Atrial fibrillation is the most common type of arrhythmia (heart rhythm disorder). Atrial fibrillation, or AFIB, is a fast, irregular heartbeat. You may experience heart palpitations or shortness of breath. At the Advanced Center for Atrial Fibrillation, our electrophysiologists (arrhythmia specialists) use the latest technology available to diagnose, treat and manage your condition. Watch our patient stories.
Atrial Fibrillation: Advanced Care in Tampa, FL
When you have AFIB:
- Your heart does not beat normally. This makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood efficiently to the rest of the body, depriving your body of necessary oxygen and nutrients.
- Because your heart does not beat normally the blood may pool in the heart. This may lead to blood clots, which can travel to the brain and cause a stroke. In fact, 15 percent of all strokes occur in people with atrial fibrillation.
Our electrophysiologists (EPs) use the latest catheter-based treatments and minimally invasive surgical approaches to treat AFIB, leading to long-lasting, more effective treatment. We also offer a free consultation with a registered nurse (RN) to discuss your diagnosis. Meet our team.
Learn more about care for arrhythmias at St. Joseph's Hospital.
Atrial Fibrillation: Risk Factors
Most of the time, there is no underlying heart disease causing the AFIB. However, there are risk factors that could increase your chances of developing the condition:
- Being male and 55 years of age or older
- Existing heart conditions
- Lung disease
- Chronic medical conditions, such as overactive thyroid and diabetes
- Excessive consumption of alcohol or caffeine
- Taking certain medications
If you have a family history of heart conditions or one or more of the risk factors for AFIB, talk to us about preventive care. Learn more about staying heart healthy at our Healthy Heart Center.
Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation
Some people with AFIB do not experience any symptoms, only finding out that they have the condition during an examination.
If you have symptoms, they may include:
- Palpitations, a feeling that your heart is racing
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
If you suspect you may have AFIB, don't hesitate to make an appointment with your physician. However, whenever you experience chest pain, you should call 911 immediately, because you may be having a heart attack.
Diagnosing Atrial Fibrillation
If a physician has diagnosed you with AFIB and you want to better understand your condition and explore treatment options, you can schedule a free consultation with a registered nurse at our Advanced center for Atrial Fibrillation. Your diagnosis will include a comprehensive physical exam and other noninvasive diagnostic testing. Your electrophysiology team will explain each procedure in detail to you and answer any questions you may have. Learn more about diagnosing atrial fibrillation.
Treating Atrial Fibrillation
At St. Joseph's Hospital, we use a vast array of procedures to treat atrial fibrillation (AFIB). We perform these procedures in our sophisticated electrophysiology labs, equipped with advanced imaging systems and heart mapping technology. Learn more about our electrophysiology (EP) labs at the Heart Institute.
The main goals of AFIB treatment are to control your heart rate and prevent blood clots. Our physicians use the latest procedures to treat AFIB. These new procedures, including minimally invasive techniques, lead to:
- Increased quality of life
- Decreased symptoms of AFIB
- Decreased use of medication
Each patient's treatment plan differs. Here are some treatment options we may use:
- Lifestyle changes. We may recommend that you avoid stimulants, such as caffeine. Alcohol can also act as a trigger in some people.
- Cardioversion. During this procedure, we use an electrical current or medication to regulate your heart rhythm.
- Ablation procedures. We destroy the area of the heart tissue that is causing the erratic heartbeat. There are different types of ablation procedures. We will work with you to determine which approach will offer you the best outcome. Learn more about ablation procedures for atrial fibrillation.
- Convergent procedure. This is a hybrid procedure combines both catheterization and electrophysiology. Learn more about the convergent procedure for atrial fibrillation.
- LARIAT™ procedure. This innovative procedure helps reduce the risk of stroke in patients who cannot take blood thinning medications. Learn more about the LARIAT procedure for atrial fibrillation.
- Cox Maze surgery. During this complex procedure, your surgeon stops the abnormal electrical impulses. Learn more about the Cox Maze surgery for atrial fibrillation.
Learn more about what the Advanced Center for Atrial Fibrillation can do for you:
- Diagnosing atrial fibrillation
- Ablation procedure for atrial fibrillation
- Convergent procedure for atrial fibrillation
- Cox-Maze surgery for atrial fibrillation
- Atrial fibrillation FAQs
Cardiovascular and thoracic surgeons:
- Jack Messina, MD, cardiovascular surgery
- Andrew Sherman, MD, cardiovascular and thoracic surgery
- Michael W. Bradner, MD, cardiovascular and thoracic surgery
To schedule a free consultation at our Advanced Center for Atrial Fibrillation call (813) 877-2342. Get directions to our facility.