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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Why does atrial fibrillation take so long to diagnose?

    I was finally diagnosed with atrial fibrillation but it has taken forever since the first time I reported my symptoms. At one point the doctors even thought it was lupus or a thyroid problem. Why is it so difficult to diagnose atrial fibrillation?
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  • 2


    Dr Michael Davis

    Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

    Electrophysiologist and pioneer in catheter ablation and in the management of atrial fibrillation. Expertise in arrhythmia device therapy, coronary care, echocardiography. View Profile

    It generally isn't hard to diagnose but not everyone, and this presumably includes you, has symptoms such as palpitation which point toward the diagnosis. Some with AF have no symptoms at all and the arrhythmia is found incidentally at, for example, a routine medical visit. This is the reason that everyone should become familiar with his or her own pulse and take it from time to time. 

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