Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the Harvard Medical School


Expected Duration

How long the condition lasts depends on the cause. Atrial fibrillation caused by a treatable condition may go away when the condition is treated.

However, atrial fibrillation is often a lifelong condition. This is more likely when it has no known cause or results from a long-standing cardiac disorder.


Atrial fibrillation resulting from coronary artery disease can be prevented. Take these actions to reduce your risk:

  • Eat a low-fat diet.

  • Control cholesterol and high blood pressure.

  • Do not drink more than two alcoholic drinks per day.

  • Quit smoking.

  • Control your weight.

  • Get regular exercise.

Some causes of atrial fibrillation cannot be prevented.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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