The Types of Atrial Fibrillation

In our Hunterdon Electrophysiology Clinic, we’re all about keeping you in rhythm. Well, at least your heart. As for having those colloquial two left feet, that we cannot help. Instead we test for and treat atrial fibrillation. There are different types of atrial fibrillation, also known as AFib. These types may be valvular or non-valvular in cause. Treatment depends on the type of AFib a patient has, and this can change over time.

Here’s some more information on all the ways your heart can fail to keep pace.

What are the different types of atrial fibrillation?

Paroxysmal AFib

This type of AFib is categorized as your heart going in and out of normal rhythm for less than a week. This might happen for a few minutes or several days. This type of AFib is colloquially known as “holiday heart syndrome,” as otherwise healthy people may be going a little extra hard during holiday festivities, and the heart may be unused to the different activity. This type of AFib can also accompany extreme stress. While it may not need treatment, paroxysmal AFib still merits a visit to our Electrophysiology Clinic.

Persistent AFib

This type of AFib usually lasts longer than a week. This AFib may also stop on its own, but you could need medicine or treatment to get things back on track. If medicine doesn’t restore normal rhythm, electrical cardioversion may be used. This is a low-voltage current that resets your heart’s rhythm back to normal.

Long-standing persistent AFib

This means your AFib has lasted more than a year and isn’t going away. Medicines and electrical cardioversion will be tried but may not halt the AFib. Ablation may be used. This burns certain areas of your heart’s electrical system to get the heart back into normal rhythm.

Permanent AFib

This chronic AFib cannot be corrected by treatments. The question will be whether long-term medication is the correct treatment method to control your heart rate and lower your risk of stroke.

Valvular AFib

This cause of AFib is due to a problem with your heart valve. There are various problems: valvular stenosis (stiffening of one of the valves), regurgitation (a heart valve isn’t closing properly and lets some blood flow the wrong way), or issues with an artificial heart valve.

Nonvalvular AFib

This simply means the cause isn’t due to a problem with your heart valves.

It’s important to diagnose the type of AFib a patient has. That’s where the expertise of our Electrophysiology Clinic team comes in. It’s our mission to find the cause of your AFib and get your heart back on track. Call us at (908) 788-1710 if you wonder if you’re having issues with your heart’s rhythm.

Posted in: Cardiovascular Diseases

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