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Are there alternative treatments for atrial fibrillation?

When medications do not work in the treatment of atrial fibrillation (AFib), there are alternatives:

  • Electrical cardioversion. This is a controlled procedure and is conducted under light anesthesia in the hospital, and you usually go home the day of the procedure.
  • Catheter ablation.
  • The Maze procedure. This often requires open heart surgery because the clinician must make precise, small cuts (or possibly catheter burns) in specific places on the atria. The procedure’s name comes from the mazelike pattern of incisions made in the atria. Usually, the Maze procedure is performed only when open heart surgery is required for other reasons.
Joan Haizlip, MSN
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

There are no medically approved alternative treatments for occasional atrial fibrillation. But lifestyle changes that treat any underlying heart problems are always important. So it is important to lose weight, eat a low fat diet and a diet that is low in sodium. Try to avoid stress, and if you smoke, quit.

Dr. Douglas E. Severance, MD
Family Practitioner

While there are no medically-approved alternative methods for treating atrial fibrillation, lifestyle changes that treat underlying heart problems are essential. You may need to lose weight, get more exercise, follow a diet to control high blood pressure. limit your alcohol, and if you smoke, quit. Work with your doctor to develop a more heart-healthy lifestyle to help control the underlying causes of atrial fibrillation.

Occasional atrial fibrillation is treated most effectively with medications and surgical procedures. However, alternative treatments for this condition may include lifestyle changes, such as lowering salt intake, increasing physical activity and exercise, and eating a diet of heart-healthy foods. Many of these recommendations, which also include eliminating tobacco and limiting alcohol, caffeine, and stress, target the underlying causes of occasional atrial fibrillation. People with occasional atrial fibrillation should be careful about over-the-counter drugs and nutritional supplements because many of them contain stimulants.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.