Living with Atrial Fibrillation – Diagnosis and Treatment

September 1, 2015 Brigham and Women's Hospital

It is important to treat atrial fibrillation, because the condition can worsen over time.

Are you or a family member one of the two million Americans living with atrial fibrillation? Atrial fibrillation (AFIB, AF) is an abnormal heart rhythm that causes the upper chambers of the heart to beat in a rapid, irregular pattern. Seeking AFib treatment is important, as the condition can progress over time. Untreated, AFib can lead to an increased risk of stroke or heart failure.

Symptoms of atrial fibrillation can include palpitations, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, and fatigue. Although the exact cause of AFib is not completely understood, it often is associated with increased age, sleep apnea, surgery, and a number of heart ailments, including hypertension, valvular heart disease, heart failure,  or congenital heart disease. AFib treatment typically  includes medication or ablation therapy.

In the following video, Julie Shea, NP, Program Coordinator for the Living with Atrial Fibrillation Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), talks about atrial fibrillation diagnosis, treatment, and research.


The Cardiac Arrhythmia Service, part of the Shapiro Cardiovascular Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, is an internationally recognized leader in arrhythmia treatment.

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- Marissa K.
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