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AFIB Experts 

Atrial fibrillation, or AFib, is the most commonly diagnosed heart rhythm abnormality. Complications from AFib can lead to stroke. Patients experiencing the condition can find specialized diagnoses, treatment and stoke prevention therapies at the UHS Heart & Vascular Institute, located on the campus of UHS Wilson Medical Center in Johnson City.

“Atrial fibrillation is a complex arrhythmia that is highly treatable when in the hands of an experienced specialist,” says Waseem Sajjad, MD, an electrophysiologist at the institute who is recognized for his expertise in AFib ablation therapy. “We are fortunate to have the full array of services and expertise to address our patients’ needs.”

AFib treatment priorities may include resetting the heart’s rhythm or rate, and lessening the risk of blood clots and stroke. Depending on the patient’s diagnosis and medical history, therapies may include:

  • Rate or rhythm control medication – A heart specialist carefully tailors a prescription to a patient’s unique AFib diagnosis while monitoring effectiveness.
  • Anticoagulant medication – Blood thinning drugs such as Coumadin® are prescribed to prevent clotting and stroke.
  • Ablation procedures – Tiny scars are created on areas of the heart that produce erratic electrical signals with the goal of restoring normal heart rhythm.
  • Electrical cardioversion – While under sedation, the patient undergoes a procedure in which an electrical current is delivered to the heart to restore a normal rhythm.
  • Left atrial appendage closure using the Watchman device – An appendage of the heart where blood clots collect is sealed off, allowing most patients to discontinue blood-thinning medications.

Should I be checked for AFIB?

Between two and six million Americans live with AFib, including 9 percent of people over age 65, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. AFib can be asymptomatic, but those who do present symptoms may experience one or several of the following:

  • Heart palpitations, which may feel like a racing, uncomfortable, irregular heartbeat or a flip-flopping in the chest
  • Weakness, fatigue or lack of energy
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain

If you are concerned about possible symptoms of AFib, a primary care physician can perform basic heart function tests to see if referral to a cardiologist is in order.

Heart health questions? Use the UHS Find a Provider tool online to find a doctor near you.

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UHS is one of the few healthcare systems in the region to offer Watchman therapy. A team of highly specialized cardiologists, including Drs. Sajjad and Yarkoni, and Afzal ur Rehman, MD, PhD, perform the procedure, using an interdisciplinary approach that brings together specialists from UHS electrophysiology and interventional cardiology disciplines. For information, assistance and assessment, call 763-6547.