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Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)

What is Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)?

Atrial fibrillation, or "AFib," is the most common type of arrhythmia - it affects about 2.2 million Americans, with 160,000 new cases diagnosed annually.

Whether the condition is intermittent or chronic, patients with atrial fibrillation or "AFib" are at higher risk for blood clots and strokes.

Causes and Risk Factors of AFib

Causes and risk factors of heart arrhythmia include:

  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Coronary artery disease
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Medications and supplements
  • Structural heart disease
  • Prior open-heart surgery
  • Obesity
  • Overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism)
  • Pericarditis
  • Smoking
  • Valvular heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Prior heart attacks
  • Older than 60 years of age

Symptoms of AFib

Atrial Fibrillation can be "silent" and not show any symptoms, but among individuals who do experience atrial fibrillation symptoms, common complaints include:

  • Rapid or slow heartbeat (palpitations)
  • Skipping beats - changes in the pattern of the pulse
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness, light-headedness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Fainting

Diagnosing AFib

Tests to find underlying heart diseases, like atrial fibrillation, may include:

Atrial Fibrillation Treatment

At Memorial Hermann, affiliated physicians provide a broad range of heart arrhythmia and atrial fibrillation treatment options, from noninvasive treatments to device therapy to minimally invasive procedures. These include:


Many medications are available to treat atrial fibrillation and other types of arrhythmia. In most cases, these medications have to be taken for the rest of the patient’s life.

Device Therapy

*Patients at Memorial Hermann have access to the innovative WATCHMAN treatment that reduces the risk of stroke caused by non-valvular Afib.

Clinical Trials & Research

Through participation in clinical research trials, our patients also have access to leading-edge treatments unavailable at other medical centers. Visit research and clinical trials to learn about current research studies related to atrial fibrillation (A Fib), or to enroll as a study participant.

Getting Started

Consult with your electrophysiologist to learn more about symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options. Don't have a cardiologist? Use physician search to find a heart specialist affiliated with Memorial Hermann or schedule an appointment with an electrophysiologist online 24/7 with ScheduleNow.

To learn more about atrial fibrillation, our cardiologists, or treatment facilities please use our contact form here or call us at (713) 222-2273.