Atrial fibrillation is a common abnormal heart rhythm. In atrial fibrillation, the upper heart chambers (atria) contract rapidly. Only some of the atrial beats pass to the lower heart chambers (ventricles). The heartbeat becomes irregular, leading to inefficient pumping of blood. Sometimes the cause of atrial fibrillation is unknown, but it is often due to underlying heart conditions, high blood pressure, overactive thyroid, or too much alcohol. Some people with atrial fibrillation have no symptoms, while others have a fluttering sensation in the chest, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, or chest pain. A dangerous complication of atrial fibrillation is stroke. Stroke occurs because blood clots form in the atria and travel to the brain. Blood thinners (anticoagulation) can prevent stroke in atrial fibrillation. Other treatments include medications to slow the heartbeat (rate control) or to convert it to normal rhythm (cardioversion). Doctors can use medications (medical cardioversion) or electricity (electrical cardioversion) to change atrial fibrillation to normal rhythm.