You may have been in the hospital because you have atrial fibrillation. This condition occurs when your heart beats faster than normal or in an irregular way. You may have developed this problem while you were in the hospital for a heart attack, heart surgery, or other illness such as pneumonia.
Treatments you may have received include:
You may have been given medicines to change your heartbeat or slow it down. Some are:
Have all of your prescriptions filled before you go home. You should take your medicines the way your doctor and nurse have told you to.
You may be taking aspirin or clopidogrel (Plavix), warfarin (Coumadin), heparin, or another blood thinner (such as Apixiban (Eliquis), Rivaroxaban (Xarelto), Dabigatran (Pradaxa) to help keep your blood from clotting.
If you are taking warfarin:
Limit how much alcohol you drink. Ask your doctor when it is okay to drink, and how much is safe.
Do not smoke cigarettes. If you do smoke, your doctor or nurse can help you quit.
Follow a heart healthy diet.
Try to avoid stressful situations.
Learn how to check your pulse, and check it every day.
Limit the amount of caffeine you drink (found in coffee, tea, colas, and many other beverages.)
Do not use cocaine, amphetamines, or any other illegal drugs. They may make your heart beat faster, and cause permanent damage to your heart.
Call for emergency help if you feel:
Auricular fibrillation - discharge; A-fib - discharge; AF - discharge
Camm AJ, Lip GYH, De Caterina R, et al. 2012 focused update of the ESC Guidelines for the management of arterial fibrillation; An update of the 202 ESC Guidelines for the management of atrial fibrillation; Developed with the special contribution of the European Heart Rhythm Association. European Heart Journal 2012;33:2719-2747.
Lafuente-Lafuente C, Mahé I, Extramiana F. Management of atrial fibrillation. BMJ. 2009;b5216.
Dobrev D, Nattel S. New antiarrhythmic drugs for treatment of atrial fibrillation. Lancet. 2010;375:1212-1223.
Updated by: Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, Washington Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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