Treatment Options



For Atrial Fibrillation

If you’ve been diagnosed with AFib, you might feel overwhelmed or concerned. Rest assured your care team will talk to you about the options that make the most sense for your health and well-being.

Treatment Options
Treating AFib may be as simple as eliminating a known underlying cause—for instance, if you have hyperthyroidism, the answer might be as straightforward as treating the hyperthyroidism. Sometimes, AFib symptoms can be treated with medication such as beta blockers. Some people will need a pacemaker.

But for many, cardiac ablation is the right solution.

About Cardiac Ablation

Cardiac ablation is a procedure in which your doctor will access your heart through a blood vessel. A catheter (a long, steerable tube) will enter the vessel and be placed in your heart where diagnostic devices will be used to determine the area of the heart that needs to be treated. The doctor will use the catheter to apply energy to the targeted heart tissue. This will isolate the area from the rest of the heart and prevent it from producing AFib.

About Cardiac Ablation
About Cardiac Ablation
About Cardiac Ablation
What to Expect During Cardiac Ablation Animation

What to Expect for a Cardiac Ablation Procedure

Prepping for Your Procedure

You will receive detailed instructions from your care team to prep for your procedure. Most likely, your team will ask you to:

• Complete some tests prior to your procedure.
• Stop eating and drinking the night before your procedure.
• Stop taking arrhythmia medications—and potentially other medications —days before your procedure.
• If you already have a cardiac implant/device, you may have other instructions to follow.

During the Procedure

After you are under anesthesia, your doctor will make a small incision in the upper thigh and insert a small, thin tube, also known as a sheath, into the blood vessel. Your doctor will then gently guide a thin, flexible catheter into your vessel (using the sheath as a guide) to access your heart.

After accessing your heart, your physician will use a mapping catheter to create a 3D model of your heart and record its electrical activity. Next, your physician will use a special type of catheter called an ablation catheter–which transmits radiofrequency (RF) energy into the heart–to block irregular signals that cause AFib until a normal heart rhythm is restored.

After the Procedure

You will be taken back to your room for recovery, where your physician will check on you and provide specific instructions to follow. Expect to stay in the hospital overnight for monitoring and safety precautions. There may be some restriction on activities for about a week after your procedure. Follow all guidance from your physician accordingly.

Side Effects of Cardiac Ablation


There are always risks with any medical procedure, though cardiac ablation is typically a low-risk procedure. Talk with your doctor about the likelihood of these risks before proceeding.

Risks can include:

  • Bleeding or infection at the site where the tube went in
  • Damaged blood vessels from the catheter
  • Pulmonary Vein Stenosis (narrowing of the veins between your lungs and heart)
  • Blood clots
  • Damage to your heart valves
  • Arrhythmias from damage to your heart’s electrical system
  • Heart attack or stroke
  • Kidney damage from the dye used during the procedure
  • In rare cases, death

Rhythm control medication

Sodium-channel or potassium-channel blockers can help control the rhythm of your heart.

Rate control medication

Beta blockers can help slow or control your heart rate.

Anticoagulants (blood thinners)

Blood thinners can help prevent or treat clots.

Some people use these medications before their procedures. Some find that after a period of time—about a year—they no longer work. Medications may also come with their own set of side effects. There’s a good chance you will have medicine prescribed to you immediately following your procedure, for a time.


Heart-Healthy Living

Choosing Heart-Healthy Foods

Eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Reduce salts and fats. You may also have some dietary restrictions if you are on certain medications.

Staying Active

Maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly can keep your heart in its best shape.

Other Lifestyle Changes

Many aspects of your lifestyle can contribute to heart health. Managing your stress, quitting smoking and reducing alcohol intake, avoiding caffeine or stimulants, and treating underlying health issues, such as sleep apnea, can improve your quality of life.

Heart-Healthy Living
Heart-Healthy Living
Heart-Healthy Living

You can live your life with your AFib under control