offer the Watchman procedure. The Watchman is a device that can be inserted into a structure within the left atrium appendage. The appendage is the part of the left atrium where the blood clots that lead to strokes originate. After 45 days of implantation of the watchman device, the strong blood thinners can usually be stopped.

How to Use This Information

If have questions, or think you may be experiencing symptoms of afib, we encourage you to ask your doctor. You can also contact us with any questions at 303-744-1065 or request an appointment.