Atrial Fibrillation Complications

Authored by Dr Colin Tidy, 21 Sep 2017

Patient is a certified member of
The Information Standard

Reviewed by:
Dr Adrian Bonsall, 21 Sep 2017

The main complication of atrial fibrillation (AF) is an increased risk of having a stroke. AF causes turbulent blood flow in the heart chambers.

An increased risk of having a stroke (or other blood clot problem)

This sometimes leads to a small blood clot forming in a heart chamber.

A clot can travel through the blood vessels until it becomes stuck in a smaller blood vessel in the brain (or sometimes in another part of the body). Part of the blood supply to the brain may then be cut off, which causes a stroke.

The individual risk of developing a blood clot and having a stroke depends on various factors. The level of risk can be calculated by your doctor using a set of specific questions. This will help to decide what treatments are required. All people except those at the lowest risk will be offered medication to help prevent clots from forming.

Read more about preventing stroke when you have atrial fibrillation.

Other complications

Less common complications of AF include the following:

AF can also reduce the amount of exercise you're able to do. It has also been shown that AF can affect some brain functions like memory, attention and reasoning. AF can therefore have a big effect on your quality of life.

Further reading and references

been put on this for last couple of years, feel it makes me depressed.last night i woke with a nosebleed, not huge but have never had one before and i am over 60.i think its been caused by warfarin...

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