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    Atrial Fibrillation - When to Call a Doctor

    Call 911 or other emergency services immediately if you:

    • Have symptoms of a heart attack, such as chest pain or pressure, shortness of breath, and nausea.
    • Have symptoms of a stroke, such as sudden vision changes; trouble speaking; or numbness, tingling, weakness, or loss of movement in your face or an arm or a leg.
    • Feel faint and have an irregular heartbeat.

    If you see someone pass out, call 911 or other emergency services immediately.

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    If your heartbeat is out of whack from atrial fibrillation and medicine doesn't help, your doctor might suggest two high-tech solutions. He may try to get your ticker's rhythm back in the right groove with a procedure called ablation. Or he may put a pacemaker in your chest -- a device that sends out pulses to keep your heartbeat on track. Some people need both methods. Your doctor can help you decide which treatment is right for you, but learn as much as you can about the pros and cons. It will...

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    Call your doctor if you have:

    • An irregular heart rate.
    • Heart palpitations.
    • Periods of unexplained lightheadedness, dizziness, or confusion.
    • An episode of fainting or you come close to fainting for no apparent reason.
    • Shortness of breath that gets worse with exercise.

    If you take a blood thinner

    If you take blood-thinning medicine, such as an anticoagulant or aspirin, watch for signs of bleeding.

    Call 911 or other emergency services immediately if you:

    • You have a sudden, severe headache that is different from past headaches. (It may be a sign of bleeding in the brain.)

    Call your doctor right away if you have any unusual bleeding, such as:

    • Nosebleeds.
    • Vaginal bleeding that is different (heavier, more frequent, at a different time of the month) than what you are used to.
    • Bloody or black stools, or rectal bleeding.
    • Bloody or pink urine.

    Who to see

    The following health professionals can detect, diagnose and, in some cases, treat atrial fibrillation:

    The following specialists can treat people who have severe symptoms:

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: August 5, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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