Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained heart rhythm disturbance.

AF becomes more prevalent with advancing age and affects around 1% of the population.

In AF, the upper chambers of the heart (the atria) are beating erratically, leading the pumping chambers (the ventricles) to beat irregularly.

AF is associated with an increased risk of stroke compared to the normal rhythm (“sinus rhythm”).

People with AF therefore need to have their risk of stroke evaluated in order to determine whether they need medication (“anticoagulation”) to prevent blood clots from forming.

Frequently AF causes symptoms such as fatigue, lethargy, breathlessness, dizziness, shortness of breath and chest tightness.

AF may start and stop spontaneously (usually within 7 days) and this is termed “paroxysmal” AF. If it is sustained for longer than 7 days or requires intervention to restore sinus rhythm, the AF is considered “persistent”.

The priorities in treatment of people with AF are:

1) Assessing and reducing the risk of stroke

2) Controlling the heart rate

3) Restoring and maintaining the normal (“sinus”) rhythm, when this strategy improves the individual’s quality of life

External links for more information


It's now a year since my ablation. I'm writing to thank you and say I've never felt better, able to walk a couple of miles, don't get at all breathless, plenty of energy - so thank you again for giving me my life back!

I have very much appreciated your taking the time to explain my condition and the treatment to me in such detail and also to answer any questions as they came up. Thanks to your support I felt confident about the level of care and treatment I was receiving before and during the procedure.
Thank you again for your kindness, treatment and support.

Since my procedure I have not had a single episode of AF. I’m sure you’re aware of the benefits of ablation but I can only say, from my perspective, what a huge difference the successful LACA has made to my quality of life.