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Medical Management via Drug Therapy for AFib

Many options are available to treat atrial fibrillation, including lifestyle changes, medications, catheter-based procedures and surgery. The type of treatment recommended for you is based on your heart rhythm and symptoms. Medications are an important part of treatment and may include:
  • Anticoagulants (blood thinners) to reduce the risk of blood clots and stroke. Regular blood tests are required when taking these medications to monitor how well they are working.
  • Rate-control medications to help slow the heart rate during AFib. These medications do not control the heart rhythm, but do prevent the ventricles from beating too rapidly.
  • Rhythm-control medications to help return the heart rhythm to normal or maintain normal rhythm. A patient may have to stay in the hospital when first taking these medications so the heart rhythm and response to medication can be carefully monitored. These medications are effective 30 to 60 percent of the time, but may lose their effectiveness over time.

To schedule an appointment with the Heart and Vascular Institute, call 813-844-3900 or email

When medications are not successful in treating AFib, or when a patient cannot tolerate medications, a procedure, device therapy or surgical treatment may be necessary to treat the abnormal heart rhythm.

Tampa General Hospital offers the WATCHMAN™, a permanent implant proven to reduce stroke risk in AFib patients. The WATCHMAN™ is a minimally invasive, one-time procedure that can replace the need for long-term blood thinners. Learn more about the WATCHMAN Implant and how it effectively reduces the risk of stroke in AFib patients looking for an alternative to blood thinner medication.