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Brandon Regional Hospital

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BRH - Pediatric ER

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Citrus Memorial Hospital

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Citrus Park ER

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Clearwater ER Campus

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Doctors Hospital of Sarasota

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Englewood Community Hospital

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ER 24/7 in Palm Harbor

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Fawcett Memorial Hospital

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Indian Rocks Rd. Campus

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Medical Center of Trinity

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Memorial Hospital of Tampa

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Northside Hospital

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Oak Hill | Pediatric Emergency Care Center

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Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation, or AFib, is the most common heart arrhythmia (abnormality in the heart’s rhythm), affecting more than two million Americans.

The heartbeat is controlled by electrical impulses that begin in the atria, or upper chamber of your heart. With AFib, these electrical impulses are erratic, causing a rapid and irregular heartbeat that affects the heart’s ability to pump blood efficiently to the rest of the body.

If AFib or any arrhythmia is left untreated, it can lead to stroke or heart failure.

AFib Certification

Six HCA West Florida Division hospitals are the region's first to receive AFib Certification. This specialized certification is granted by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care to facilities who demonstrate expertise and commitment to quality patient care by meeting a wide set of stringent criteria and undergoing a comprehensive review. The six facilities receiving the certification are:

What is an Arrhythmia?

AFib is a type of arrhythmia. Different types of arrhythmias include:

  • Heartbeats that are too slow – bradycardia
  • Heartbeats that are too fast – tachycardia
  • Extra beats
  • Skipped beats
  • Beats coming from abnormal areas of the heart

Symptoms of Arrhythmia

  • Fainting
  • Dizziness
  • Sensation of your heart fluttering (palpitations)
  • Sensation of a missed or extra heartbeat
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain

Symptoms of AFib

  • Irregular or rapid pulse or heartbeat
  • Dizziness, sensation of light-headedness
  • Sensation of your heart fluttering (palpitations)
  • Sensation of missed or extra heartbeat
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath

Some people may not experience symptoms while others may have noticeable symptoms.

Types of AFib

  • Paroxysmal – This type of AFib starts and stops suddenly, and symptoms might last for a few minutes or a few days.
  • Persistent – This type of AFib starts and never stops. It requires treatment to return the heartbeat to a normal rhythm.
  • Permanent – This type of AFib does not go away, even after treatment. It is important to control the heart rate and prevent stroke.

Treatment Options for AFib

  • Antiarrhythmic medications
    • These medications will help slow down or speed up your heart rate, or return your heart rhythm to normal.
  • Electrical cardioversion or defibrillation
    • This involves placing paddles on the chest or back. An electrical current is passed through the chest wall to the heart to reset its electrical circuits, and attempt to return the heart rhythm to normal.
  • Automatic implantable defibrillator
    • A tiny defibrillator can be surgically implanted in your chest to monitor your heart rhythm. If a dangerous arrhythmia is detected, the device automatically shocks the heart in an attempt to return the heart rhythm to normal.
  • Artificial pacemaker
    • The pacemaker is surgically implanted in your chest. It takes over the job of providing the electrical impulses needed for establishing an appropriate heart rhythm.
  • Catheter ablation
    • Ablation therapy is a technique designed to treat irregular patterns and possibly eliminate the need for medication. A minimally invasive catheter is utilized to either burn (radiofrequency ablation) or freeze (cryoablation) abnormal electrical tissue in the heart that triggers erratic rhythms.
  • Surgical intervention
    • Various surgical options exist for AFib. Among the procedures include The Maze. It creates a pattern of scar tissue in the upper chambers of the heart. This makes a pathway for electrical impulses to travel through the heart and blocks the pathway for fast or irregular impulses.

If AFib or any arrhythmia is left untreated, it can lead to stroke or heart failure.

If you are experiencing a medical emergency such as chest pain, shortness of breath, fainting or stroke symptoms, please call or have someone call 911 immediately!

For more information or a referral to a cardiologist, please call (855) 614-7290.