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Dr. Jay Lee discusses atrial fibrillation and how it is treated

Atrial fibrillation is an irregular and often rapid heart rate that commonly causes poor blood flow to the body. During atrial fibrillation, the heart’s two upper chambers (the atria) beat irregularly and out of coordination with the two lower chambers (the ventricles) of the heart. Atrial fibrillation symptoms include heart palpitations, shortness of breath and weakness. 
Episodes of atrial fibrillation can come and go, or some individuals may have chronic atrial fibrillation. If untreated, atrial fibrillation can lead to two potentially life threatening conditions– congestive heart failure and stroke.
Traditional treatment of atrial fibrillation focuses on medications that slow down a rapid heart rate, and blood thinners that prevent clot formation. However, innovative procedures are now available that offer the potential for living a medication-free life, including non-surgical ablative techniques that often eliminate or reduce the frequency of irregular heartbeats.  
Depending on the severity of your symptoms and whether they are new or have been going on for some time, your physician may refer you to an electrophysiologist, a cardiologist specializing in the treatment of irregular heart beats, to receive a more detailed evaluation.
Jay Lee, M.D. is the Medical Director of Arrhythmia Management at Hoag. His office is located at 1140 West La Veta, Suite #640, Orange, CA 92868. To schedule an appointment, call 714/564-3300.