Afib: Rhythm or rate control

Ask the doctor

Published: June, 2020

Q. I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation and my cardiologist prescribed metoprolol [Lopressor], which I understand is also used to treat angina. But I rarely have any chest pain. I was wondering if I should instead be getting another kind of medication to treat my condition?

A. During a bout of atrial fibrillation (afib), the heart beats very rapidly and irregularly. As a result, the heart may not pump effectively, which may cause symptoms such as breathlessness and fatigue. These episodes may be occasional and fleeting, or they may last hours, days, months, or even years.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise

New subscriptions to Harvard Health Online are temporarily unavailable. Click the button below to learn about our other subscription offers.

Learn More »