Dr John Day Cardiologist
|Dr. John DayDr. Day is a cardiologist specializing in heart rhythm abnormalities at St. Mark Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. He graduated from Johns Hopkins Medical School and completed his residency and fellowships in cardiology and cardiac electrophysiology at Stanford University. He is the former president of the Heart Rhythm Society and the Utah chapter of the American College of Cardiology.|
Getting More Out Of Life After Afib
For Pete, that success means once again climbing into a bus without effort and resuming activities he enjoys such as hiking and riding a bike. His heart rate is monitored through an implanted chip and since his treatment in 2015, he has had no occurrences of AFib.
It was just a joy to be able to do these things again, he says. It felt great to not be winded.
Petes story and immediate improvement are an example as to why its important to pay attention to symptoms affiliated with AFib, according to Dr. Gandhi.
Can Afib Cause A Stroke
People with Afib have a significantly higher risk of stroke than the average population. They also tend to have more severe strokes with more serious complications and a higher chance of death from stroke.
During an episode of Afib, the hearts two upper chambers contract irregularly and quiver rapidly . When the atria dont contract or squeeze correctly, blood can pool there, instead of moving to the ventricles . When blood pools, it can clot.
If a blood clot gets pumped out of the atria, it can travel to other parts of the body. Clots can get stuck and block blood flow to the brain, lungs, intestine, spleen or kidneys. If a blood clot travels to the brain, it can cause a stroke.
A stroke deprives the brain of oxygen and causes brain cells to die. It is a life-threatening emergency that may cause severe disability such as paralysis, blindness and cognitive impairment.
If you or someone around you experiences symptoms of a stroke, seek medical attention immediately. The signs are easily remembered with the American Stroke Associations abbreviation FAST:
- Face drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the persons smile uneven?
- Arm weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- Speech difficulty:Is speech slurred?
- Time to call 911: If the person has any of the symptoms above, call 911.
You May Like: Fatigue After Pfizer First Dose
A Team Effort From The Local Leader
For cases such as Petes that require treatment more extensive than medication such as blood thinners, TriHealth offers a hybrid mini maze treatment, a newer strategy that involves collaboration between a surgeon and an electrophysiologist. TriHealth is the only provider performing this hybrid treatment in Cincinnati and one of only about 50 nationwide.
The first part of Petes treatment was a minimally invasive maze procedure performed early in 2015 by Dr. Okum at Bethesda North. A mini maze uses heat to create a pattern of scarring along the left atrium to create a disturbance that corrects the irregular heartbeat. Because the procedure is performed thoracoscopically and is minimally invasive, there is less pain, less risk of infection and easier recovery than through open heart surgery. It involves eight minor incisions with four on each side and usually requires a hospital stay of only three to four days.
This procedure makes a patient feel better, even those who are asymptomatic, Dr. Okum says. No matter how they felt when we started, when they get out they feel better.
This was certainly the case for Pete. I felt amazingly different, he says about his own immediate recovery time. I woke up sore, but I actually felt good for the first time in a while
Petes ablation also was performed at Bethesda North by Dr. Gandhi, who credits TriHealths team approach with providing a success rate of greater than 85 percent for patients like Pete.
What Is The Outlook With Atrial Fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation is generally not life threatening, many people live normal healthy lives with this condition, but it can be uncomfortable and often needs treatment.
This is because when the atria in the heart do not contract properly there is a risk of blood clot formation. Clots from the atria may break off and go to other parts of the body. A blood clot passing up to the arteries supplying the brain may cause a stroke.
For this reason, treatment may involve medication to control the heart rate or rhythm, and medication to prevent clots from forming in the blood.
Read Also: Things To Help With Fatigue
The Rapid Heart Rate Of Atrial Fibrillation Causes Shortness Of Breath
The first reason for shortness of breath is the heart rate by itself. You can imagine people who have atrial fibrillation who are not well controlled, will likely have elevated heart rates. The heart rate may be controlled when they’re just sitting down, but with just a little bit of activity the heart rate may become very fast, such as, 120, 140 bpm, sometimes even faster than that. There are patients who have, even when they’re just sitting and resting, their heart rate at 100, 110 bpm. You can imagine that if your heart rate’s going very fast consistently, it’s like as if you’re running or exercising all the time. You can imagine when you’re exercising, your heart rate gets up, and you can feel short of breath, and for patients with atrial fibrillation, they may feel this way all the time. So sometimes just the heart rate by itself can make a person feel short of breath.
Restoring A Normal Heart Rhythm
There are a number of drugs that can be used to try to restore a normal heart. The best option for you will be decided by your cardiologist and /or GP.
Commonly, these drugs include:
Dronedarone may also be used for certain people.
It is important you know what side effects to look out for if taking such medication and seek medical advice if you experience any of them.
To find out about side effects, read the patient information leaflet that comes with your medicine for more details.
You May Like: Does Radiation Treatment Cause Fatigue
How Svt Is Diagnosed
SVT is typically diagnosed with an electrocardiogram, or EKG, when a patient is experiencing the fast heart rhythm.
Ideally, the episode would be captured in the emergency room on an EKG, says Latchamsetty. Otherwise, a patient may be given a heart rate monitor to wear as an outpatient until an episode is recorded and correctly diagnosed.
To terminate an acute episode of SVT, some patients find success through one of several patient-initiated vagal maneuvers simple exercises to activate the vagus nerve, which can help reset the hearts rhythm.
Vagal maneuvers that might allow you to slow your heart rate include holding your breath and bearing down, coughing or immersing your face in cold water, says Latchamsetty.
Chest Pain Or Pressure
Angina is chest pain caused by a reduced blood supply to the heart. It may feel like pressure or squeezing. The pain may spread to the upper back, arms, neck or ears. Angina may last for a while or come and go. You may get some relief by resting.
If you have episodes of angina, pay attention to these factors. Write them down and share them with your doctor:
- What causes the pain?
- What does it feel like?
- How long does it last?
- Does anything make you feel better?
Afib chest pain can be similar to the chest pain that occurs during a heart attack. Seek medical attention right away if angina:
- Changes suddenly
- Happens even when youre resting
- Lasts longer than usual
Recommended Reading: Consumer Reports Anti Fatigue Mats
Duration Of Atrial Fibrillation
In some people, atrial fibrillation goes away on its own. In others, its a problem that lasts for years, and it may get worse over time.
Afib can be intermittent , coming and going in a way that seems random or only when you do certain activities.
An episode of this kind of afib usually lasts less than 24 hours, but may last as long as a week.
You may need treatment for paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, or it may happen infrequently enough that your doctor recommends just monitoring your condition.
Afib can also be persistent, meaning that it lasts for longer than a week. This kind of afib usually requires treatment.
Long-term persistent atrial fibrillation is defined as an abnormal heart rhythm that lasts over a year without interruption.
If a normal heart rhythm cant be restored after multiple treatments, your afib may be considered permanent. In this case, you may need to take medication to prevent the heart rate from being too fast.
Medicines To Control Atrial Fibrillation
Medicines called anti-arrhythmics can control atrial fibrillation by:
- restoring a normal heart rhythm
- controlling the rate at which the heart beats
The choice of anti-arrhythmic medicine depends on:
- the type of atrial fibrillation
- any other medical conditions you have
- side effects of the medicine chosen
- how well the atrial fibrillation responds.
Some people with atrial fibrillation may need more than one anti-arrhythmic medicine to control it.
Don’t Miss: Extreme Fatigue And Shortness Of Breath
Exercise And Atrial Fibrillation
When you’re first diagnosed with AF, you may be worried that exercise might trigger an episode or make your condition worse. In fact exercise is very important for your ongoing health and wellbeing. Regular exercise:
- reduces your risk of stroke
- reduces AF symptoms
- can lower your resting heart rate over time
- reduces your risk of other heart disease
- helps you manage your weight
- improves your mood and sense of wellbeing.
Brendon talks about the benefits that exercise can offer people living with atrial fibrillation.
Cardiac rehabilitation classes
It’s a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting an exercise plan. Cardiac rehabilitation classes are a great way to get started if they’re available in your area.
Get a green prescription
You could also consider a green prescription, which is a free, New Zealand Government-funded programme that provides exercise advice to people with chronic conditions such as AF.
If you are just starting to exercise or find that you’re tiring more easily, build up your activity gradually. Your energy levels will improve and you will eventually be able to do more exercise.
Taking small steps to build your confidence
There are small steps you can take to build up your confidence to exercise. You may only do 5 to 10 minutes of walking around the house. If you can walk around the house easily, look to increase this by a minute the next day and so on. Ideally you should aim to build up to five half hour sessions of cardio exercise a week.
Research And Statistics: How Many People Have Atrial Fibrillation
Its estimated that about 5.3 million people in the United States have atrial fibrillation, according to a study published in April 2018 in the journal PLoS One. Nearly 700,000 of these cases are undiagnosed.
The rate of afib is about 10 percent in adults ages 65 and older, and just under 1 percent in adults ages 18 to 64.
Because the risk for afib increases as you get older, and women tend to live longer than men, more women than men have the condition.
Also Check: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Home Remedies
Afib Treatment At Uc Davis Health
Cardiovascular Medicine at UC Davis Health offers a robust AFib diagnosis and management program aimed at controlling symptoms, reducing hospitalizations, preventing stroke and improving survival, including:
- An anticoagulation clinic led by Richard White that focuses on blood clot and stroke prevention
- State-of-the-art electrophysiology technology, including a magnetic heart-mapping system that minimizes radiation and complications, and the excellent ablation team of Uma Srivatsa,Nayereh Pezeshkian and Adam Osterle
- An innovative structural heart disease team, led by Jason Rogers, that uses catheters to implant stroke-prevention devices
- The regions only board-certified pediatric cardiac electrophysiologist Jeanny Park who treats heart rhythm problems in children
To request an appointment or a referral to a UC Davis cardiac specialist, call 1-800-2UCDAVIS .
How Does Afib Lead To Stroke
- The heartbeat seems to quiver in an erratic way. The upper chambers of the heart do not produce an effective, regular contraction, but contract irregularly.
- The contraction fails. Imagine wringing out a sponge. Without a good squeeze, water will still be left in the sponge. In the same way, when a heart contraction is either too fast or too uneven, it doesnt completely squeeze the blood from the atria into the next chamber.
- Blood pools in the atria. Blood not completely pumped out of the atria can remain and may pool there.
- Risks of clotting go up. When blood has the opportunity to pool, it also has the opportunity to clot.
- Clots can travel and cause blockages. If a blood clot forms in the atria, it can be pumped out of the heart to the brain, blocking off the blood supply to an artery in the brain, causing a stroke. This type of stroke is called an embolic stroke or some doctors call it a cardioembolic stroke.
Read Also: Can Allergies Cause Fatigue And Body Aches
Prognosis Of Atrial Fibrillation
While atrial fibrillation is always considered a serious condition, it sometimes resolves on its own and doesnt lead to any complications.
At the other end of the spectrum, atrial fibrillation may be permanent and resistant to treatment, leading to a high risk of serious complications.
If youre diagnosed with afib, your outlook may depend on known or suspected causes, how often you experience it, and whether it causes noticeable symptoms.
Uc Davis Cardiologist Sheds Light On A Common Cause Of Stroke And Heart Failure
UC Davis heart specialist Uma Srivatsa has spent her career treating arrhythmia. For Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month, she discusses the symptoms, causes and treatments for this common type of arrhythmia, also known as AFib.
Atrial fibrillation is a type of irregular heart beat or arrhythmia linked with heart failure and stroke. It affects millions of Americans but, because symptoms can be hard to detect, many dont know they have the condition.
To encourage understanding of AFib, Uma Srivatsa, a UC Davis Health specialist in arrhythmia treatment, answers questions about the disease for Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month .
Read Also: Can Stress Cause Fatigue And Tiredness
What Is Atrial Fibrillation Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment And Prevention
Atrial fibrillation is a type of heart rhythm disorder, or arrhythmia. It causes your heart to beat irregularly and can significantly increase the heart rate, leading to your hearts upper and lower chambers not working together properly, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Afib begins in the upper chambers of your heart, known as the atria. Fibrillation refers to a rapid, irregular heartbeat.
While a normal resting heart rate is 60 to 100 beats per minute , atrial fibrillation can cause your atria to beat 300 to 600 times per minute, per the Cleveland Clinic.
Atrial fibrillation can lead to a number of symptoms, including fatigue, dizziness, chest pain, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations. However, in some people, the condition doesnt cause any symptoms.
Regardless of whether or not it causes symptoms, afib can put you at higher risk for a stroke. As a result, its important to get treatment for afib and manage your condition to try to prevent dangerous complications.
One Complication Of Afib: Stroke
A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries blood to your brain becomes blocked. This prevents oxygen-rich blood from reaching your brain. When your brain is deprived of oxygen, it can be permanently damaged. This can result in lasting disability or even death.
According to the American Heart Association , people with AFib are about five times more likely to experience a stroke than the average person. When blood isnt circulating through your body properly, blood clots are more likely to form. These clots can travel to your brain, become lodged in narrow blood vessels, and cause a stroke.
Don’t Miss: Fatigue After Stroke Recovery Time
Are Heart Attack Or Stroke Symptoms Different From Atrial Fibrillation Symptoms
A person that has chest discomfort or pain with AFib could be having a heart attack. It is not possible to distinguish the cause of the chest discomfort or pain without a complete medical evaluation, including an electrocardiogram .
Collaborative Treatment Helps Pete Get Moving After Afib
If you stacked all of the steps that Pete Fenboque has climbed in and out of school buses, youd reach astonishing heights. After all, hes spent the last 27 years driving a bus and training new drivers as well. But when climbing only a couple steps at a time became a chore that left him winded and fatigued, Pete could tell something wasnt right and he knew from past experience to pay attention to symptoms.
Petes first experience with the TriHealth Heart Institute came in 2007 when he was rushed to the emergency department at TriHealths Bethesda North Hospital by emergency medical responders from the firehouse where he was a firefighter at the time. He had been experiencing severe chest pains which radiated into both arms and he eventually passed out and had to be resuscitated.
The team at Bethesda North determined that Pete had suffered a heart attack and Stephen Lewis, MD, a cardiologist and system chief at the TriHealth Heart Institute performed an emergency angioplasty and inserted a stent into his coronary artery to restore blood supply to the heart.
Dr. Lewis saved my life that day, Pete says. I was very lucky and I know it. Everybody there took good care of me.
I had a lot of fatigue and no strength, Pete says. Everything was an effort to do because I was in AFib all the time. Dont let anybody tell you its a walk in the park.