Atrial Fibrillation Specialist

Rodolfo Farhy, MD, FACC, FAHA -  - Cardiologist

Heart and Vein Center

Rodolfo Farhy, MD, FACC, FAHA

Cardiologist & Cosmetic Specialist located in Lathrup Village, MI

It’s estimated that between three and six million people in the United States have atrial fibrillation, or AFib, with older adults being the most likely sufferers. If you experience symptoms such as a rapid or irregular heartbeat, or if you feel fatigued for no apparent reason, please contact Dr. Rodolfo Farhy at the Heart and Vein Center. You can count on his extensive experience to provide the early treatment you need to prevent AFib from damaging your heart muscles. If you have any questions, call his office in Lathrup Village, Michigan, or use the convenient online booking feature to schedule a heart checkup.

Atrial Fibrillation Q & A

What is atrial fibrillation?

A normal heartbeat begins when a group of specialized cells in the upper right chamber of your heart, the right atria, send out an electrical signal. As this signal travels through your heart, it triggers muscle contractions in each of the four chambers. These contractions occur in the precise order and timing needed to maintain a regular heartbeat.

Atrial fibrillation, or AFib, develops when the initial electrical signal originates in a different area of the heart. As a result, the electrical signals in the two upper chambers -- the left and right atria --  become disordered or chaotic. This causes them to beat in a rapid and disorganized pattern.

Are there different types of atrial fibrillation?

There are three primary types of atrial fibrillation:

  • Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation: Symptoms such as a rapid heart rate begin suddenly and stop on their own, usually in less than 24 hours, but they may last as long as a week. The symptoms caused by paroxysmal atrial fibrillation may be mild or severe.
  • Persistent atrial fibrillation: In this type, your abnormal heart rhythm lasts longer than a week. It may stop on its own or you may need treatment to get the rhythm back to normal.
  • Permanent atrial fibrillation: As its name suggests, permanent atrial fibrillation is a condition in which the arrhythmia can’t be treated so your heartbeat stays abnormal.

What are the symptoms of atrial fibrillation?

AFib doesn’t always cause symptoms, but when it does, you may experience:

  • Pounding or racing heartbeat
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest discomfort or pain
  • Fatigue or weakness

These symptoms may sound familiar  because they’re warning signs for several types of cardiovascular disease. Please call the Heart and Vein Center any time you’re concerned about your heart.

How is atrial fibrillation treated?

If an underlying health problem is identified, Dr. Farhy begins appropriate treatment for that condition. He also evaluates lifestyle factors that contribute to heart arrhythmias, such as being overweight, and helps you make a plan to change any issues.

Treatment for AFib often includes medications to prevent blood clots, control your heart rate, and restore a normal heart rhythm. Several procedures may also be considered to treat atrial fibrillation, such as:

  • Electrical cardioversion: low-energy electrical shocks given to trigger a normal rhythm
  • Catheter ablation: radiofrequency energy destroys abnormal heart tissue that’s disrupting electrical signals
  • Device implantation: a pacemaker, defibrillator, or cardiac resynchronization pacemaker may be implanted