Atrial Fibrillation

An abnormal heartbeat that can weaken the heart

Atrial fibrillation causes your heart to beat abnormally. Normally, your heart beats in a regular rhythm controlled by the electrical system of the heart.

If you have atrial fibrillation, the electrical system does not work correctly, causing the heart muscle to contract erratically, called arrhythmia.

If your heart does not beat correctly it weakens the heart muscle leading to heart failure, a life threatening condition. If all the blood does not push out of the chambers of your heart, it may pool and clot, increasing your risk for a stroke.

Atrial Fibrillation Cause and Risks

Physicians do not always know what causes atrial fibrillation. However, you can reduce your risk for developing the condition by living a heart healthy lifestyle including eating healthy, exercising and not smoking. High blood pressure and heart disease may contribute to the development of atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation sometimes goes away on its own, but it often requires treatment.

Atrial Fibrillation Symptoms

Because of the risk of serious complications, you should talk to your physician about any symptoms you experience such as:

  • Heart fluttering
  • Palpitations
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness

Your physician may also hear a heart murmur when he or she listens to your heartbeat.

Overview

If your heart does not beat correctly it weakens the heart muscle leading to heart failure, a life threatening condition. If all the blood does not push out of the chambers of your heart, it may pool and clot, increasing your risk for a stroke.

Atrial Fibrillation Cause and Risks

Physicians do not always know what causes atrial fibrillation. However, you can reduce your risk for developing the condition by living a heart healthy lifestyle including eating healthy, exercising and not smoking. High blood pressure and heart disease may contribute to the development of atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation sometimes goes away on its own, but it often requires treatment.

Atrial Fibrillation Symptoms

Because of the risk of serious complications, you should talk to your physician about any symptoms you experience such as:

  • Heart fluttering
  • Palpitations
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness

Your physician may also hear a heart murmur when he or she listens to your heartbeat.

IU Health Heart & Vascular Care physicians provide expertise in treating atrial fibrillation and its complications. Our physicians work with you to choose a treatment plan that works best for you.

IU Health Heart & Vascular Care is home to internationally recognized leaders in the treatment of heart rhythm disorders—from medication to electrophysiology and surgical procedures. Our physicians treat more patients than any other heart care program in the state, providing the expertise you need.

Our physicians use comprehensive treatment options to fit your needs, including:

  • Monitoring
  • Medication therapy
  • Electrical cardioversion
  • Catheter ablation

Treatment

IU Health Heart & Vascular Care physicians provide expertise in treating atrial fibrillation and its complications. Our physicians work with you to choose a treatment plan that works best for you.

IU Health Heart & Vascular Care is home to internationally recognized leaders in the treatment of heart rhythm disorders—from medication to electrophysiology and surgical procedures. Our physicians treat more patients than any other heart care program in the state, providing the expertise you need.

Our physicians use comprehensive treatment options to fit your needs, including:

  • Monitoring
  • Medication therapy
  • Electrical cardioversion
  • Catheter ablation

Patient Stories for Atrial Fibrillation