If you have AF, you may experience a ‘pounding’ or ‘fluttering’ heartbeat known as heart palpitations. Some people with AF also experience symptoms such as dizziness, tiredness, shortness of breath or chest pain, or may feel faint or light headed. Some people may not notice any symptoms at all.
If AF is suspected, your doctor will check your pulse and recommend some tests to confirm the diagnosis and to look for any underlying causes (e.g. problems with the heart valves) which may include:
- An electrocardiogram (ECG) recording of your heart may be made by your GP or cardiologist, or you may have to wear a monitor for 24 hours or more. The monitor will continuously record your heart activity. Heart monitors are painless and allow your doctor to record your heart rhythm for up to several days while you carry out your normal daily activities.
- An echocardiogram (an ultrasound of the heart) will help your doctor assess the structure and overall function of your heart.
- You may have some blood tests to rule out any reversible causes of AF, e.g. A thyroid function check.