Atrial Fibrillation

In a healthy heart, electricity flows in an organized pattern producing regular heartbeats. A disruption to this pattern causes an irregular rhythm, also known as an arrhythmia. Atrial fibrillation, or AFib, is the most common type of arrhythmia. You may or may not notice your symptoms, but it’s still important to see a doctor.

Henry Ford atrial fibrillation care: Why choose us

For nearly 20 years, our heart rhythm experts have been delivering comprehensive care. Our specialized clinics offer:

  • Ease of care: We make it easy to get the care you need with numerous clinics located throughout southeastern Michigan. If your condition is more advanced, our team coordinates additional care and services with the Henry Ford Atrial Fibrillation Center located on our downtown Detroit campus.
  • Fast evaluation and treatment: With so many clinic locations, we see new patients in as little as seven to 14 days.
  • Physician partnerships: Our experts work closely with your referring physician. You can relax knowing that you can go back to seeing doctors in your community after you start feeling better.
  • Comprehensive exams: At our Atrial Fibrillation Center, we provide care for patients with even the most complex forms of atrial fibrillation. Our team conducts a complete physical exam. We also look at lifestyle factors that may be affecting your condition.
  • Follow-up care: Atrial fibrillation is often a lifelong condition. If your treatment includes an implantable device, regular visits to our Pacemaker Clinics can help you stay healthy.

Atrial fibrillation types

There are several types of atrial fibrillation:

  • Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation: Your symptoms are mild or severe. They suddenly start and stop on their own. Symptoms usually last more than a day, but less than a week.
  • Persistent atrial fibrillation: Your symptoms last more than a week at a time. They usually require treatment to stop.
  • Permanent atrial fibrillation: You experience symptoms all the time. They do not go away even with treatment.

Symptoms of AFib

It’s possible to have AFib and not have any symptoms. Or you may experience one of these AFib symptoms:

  • Irregular and rapid heartbeat
  • Heart palpitations
  • Rapid thumping inside the chest
  • Lightheadedness
  • Sweating
  • Fainting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Chest pressure
  • Tiring more easily during physical activity

What causes AFib?

Your chances of developing an arrhythmia like AFib increase with age. Other factors that increase your risk include:

  • Heart muscle damage from a heart attack, heart disease or other cardiac event
  • Congenital heart abnormalities present (and possibly undetected) since birth
  • Clogged arteries (atherosclerosis)
  • Low mineral levels including potassium, magnesium and calcium
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid problems
  • Lung problems, including asthma, emphysema, pulmonary blood clots or chronic lung disease
  • Obesity
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Addictions to alcohol, nicotine or illegal substances

Diagnosis and treatment of AFib

Our electrophysiology (EP) labs are dedicated diagnostic labs where we test the electrical activity of your heart. Using specialized equipment, our team of experts accurately diagnoses your condition. Learn more about the advanced tests and technology we offer in our EP labs. Read more about arrhythmia diagnosis at Henry Ford.

We deliver the best available treatments including the newly approved LARIAT™ procedure and WATCHMAN™ device to lower the risk of stroke from AFib. We also offer cardiac ablation with 3D mapping or cryoablation. Learn more about the arrhythmia treatments we offer.

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