Atrial fibrillation treatment in Israel
Atrial fibrillation is a relatively common disease that causes fast and uncontrolled heartbeat. Quick and irregular atrial contractions affect the blood flow in the heart with a feeling of the chest throbbing.
The most common symptoms of atrial fibrillation include:
- Irregular or rapid heartbeat
- Fainting and chest pain
Atrial fibrillation can also manifest itself with mild symptoms or without visible signs at all – asymptomatic atrial fibrillation.
We cooperate with leading Israeli electrophysiologists or arrhythmologists, heads of departments and research institutes in Israel, experienced specialists in the treatment of atrial fibrillation.
Is atrial fibrillation life threatening?
This condition does not threaten life, but atrial fibrillation is necessary to be treated, because this leads to every fifth heart attack, and also increases the death risk by 2 times with concomitant cardiovascular diseases.
What are the consequences of atrial fibrillation?
When the heart is in a state of atrial fibrillation, blood from the atrium may not be displaced completely. If the blood does not circulate properly, it might form blood clots inside the chamber. When clot leaves the heart, it can enter one of the brain supply arteries and cause a stroke. Therefore, our doctors prescribe anticoagulants to reduce blood clotting in patients with atrial fibrillation. This significantly reduces risk of unwanted cardiovascular complications.
Atrial fibrillation can also cause another life threatening condition – heart failure, when the heart can not pump blood normally. In patients with chronic atrial fibrillation the death risk is doubled.
Possible factors for atrial fibrillation
When there are four chambers of the heart in a physiologically healthy state, they pulsate synchronously and pump blood from the heart to the lungs. When red blood cells are saturated with oxygen, the blood returns to the heart and spreads throughout the body.
The heart rate is controlled by areas of cardiac cells – sinus node or SA node, acting as a natural pacemaker. These cells regulate the transmission of electrical signals through the heart muscle and maintain regular and synchronized contractions.
There are several causes of atrial fibrillation. In one case, these factors interfere with the proper transmission of electrical signals. in another – they lead to fast and irregular heartbeats – about 350-700 beats per minute. A combination of these conditions is also possible.
Atrial fibrillation has not been properly studied, but it is known that this disease is caused by generator cells in the heart. When they randomly send impulses with high intensity, atrial fibrillation occurs. Changes in the electrically conductive properties also may lead to the transmission of abnormal electrical signals.
Although there are various factors that can cause atrial fibrillation, sometimes a clear cause of the disease cannot be detected. Some factors causing atrial fibrillation:
- physical stress
- excess weight
- lung and kidney diseases
- cardiac stimulating drugs
- heart surgery
- concomitant diseases and conditions of the heart
- heart defects
- cardiac ischemia
- heart failure
How common is atrial fibrillation?
Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm problem (also called arrhythmias). According to rough estimates, the disease occurs in approximately 1% of the country’s population. With the age the incidence also increases significantly, and over 70 years old one per ten patients has this condition.
Atrial fibrillation has various forms and is classified in accordance with the frequency appearance and duration:
Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. This condition is characterized by short fragmentary events. Typically, the heart rhythm returns to normal within a few seconds or hours. The frequency of such events varies greatly, but if they occur frequently, it can cause many symptoms and have a significant impact on everyday life.
Persistent atrial fibrillation. This type manifests itself in a rapid heartbeat that does not return to its normal state and lasts for a long time. In this case, an synchronized electrical cardioversion or pharmacologic cardioversion is necessary to stop atrial fibrillation and return the heart rate to normal.
Chronic atrial fibrillation. The symptoms of atrial fibrillation are clearly defined. Electrical cardioversion is ineffective or impossible. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, people with this type of AF need medication or other treatments.
Atrial fibrillation is divided into 4 classes according to the EHRA severity classification:
- I Asymptomatic
- II Light form
- III Severe symptoms affecting daily life
- IV Disability when normal daily activity is not possible
How is atrial fibrillation diagnosed?
To diagnose atrial fibrillation, our experienced doctor will perform an electrocardiogram (ECG) to monitor heart rhythm at rest and during physical exertion. If electrophysiological tests are required that examine the cardiac conduction system, our cardiologist will refer you to a electrophysiologist specialist. During the examination, blood is also taken for analysis to find additional causes of atrial fibrillation, for example, hypothyroidism.
Drug treatment for atrial fibrillation
Treatment is prescribed by our Israeli cardiologist, depending on the type of atrial fibrillation and the severity of the symptoms. If atrial fibrillation is mild, our doctor will prescribe medications to reduce the risk of possible heart complications.
Medicine depends on a number of factors, including:
- your atrial fibrillation characteristics;
- duration of atrial fibrillation;
- previous treatment results;
- treating other related factors and diseases;
- your physical condition.
Our cardiologist can prescribe medications for you to reduce the incidence of atrial fibrillation in the form of antiarrhythmic therapy and / or to normalize heart palpitations. Treatment may include:
- antiarrhythmic drugs;
- beta blockers;
- calcium channel blockers;
- cardiac glycosides;
- other drugs.
All medicines are carefully selected in accordance with Israeli and American medical standards.
If the symptoms are too serious and persist for a long time, it may be necessary to eliminate pathological atrial fibrillation using synchronizing electric cardioversion so that the heart can return to a normal rhythm. This procedure is carried out under the supervision of our highly qualified doctor in the clinic.
What additional treatments for atrial fibrillation exist in Israel?
Several existing drugs for the effective treatment of atrial fibrillation can not always prevent the recurrence of the disease or the elimination of all symptoms. In such cases, our cardiologist will offer unique treatment methods.
An effective method of treatment in case of ineffective drug therapy for atrial fibrillation is the implantation of a pacemaker. Before implanting a pacemaker doctors perform a procedure during which the electrical connection between the ventricle and the atrium is disconnected using a laser, cold or chemicals. In this case, the role of a source of correct pulses is performed by a pacemaker with a power source. After implantation, it is necessary to undergo examination and diagnosis 2 times a year by a highly qualified cardiologist.
If the your condition with atrial fibrillation worsens, it is necessary to check the possibility of heart surgery to replace or partially repair the valve.
Catheter ablation is a modern procedure performed at specialized medical centers in Israel by our experienced cardiac surgeons. This method is aimed to neutralize small areas of cardiac tissue generating random electrical signals and cause atrial fibrillation. The procedure is performed by introducing special tubes (catheters) into the heart through the vascular system. A catheter is usually inserted through a vein into the groin or neck.
After the catheter enters the heart, radio wave or laser radiation is transmitted from it to the inner wall of the atrium, where small areas of damaged tissue of the heart are neutralized or ablated. This prevents the onset of atrial fibrillation. This type of treatment is very effective for atrial fibrillation and allows you to return to normal life in a short time.
Israeli doctors have achieved high results when using this procedure in the treatment of atrial fibrillation.