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Atrial Fibrillation

Also called: AF, AFib

Summary

An arrhythmia is a problem with the speed or rhythm of the heartbeat. Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common type of arrhythmia. The cause is a disorder in the heart's electrical system.

Often, people who have AF may not even feel symptoms. But you may feel

  • Palpitations -- an abnormal rapid heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness or difficulty exercising
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion

AF can lead to an increased risk of stroke. In many patients, it can also cause chest pain, heart attack, or heart failure.

Doctors diagnose AF using family and medical history, a physical exam, and a test called an electrocardiogram (EKG), which looks at the electrical waves your heart makes. Treatments include medicines and procedures to restore normal rhythm.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Start Here

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
  • Easy-to-Read (American Heart Association) - PDF

Diagnosis and Tests

Treatments and Therapies

  • (Texas Heart Institute) Also in
  • (American Heart Association)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute) Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute) Also in
  • (Texas Heart Institute) Also in
  • (American Heart Association)

Related Issues

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)
  • (American Heart Association)
  • (American Heart Association)
  • (Heart Rhythm Society)

Specifics

  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in

Genetics

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)

Videos and Tutorials

Striking laughter

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Reference Desk

  • (American Heart Association)
  • (Texas Heart Institute) Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)

Find an Expert

  • From the National Institutes of Health

Children

  • (American Heart Association)

Patient Handouts