What Are Atrial Fibrillation Symptoms?


Quick Answer

Although some patients with atrial fibrillation may not have any apparent symptoms, others can experience arrhythmia and rapid heartbeat, feeling faint or dizzy, overall physical weakness, pressure or pain in the chest area and breathing problems, states Mayo Clinic. In patients who do not have these symptoms, the condition is detected through a physical exam. There are three categories of atrial fibrillation, or Afib, which are paroxysmal, persistent and permanent Afib.

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Although the symptoms may be the same in these different types of Afibs, a difference is in the duration of the condition. For example, paroxysmal Afib occurs when a patient has symptoms, such as an irregular heartbeat for up to 7 days and then the symptoms resolve on their own, notes Cleveland Clinic - Center for Continuing Education. With persistent Afib, the symptoms do not go away on their own, and the condition requires medical treatments for the normal restoration of a regular heart rhythm. Permanent Afib occurs when restoration of the heart rhythm is not possible and last indefinitely.

Atrial fibrillation is a heart condition in which the contraction of the atria (upper heart chambers are out of synchronization with the contractions of the ventricles, causing the abnormal or irregular heart rhythm. Atrial fibrillation can place patients at risk for the formation of blood clots that can lead to a stroke, notes WebMD.

Additional symptoms of atrial fibrillation include a fluttering sensation in the chest, anxiety and sweating, according to the American Heart Association. Chest pain and pressure may also indicate atrial fibrillation. These symptoms can also signify a heart attack, so it is imperative to seek medical attention in the event of any type of chest discomfort. Nonsurgical treatment options for atrial fibrillation include electrical shock procedures and catheter insertion procedures that restore balanced heart rhythms.

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