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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Should I see an electrophysiologist for atrial fibrillation (specialist in heart rhythm disorders)?

    I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation and it appears symptom-free as of now. Is it recommended that I see an electrophysiologist?
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    Dr David O'Donnell

    Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

    A graduate of the University of Melbourne Medical School in 1993, Dr David O’Donnell was the recipient of 9 undergraduate awards including the Association of … View Profile

    The management of atrial fibrillation is different for each patient. In a considerable number of patients the management is relatively straightforward and specialist involvement may not be required. An electrophysiologist with expertise in atrial fibrillation will be able to provide options for more difficult to manage patients and in instances where curative porceudres may be considered.
    Of the patients I see referred for more specialized management of atrial fibrillation around half of them are appropriately managed and I do little other than reassure that the therapies are correct. The other half require a change in managament strategies or consideration of intervention.
    It is worth noting that ablation procedures for atrial fibrillation have best results early in the disease process and if this is being considered early referal to an electrophysiologist with expertise in atrial fibrillation would be recommended.

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