If patients have no other ongoing heart problems and medications succeed in controlling the patient's heart rate, the patient may be sent home from the emergency department. This is often done after consultation with the patient's doctor or cardiologist. Patients should follow-up with their health care professional within 48 hours.
If the heart rhythm does not convert to normal by itself, the patient may need electrical cardioversion, or defibrillation.
- Patients in atrial fibrillation longer than 48 hours may need three weeks of treatment with an anticoagulant medication, such as warfarin, before cardioversion and usually for at least four weeks after.
- Anyone with underlying heart disease or those that do not respond to rate-controlling treatment may require hospitalization and a consult with a cardiologist.
- Patients undergoing surgery (pacemaker implantation) may require rehabilitation.