Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)

An electrical heart problem causing irregular heartbeats

Our approach to atrial fibrilation (AFib)

Your heart is one of a kind. We believe your care should be, too. That's why we put you, the person — not just your atrial fibrillation — at the center of our approach. You can expect personalized care from diagnosis to treatment to recovery. 

With deep knowledge and a proven track record, we're here to make your experience as simple, manageable and successful as possible.

Signs and symptoms

When it comes to atrial fibrillation (AFib or AF), you may or may not notice symptoms. It really depends on the person. That's why it's important to pay close attention to your body. If something feels off, take action. 

Common signs and symptoms of AFib include:

  • dizziness
  • fatigue
  • shortness of breath during your usual activities
  • fluttering, racing or pounding in your chest (palpitations)

When to seek care

If you experience any of the symptoms above, it's important to see your doctor right away. Early diagnosis and treatment of AFib can help prevent serious complications, such as stroke.

Diagnosis

You're the best at knowing when you just don't feel right. But how do you know if what you're feeling is AFib or something else? That's where our experts come in. 

We’ll guide you step-by-step to a proper diagnosis. Here's what to expect: 

  • physical exam: Your primary care provider can perform an initial physical exam and may perform an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG). This painless test records your heart's rhythm so doctors can check it for signs of heart diseases. If your primary care provider sees signs of AFib, they'll refer you to the heart team to confirm a diagnosis.
  • electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG): Once referred, you'll have another EKG at the cardiology office. Our doctors will confirm a diagnosis from the results. 

Treatment options

Because of the serious risks involved with AFib, early diagnosis and quick treatment are key. Our team will work with you on the best plan to put your safety first and reduce your risks.

  • blood thinners: This medicine stops your heart from forming blood clots. However, blood thinners are not an ideal long-term solution because they increase the risk of bleeding.
  • medication: AFib symptoms often go away with medications that slow the heart rate. Your heartbeat may still be irregular. Common options for these medications include beta blockers.
  • electrical cardioversion: With this quick treatment, our heart specialists carefully apply electrical waves to restore your heart's normal rhythm.
  • WATCHMAN™ device: Heart surgeons implant this groundbreaking, umbrella-shaped device in your heart to close off the left atrial appendage. The device is a minimally invasive way to effectively protect against stroke. Our team implants it via a large IV so you won’t need an incision.
  • ablations: These minimally invasive procedures make small changes to the structure of the heart. Ablations block irregular electrical signals and help keep your heart in a normal rhythm. 
  • pacemaker: Heart specialists implant this small device in your heart. A pacemaker is connected to your heart with wires that deliver mild electrical pulses to keep your heartbeat in line.

Tests and treatments

  • catheter ablation
  • electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG)
  • electrical cardioversion
  • heart surgery, including MAZE and Convergent
  • medications
  • WATCHMAN™ device
York Hospital Recruitment Stills_HV209577

Highly skilled ablation center

We're one of the highest-volume ablation centers in the nation. A big reason is our gifted team of electrophysiologists, who perform a variety of complex ablations with high success rates.

Getting you back home sooner

Here, 90 percent of our patients go home the same day as their ablation, lowering the risk for infection and other complications.

The regions only electrophysiology tec hospital

WellSpan York Hospital is the only training expertise center (TEC) for electrophysiology in the region. Doctors and fellows from all over the country, and even the world, come to learn complex ablations from our exceptional experts.

World class stroke prevention

We're world-renowned for performing, researching and perfecting the WATCHMAN device and procedure. In fact, the first WATCHMAN implant performed in Pennsylvania happened right here at WellSpan York Hospital.

And we’re the only program in the world that uses intraprocedural computed tomography (CT) to ensure that we’ve implanted the device in the best position, giving our patients the best outcomes.

National recognition

WellSpan York Hospital has earned a Get With The Guidelines® Silver Quality Achievement for AFib from the American Heart Association. This lifetime achievement award supports your expert care.