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Atrial fibrillation - discharge

Auricular fibrillation - discharge; A-fib - discharge; AF - discharge; Afib - discharge

Atrial fibrillation or flutter is a common type of abnormal heartbeat. The heart rhythm is fast and irregular. You were in the hospital to treat this condition.

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When You're in the Hospital

You may have been in the hospital because you have atrial fibrillation. This condition occurs when your heart beats irregularly and often faster than normal. You may have developed this problem while you were in the hospital for a heart attack, heart surgery, or other serious illness such as pneumonia or injury.

Treatments you may have received include:

You may have been given medicines to change your heartbeat or slow it down. Some are:

Taking Your Medicines

Have all of your prescriptions filled before you go home. You should take your medicines the way your health care provider has told you to.

You may be taking aspirin or clopidogrel (Plavix), prasugrel (Effient), ticagrelor (Brilinta), warfarin (Coumadin), heparin, or another blood thinner such as apixiban (Eliquis), rivaroxaban (Xarelto), dabigatran (Pradaxa) to help keep your blood from clotting.

If you are taking any blood thinner:

Lifestyle

Limit how much alcohol you drink. Ask your provider when it is OK to drink, and how much is safe.

Do not smoke cigarettes. If you do smoke, your provider can help you quit.

Follow a heart healthy diet.

Try to avoid stressful situations.

Learn how to check your pulse, and check it every day.

Limit the amount of caffeine you drink (found in coffee, tea, colas, and many other beverages.)

Do not use cocaine, amphetamines, or any other illegal drugs. They may make your heart beat faster, and cause permanent damage to your heart.

Ask your provider for recommendations for physical activity and exercise.

When to Call the Doctor

Call for emergency help if you feel:

Related Information

Atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter
Transient ischemic attack
Arrhythmias
Cardiac ablation procedures
Heart pacemaker
Aspirin and heart disease
Cholesterol and lifestyle
Antiplatelet drugs - P2Y12 inhibitors
Controlling your high blood pressure
Taking warfarin (Coumadin)
Cholesterol - drug treatment
Taking warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven) - what to ask your doctor

References

Calkins H, Tomaselli GF, Morady F. Atrial fibrillation: clinical features, mechanisms, and management. In: Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Tomaselli GF, Bhatt DL, Solomon SD, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 66.

January CT, Wann LS, Alpert JS, et al. 2014 AHA/ACC/HRS guideline for the management of patients with atrial fibrillation: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines and the Heart Rhythm Society. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2014;64(21):e1-76. PMID: 24685669 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24685669/.

January CT, Wann LS, Calkins H, et al. 2019 AHA/ACC/HRS focused update of the 2014 AHA/ACC/HRS guideline for the management of patients with atrial fibrillation: a report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines and the Heart Rhythm Society. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2019;74:104–132. PMID: 30686041 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30686041/.

Zimetbaum P. Supraventricular cardiac arrhythmias. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 58.

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Review Date: 1/1/2023  

Reviewed By: Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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