How do you choose the best cardiologist to treat atrial fibrillation?
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common heart rhythm disorder. You may have had a diagnosis made by your general practitioner, or when you had palpitations and attended the accident and emergency department. Now that you have had a clear diagnosis, what is the best strategy to seek a further opinion or review?
As AF is so common, most general practitioners will be able to successfully diagnose, and initiate treatment which should be focussed on 2 things:
1) initiate anticoagulation where necessary
2) start to control the high heart rates (generally any heart rate consistently above 100bpm) with drug therapy. For more information about AF, please click on
Once you are established on anticoagulation, and/or rate control therapy, it may be reasonable to continue with your current treatment, particularly if you continue to feel well in yourself.
However, if you need further specific advice, particularly on rhythm control strategies, which includes drug therapy, cardioversion, and/or ablation strategies, you should try to see a cardiologist with a specialist interest in Atrial Fibrillation. These subspecialists cardiologists are called Electrophysiologists, and depending on where you are, it’s worth asking your GP or searching online locally for a consultant electrophysiologist who is not only able to perform an ablation procedure but to discuss in a holistic manner the best treatment strategies for the treatment of AF.
What are the aspects of the treatment you should discuss with your electrophysiologist?
Of course, you should focus during the consultation on the aspect of AF and the treatment. This includes a thorough discussion on drugs and the potential benefits and disadvantages of each option, and other treatment options such as cardioversion (shock therapy in the heart), or indeed a catheter ablation procedure. For a more detailed anatomical description of how AF ablation is performed, please click on the video link below:
The person you should be trying to see to discuss your treatment options for atrial fibrillation should be someone who is able to also identify potential triggers for AF, and to address this head-on, even if it makes for uncomfortable topics to discuss: things such as obesity and lifestyle habits, including stress at work and at home, eating, drinking alcohol, and tackling diabetes and sleep apnoea.
In summary, if you continue to have significant symptoms of AF despite the initial treatment which could have been initiated by your GP or doctor at accident and emergency, which should really be focused on a) protecting you from stroke, and b) reducing your heart rate to improve symptoms. Beyond this, if you continue to be highly symptomatic with palpitations or any other symptoms such as shortness of breath or fatigue, please do attempt to see an AF expert, an electrophysiologist.
Best cardiologist to treat atrial fibrillation
Dr Boon Lim is considered one of UK’s leading electrophysiologists and teaches and tr ns junior doctors the technically-challenging skill of performing catheter ablation procedures. He is up-to-date with the latest innovations in AF, and performs both radiofrequency (heating) and cryoablation (freezing) techniques in the state of the art hospitals.
During Covid, Dr Lim is able to undertake remote consultations via Zoom or Skype and will be able to initiate a management plan, even if you are not in London, by suggesting a clear strategy which will be communicated to your primary physician. If you would prefer to see Dr Lim face to face, Dr Lim consults at the One Welbeck Heart Centre at 1 Welbeck Street (: https://onewelbeck.com/cardiology/doctors/dr-boon-lim/) .
Please check out Dr Lim’s reviews here