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Atrial Fibrillation Specialist

CardioVascular Institute of South Texas

Cardiologists located in Helotes, TX

Atrial fibrillation makes your heart beat irregularly, which increases your risk of heart conditions such as a stroke. Cardiologists Tzy-Shiuan Kuo, MD, and Imam Tjahja, MD, treat atrial fibrillation at CardioVascular Institute of South Texas in Helotes, Texas. If you’re in the San Antonio area and think you may have atrial fibrillation, call the office or book an appointment online right away.

Atrial Fibrillation Q & A

What is atrial fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation, also known as AFib or AF, means the upper chambers (atria) of your heart beat rapidly and out of coordination with the lower chambers (ventricles). This causes your atria to quiver instead of contracting normally.

How do I know if I have atrial fibrillation?

You can have AFib without experiencing any symptoms at all. If you do experience AFib symptoms, they may include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness and dizziness
  • Irregular and rapid heartbeat
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Fatigue and reduced ability to exercise

Heart palpitations are another common symptom of AFib that may feel like a racing, uncomfortable heartbeat or sensations of flip-flopping in your chest.

What complications can atrial fibrillation lead to?

AFib increases your risk of stroke by about five times. This is because AFib may cause blood to pool in your atria and form clots.

Other possible complications of AFib include:

  • Heart failure
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Heart attack

Treatment from the team at CardioVascular Institute of South Texas can reduce your risk of having a stroke or developing other complications of AFib.

How is atrial fibrillation diagnosed and treated?

To diagnose AFib, your cardiologist at the CardioVascular Institute of South Texas begins by carefully reviewing your symptoms and medical history. They also perform a physical exam and may conduct diagnostic tests, such as:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
  • Holter monitor
  • Echocardiogram (echo)
  • Chest X-ray
  • Blood tests
  • Stress test

Then, they create an individualized treatment plan based on your specific condition and medical history. Treatment for AFib focuses on the following goals:

  • Resetting your heart rhythm
  • Maintaining a normal heart rhythm
  • Preventing blood clots
  • Reducing your risk of stroke

The team at CardioVascular Institute of South Texas may prescribe medications to control your heart rate, or they may recommend a procedure called electrical cardioversion. This involves administering a brief electrical shock to your heart through paddles. The shock temporarily stops your heart so that it may assume a normal rhythm when it starts beating again.

If medications or cardioversion don’t control your AFib, the team at CardioVascular Institute of South Texas may recommend surgery.

To learn more about preventing and controlling atrial fibrillation, call CardioVascular Institute of South Texas or book an appointment online today.