Atrial fibrillation and stroke


Atrial fibrillation is a fast or uneven heartbeat. When your blood is not flowing evenly, it can get stuck in your heart. There, it can form a blood clot. The blood clot can get pumped into the rest of the body. If it reaches the brain, it will cause a stroke. Managing atrial fibrillation will prevent blood clots from forming.

Click here to watch a series of videos to help you understand and support you with living with atrial fibrillation.


Do I have any of these signs of atrial fibrillation?

You may not feel any signs at all. But, some people notice:

  • Uneven or fast heartbeat
  • Thumping feeling in chest
  • Chest discomfort, pain or pressure
  •  Trouble breathing (mostly while active or stressed)
  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting
  • Sweating
  • Nausea

Talk to your doctor if you think you may have atrial fibrillation. Your doctor can run a test called an electrocardiogram (ECG) to see if your heart is beating normally.


How can I manage atrial fibrillation?

You may need to:

  • Take blood thinners. This will help prevent blood clots from forming in your heart. 
  • Keep your blood pressure at a healthy level. For most people, this is at or a little below 120/80.

Where to learn more about this topic:

Heart and Stroke Foundation
Atrial Fibrillation PDF