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Complications

Atrial fibrillation is a condition that causes an irregular and often fast heartbeat.

Symptoms of atrial fibrillation include heart palpitations, dizziness and shortness of breath.

Treatments for atrial fibrillation include medicines to control your heartbeat and thin your blood.

It's not clear what causes atrial fibrillation, but it's common in people with other heart conditions.

Read more on the NHS website.

Symptoms of atrial fibrillation include heart palpitations, dizziness and shortness of breath.

Symptoms of atrial fibrillation

In atrial fibrillation, the heart rate is irregular and can sometimes be very fast. In some cases, it can be considerably higher than 100 beats a minute.

This can cause problems including dizziness, shortness of breath and tiredness.

You may be aware of noticeable heart palpitations, where your heart feels like it's pounding, fluttering or beating irregularly, often for a few seconds or, in some cases, a few minutes.   

Sometimes atrial fibrillation does not cause any symptoms and a person who has it is completely unaware that their heart rate is irregular.

Read more on the NHS website.

Treatments for atrial fibrillation include medicines to control your heartbeat and thin your blood.

Medical treatments

Atrial fibrillation is not usually life threatening, but it can be uncomfortable and often requires treatment.

Treatment may involve: 

  • medicines to prevent a stroke (people with atrial fibrillation are more at risk of having a stroke)
  • medicines to control the heart rate or rhythm
  • cardioversion – where the heart is given a controlled electric shock to restore normal rhythm
  • catheter ablation – where the area inside the heart that's causing the abnormal heart rhythm is destroyed using radiofrequency energy; afterwards you may then need to have a pacemaker fitted to help your heart beat regularly

Read more on the NHS website.

It's not clear what causes atrial fibrillation, but it's common in people with other heart conditions.

Read more on the NHS website.