Atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation

Find reliable independent health and treatment information about atrial fibrillation written by Australian experts. This includes resources for consumers and health professionals.

About atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation is a condition where the heart beats irregularly, often faster than normal.

An irregular heartbeat means that blood isn’t pumped through the heart with the usual force, allowing blood to pool in one of the chambers of the heart. As a result, blood clots can form, which can travel through the blood vessels to other parts of the body. These blood clots can block the blood supply to the brain and cause a stroke.

Find out more about atrial fibrillation, and the symptoms and causes of atrial fibrillation.

Many people with atrial fibrillation are prescribed an anticoagulant medicine (e.g. warfarin) to prevent blood clots. You may also be prescribed other medicines to control the rate or rhythm of your heart. Find out more about the medicines and treatments for atrial fibrillation.

Find out more

For health professionals  

Many patients with atrial fibrillation are at elevated risk of stroke. Such patients - even those at risk of bleeding - need treatment with an anticoagulant. After correcting risk factors for bleeding, warfarin should be considered the first option to prevent stroke. Other oral anticoagulants are available - but note that all oral anticoagulants will require routine clinical monitoring.

Our CPD activities

Consolidate your knowledge on atrial fibrillation, brush-up on current guidelines and practices and earn CPD points through our learning activities.

For your patients

Use the following tools and resources in your consultations with patients.

Clinical information

The information below is intended for health professionals and is taken from the latest guidelines and evidence to help them and their patients with atrial fibrillation using warfarin.

Other resources

Related information - atrial fibrillation


(Consumer publication)
11 Aug 2014 Stopping dabigatran suddenly is dangerous, and could put you at risk of blood clots, leading to a stroke. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits in your particular situation before making any decision about stopping dabigatran.
For health professionals (Health professional publication)
11 Aug 2014 Data suggesting variation in plasma concentration of dabigatran (Pradaxa) affects clinical outcomes contradicts key marketing claims. These data imply that, like warfarin, close monitoring would optimise dabigatran treatment. Does this change practice?
(Media release)
06 Aug 2014 With anticoagulant medicine dabigatran (brand name Pradaxa) in the news this week following reports that safety information about the medicine had been withheld by the manufacturer, NPS MedicineWise is reminding people not to stop taking it without talking to their doctor.
For health professionals (CPD activity)
27 May 2014 Consider appropriate anticoagulation for a patient with atrial fibrillation.
For health professionals (Medicine)
08 May 2014 The vitamin K antagonist warfarin and the newer oral anticoagulants dabigatran and rivaroxaban are approved treatments for stroke prevention in people with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF), but dabigatran and rivaroxaban are not PBS listed for this indication. Read about which people with non-valvular AF need anticoagulation and the role of these different medicines.
For health professionals (Tool / resource)
15 Jan 2014 Use this interactive decision tool with patients who are starting oral anticoagulants.
(Consumer publication)
30 Sep 2013 Dabigatran is a medicine that is used to help prevent a stroke in people with a condition called atrial fibrillation. People with atrial fibrillation are more likely to develop a blood clot in their heart. The blood clot can then move to the brain and cause a stroke.
(Media release)
01 Sep 2013 NPS MedicineWise is reiterating safety messages around the newer anticoagulants dabigatran (Pradaxa) and apixaban (Eliquis) following their PBS listing for preventing stroke on 1 September 2013 – and again for rivaxabaran (Xarelto) which was PBS listed in August for the same purpose.
(Media release)
01 Sep 2013 NPS MedicineWise is reiterating safety messages around the newer anticoagulant medicines dabigatran (brand name Pradaxa) and apixaban (Eliquis) with their PBS listing for preventing stroke on 1 September 2013. The safety messages also apply for rivaroxaban (Xarelto) which was PBS-listed last month.
For health professionals (Tool / resource)
02 Aug 2013 A decision tool for use with patients who are continuing on warfarin