Mayo Clinic Q&A

From complex or serious conditions like cancer and heart disease to the latest news on research and wellness, host Dr. Halena Gazelka asks the questions and gets easy-to-understand answers from Mayo Clinic experts

Episodes Atrial fibrillation treatment improves quality of life for patients

a white or perhaps a Latina woman in a white t-shirt sitting on the edge of bed, holding her hand to her chest, out of concern, stress, worry, heart pain

Atrial fibrillation treatment improves quality of life for patients
June 14, 2021

Many people may be living with a serious heart condition and not know it. Because the signs and symptoms of atrial fibrillation can be vague, people often think they are simply out of shape or just getting older.

Atrial fibrillation, sometimes referred to as "a-fib", is an irregular and often rapid heartbeat that can increase the risk of strokes, heart failure and other cardiac problems. During atrial fibrillation, the heart's two upper chambers — the atria — beat chaotically and irregularly, and out of coordination with the two lower chambers — the ventricles. Atrial fibrillation symptoms often include heart palpitations and shortness of breath. 

Treatments for atrial fibrillation can include medications and other interventions that try to alter the heart's electrical system. 

"Patients really do feel tremendous improvement in their quality of life when we keep them in normal rhythm," says Dr. Christopher DeSimone, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist who specializes in cardiac electrophysiology. On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. DeSimone discusses symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of atrial fibrillation.