Data from Laura Quittenden - Curated by EPG Health - Last updated 30 November 2017


Atrial Fibrillation (also called AF or AFib) is the most common heart rhythm disorder that can lead to stroke, blood clots, heart failure and other heart-related complications. Over 1 million people have been diagnosed with AF in the UK alone.

AF Awareness Week


What causes Atrial Fibrillation?

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart valve disease
  • Excess alcohol consumption


What are the symptoms of AF?

A normal heart rate should be regular and between 60 and 100 beats a minute whilst resting. In atrial fibrillation, the heart rate is irregular and can sometimes be very fast. In some cases, it can be higher than 100 beats a minute.

  • Palpitations (being aware of your heart beat)
  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness or feeling faint
  • Shortness of breath
  • However, some people only have some mild symptoms, while other people experience no symptoms at all.


Treating Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation isn’t usually life threatening, but it can be uncomfortable and often requires treatment.

  • Medication to prevent a stroke (people with AF are more at risk of having a stroke)
  • Medication to control the heart rate or rhythm
  • Cardioversion – where the heart is given a controlled electric shock to restore normal rhythCatheter ablation – where the area inside the heart that’s causing the abnormal heart rhythm is destroyed using radio frequency energy.


Did you know...

Acoording to the Arrhythmia Alliance:

  • One in four people will develop AF; it affects an estimated 1.5 million across the UK and in excess of 16 million worldwide.
  • AF can be detected cheaply and easily with a simple manual pulse check
  • Every 15 seconds someone suffers an AF-related stroke, yet most can be prevented using appropriate anticoagulation therapy
  • AF, and AF related illness, costs the NHS over £2.2 billion each year


Detect | AF with a simple pulse check

Protect | against AF-related stroke using anticoagulation therapy

Correct | the irregular rhythm with access to appropriate treatment

Perfect | the patient care pathway 




Related Links:

Acute & Advanced Heart Failure Knowledge Centre



You will need to login, to leave a comment. is not monitored for collection of adverse event reports. Any adverse events should be reported to your national reporting agency and/or the manufacturer.

Learning Zones

An Learning Zone (LZ) is an area of the site dedicated to providing detailed self-directed medical education about a disease, condition or procedure.

ESICM LIVES Highlights

ESICM LIVES Highlights

ESICM LIVES Congress 2018: Bringing you the latest news and insights from the 31st ESICM LIVES Congress, 20–24 October 2018 Paris, France.

Fluid Management

Fluid Management

Are you up-to-date with the latest evidence of effective procedures for fluid management?

+ 2 more

Fibrinogen Deficiency in Bleeding

Fibrinogen Deficiency in Bleeding

Fibrinogen is important for blood clot formation and breakdown. It is the first coagulant factor to be reduced to critical levels during massive trauma, cardiac surgery and postpartum haemorrhage that involve excessive bleeding. Persistent fibrinogen deficiency can lead to bleeding complications and an increased risk in mortality. This learning zone looks at both congenital and acquired fibrinogen deficiencies including indications and techniques for diagnosis, trigger level for treatment and treatment options.

Load more

Blog posts by Laura Quittenden

International Women’s Day

Today, on International Women’s Day, we’re taking a look at some of the pioneering women in medicine.

Posted 1 year ago

8 Common Water Contaminants and How to Prevent Them

When working in laboratories and hospitals, it’s crucial that any contaminants found in water are removed immediately, before they cause any damage.

Posted 1 year ago

Related Content