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.

Six niche centers within Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offer patient focused, specialized care, making Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute a leading destination for both initial diagnoses and second opinions. These niche programs include physicians, nurses and a range of multidisciplinary specialists working with patients to navigate the complex health care system, ensuring continuity of care and a seamless shift from inpatient to outpatient services and ultimately home.

Contact Us
To schedule an appointment or inquire about services at Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, please call 312.NM.HEART (664.3278).

Cardiovascular Clinical Trials
For information regarding cardiovascular clinical trials:

Referring Physicians
Open communication and cooperation with referring physicians is a critical component of achieving high-quality care and minimizing the challenges that come with treating cardiovascular conditions. For physician-to-physician consultation regarding the best patient care, please contact Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at 312.NM.HEART (664.3278).



Six niche centers within Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offer patient focused, specialized care, making Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute a leading destination for both initial diagnoses and second opinions. These niche programs include physicians, nurses and a range of multidisciplinary specialists working with patients to navigate the complex health care system, ensuring continuity of care and a seamless shift from inpatient to outpatient services and ultimately home.

Contact Us
To schedule an appointment or inquire about services at Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital, please call 847.53.HEART (534.3278).

Cardiovascular Clinical Trials
For information regarding cardiovascular clinical trials:



Six niche centers within Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offer patient focused, specialized care, making Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute a leading destination for both initial diagnoses and second opinions. These niche programs include physicians, nurses and a range of multidisciplinary specialists working with patients to navigate the complex health care system, ensuring continuity of care and a seamless shift from inpatient to outpatient services and ultimately home.

Contact Us
To schedule an appointment or inquire about services at Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital or Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital, please call 630.232.0280

Cardiovascular Clinical Trials
For information regarding cardiovascular clinical trials: