A heartbeat that is irregular or that quivers or flutters is the most common symptom of atrial fibrillation or A-fib, according to the American Heart Association. Other atrial fibrillation symptoms include general fatigue, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, weakness, anxiety, faintness, confusion, sweating, and chest pain or pressure.
Around 2 million people in the United States suffer from atrial fibrillation. The condition occurs when the heart's electrical system goes awry and the upper heart chambers flutter in an uncoordinated and random fashion. The condition can be serious since blood that is not pumped efficiently pools and clots. Break-away clots can move through the bloodstream and become lodged in an artery in the brain, causing a stroke, states WebMD.
There are three types of atrial fibrillation: paroxysmal fibrillation, persistent atrial fibrillation and permanent atrial fibrillation. Cases of paroxysmal fibrillation generally go away on their own within a week of onset although symptoms can return later. In some cases, episodes occur several times each year. Persistent A-fib lasts longer than a week and does not clear up without treatment. Permanent A-fib lasts for an indefinite period of time, and the doctor and patient have chosen not to make any additional attempts to restore the normal rhythm of the heart, according to the American Heart Association.