Can AF triggered by strobe lights? - AF Association

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Can AF triggered by strobe lights?


Hi. Just been on a cruise for 2 weeks and for the best part I have been well apart from one evening when we went to the onboard show, like we had on a few previous evenings, however this time I was sat closer to the front and in direct firing line of some strobe lighting. Up until getting to the theatre the day had been uneventful and even while sat waiting for the show to start I was fine. Within 2 minutes of the strobe lights starting along with loud music I started to feel very odd. Within 10 minutes I had to leave and noticed my pulse went from 60 bpm to over 130 bpm. Not long after that the irregular heart beat started so I made my way back to my cabin took some flecanaide and bisoprolol and started to feel better within the hour.

It was a very strange event and just wondered if anyone else had had an AF episode start when in an environment with strobe lighting and loud music?

11 Replies

I can relate to getting anxious with loud music (not sure about strobe lighting)

Before my AF was diagnosed and I was in a situation with thumping base music, I had to leave because 'I didn't feel right'.

Now I'm wondering if it was to do with my heart.


in reply to Happysuz

I am affected by a heavy base beat. Even if I stay inN.S.R. I really don't feel good and am super aware of my heartbeat. It's a shame as I like rock music or rather, I did! It only happens if it is live music. X

I had to leave a wedding reception recently because the loud music affected me badly. I felt traumatised for days afterwards. If it caused AF then I was unaware of it but monitors have picked up silent episodes in the past.

Flashing lights are my migraine triggers.


Yes, definitely affects me .......I have to plug my ears with tissues to deaden the noise!


I do not see how strobe lighting can possibly bring on AF but I do know that deep vibrations caused by loud music can affect some people. Not just music in fact but vibration in general. I once felt very ill at a well known shopping centre when the vibration on the balcony caused by countless tramping feet got to me. Nobody else in my party was aware of it which just goes to show what a strange bunch we AF-ers are.


Strobe lights affect the brain adversely in some people, so it makes sense to me that the heart can get involved too. I avoid flashing lights and dodgy strip lights which flicker ever since I went headfirst into a supermarket chest freezer which I was searching in. The cause was a faulty strip light which made me dizzy.

Nothing to do with AF, but the brain and heart are as one - just my thoughts.

Yes loud music affects me badly also. I have a pacemaker now so Arrythmia better but too much loud music can still be a problem especially if I am already a little tired.

I think the problem with AF generally is that it is so devastating on sufferers lives that all medical resources are thrown at controlling the condition and bringing some order and normality to the sufferers life. There seems very little work being done as to the root cause of the condition. It maybe some root causes arise from a predisposition to the condition, some maybe genetic, some maybe diet, others may involve chemicals, others may involve electro hypersensitivity and so it all goes on. Summing up it may be an amalgam of the above, a genetic predisposition to the effects of a range of modern technology - including sound and lighting.

As a society we also tend to mock what appears to be outlandish theories as to causes along the lines of 'oh! that can't be the case'. So automatically we shut ourselves off from possible root causes. When in doubt put the blinkers on !

I absolutely think that your onsets were directly caused by the conditions you describe. No doubt. BUT I cannot scientifically or medically prove it so nobody is interested.

The one thing that is consistent with AF it seems is that its different for every body. I recently ran a disco, strobe lights flashing coloured lights and UV , four 15 inch speakers no problems. But heavy work in the garden using a petrol hedge cutter is guaranteed too bring on my AF.

I found the base drum from live music felt as if it was reverberating in my chest and was most unpleasant. I was worried it would set off my AF and kept my handbag clutched in front if my chest to dull the effect of the drum vibration. I didn't go into Afib, but will avoid sitting near the speakers if I go to another live gig!

I can relate to this. Ive only recently just been diagnosed with AF, but last New year I went to see a live band and could only get a seat next to the stage side not far from a speaker. Within a few mins of the band playing I could feel the vibration of the drum beat through my whole body and felt like my chest and body were pounding with the beat. I felt it into my throat and my head and I felt as if I was going deaf lol. I had to ask my friend for us to move as i started to feel like my body was under stress. Even when we were stood at the back of the hall I still felt my body pounding but not as intense. I had to make excuses to go to the loo nd was relieved to get away from the noise. I had a feeling then something wasnt right because id never been affected like that before. It was a really good band and didnt wsnt to spoil my friends night but I was soo relived by the end of the night to go home and get away from the noise. When i got home my body felt as if it had been on a really fast rollercoaster ride all night. Looking back I think I may have had AF then but never knew it.

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