Does Your Heart Go Pitter, Patter?
Teresa Daniele, M.D.
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Western Connecticut Medical Group Cardiologist Dr. Teresa Daniele Discusses Warning Signs and Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation
Normally, your heart contracts and relaxes to a regular beat, according to the American Heart Association. Instead of beating in a normal pattern, patients with atrial fibrillation (AF or AFib) are aware that their heart beats irregularly and too fast; often a symptom described by patients as quivering.
"AFib is the most common type of irregular heartbeat which affects approximately 2.2 million Americans and is responsible for about 60,000 strokes per year," said Teresa Daniele, M.D., a board-certified cardiologist with Western Connecticut Medical Group. "It is characterized by an irregular, chaotic and rapid beating of the heart's atrial chambers and results when the normal electrical conduction system of the atria is not functioning properly. The heart beat is usually fast rendering the ventricle unable to pump blood efficiently leading to a variety of symptoms."
AFib is caused by many medical problems such as hypertension, coronary artery disease or blockages of arteries in the heart, heart valve disease, hormone abnormalities, infections, excessive alcohol or caffeine use and chronic lung disease. According to the American Heart Association you can live with AFib, but it can lead to other rhythm problems, chronic fatigue, heart failure and - worst of all - stroke.
"Symptoms of AFib include heart palpitations, fatigue, dizziness, chest pain, shortness of breath and, in some patients, no symptoms at all," said Dr. Daniele."Atrial fibrillation increases a patient's risk for stroke because the irregular beating causing the blood to pass through the heart slower resulting in blood clot formation which can then travel to the brain."
Dr. Daniele said "treatment for AFib includes medication to slow down the heart rate, restoring normal rhythm and the use of blood thinners in certain high risk individuals. "Here at Danbury Hospital we also provide special services and minimally invasive procedures used to terminate this irregular rhythm and restore a normal heart beat."
For more information regarding cardiac programs and services, go to DanburyHeart.org, or to find a cardiologist in your area call 1-800-516-4743.
About Western Connecticut Health Network
Western Connecticut Health Network is the region's premier, patient-centered health care organization serving residents of Western Connecticut and adjacent New York. The organization is anchored by two nationally recognized hospitals,Danbury Hospital and New Milford Hospital, as well as their affiliated organizations. In addition to the two hospitals, the continuum of care offered includes the following affiliates:
- Western Connecticut Medical Group, an integrated physician practice with primary and specialty care expertise
- Western Connecticut Home Care, an agency for home care and community health services
- The Western Connecticut Health Network Foundations
- Emergency medical and Level II trauma services
- An occupational wellness and medicine program, providing services for business and industry
- a nationally renowned Biomedical Research Institute
Western Connecticut Health Network has centers of excellence in women's health, cardiovascular and cancer services; minimally invasive joint and spine surgery; digestive disorders, weight-loss (bariatric) surgery, and radiology and diagnostic imaging. It also offers specialized programs for neonatology with a Level IIIb neonatal intensive care unit and accredited sleep disorder centers.
Both hospitals also maintain active clinical research programs, offering clinical trials for patients with cancer and other health concerns. Danbury Hospital was named a Top 100 Hospital by US News and World reports in 2012; a and a Top 100 for Value by Cleverly and Associates. New Milford Hospital is well known as a Planetree hospital and for its Plow to Plate, farm to table food program. For more information, visit WesternConnecticutHealthNetwork.org, DanburyHospital.org; NewMilfordHospital.org and share your comments with us at Facebook.com/DanburyHospital or Facebook.com/NewMilfordHospital.