For some AF patients, there are no or few noticeable symptoms. However, for an estimated 50% of people diagnosed with AF, debilitating symptoms of varying severity can impact on their daily life. It is important to be referred to a heart rhythm specialists or an AF clinic if you have symptomatic AF as a full assessment can be made and guidance offered as to the most appropriate therapy for you.
Often, prior to any treatment, an ‘electrical cardioversion’ may be suggested in order for the clinicians to be able to monitor whether stopping the irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia) improves how you feel and the quality of your life. Cardioversion is a non-invasive therapy which is usually carried out in a hospital setting, but you only need to attend as a day patient. For some this procedure successfully stops further AF episodes, possibly for weeks or even years, and so no further symptom control treatment is needed. However even if this therapy is unsuccessful or only works for a short time, it does help both you and the clinician to determine whether stopping the irregular heart rhythm makes you feel much better.
Information about antiarrhythmic drugs for clinicians and commissioners can be found here.