Atrial fibrillation is a condition that causes the upper chambers of the heart to beat too fast. This can cause symptoms of palpitations, breathlessness and lethargy. In some circumstances it can increase an individuals risk of stroke.
Atrial fibrillation is a very common condition. If you are over the age of 40 your lifetime risk of having it is 1 in 4 for males and 1 in 5 for females. It can be treated in a number of different ways. These include medication, catheter ablation and pacemakers. The Heart Rhythm Clinic Team have expertise in all of these treatments and are available to advise which may be the best treatment for you. Further information is available in the patient information section of the website.
New treatments as an alternative to warfarin
Some people with atrial fibrillation require blood-thinning medication, such as warfarin. This is used to reduce the risk of stroke. Diet and certain medications can affect warfarin and so it needs to be monitored carefully. If it is not patients can be at risk of serious bleeding.
If you suffer with atrial fibrillation you now have an alternative. A new procedure is available where a device is permanently implanted in the left atrial appendage through a vein in your leg (see diagrams). The device is a sophisticated, miniaturised umbrella that blocks off the left atrial appendage and aims to prevent any clots from causing stroke. After surgery you will require an overnight stay and approximately a 24-hour recovery. You will need a few weeks treatment with warfarin but after an ultrasound scan warfarin can then be usually stopped.