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Atrial Fibrillation Diagnosis

Atrial Fibrillation Diagnosis
Atrial Fibrillation
Causes and Risk Factors

Sometimes people are clinically diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (AF), but don't have symptoms. For these people, AF is often found during a physical exam or EKG (electrocardiogram) test done for another purpose. Other times, AF is diagnosed after a person goes to the doctor because of symptoms.  Primary care doctor often is involved in the initial diagnosis and treatment of AF. Doctors who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease also may be involved.  Diagnosis or care for atrial fibrillation can be provided by:

  • Cardiologists - doctors who take care of adults with heart problems
  • Electrophysiologists - cardiologists who specialize in arrhythmias
  • Family practitioners
  • Internists

Medical history
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may save time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:

  • When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
  • Have your symptoms been continuous, or occasional?
  • How severe are your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?

Medical exams
To diagnose atrial fibrillation, your doctor may request and perform tests that involve the following:

  • Ambulatory electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Blood tests
  • Chest X-ray
  • Digoxin drug level (in patients taking this medication)
  • Echocardiogram
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Event recorder
  • Holter monitor
  • Lab
  • Markers for heart injury (enzymes such as troponins and creatine kinase [CK])
  • Prothrombin time (PT) and international normalized ratio (INR)
  • Serum electrolytes to evaluate sodium and potassium levels
  • Thyroid function tests for hyperthyroidism

Once you have been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, you can begin treatment. Treatments are many and varied. Continue reading to learn more about the various approaches and treatments that may be used or recommended by your doctor.  The next section on AF Treatment covers modern therapies for atrial fibrilation here.

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Tags: heart drug medication, atrial fibrilation, hyperthyroidism, heart problems, Heart Disease, treatments, ambulatory, medication, diagnosis, treatment, potassium, symptoms, thyroid, heart, AF, history of heart disease, atrial fibrillation treatments, atrial fibrillation diagnosis, atrial fibrillation treatment, atrial fibrillation symptoms
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