Atrial fibrillation, known as AFib, is an irregular, rapid heart rate that may cause symptoms like heart palpitations, fatigue, and shortness of breath. AFib occurs when the upper chambers of the heart (atria) beat out of rhythm. As a result, blood is not pumped efficiently to the rest of the body, causing an unusually fast heart rate, quivering, or thumping sensations in the heart.
Not only can AFib negatively impact your quality of life, but those who have AFib are five times more likely to form blood clots and suffer a stroke.1 Fortunately, AFib may be treated with medication, cardioversion (a surgical procedure), or a catheter ablation procedure.
If left untreated, AFib as a disease continues to progress. There are three main types of AFib:
Find a heart rhythm specialist (electrophysiologist) who can help diagnose and treat your AFib.
Some people experience these symptoms of AFib:
Watch the video below to learn more about AFib and the symptoms associated with this condition.
You may have no symptoms but still be diagnosed with AFib at a doctor's appointment. Even without symptoms, AFib is a serious medical condition. Treating AFib may prevent stroke, fatigue, and heart failure. It has also been shown that treating AFib early may result in better outcomes.
Find a heart rhythm specialist, known as an electrophysiologist, who can determine if your symptoms are a result of AFib.
The causes of AFib are often unclear. In some cases, AFib may be the result of:
People with otherwise normal hearts may also develop AFib.
To help prevent AFib, some risk factors may be controlled or modified.
|Controllable Risk Factors||Noncontrollable Risk Factors|
Detecting AFib and quantifying it can be challenging. Your doctor may use one or more of the following tests to determine if you have AFib:
Find a heart rhythm specialist, known as an electrophysiologist, who can help determine if you have AFib.
Learn more about treatment options for AFib, including catheter ablation.
Wolf PA, Abbott RD, Kannel WB. Atrial fibrillation as an independent risk factor for stroke: the Framingham Study. Stroke. August 1991;22(8):983-988.
Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.