Atrial Fibrillation

Frye Heart Center offers full-service electrophysiology for patients who are affected by a variety of heart rhythm problems.  

Electrophysiology (EP) involves specialized tests that record and measures the electrical activity and pathways of the heart to determine the cause of heart rhythm disturbance. With an EP study, electrophysiologists can locate and treat the origin of an abnormal heart rhythm and monitor effectiveness of antiarrhythmic treatment. 

What is atrial fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation is the most common sustained arrhythmia in the U.S. and worldwide. The symptoms are varied. Some patients are not aware they have symptoms although their heart is racing. They may not feel well, but can’t put their finger on it. Others experience symptoms of Afib such as shortness of breath, lack of tolerance to exertion and palpitations, which is the sensation of a racing heart. 

How many people have arrhythmia?

The frequency of atrial fibrillation in the general population increases with age. Seventy percent of arrhythmia patients are between 65 and 85 years of age. In the younger population it is less common, but still arises in certain subsets of patients such as those who have sleep apnea.

What are the symptoms of atrial fibrillation?

A patient with atrial fibrillation can have a variety of symptoms. Some patients have no symptoms and outside of managing heart rate and preventing stroke with anticoagulants, they don’t require any specific intervention. Other patients are disabled by the arrhythmia. The condition can range from no symptoms to severe weakness.

What type of doctor treats atrial fibrillation?

An electrophysiologist is a cardiologist who has been specially trained to treat patients who experience arrhythmia and may need pacemakers, defibrillators and cardiac ablation for arrhythmias.

How do you treat atrial fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation is treated in a three-tiered manner. First is stroke prevention. Patients who have atrial fibrillation are at increased risk for stroke and require anticoagulants to help prevent strokes. The next tier is control of heart rate. It’s important to control heart rate to help prevent the heart from wearing out and developing congestive heart failure. The last tier is to try to maintain a normal heart rhythm either with medication or by performing an intervention called an ablation.

What are some new developments for the treatment of atrial fibrillation?

Cryoablation is a newer ablation technique and uses cooling and can be compared to freezer burn of the heart. A balloon is placed inside the vein at the opening and the energy is delivered causing marked drops in temperature down to - 50°C which destroys tissue immediately around the opening of the vein. 


Find a doctor online or call 828.315.3391 

Find Us

Frye Heart Center 
420 N Center St
Hickory, NC 28602
Phone: 828.315.3278

Hours of Operation: 24 Hours