Dr. AFib – When should I go to the ER?

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In Atrial Fibrillation, there are times you need urgent medical attention. One should listen to his/her body and go to the Emergency Room. This video describes when a patient with atrial fibrillation should seek urgent medical attention in the emergency room. Learn how to know if you have an atrial fibrillation emergency.


Thank you for visiting Dr. AFib, I am Dr. Morales. In today’s segment, we are going to talking about a very important question which is, when should I go to emergency room? It is a question that I get very commonly from patients because they want to be able to better gauge when it is ok for them to be at home when they have episodes of atrial fibrillation vs. when they should actually go to the emergency room and seek urgent medical attention.

It is a difficult question to answer because there are no clear guideline recommendations for how much time is safe to be in AFib and what speeds are safe vs. unsafe. The main reason for this is because people experience atrial fibrillation very differently. I had patients who have elevated heart rate for several weeks at a time and they are perfectly stable for outpatient medical therapy.

Whereas some patients who have episodes of atrial fibrillation, they feel so dizzy or have shortness of breath. Then that requires urgent medical attention in the hospital. So what drives the need to go the emergency room is not necessarily the heart rate. It doesn’t matter if your heart rate is 120 or 150. It’s your symptoms that really drive whether you should go and get urgent medical attention.

So if you have episodes of atrial fibrillation and you either feel dizzy or lightheaded, have chest pain or shortness of breath, it doesn’t matter what the heart rate number is, it doesn’t matter if it’s 110 or 180. It is really the symptoms which drive the need for urgent medical attention. So if you have any episodes of atrial fibrillation and you are having symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, those are symptoms to get urgent medical attention. So you should listen to your body. It doesn’t really matter exactly what the number of how fast heart rate is. So please listen to your body and get urgent medical attention.

Listen to the video for more…

Feel afraid of what’s happening or how to live with AFib? I like being able to talk with my patients about how to live with atrial fibrillation. Instead of feeling afraid there’s nothing more that can be done, set up an appointment with me and let’s talk. Call 281.446.3645 to make an appointment with me, Houston’s Heart Electrician.

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