4 doctors weighed in:

I have been to the ER for a rapid heartbeat. Sometimes it's diagnosed as sinus tachycardia and sometimes atrial fibrillation. I have tried cardyzeme and metopral without much success. What happens if i don't seek treatment next time?

4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Joshua Buckler
Internal Medicine - Cardiology
2 doctors agree

In brief: I

I agree with dr. Guyton's excellent and thorough answer and would like to emphasize that with atrial fibrillation there are two main issues: 1) heart rate - a fast heart rate is typically what most people present with, and typically can be managed with medications to control heart rate such as the two you described, although there are others.
Sustained high heart rates are not good for the heart, but as long as you are not having chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, or loss of consciousness then you can call your physician before rushing to the er. 2) stroke - afib presents a very real increase risk of stroke if not properly treated. For this reason, an accurate diagnosis is a must, and if it is indeed afib the you should discuss with your physician whether you are high enough risk to require blood thinners such as Coumadin (warfarin) or pradaxa. This is a long term risk so can be discussed in the outpatient setting with your docotor or a cardiologist.

In brief: I

I agree with dr. Guyton's excellent and thorough answer and would like to emphasize that with atrial fibrillation there are two main issues: 1) heart rate - a fast heart rate is typically what most people present with, and typically can be managed with medications to control heart rate such as the two you described, although there are others.
Sustained high heart rates are not good for the heart, but as long as you are not having chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, or loss of consciousness then you can call your physician before rushing to the er. 2) stroke - afib presents a very real increase risk of stroke if not properly treated. For this reason, an accurate diagnosis is a must, and if it is indeed afib the you should discuss with your physician whether you are high enough risk to require blood thinners such as Coumadin (warfarin) or pradaxa. This is a long term risk so can be discussed in the outpatient setting with your docotor or a cardiologist.
Dr. Joshua Buckler
Dr. Joshua Buckler
Thank
Dr. Steven Guyton
Surgery - Thoracic
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Atrial

Atrial fibrillation can be a sign of underlying heart disease, such as mitral valve disease or other conditions that can cause stretching of the atria — the upper chambers of the heart.
A cardiologist’s evaluation and an echocardiogram are often useful in ruling out some structural disease affecting your heart. If there is no structural heart disease, then the principal risk of atrial fibrillation is that blood clots may form in areas of the heart that are not contracting and possibly travel through the bloodstream to cause a stroke. This risk of a stroke is increased if you are over 65 years old; if you have high blood pressure; if you are female; if you have had a prior stroke, transient ischemic attack (or TIA — a fleeting stroke), or other blood clot disorder; if you have diabetes; if you have heart failure; or if you have known vascular disease (heart attack, aneurysm, or limitation of blood flow to the legs). The more risk factors you have the higher your risk of a stroke. With one risk factor, many physicians will recommend Aspirin therapy, or sometimes more potent blood thinners. With two or more risk factors, blood thinners are usually recommended. This should be discussed in detail with your doctor.

In brief: Atrial

Atrial fibrillation can be a sign of underlying heart disease, such as mitral valve disease or other conditions that can cause stretching of the atria — the upper chambers of the heart.
A cardiologist’s evaluation and an echocardiogram are often useful in ruling out some structural disease affecting your heart. If there is no structural heart disease, then the principal risk of atrial fibrillation is that blood clots may form in areas of the heart that are not contracting and possibly travel through the bloodstream to cause a stroke. This risk of a stroke is increased if you are over 65 years old; if you have high blood pressure; if you are female; if you have had a prior stroke, transient ischemic attack (or TIA — a fleeting stroke), or other blood clot disorder; if you have diabetes; if you have heart failure; or if you have known vascular disease (heart attack, aneurysm, or limitation of blood flow to the legs). The more risk factors you have the higher your risk of a stroke. With one risk factor, many physicians will recommend Aspirin therapy, or sometimes more potent blood thinners. With two or more risk factors, blood thinners are usually recommended. This should be discussed in detail with your doctor.
Dr. Steven Guyton
Dr. Steven Guyton
Thank
Dr. Gerald Hollander
Internal Medicine - Cardiology

In brief: If,

If, in fact, you have been documented to have atrial fibrillation you should be evaluated by a cardiologist to determine the need for medication/treatments.
This will depend on his/her evaluation of your history, associated risk factors, echocardiogram, etc. Not all atrial fibrillation is treated the same.

In brief: If,

If, in fact, you have been documented to have atrial fibrillation you should be evaluated by a cardiologist to determine the need for medication/treatments.
This will depend on his/her evaluation of your history, associated risk factors, echocardiogram, etc. Not all atrial fibrillation is treated the same.
Dr. Gerald Hollander
Dr. Gerald Hollander
Thank
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