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What Are the Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation?

atrial fibrillation symptoms include palpitations, feeling tiredMost people, but not everyone, with atrial fibrillation will notice symptoms. The symptoms can vary based on the type or stage of atrial fibrillation.

People with paroxysmal (early stage) atrial fibrillation often have palpitations. Palpitations cause a fluttering feeling in the chest, or the sensation of a rapid, irregular heartbeat.

People in a more advanced stage of atrial fibrillation—such as persistent atrial fibrillation or long-standing persistent atrial fibrillation—are more likely to have these symptoms:1,2

  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Pain in the chest—also called angina
  • Pressure in the chest
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Feeling lightheaded

If untreated, atrial fibrillation progresses—from less severe to more advanced. That’s why it’s important to mention any of these symptoms to your health care provider. During your office visit, you’ll be asked how often the symptoms occur, and for how long. These questions can help your health care team narrow down the source of your symptoms.

If you find out that you have atrial fibrillation, be sure to talk to your health care team about the best treatments for you.
Read why early and effective treatment for your atrial fibrillation is so important.

How Atrial Fibrillation Affects Overall Health

Atrial fibrillation makes someone 5 times more likely to have a stroke.3 It also increases your risk of heart failure, dementia, other fast heart rhythms, and other health issues. Read about triggers, risk factors, and causes of atrial fibrillation so that you can talk about these risks with your health care provider.

Hybrid AF Therapy Safety Information

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Page References
  1. Calkins, H., Hindricks, G., Cappato, R., Kim, Y. H., Saad, E. B., Aguinaga, L., Akar, J. G., Badhwar, V., Brugada, J., Camm, J., Chen, P. S., Chen, S. A., Chung, M. K., Nielsen, J. C., Curtis, A. B., Davies, D. W., Day, J. D., d'Avila, A., de Groot, N., Di Biase, L., … Yamane, T. (2017). 2017 HRS/EHRA/ECAS/APHRS/SOLAECE expert consensus statement on catheter and surgical ablation of atrial fibrillation. Heart rhythm, 14(10), e275–e444.
  2. Barbarossa, A., Guerra, F., & Capucci, A. (2014). Silent Atrial Fibrillation: A Critical Review. Journal of atrial fibrillation, 7(3), 1138.
  3. Benjamin, E.J., Muntner, P., Alonso, A., Bittencourt, M.S., Callaway, C.W., Carson, A.P., Chamberlain, A.M., Chang, A.R.,  Cheng, S., Das, S.R., Delling, F.N., Djousse, L., Elkind, M.S.V., Ferguson, J.F., Fornage, M., Jordan, L.C., Khan, S.S. ... Virani, S.S., and On behalf of the American Heart Association Council on Epidemiology and Prevention Statistics Committee and Stroke Statistics Subcommittee. (2019). Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2019 Update: A Report from the American Heart Association.
    Circulation, 139, e56–e528.