Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)
How We Can Help You
Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is an abnormal heart rhythm that can cause heart palpitations and fatigue. At Stanford Medicine, our arrhythmia specialists have an international reputation for caring for people with this common arrhythmia.
Our goal is to provide you comprehensive care and support to restore you to health, free from AFib symptoms.
We offer our expert care for AFib at the Cardiac Arrhythmia Service and throughout our network locations.
WHAT WE OFFER YOU FOR ATRIAL FIBRILLATION
- Nationally recognized expertise in treating complex and difficult-to-treat AFib.
- Precise diagnostic testing and expert interpretation to pinpoint the exact regions of your heart triggering your arrhythmia.
- Team-based approach that brings together diverse Stanford specialists to design a care plan suited to your needs.
- Advanced AFib treatment options including several types of ablation, pacemakers, and surgery.
- Comprehensive lifestyle modification and support, including one of the country’s largest psychological programs for patients with heart conditions.
- Active research program to develop more effective treatment options.
Treatment for Atrial Fibrillation
Our doctors use the least invasive approaches to treating AFib when possible. Depending on your symptoms and overall health, our doctors can offer you several options to treat your AFib. Our approach entails two key steps: managing your risk for stroke and restoring a normal heart rate and rhythm.
Step 1: Assessing and Managing Stroke Risk
At Stanford, every AFib care plan starts with a thorough evaluation of your risk for stroke, which is five times higher if you have atrial fibrillation. We assess and manage your stroke risk by using medications and advanced treatments including left atrial appendage closure. This procedure closes a small pouch in the heart where blood clots often form and can reduce your risk of stroke.
Step 2: Restoring Normal Heart Rhythm
AFib treatment at Stanford also focuses on restoring your normal heart rate and rhythm to alleviate common symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath and a racing heart. There are many options available to treat AFib. Whenever possible, we take the least invasive approach.
Your doctor may prescribe medications to slow your heart rate (rate control medications) or to restore normal rhythm (anti-arrhythmic agents). Your doctors may tailor the medications such as anti-arrhythmic agents based on whether you have problems with your heart arteries, have impaired pumping function of the heart, or have kidney and liver abnormalities.
In addition to taking medications, you can help reduce AFib symptoms through healthy eating, a low-sodium diet, physical activity, tobacco cessation, stress management, and avoidance of stimulants such as alcohol and caffeine.
Treating related conditions
Our doctors may also treat certain heart conditions, overactive thyroid, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity or sleep apnea. Treating related conditions can correct AFib or reduce its symptoms.
When medications do not correct your atrial fibrillation symptoms, we offer a number of procedures to restore normal heart rhythm. Our doctors will work with you to determine the right treatment option based on your needs. We offer these types of procedures for AFib:
Your doctor may perform a minimally invasive procedure called catheter ablation to restore a normal heart rhythm. Small plastic tubes called catheters are inserted into the body and used to delivery energy to destroy cells responsible for atrial fibrillation. Our doctors offer multiple types of ablation for AFib including:
- Cryoablation (using extreme cold)
- FIRM ablation (mapping technology)
- Hybrid surgical-catheter ablation
- Radiofrequency ablation (using heat)
A controlled, low-energy shock can restore a normal heart rhythm. For chest pain, very low blood pressure, or sudden heart failure, you may need this procedure as emergency treatment.
Left Atrial Appendage Closure
A surgical procedure for AFib that can be done through an open chest or a minimally invasive procedure. A number of small incisions are made on the left and right atria to form scar tissue. This scar tissue interrupts the path of abnormal electrical pathways that cause AFib. MAZE is not necessary for most patients with AFib. MAZE is performed with catheter ablation or as a stand-alone surgery.
- Cox-Maze IV procedure
Clinical Trials for Atrial Fibrillation
Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you may have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.
Open trials refer to studies currently recruiting participants or that may recruit participants in the near future. Closed trials are not currently enrolling, but similar studies may open in the future.
To learn more about the clinical trials we offer, contact Gerri O'Riordan at 650-725-5597.
Frequently Asked Questions for Accessing Care
The Stanford Cardiac Arrhythmia Service is not only dedicated to treating its patients with the finest treatment options available, but also to advancing those treatments. Clinical research studies may be sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, other governmental agencies, or industry.
We're actively developing new approaches to arrhythmia diagnosis and treatment, including:
- New device development
- New treatments and diagnostic techniques for Atrial Fibrillation
- New technologies for catheter ablation
- Integration of imaging in catheter ablation
- New treatments for arrhythmias in cardiomyopathies (hypertrophic, ischemic, nonischemic)
- New approaches to ICD and Pacemaker therapy
- Signal processing and mathematical techniques for diagnosis of arrhythmias
- New diagnostic approaches to patients with inherited arrhythmic disorders
We work with the Stanford Biodesign Program—an innovative collaboration between medicine and engineering—to develop new technologies in medicine.
Additional Research and Innovation Advancements
- A Stanford doctor co-invented a new form of ablation treatment called cryoablation (freezing), which has been used in over 200,000 patients worldwide, including patients with atrial fibrillation and supraventricular tachycardia.
- The Stanford Center for Arrhythmia Research has assembled more than 40 faculty who represent numerous disciplines and are collaborating to solve arrhythmia related problems.
- Stanford doctors have conducted clinical studies leading to approval of the radiofrequency energy ablation system measuring contact force to improve ablation outcomes. Learn more about radiofrequency ablation »
- Stanford doctors and surgeons were in the first FDA clinical trial to test hybrid surgical-catheter ablation, combining minimally invasive surgery with a catheter-based procedure to treat complex atrial fibrillation.
We participate in a wide range of insurance plans. View the list of insurance plans accepted by Stanford Health Care »
Have insurance or pre-authorization questions? The Patient Financial Clearance team is available Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., to answer your questions. Please call 650-724-4445 or 1-877-291-7335 (toll free).
When choosing a doctor, it’s important to consider the doctor’s clinical training, experience and expertise in a specialized area that matches your health care needs.
You can find the right Stanford doctor for you by using our doctor directory and filtering the results based on a medical category, specialty, or doctor’s last name. View a list of cardiac arrhythmia doctors »
We offer a number of support services for arrhythmia, including cardiovascular support groups, interpreter services, nutrition services, a Lifestyle Modification Program, integrative medicine, a health library, and a variety of classes and events. Learn more about our support services »
You can call Cardiac Arrhythmia Service directly to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors. Call 650-723-6459 to make an appointment.
Yes, Stanford Health Care offers financial assistance for patients who are uninsured or underinsured. Meet with one of our financial counselors to find the best approach to paying for your health care. Financial counselors are available Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Learn more about financial assistance services »
Managing treatment for arrhythmia is a highly personalized process. Our clinic receptionists will confirm the information you should bring with you prior to your first appointment. For your first appointment, please bring the following test results and information:
- Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
- Holter Report or ECG Monitor
- Echocardiogram (Ultrasound of the Heart)
- Heart MRI
- Heart CT
- Your medical history
- Report or results from a physical examination
You will also need to have the following information with you when you check in:
- Insurance card
- A form of payment for any co-pays or deductibles
- One form of photo ID:
- Valid state-issued driver’s license
- Valid state-issued ID card
- Valid passport
- Valid U.S. Military ID card
- Valid U.S. Permanent Resident Card
The Cardiac Arrhythmia Service is located at the following address. Valet and self-parking options are available for a fee. For more information, please see Directions and Parking information for Cardiac Arrhythmia Service:
Please plan to arrive 20-30 minutes prior to your appointment time due to construction near the main hospital campus. This will allow you plenty of time to park, locate your clinic and complete any additional paperwork.
Please print, fill out, and return the Medical Record Release Form to your new patient coordinator. The medical release form is an authorization form for external facilities to release medical records to Stanford Health Care.
Always feel free to bring someone with you to your appointments. A family member or friend can help ask questions, remember the information your care team gives you, and provide support.
Write down your questions before your appointment and rank them in order of importance, beginning with the most important ones. If there isn’t enough time to have all your questions answered during your appointment, ask your doctor who you can speak with to get your other questions answered.
Current patients may reach one of our outstanding arrhythmia nurse specialists during clinic hours at 650-723-7111. For after-hours, reach the on-call arrhythmia doctor at 650-723-7111.
You have multiple options when it comes to paying your bill.
- Pay Online:
- You can log in to MyHealth or the MyHealth mobile app to see and pay your bill.
Already have an account but need help logging in?
Contact the MyHealth Help Desk
- You can also pay as a guest to pay your bill without logging in.
- Pay by mail:
- Stanford Health Care
P.O. Box 740715, Los Angeles, CA 90074-0715
Los Angeles, CA 90074-0715
- Stanford Health Care
- Pay by Phone:
- You can call our Patient Billing Customer Service Office
- You can call our Patient Billing Customer Service Office
For our latest business hours and for more information about billing, visit our Billing page.
We offer a number of support services for arrhythmia patients, including cardiovascular support groups, interpreter services, nutrition services, a Lifestyle Modification Program, integrative medicine, a health library, and a variety of classes and events. Learn more about our support services »
Please call our clinic receptionists at 650-723-6459. They are available Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. to help you reschedule or cancel your appointment.
To determine if a clinical trial is right for you, talk to your doctor. He or she can refer you to a research coordinator for more information on studies that may be right for your specific condition.
You can also find the guidelines for who can participate in a particular clinical trial online. However, it is best to work with your doctor to decide the right care approach for your needs.
Many of our programs are available to international patients.
Our International Medicine Services team can help you find the right doctor, estimate medical costs, book travel, and get you information about Stanford programs and services.
Please call +1 650-723-8561 or email IMS@stanfordhealthcare.org to get started.
What is Atrial Fibrillation?
Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)
Our arrhythmia team provides the latest advancements in diagnosis and treatments for people with atrial fibrillation, including ablation and pacemakers.
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