Exams and Tests
If you suspect you have atrial fibrillation – or when you first find out you have it – your care team will ask about your symptoms, review your medical history and perform a physical exam. Based on this information, your care team may order other tests to help plan your treatment. These tests include:
- Electrocardiogram (ECG): Small electrodes are attached to your arms and chest to record electrical signals from your heart. This is the main way AFib is diagnosed.
- Heart ECG monitor: A heart ECG monitor (examples include a Holter or event monitor) allows for your heart’s electrical activity to be recorded over a longer period of time (hours to weeks). It can show whether you are going in and out of AFib or whether you have a persistent form of AFib.
- Echocardiogram: A test that uses sound waves from a device called a transducer to image your heart. It can show whether you have a problem with the structure of your heart, such as a weakened heart muscle or heart valve disease. This test can be done non-invasively over your chest. Sometimes using a device that is passed through your throat under sedation is needed to rule out blood clots in the heart.
- Blood tests: Your care team may order blood tests to check for thyroid or kidney problems.
- Stress test: Your care team may order a stress test to look for possible blockages in the arteries supplying your heart.