Heart Home > Atrial Fibrillation Diagnosis
In order to make a definitive diagnosis of atrial fibrillation, a healthcare provider considers a person's symptoms and performs a complete physical exam. He or she will likely also order certain tests. Tests used to make a diagnosis include an EKG, blood tests, and a Holter monitor test.
A diagnosis of atrial fibrillation is usually made based on a description of the symptoms and the patient's medical history (see Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation), a thorough physical exam, and certain tests and procedures.
As part of the medical history, the healthcare provider will ask a number of questions, including questions about:
Family history of medical conditions
Social history, including alcohol use and smoking.
The healthcare provider will also perform a physical exam looking for signs and symptoms of atrial fibrillation. An irregular pulse, which your doctor may detect just by listening to your heart with a stethoscope, may be the first sign that your symptoms are due to atrial fibrillation.
If your doctor suspects that you may have atrial fibrillation, he or she may order additional tests. The specific tests ordered may be partly determined by these other health concerns. Some of the tests used for making an atrial fibrillation diagnosis include:
- Electrocardiogram (EKG)
- Holter monitor
- Event monitor
- Blood tests, including thyroid tests
- Electrophysiology study (EPS).