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Atrial Fibrillation - When to Call a Doctor

Call 911 or other emergency services immediately if you:

  • Have symptoms of a heart attack, such as chest pain or pressure, shortness of breath, and nausea.
  • Have symptoms of a stroke, 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.

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Call your doctor if you have:

  • An irregular heart rate.
  • Heart palpitations.
  • 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 or other emergency services immediately if you:

  • 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 any unusual bleeding, such as:

  • Nosebleeds.
  • Vaginal bleeding that is different (heavier, more frequent, at a different time of the month) than what you are used to.
  • Bloody or black stools, or rectal bleeding.
  • Bloody or pink urine.

Who to see

The following health professionals can detect, diagnose and, in some cases, treat atrial fibrillation:

The following specialists can treat people who have severe symptoms:

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 05, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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