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Conditions We Treat: Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation is a type of cardiac arrhythmia (abnormality of heart rate and/or rhythm). Atrial fibrillation produces a rapid and irregular heartbeat, during which the atria (the upper two chambers of the heart that receive blood) quiver, or fibrillate, instead of beating normally.

Atrial Fibrillation: What You Need to Know

Patient and Doctor
  • Atrial fibrillation is a common cause of symptoms, but it may also be hidden and cause no symptoms at all. When symptoms do occur, there may be palpitations (awareness of a rapid heartbeat), fainting, dizziness, weakness, shortness of breath and angina pectoris (chest pain caused by a reduced blood supply to the heart muscle).
  • For atrial fibrillation, the major risk factors are increased age (over 50), obesity, family history, hypertension, diabetes and thyrotoxicosis (an excess of thyroid hormones). In some patients, the underlying cause of atrial fibrillation is more serious than the arrhythmia itself.
  • The diagnosis of atrial fibrillation can be established with an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG).
  • Atrial fibrillation may be managed through medications, left atrial appendage closure, catheter ablation procedures and/or minimally invasive surgical procedures.

Patient Resources 

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Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) | Q&A

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is the most common heart rhythm abnormality, affecting more than 33 million people worldwide. Patients with AFib are at a higher risk of stroke if not properly treated. Watch Hugh Calkins, M.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Cardiac Arrhythmia Service, as he discusses the latest developments impacting AFib management, including a review of the recent guidelines, the latest techniques and strategies for stroke prevention.


Why choose Johns Hopkins?

Heart and LAAHeart with Left Atrial Appendage Closure

Our Treatments

 The teams at Johns Hopkins specialize in advanced procedures for treating atrial fibrillation:

Education Document

Our Resources

The expert health care team at Johns Hopkins recognizes that understanding your care is an essential part of recovery. Our arrhythmia service guide is a helpful resource.  

Download the Johns Hopkins Arrhythmia Service guide.

Asian Caregiver and Patient

Our Patient Information

Do you or a loved one have atrial fibrillation? Cardiologist Sunil Sinha provides a brief overview of what patients and families need to know about atrial fibrillation.

Watch now to learn the common signs and symptoms of this condition.