Pulse Check: 3 things you may not know about the most common heart rhythm disorder

(NewsUSA)Pulse Check: 3 Things You May Not Know About the Most Common Heart Rhythm Disorder

Atrial fibrillation (AFib), otherwise known as an irregular or fluttering heartbeat, is the most common heart rhythm disorder. In fact, nearly one in every ten people older than 65 have AFib.1 September is National AFib Awareness Month, which is a great time to take a pulse check on your heart health. Here are three misconceptions about AFib and the facts you need to know.

Misconception #1: AFib Symptoms are Easy to Spot

This is not always true – some people don’t know they have AFib until they are diagnosed at a doctor’s appointment or it causes a larger medical concern. It’s often at routine checkups when AFib is diagnosed.  

For others, AFib feels like butterflies or a flopping fish in the chest, according to StopAFib.org.

AFib is a progressive disease meaning that when left untreated or undiagnosed, patients are five times more likely to have a stroke.2 Knowing the signs and symptoms of AFib can help you and your doctor catch it earlier:    

  • Heart sensations, sometimes called palpitations, which may include irregular, thumping, or pounding heartbeats    
  • Feeling like your heart is racing    
  • Chest discomfort or pain    
  • Fainting or lightheadedness    
  • Fatigue, shortness of breath, or weakness

Misconception #2: Medication is My Only Treatment Option

Currently, medications to prevent and treat irregular heart rhythms, known as antiarrhythmic drugs, don’t work for half of people who take them.3,4,5 Some patients with AFib may be candidates for a minimally invasive procedure called cryoablation. During the procedure, the Medtronic Artic Front™ Cryoballoon targets electrical signals to get your heart rhythm back on track and can be used as the first line therapy approach for a patient experiencing AFib.

Misconception #3: Everyone’s AFib is the same

According to StopAFib.org, different people experience different AFib symptoms. The best thing you can do is go talk to your doctor if you think you’re having symptoms. To better understand your specific condition, your doctor may recommend an insertable heart monitor that watches your heart continuously around the clock to detect abnormal heart rhythms including AFib.6  Long-term monitoring with the Medtronic LINQ™ family of insertable cardiac monitors (ICMs) can help your doctor get a better picture of how your heart is doing over time and detect episodes of AFib. Because AFib is a progressive condition—meaning it worsens over time—early treatment is crucial. When a heart monitor detects AFib, your doctor can help you get on the treatment course that is right for you. Your long-term heart monitor will continue to give your doctor the information needed to know if your treatment is working or if you need to make changes over time.

Always talk to your doctor about risks, diagnosis, and treatment information.

Possible risks associated with the implant of the LINQ™ Family ICM’s include, but are not limited to, infection at the surgical site, device migration, erosion of the device through the skin and/or sensitivity to the device material.  Risks associated with the Artic Front™ Cryoballoon may include bleeding and bruising where the catheter was inserted, cough, shortness of breath, infection, temporary or permanent stroke, severe complications leading to hospitalization or potentially death. Always talk with your doctor about risks, diagnosis, and treatment information for AFib.

To learn more about atrial fibrillation, available treatment options and to identify a specialist near you, visit: www.Medtronic.com/AFmonth    

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Worldwide Epidemiology of Atrial Fibrillation, A Global Burden of Disease 2010 Study    
  2. Kannel WB, Wolf PA, Benjamin EJ, Levy D. Prevalence, incidence, prognosis, and predisposing conditions for atrial fibrillation: population-based estimates. Am J Cardiol. 1998 Oct 16;82(8A):2N-9N. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9149(98)00583-9. PMID: 9809895.    
  3. Wazni OM, Dandamudi G, Sood N, et al. Cryoballoon Ablation as Initial Therapy for Atrial Fibrillation. N Engl J Med. January 28, 2021;384(4):316-324.    
  4. Kuniss M, Pavlovic N, Velagic V, et al. Cryoballoon ablation vs. antiarrhythmic drugs: first-line therapy for patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. Europace. March 17, 2021:euab029.    
  5. Andrade JG, Wells GA, Deyell MW, et al. Cryoablation or Drug Therapy for Initial Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation. N Engl J Med. January 28, 2021;384(4):305-315.    
  6. Majos E, Dabrowski R. Significance and Management Strategies for Patients with Asymptomatic Atrial Fibrillation. J Atrial Fibrillation. February 28, 2015;7(5):1169.

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