Symptoms of atrial fibrillation may include:
palpitations – you’re aware of your heart beating faster or in an irregular way
chest pain or discomfort
shortness of breath
dizziness and light-headedness
Many people with atrial fibrillation only have mild symptoms, or don’t have any symptoms at all.
These symptoms may be caused by problems other than atrial fibrillation. If you have them, visit a doctor.
Some people are not aware that they have fibrillation. If you have any concerns about your heart rhythm, see a doctor. The doctor will ask about your symptoms and examine you. He or she may also ask you about your medical history.
The doctor will check your blood pressure, listen to your heartbeat and take your pulse. He or she will ask you to have a test called an electrocardiogram (ECG). An ECG measures the electrical activity in your heart to see what the heart rhythm is.
If the doctor suspects you have atrial fibrillation, he or she may refer you to a cardiologist – a doctor who specialises in identifying and treating heart and blood vessel conditions. You may have other tests, including:
echocardiogram – an ultrasound scan of your heart providing a clear image of your heart muscles and valves that shows how well the heart is working
ambulatory ECG – this takes a recording of your heartbeat while you go about your normal daily activities, usually over 24 hours
Please note that availability and use of specific tests may vary from country to country.