What is important for those with atrial fibrillation (A Fib) to know?

Premier Health’s Dr. Mark Krebs gives a message of hope to those with atrial fibrillation (A Fib). Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.


National Institute of Health’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) outlines three types of atrial fibrillation:

  • Paroxysmal A Fib occurs intermittently and often stops spontaneously. Paroxysmal A Fib usually lasts less than 24 hours.
  • Persistent A Fib continues for more than a week but may also stop spontaneously or be stopped by treatment.
  • Permanent A Fib is a permanent condition; a normal heart rhythm cannot be restored even with treatment.

Paroxysmal and persistent A Fib may lead to permanent A Fib, so it is important to seek treatment early. However, as Dr. Krebs points out, advances in electrophysiology allow more arrhythmias to be treated, even atrial fibrillations that were considered untreatable five to ten years ago.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), treatment for atrial fibrillation ranges from:

  • Lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and quitting smoking
  • Medication, including beta blockers, calcium channel blockers or medications to manage underlying causes, such as hyperthyroidism, or other health risks, such as stroke

In addition to these non-invasive treatment methods, NHLBI outlines surgical procedures that may restore a normal heart rhythm:

  • Electrical cardioversion
  • Catheter ablation
  • Pacemaker implantation
  • Maze (open-heart) surgery

Identifying the cause of A Fib can help your doctor find the best treatment for you.

Talk to your health care provider to learn more about atrial fibrillation treatment options.

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