Atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation (A-fib) is a common type of arrhythmia, and we treat many people with the condition at Geisinger. A-fib occurs when the atria, the upper chambers of your heart, fibrillate (quiver). The fibrillation causes your heart to beat rapidly or irregularly.

Atrial fibrillation can be mild to severe. It may only happen from time to time, or it may be more persistent and get worse. It can interfere with your heart’s ability to pump blood effectively.

What you should know about atrial fibrillation

  • Atrial fibrillation symptoms include:
    • Fluttering or rapid heartbeat
    • Shortness of breath
    • Fatigue
    • Chest pain
  • You can live a healthy, active life with mild atrial fibrillation. However, if your symptoms worsen or begin to happen more frequently, it is important to treat a-fib to reduce your risk for heart attack and stroke.

Why choose Geisinger for your atrial fibrillation care?

  • Comprehensive treatments: We can treat a-fib with medicine or minimally invasive procedures such as ablation or cardioversion. We can even treat patients who need an alternative to certain medications with the Watchman device. Some people may also need heart surgery to treat a-fib.
  • More atrial fibrillation specialists: Our electrophysiologists (doctors specializing in the heart’s electrical system) have extensive experience treating atrial fibrillation and other types of arrhythmia.
  • Dedicated anticoagulation clinic: If you have a-fib, you may need to take blood-thinning medications, called anticoagulants. We have a dedicated anticoagulation clinic to help you manage any risks.

Treatment options

Our heart care team has extensive experience caring for atrial fibrillation, with all the treatments you might need:

  • Ablation : Our doctors use strong energy to destroy tumors, with cold gas freezing them (cryoablation) or microwave radiation heating them (radiofrequency).
  • Cardiac resynchronization therapy : CRT can help correct arrhythmias for people who have both atrial fibrillation and heart failure.
  • Heart surgery : Use to treat many heart-related problems and is recommended if medication and other less-invasive treatment have not or cannot help.
  • Pacemakers and defibrillators : These implants regulate abnormal heart rhythms and reduce the risk of heart attack.
  • Watchman : Your doctor may recommend this implanted device to reduce your stroke risk.

We're here to help