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Atrial Fibrillation Specialist

New York Cardiovascular Medicine

Dima Teitelman, MD

Cardiologist & Internal Medicine located in Forest Hills, NY

If you can occasionally feel your heart fluttering or flip-flopping, you may have atrial fibrillation, a heart arrhythmia that can cause blood clots and significantly increases your risk of having a stroke. At New York Cardiovascular Medicine in Forest Hills, New York, Dima Teitelman, MD, has extensive experience diagnosing and treating atrial fibrillation. Dr. Teitelman creates customized treatment plans that focus on each person’s unique heart problems. If you have questions about your symptoms or you need to schedule an appointment, call the office or use the online booking feature today.

Atrial Fibrillation Q & A

What is atrial fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation is the most common type of heart arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat. If your heart is healthy, all four chambers contract in a coordinated pattern that pushes blood through the heart. 

When you have atrial fibrillation, the two upper chambers beat chaotically. This causes your heart rate to speed up and puts the upper chambers out of sync with the lower chambers. As a result, blood flow slows down.

What causes atrial fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation develops when you have damaged heart muscles or the electrical system in the heart malfunctions.

Health conditions that can cause atrial fibrillation include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart valve disease
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Clogged arteries (coronary artery disease)
  • Heart muscle disease (cardiomyopathy)
  • Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
  • Inflamed heart muscles (myocarditis)

You also have a higher risk of developing atrial fibrillation if you have diabetes, sleep apnea, or obesity.

What symptoms develop if I have atrial fibrillation?

If you have atrial fibrillation, you may experience:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Palpitations (sensation that your heart is racing or fluttering)

The longer you have untreated atrial fibrillation, the more likely you are to develop complications such as heart failure, blood clots, heart attack, or stroke.

How do cardiologists diagnose atrial fibrillation?

The team at New York Cardiovascular Medicine reviews your medical history and symptoms, does a physical exam, and runs blood tests.

Then they perform an electrocardiogram to evaluate your heart’s electrical activity. Depending on the results, you may need additional tests, such as an echocardiogram or stress testing.

How do cardiologists treat atrial fibrillation?

Your individualized treatment plan may include:

Lifestyle changes

Following a heart-healthy diet, getting regular exercise, stopping smoking, and losing weight can prevent or treat underlying problems that contribute to heart disease and atrial fibrillation.

Medications

Your provider may prescribe medication to control your heart rate, prevent blood clots, and treat chronic health conditions such as hypertension.

Minimally invasive procedures

The team at New York Cardiovascular Medicine has extensive experience performing minimally invasive procedures that treat atrial fibrillation, such as:

  • Catheter ablation (eliminates malfunctioning electrical tissues)
  • Cardioversion (restores a normal heart rhythm)
  • Left atrial appendage closure (prevents blood clots)
  • Pacemaker implantation (regulates your heart rate)

If you have ongoing fatigue or shortness of breath, call New York Cardiovascular Medicine or schedule an appointment online.