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What is Atrial Fibrillation?

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How can I reduce my risk for atrial fibrillation?

A. You can reduce some atrial fibrillation risk factors by:

  • Not smoking
  • Avoiding heavy alcohol consumption
  • Avoiding caffeine consumption
  • Controlling high blood pressure
  • Controlling hyperthyroidism
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Q. Why should I be screened for atrial fibrillation in addition to carotid artery disease?

A. Atrial fibrillation and carotid artery blockage are both significant risk factors for stroke. Having both screenings will provide a more complete stroke risk assessment.

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Q. I had an EKG performed by my doctor, why should I be screened for atrial fibrillation?

A. Atrial fibrillation can be intermittent (can come and go), so it may not be detected during a routine EKG (electrocardiograph).

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Q. Will I be required to take off my clothes for this screening?

A. No, this is not a full EKG. It is also known as an EKG with electrodes, which means we will apply electrodes to your wrists and ankles. A full EKG is not required to screen for atrial fibrillation.

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Q. Should I get screened if I have a pacemaker?

A. No. If you have a pacemaker or you know you have atrial fibrillation, you should not get the atrial fibrillation screening.

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Q. If I have an abnormal result for my atrial fibrillation screening, what will I need to do?

A. If you have an abnormal result, you will need to see a physician for further diagnostic testing. Atrial fibrillation can be treated with medications to prevent blood clots and to control the heart rate. In some cases, surgery may be required. Treatment depends on the underlying cause, your symptoms, and your medical history.

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