Atrial fibrillation (AF or A-fib) is an abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia) characterized by the rapid and irregular beating of the atrial chambers of the heart. It often begins as short periods of abnormal beating which become longer or continuous over time. It may also start as other forms of arrhythmia such as atrial flutter that then transform into AF. Often episodes have no symptoms. Occasionally there may be heart palpitations, fainting, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, or chest pain.
The disease is associated with an increased risk of heart failure, dementia, and stroke. It is a type of supraventricular tachycardia.