What is the initial history needed and which physical exams are performed for suspected atrial fibrillation (Afib) (AF)?

Updated: Nov 18, 2019
  • Author: Lawrence Rosenthal, MD, PhD, FACC, FHRS; Chief Editor: Jeffrey N Rottman, MD  more...
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Initial history and physical examination include the following:

  • Documentation of clinical type of AF (paroxysmal, persistent, long-standing persistent or permanent)

  • Assessment of type, duration, and frequency of symptoms

  • Assessment of precipitating factors (eg, exertion, sleep, caffeine, alcohol use)

  • Assessment of modes of termination (eg, vagal maneuvers)

  • Documentation of prior use of antiarrhythmics and rate-controlling agents

  • Assessment of presence of underlying heart disease

  • Documentation of any previous surgical or percutaneous AF ablation procedures

  • Airway, breathing, and circulation (ABCs)

  • Vital signs (particularly heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and oxygen saturation)

  • Evaluation of head and neck, lungs, heart, abdomen, lower extremities, and nervous system

See Clinical Presentation for more detail.

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