The goals of atrial fibrillation therapy are to return the heart to a normal rhythm and prevent blood clots from forming.
Resetting the heart rate (cardioverson) can be achieved by two methods:
• Medications: called anti-arrhythmics, may be given intravenously or orally, depending on the condition of the heart, with the patient in the hospital
• Electrical: an electric shock is delivered to the heart with paddles. It stops the heart, and when it begins again, it is hoped that the rhythm will be normal. The patient is sedated during this process.
• Other procedures are possible, but are invasive and rarely used.
Medications may be used to maintain the normal heart rhythm.