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Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation (AF or A-Fib) is the most common abnormal heart rhythm. It is a fast, complex, and chaotic rhythm of the upper chambers, or the atria. During AF, the typical rhythm is between 350 and 600 times per minute. At that rate, the upper chambers are not contracting normally. At first they quiver, but eventually there is mechanical standstill. The lower chamber, or the ventricles, also have an irregular and fast rhythm during AF. The AV node (aventricular node) acts as a filter, resulting in a ventricular rate between 100-200 beats per minute. 

Because the upper chambers are not contracting normally, the blood pools in these chambers and clots. The result of a dislodged clot is a stroke. The American Heart Association (AHA) estimates that of the 700,000 strokes occurring each year in the U.S., 15 percent -- about 105,000 -- occur in people with atrial fibrillation. Apart from the major side effect, it can result in symptoms causing a fair amount of morbidity. 

AF has traditionally been treated with antiarrhythmic medications in conjunction with blood thinners. The most common blood thinner prescribed is coumadin or warfarin. Electrical cardioversion is another technique frequently used to temporarily correct this problem.

Atrial Fibrillation Treatment at McLaren Macomb

atrial fibrillation certification
atrial fibrillation certification

To achieve Atrial Fibrillation Certification

McLaren Macomb has demonstrated high expertise in key areas including:
  • Emergency department integration with emergency medical services
  • Emergency assessment of patients with atrial fibrillation
  • Risk stratification of the atrial fibrillation patient
  • Treatment for patients presenting to the emergency department in atrial fibrillation
  • Personnel, competencies and training
  • Process improvement and organizational structure and commitment
  • Atrial fibrillation discharge criteria from the emergency department, observation services, or inpatient stay
  • Atrial fibrillation patient education in the emergency department, observation services and inpatient unit

McLaren Macomb is the only facility in Michigan to receive Atrial Fibrillation Certification from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care

Nearly 3 million patients in the United States have atrial fibrillation and the numbers are rapidly increasing as our population ages.

Atrial fibrillation is the most common cardiac arrhythmia and has become recognized as a health concern that in some cases can lead to stroke and in some people, causes chest pain or heart failure, especially if the heart rhythm is very rapid.  An arrhythmia is a problem with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat. During an arrhythmia, the heart can beat too fast, too slow, or with an irregular rhythm. AF occurs if rapid, disorganized electrical signals cause the heart's two upper chambers -- called the atria (AY-tree-uh) -- to fibrillate. The term "fibrillate" means to contract very fast and irregularly.

As the only facility in Michigan to receive Atrial Fibrillation Certification from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care, McLaren Macomb demonstrates its' ability to provide the highest quality cardiovascular care. Our expertise allows McLaren specialist to evaluate and manage the atrial fibrillation patient more effectively, improve patient outcomes, and educate patients and health care providers to more efficiently care for patients with this disease.

McLaren Macomb's protocol-driven and systematic approach to patient evaluation and management allows physicians to reduce time to treatment and to risk stratify patients to decrease their length of stay in the emergency department and the hospital.

We collaborate with referring and primary care physicians to ensure the best possible outcomes.

If you would like more information please visit one of the following websites. 

PCNA Fact Sheets and Education