When to Call a Doctor
Some symptoms of atrial fibrillation need urgent medical evaluation.
Call 911 or other emergency services immediately if you:
- Have Reference symptoms of a heart attack Opens New Window, such as chest pain or pressure, shortness of breath, and nausea.
- Have Reference signs of a stroke Opens New Window, such as sudden vision changes; trouble speaking; or numbness, tingling, weakness, or loss of movement in your face or an arm or a leg.
- Feel faint and have an irregular heartbeat.
If you see someone pass out, call 911 or other emergency services immediately.
Call your doctor if you have:
- An irregular heart rate.
- Reference Heart palpitations Opens New Window.
- Periods of unexplained lightheadedness, dizziness, or confusion.
- An episode of fainting or you come close to fainting for no apparent reason.
- Shortness of breath that gets worse with exercise.
If you take a blood thinner
If you take blood-thinning medicine, such as an anticoagulant or aspirin, watch for signs of bleeding.
Call 911 if:
- You cough up blood.
- You vomit blood or what looks like coffee grounds.
- You pass maroon or very bloody stools.
- You have a sudden, severe headache that is different from past headaches. (It may be a sign of bleeding in the brain.)
Call your doctor right away if:
- You have new bruises or blood spots under your skin.
- You have a nosebleed that doesn't stop quickly.
- Your gums bleed when you brush your teeth.
- You have blood in your urine.
- Your stools are black and look like tar or have streaks of blood.
- You have heavy period bleeding or vaginal bleeding when you are not having your period.
If you are injured, apply pressure to stop the bleeding. Realize that it will take longer than you are used to for the bleeding to stop. If you can't get the bleeding to stop, call your doctor.
Who to see
The following health professionals can detect, diagnose and, in some cases, treat atrial fibrillation:
- Reference General practitioner Opens New Window
- Reference Family doctor Opens New Window
- Reference Internist Opens New Window
- Reference Nurse practitioner (NP) Opens New Window
- Reference Physician assistant (PA) Opens New Window
The following specialists can treat people with severe symptoms:
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference May 9, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference John M. Miller, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology