Main content

    Types of Atrial Fibrillation

    Several terms are used to describe AF...the most recent defined by the Heart Rhythm Society are:

    • Lone or Primary Atrial Fibrillation is a form of AF with no cause or associated abnormalities of the heart function.

    • Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation (PAF) generally implies that recurrent episodes of atrial fibrillation occur and terminate spontaneously.

    • Persistent Atrial Fibrillation is defined as AF which is sustained beyond seven days, or lasting less than seven days but necessitating pharmacological or electrical cardioversion.
    Lone and paroxysmal AF tend to be seen more in younger people, usually between ages 30-50.

    Recently, the Heart Rhythm Society eliminated the term "permanent AF" and instead added the term "long-standing AF." This is defined as greater than one year duration with no attempt or success to be converted to normal rhythm.