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Atrial Fibrillation Treatments


The goals of treatment are to:

  • Restore a regular rhythm, if possible
  • Keep heart rate as close to normal as possible
  • Prevent blood clots from forming

If an underlying cause of atrial fibrillation is found, it may be treated. Some patients return to a normal rhythm without treatment.

Treatments include:


Drugs to slow and regulate heart rate, such as:

  • Digitalis
  • Verapamil
  • Diltiazem
  • Propranolol
  • Quinidine
  • Procainamide
  • Other antiarrhythmic drugs

Drugs to prevent clot formation, called anticoagulants or blood thinners, such as:

  • Aspirin
  • Warfarin


Cardioversion is a procedure that uses an electrical current or drugs to help normalize the heart rhythm. If atrial fibrillation has lasted 48 hours or more, you may be given blood thinners before this procedure.

Ablation Therapy

In some cases, an area of the atria that is deemed to be responsible for the atrial fibrillation may be surgically removed or altered (ablated) with various techniques, including cryoablation or radiofrequency ablation , to prevent it from persistently generating the rhythm disturbance.

Lifestyle Changes

Avoid caffeine and other stimulants because they may trigger another episode. Alcohol may also act as a trigger in some people.

If you are diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, follow your doctor's instructions .

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2018 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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