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How Is AFib Treated? continued...

If medication and nonsurgical procedures don't work, you could have a surgical procedure for your atrial fibrillation. This is not typically performed unless you are having open heart surgery for another reason (bypass surgery, valve replacement surgery, etc.). During a technique called the MAZE procedure, the surgeon makes several small incisions on the surface of the heart, often using radiofrequency energy. As these incisions heal, they form scars, which block the abnormal electrical signals from moving through the heart and causing atrial fibrillation. Today, this surgery can also be done through minimally invasive endoscopic techniques.

If you are at risk for or have atrial fibrillation, you'll want to make a few changes in your lifestyle to protect your heart, including:

  • Eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine.
  • Be careful when you use products that contain stimulants, such as cold medications.
  • Adjust your activity level so that you are getting enough exercise to protect your heart without overburdening it.

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