Patients & Family


Q. How will my doctor know if I have AFib or another arrhythmia?


A. Your doctor will examine you and may also perform an ECG. The ECG will produce a graph that represents the electrical activity of the heart. Physicians can tell the difference between normal and abnormal heartbeats from this chart.


Q. Is there anything dangerous about having AFib?


A. AFib itself is not a life-threatening condition. However, it is important that AFib is treated, not only to control the symptoms but also because AFib increases the risk of stroke. Appropriate treatment from your physician is therefore essential.
If the heart has been working irregularly for a long period of time, it can fatigue and go into heart failure


Q. Is AFib genetic?


A. Although extremely rare, some research has suggested that there is a familial form of AFib. Research on the genetic causes of AFib is still in the early stages and more research must be done before a conclusion is made.


Q. Can someone die from AFib?


A. Most episodes of AFib are not life-threatening. The biggest danger from AFib is the increased risk of heart disease and stroke.


Q. Will having AFib affect my daily activities?


A. Some individuals, especially those with permanent AFib, may have to alter their daily activities because they experience symptoms of tiredness, dizziness, shortness of breath, weakness or fatigue. Others may not experience any symptoms and may not need to alter their daily schedule. Always consult your physician before changing your exercise regimen or undertaking strenuous activities to avoid aggravating your condition further.


Q. Does AFib hurt?


A. Actual AFib episodes typically do not hurt. Some individuals experience discomfort in their chest, although others feel nothing at all. While pain may occur while the heart is in AFib, more patients complain of a racing heartbeat or feelings of anxiousness.


Q. Is AFib the same thing as tachycardia?


A. A tachycardia is defined as a fast heart rate. Many different types of tachycardias exist and AFib is a type of tachycardia.


Q. How do I know which method of treatment is right for me?


A. You should discuss treatment options with your doctor, including your current lifestyle and daily activities, so he or she can recommend the most appropriate treatment for you. The chosen method will depend largely on the symptoms you have experienced and your specific heart rhythm.


Q. Can AFib go away by itself?


A. In some patients, AFib will stop on its own. In a process called spontaneous remission, the body adjusts to whatever caused the AFib and the heart starts beating normally without any treatment at all. However, the occurrence of spontaneous remission is rare and you should not wait to seek treatment for your condition.

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