Atrial Fibrillation



You might not even know if you have atrial fibrillation (Afib). Your doctor may detect Afib when listening to your heart with a stethoscope or palpation of the pulse during a physical exam; however, an Afib diagnosis is confirmed by an electrocardiogram or ECG (see below). In addition to an ECG, other tests can also help confirm or rule out an Afib diagnosis:

  • Echocardiogram (echo, Doppler, or heart ultrasound) – This noninvasive test uses sound waves to create a moving picture of your heart.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) – This test records the electrical activity in your heart. It can detect abnormalities in your heart's rhythm and certain patterns that suggest portions of the heart may not get enough blood flow.
  • Holter monitor – This small, box-shaped device records your heart’s rate and rhythm, usually throughout 24 to 48 hours, and can help identify heart failure.
  • Implantable Loop Recording – This medical device is placed in your chest beneath your skin to record data about heart events over a long period of time—up to two years. This type of monitoring can help diagnose someone who has infrequent symptoms.
  • Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE) ­– This test is performed under sedation when a traditional echocardiogram may not have provided enough information. An echotransducer, a device that produces high-frequency sound waves, is passed down your esophagus to look closely at your heart valves and chambers to check for abnormalities.