Monday, May 23, 2011

Atrial Fibrillation

Q:  I have a heart problem called atrial fibrillation and am worried about starting my dental treatment which includes extractions, implants and bridge work. Should I be worried?...LBJ in Pasadena

A:  Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a cardiac rhythm disturbance arising from disorganized electrical activity in the chambers of the heart. Very often patients are treated with the drug Coumadin to prevent the formation of clots and the possibility of a stroke and beta blockers such as Atenolol to control the heart rate.

Several precautions should be considered: Your hygienist should avoid using ultrasonic scalers during teeth cleanings, but instead use hand scalers. Some local anesthetics containing drugs that constrict blood vessels (vasoconstrictors) need to be used in ways that prevent direct injection into blood vessels. Certain antibiotics, pain medications and anti-anxiety agents prescribed during dental treatment can decrease the effectiveness of the drugs used to treat AF.

You may have all the above needed dental procedures as long as your dentist keeps a few points in mind, starting with a chat with your physician.

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