When Should I Go To The ER?

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Atrial Fibrillation Emergency

 

Transcript:

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 the 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 an 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 to 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.

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