Having any form of heart condition including atrial fibrillation is naturally something people find concerning. However, so many advancements have been made in the field of coronary care that there is now so much more doctors can do to correct problems and enhance the quality of life.  For patients in the Cambridge area Dr David Begley is on hand to consult and offer treatment should you discover you have atrial fibrillation.

What is Atrial Fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation is a condition that can present with very few symptoms and therefore the patient may be unaware that they are suffering from it.   Sometimes it is only after treatment that patients become aware of just how much better they feel.  It can cause issues such as lethargy and tiredness which many people assume is because they are getting older, working too hard or carrying too much stress. If atrial fibrillation does present with symptoms these can include heart palpitations which are when it feels like your heart is fluttering or pounding, a faster than normal heart rate even when you are resting, tiredness, breathlessness, chest pain or feeling faint.  Obviously, any of these symptoms should be cause to seek a professional opinion as there is a myriad of conditions that can be the underlying reason.

How is Atrial Fibrillation Treated?

If Dr Begley suspects that atrial fibrillation might be the issue, he will use an ECG or electrocardiogram to monitor the rhythm of the heart and check the electrical activity.  This is a simple non-invasive test for which the patient remains fully awake.

Once atrial fibrillation is established then treatment can be a two-stage process. Firstly, the cardiologist will look to restore the rhythm of the heart, and this can be achieved through medication. Beta-blockers and flecainide are the most common options.  Secondly, the now healthy rhythm needs to be maintained, and again this can potentially be via mediations, the beta-blockers may be continued, or other drugs like digoxin may be used. 

Sometimes medication may not be sufficient, and in these cases, there is a simple procedure available, which is known as cardiac ablation.  This procedure requires a sedative so that you will be relaxed but awake.  Small catheters will be fed into the body via a vein, often in the groin. This gives the consultant cardiologist the ability to use electrodes on the tops of the catheters to firstly, double check and find the source of the problem which will sometimes involve injecting dye into the veins so that they can see clearly on the x-ray.  Once the issue is identified the catheter can be used to destroy the abnormal heart tissue which is causing the problem, thus restoring the correct rhythm.

Making An Appointment

If you want to make an appointment with Dr Begley to discuss Atrial Fibrillation treatment in Cambridge, you should phone or email his secretary directly. Dr Begley’s private secretary Lynn Thomas can be contacted on 01223 850 423 or via lynn@drbegleycardiology.co.uk.