Treatment Atrial flutter (fibrillation) abroad

Atrial flutter is a dysfunction of the heart rhythm in the heart atria. The number of random atrial contractions during the atrial flutter varies from 350 to 799 in 1 minute. It means that the person`s heartbeat exceeds 110 beats per minute. In that case the patient is diagnosed with tachycardia. Atrial flutter is also characteristic for people who suffer from hypertension and the disease of coronary artery.

Atrial flutter symptoms

The main complaints of patients with atrial fibrillation is rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath after little physical activity and dull aching pain in the heart. Clinical examination of patients with symptoms of atrial fibrillation can be very diverse. For instance, the general condition of the patients can can vary satisfactory to moderate or severe. The heart failure can be caused by the progressive atrial fibrillation. In that case the patient has pale skin and suffers from cyanosis of the mucous membranes, swelling of the jugular veins, swelling in the lower extremities.

Typical symptoms of atrial fibrillation are spasmodic contractions of the heart, whose duration depends on the number of heartbeats. It is usually easy to diagnose atrial flutter as normal blood pressure and pulse arrhythmic have a different amplitude and speed. When the atrial fibrillation is detected, the heart rate is higher than the frequency of the pulse.

The medical science distinguishes two forms of atrial fibrillation:

Permanent arrhythmia with a long-term atrial fibrillation.

Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation when the attacks can last 7 days.

The current long-term atrial fibrillation. This type may lead to various complications, such as the violation of hemodynamics, which can cause the heart failure.

The second complication is the thromboembolism due tothe  formation of blood clots in the atria. The thromboembolism can develop in the cerebral vessels, mesentery, kidney, spleen, lungs, limbs and peripheral vessels.

Chronic permanent atrial fibrillation may be the caused of severe cardiomyopathy with signs of heart failure. Mortality among patients with chronic atrial fibrillation is very high. This is caused by ventricular arrhythmia, which can result in sudden death.

Causes of fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation develops because of the long-lasting heart disease. It includes:

  1. chronic ischemic heart disease with hypertension or without it;
  2. acute myocardial infarction with left ventricular failure;
  3. mitral stenosis;
  4. cardiomyopathy;
  5. hyperthyroidism;
  6. constrictive pericarditis;
  7. myocarditis and heart tumors (less often).

Sometimes the causes of atrial fibrillation may be alcohol or strong coffee, smoking, stress and strong negative emotions, as well as physical exhaustion. Patients with renal and biliary colic, acute gastroenteritis and some stomack diseases may develop asymptomatic atrial fibrillation.

Treatment of atrial fibrillation

The main objective of the atrial fibrillation treatment is to cure the arrhythmia and prevent its recurrence. There are several methods to relieve the atrial fibrillation:

  1. drug treatment with antiarrhythmic drugs;
  2. electrical cardioversion;
  3. electrical;
  4. catheter intervention;
  5. surgery.

If the atrial flutter lasts more than 2 months it is preferable to conduct electro-cardioversion. the doctors also take into account the age of the patient. It is very difficult to restore the heartbeat for the patients who are older than 60 years.

Drug treatment has the following options:

Drugs that reduce the heart rate (HR). For this purpose patients take administered beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers, which contribute to deceleration of heart rate. The drugs themselves have no effect on heart rhythm, but they block frequent ventricular contractions.

Drugs that prevent thrombosis and stroke. This therapy involves the intake of anticoagulants - drugs that reduce (but not eliminate completely) The risk of blood clots in the blood vessels. For this purpose, the patient is prescribed with some special blood-thinning medication. To monitor the effectiveness of antithrombotic therapy the patient should regularly be tested for blood clotting.

The use of drugs that control heart rhythm. Treatment of atrial fibrillation is carried out by medicines that have a direct effect on the heart rate and keep it at the level of not more than 60 beats / min. To this group of medicines the doctors include calcium channel blockers, beta-blockers, certain and certain antiarrhythmics. During the appointment of any of these medicines the doctors take into account the presence of comorbidities, which means the presence of additional drugs. In some cases, for the beginning of this treatment the patient should be in a hospital under medical supervision. They assess the impact of the drug on the heart rate and the body's overall response to therapy. This treatment strategy in 30-60% of cases allows to achieve the stable improvement of the patient`s health. Over time, the prolonged the medication may reduce its initial effectiveness. In this regard, the doctor often appoints new anti-arrhythmic drugs.

Surgery is applicable only if the drug therapy does not give the necessary anti-arrhythmic effect. There are two main methods of surgical treatment:

Catheter ablation. During the operation,  the doctor conducts the neutralization of heart cells that trigger atrial fibrillation. This is done by opening the fused fibers of impulses in the problem area. Destruction of tissues is produced by laser radiation, cold, electrical or chemical reagent. Catheter ablation is considered to be a minimally invasive method, since it does not open heart.

Implantation of a pacemaker. This device, which is also called an artificial pacemaker is used to maintain a normal heart rate for patients with atrial fibrillation. Pacemaker periodically delivers pulses that affect the myocardium and cause it to shrink at a certain frequency. Implantation of the device makes a skin incision on the heart, while its edges are not affected. This operation has a low traumatic effect.

The methods of traditional medicine

In addition to conventional drugs, the doctor may prescribe traditional medicine, such as cocktails with yarrow and other herbs, that stabilize the heartbeat and improve the general health condition of the patient.

After the restoration of the heart rhythm, the main task of the patient and the doctor is to maintain it. Unfortunately, most patients with atrial fibrillation do not get the desired effect, and in the first year the violation of the rhythm occurs again. Relapse episodes happen because of the alcohol intake, emotional stress, physical stress after the physical therapy. Sometimes the heart rhythm may change if the person moves to a big city or for instance listens to a very fast music in the night clubs. In cases of minor problems with the heart rhythm it may be simply slowed by listening to classical music  or watching something soothing, like candles burning.

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