Causes and Diagnoses

Causes and Diagnoses of Atrial Fibrillation

As you age, your risk for developing atrial fibrillation increases. Other causes of atrial fibrillation include:

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Dysfunction of the sinus node (the "natural pacemaker" of the heart)
  • Heart failure
  • Mitral valve disorders
  • Rheumatic heart disease
  • Pericarditis (inflammation of the sac surrounding the heart)
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Family history of atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation can also occur in conjunction with a heart attack or after heart surgery.

Diagnosing atrial fibrillation

At Northwestern Medicine, the Center for Heart Rhythm Disorders, which includes electrophysiologists (cardiology heart rhythm specialists), cardiac surgeons and specially trained nurses and technicians, provides a range of non-invasive and minimally invasive procedures to help diagnose atrial fibrillation.

Meet the Atrial Fibrillation Team

Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute is a nationally recognized destination for those who require highly specialized cardiovascular care.