Information for the public

The condition

The condition

Atrial fibrillation happens when the electrical impulses that control your heartbeat become uncoordinated. It causes the heart to beat irregularly and usually too fast. Some people with atrial fibrillation may not have any symptoms, but others may have palpitations, chest pain, dizziness, shortness of breath and tiredness.

Atrial fibrillation can increase your risk of having a stroke. Lowering your risk may include taking drugs to prevent blood clots forming. Other drugs such as anti-arrhythmics or beta-blockers may be used to try and control your heartbeat. If these drugs do not work, or you cannot tolerate them, then ablation procedures may be suitable. Ablation destroys the tissue causing the heart to beat irregularly and stops it causing atrial fibrillation.

NICE has looked at using percutaneous endoscopic laser balloon pulmonary vein isolation as another treatment option.

NHS Choices may be a good place to find out more.

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