Atrial fibrillation is an abnormal heart rhythm characterized by rapid and irregular beating of the atrial chambers of the heart. It often begins as short periods of abnormal beating, which become longer or continuous over time. It may also start as other forms of arrhythmia such as atrial flutter that then transform into AF. Episodes can be asymptomatic. Symptomatic episodes may involve heart palpitations, fainting, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, or chest pain. Atrial fibrillation is associated with an increased risk of heart failure, dementia, and stroke. It is a type of supraventricular tachycardia. High blood pressure and valvular heart disease are the most common modifiable risk factors for AF. Other heart-related risk factors include heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy, and congenital heart disease. In low- and middle-income countries, valvular heart disease is often attributable to rheumatic fever.

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