What is atrial fibrillation (AFib or AF)?

Atrial fibrillation or AFib is an irregular, often rapid heart rate (arrhythmia) that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. AFib is a serious condition but is treatable with the help of your cardiologist.

AFib may have no symptoms, but when symptoms are present, they can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid irregular heartbeat
  • Fluttering or “thumping” in the chest

How is atrial fibrillation diagnosed?

If you have any of the symptoms above start by talking to your primary care physician. You may be referred to our cardiology team for tests, often an EKG or ECG. Sometimes an electrophysiology study may be required.

How is atrial fibrillation treated?

Every person’s body is different. You can discuss your goals and options for treating your type of AFib with your doctor. Options can include:

  • Heart rate control – reducing an overly high heart rate
  • Heart rhythm control
  • Blood clot prevention to reduce stroke risk
  • Heart failure prevention

Treatments can include:

  • Medications
  • Nonsurgical procedures
  • Surgical procedures

Pulmonary Vein Isolation (PVI)

At Guthrie, we can offer pulmonary vein isolation as a treatment for AFib. It is a type of ablation that scars the tissue of the heart that is causing abnormal heart rhythm. Then, abnormal electrical signals can no longer travel through your heart.


If you have AFib, WATCHMAN is an innovative treatment for stroke prevention. A permanent device is implanted in the heart to prevent clots associated with blood pooling in the left atrial appendage. This is a catheter-based procedure that does not require open surgery. Learn more about WATCHMAN

AFib Treatment at Guthrie

  • Board-certified cardiology specialist: Guthrie non-invasive and interventional cardiologists, electrophysiologist and cardiac, thoracic and vascular surgeons are specially trained in cardiovascular care and board certified.
  • Guthrie Electrophysiology and Pacing offer a full range of services for irregular heartbeats and other conditions related to electrical activity of the heart providing evaluation, diagnosis and treatment for arrhythmias, atrial fibrillation (AFib), congestive heart failure (CHF), sudden cardiac arrest, syncope and ventricular arrhythmia.
  • Arrhythmia Center: Patients come to the center to have the function of their pacemakers, implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICD), or implantable loop recorders evaluated. The team at the center provides education and support to help relieve anxiety regarding devices or arrhythmias.
  • The largest and most experienced heart care team in the region includes advanced practice providers; nurses; therapists; and diagnostic technicians, all trained in specialized care for your heart.
  • Guthrie Heart and Vascular Care Center, located in Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital, is a state-of-the-art space for heart and vascular testing and treatment. Located near the emergency department and ICU, there are private patient rooms, cardiac catheterization labs, and a hybrid operating room. The unit is centered around your quick and efficient care.

Guthrie interventional cardiology has advanced training in cardiac catheterization, performing ablation, stenting, angioplasty other structural heart procedures.

Our electrophysiology doctors and arrhythmia center teams help treat patients with arrhythmia issues like aFib using pacemakers or procedures like ablation.

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