A racing heart that beats out of rhythm can leave you feeling dizzy, tired and out of breath. This condition, called atrial fibrillation (AFib), can also be life-threatening. You need expert medical care as soon as possible to get your heart back on track.

At the Baptist Health Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute, our experts are specially trained to treat the underlying causes of AFib and any symptoms you experience. We use a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to care for these complex disorders.

As one of the few multidisciplinary clinics dedicated to AFib care, we look forward to caring for you and getting your heart back to a steady beat.

Our Approach to Atrial Fibrillation Treatment

Our Approach to Atrial Fibrillation Treatment

AFib symptoms can be mild or severe. It can also be linked to multiple other health conditions. So, every patient with AFib should see a cardiac specialist at least once.

That’s why our Atrial Fibrillation Clinic is so innovative and important. We bring together an outstanding team of cardiologists, cardiac electrophysiologists, neurologists, sleep specialists, dieticians and weight-loss specialists who all have experience with AFib.

As a team, they can identify the cause of your condition and address any risk factors you may have. They also assess your stroke risk and work with you to decide on the most appropriate treatment options. We know AFib management and treatment can be complex. So, our highly qualified nurse navigators will guide you through your care journey.

Our team-based, integrated approach provides an AFib management plan that is designed specifically for you.

What is Atrial Fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is the most common type of abnormal heart rhythm. It occurs more often in men than women, and the risk of developing it increases with age.

AFib starts in the upper part of your heart (the atria) and interrupts your heart’s electrical heartbeat signals. Instead of beating fully and regularly, your heart beats quickly and erratically. The result is less blood flow between the upper and lower parts of your heart. Blood can pool in your heart and form blood clots.

Timely diagnosis and treatment are important because these blood clots may travel to your brain and cause a stroke. AFib is also linked to heart failure, dementia and can impact your overall health.

Your AFib may be constant, or it may come and go. There are three main types of AFib:

  • Paroxysmal AFib lasts less than a week, and each episode can last for seconds to hours.
  • Persistent AFib lasts for more than a week. If it lingers for more than a year, it’s called long-standing persistent AFib. Without treatment, it can become permanent.
  • Permanent AFib develops when the heart’s normal rhythm can’t be restored.

Causes of Atrial Fibrillation

People older than 65 are at higher risk of AFib. A wide variety of health-related problems can also boost your risk. These include:

  • Cardiac surgery
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Diabetes
  • Family history of AFib
  • Heart valve defects
  • High-dose steroid therapy
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
  • Lung disease
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Obesity
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Pericarditis
  • Rheumatic heart disease from past Streptococcus infection

Some lifestyle behaviors (including excessive alcohol use, illegal drug use, smoking or taking stimulant medications) can also trigger AFib.

Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation

Signs of AFib can vary. You may feel no symptoms, or your first sign may be a stroke. However, typical AFib symptoms can include:

  • Chest discomfort
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Heart palpitations (skipping beats or beating too hard)
  • Reduced ability to exercise
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness

Atrial Fibrillation Management

Blood-thinning medications can help you manage your AFib and reduce your risk of stroke. Adopting healthy lifestyle behaviors may also help you control your condition. These steps include:

  • Avoiding alcohol (it can trigger irregular heartbeats)
  • Eating a heart-healthy diet
  • Exercising
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Not smoking
  • Telling your healthcare providers, dentists and pharmacists about any over-the-counter and blood-thinning medications you use

Diagnosing Atrial Fibrillation

Our cardiac arrhythmia specialists use state-of-the-art technology to evaluate and diagnose your abnormal heart rhythm.

We rely on leading-edge diagnostic heart testing equipment, including Holter monitors and remotely monitored implantable loop recorders, to evaluate your AFib. For your safety, the tests and treatments we use require as little radiation as possible.

three surgeons in scrubs

"Having a group of medical professionals who can provide a multi-level approach to heart care ultimately allows our team to find the most optimal treatment plan for any individual patient."

Atrial Fibrillation Treatments

In addition to medication to reduce your blood clot risk, our specialists can provide a wide range of treatments to improve your AFib. They will work with you to decide which therapy will work best for your specific needs.

Cardiac Ablation

During this minimally invasive procedure, our specialist guides a flexible tube (a catheter) from a vein in your groin to your heart. They place the catheter into the area of the heart that’s causing the irregular heartbeat and use heat (radiofrequency) or cold energy (cryoablation) or high frequency electrical currents (pulse field ablation) to destroy it.

Cardiac Mapping

This study is typically performed as part of an EP study and ablation. It maps your heart’s electrical activity to help our specialists identify the cause of your irregular heartbeat.

Cardioversion

For this procedure, our specialists place soft electrode pads on your chest and send a programmed high-energy shock to your heart to reset a normal rhythm. This technique is performed under moderate sedation.

Implantable Loop Recorder

This small, implanted device records your heart’s electrical activity when it climbs or drops outside of a specific range. You can also press a button to activate it when you feel symptoms like skipped heartbeats, lightheadedness or dizziness.

Maze Procedure

Your surgeon will provide ablation in the atrium so that heart’s electrical signals can’t cross the ablated areas which trigger atrial fibrillation.

Pacemaker

This small, implanted device uses electrical signals to regulate your heart rate so blood continues to pump through your body. Pacemakers have several parts — a pulse generator, one or more leads and an electrode for each lead — and send a signal whenever your heartbeat drops too low or becomes irregular.

"The magnitude of what they do there every day and the technology they use is so impressive. Going into the procedure, I felt comfortable that I was going to be okay.”

Meet our Atrial Fibrillation Specialists

Our team of highly trained AFib specialists provides a full range of services to treat your condition. They are dedicated to determining the cause of your irregular heartbeat and the best therapy as quickly as possible. Learn more about our experts:

Miami Dade County Call: 786-204-4200

Our Location

Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery | Kendall (Medical Arts Building)

8950 North Kendall Drive, Suite 600W
Miami, FL 33176

Atrial Fibrillation Clinical Trials

Our Baptist Health Heart & Vascular physicians are clinical research leaders searching for ways to improve irregular heartbeat treatments. We are committed to developing novel therapies that will give patients like you a steady heartbeat. If you’re interested in learning more about our research efforts or being a partner in our investigations, view our list of ongoing studies.

Make an Appointment

Getting timely treatment for AFib can improve your symptoms and your quality of life. If you’re concerned you may have this condition, talk to your primary care provider or cardiologist about getting a referral for an appointment with our team of electrophysiologists.

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