Is AF hereditary

Hi I have had AF that I have known about for 10 years had a ablation in October last year and so far so good no AF. What I would like to know is AF hereditary as my 19 year old daughter has been having odd fluttering last few months, but today went on treadmill and had to come off felt faint like she was going to pass out.  She said it was awful heart felt like it was beating out of her chest for about 30 seconds. Has anyone any advice would be grateful.


15 Replies

  • I do believe that it tends to run in families. My father's sister had it and two male cousins (brothers)  have it too.

    I have a friend who has it and her brother and sister have both been diagnosed with it.

  • There is a possibility, Rob as it can run in families.   I believe it was AF that my mother had in the 1960's when she was told it was merely palpitations but was not diagnosed beyond that.

    Has your daughter had thyroid tests done?  I had teenage over-active thyroid which caused a very fast heart rate exactly like your daughter describes but treatment of the cause restored my heart rhythm for almost 50 years.

  • Thank you for replies will ask about Throid . Rob

  • My grandmother and my mother had it

  • There is enough anecdotal evidence to suggest that AF can be genetic but as usual there is little in the way of scientific research on the subject. This is in part due to the fact that until say 25 years ago AF was not considered a problem and just something to be put up with. The link with stroke was unknown at that time and since more females than males tend to have it it was often put down to "your age dear" or hysteria. I'm not being patronising here by the way girls just factual.

    I agree with others above that your daughter should speak to her doctor about what happened and get some basic tests done and in the meantime go a bit easier on the treadmill. I do recall once greying out whilst trying to beat my personal best 2k row at a gym but thinking this was normal. I had been seeing my GP for some time complaining about fluttering in my solar plexus but as usual in those days he was ignorant of AF and it took another five years to be diagnosed. One hopes that 17 years later things have improved.


  • Kirchhof et al document genetic inheritance as a validated risk factor for AF. They list six different studies finding risk factors varying from 10% to 90%.

    My paternal grandfather and my father's brother both died of strokes, so I wonder whether they may have had undiagnosed AF.

  • There was an article in one of the BHF magazines last year about Professor Kirchhof and his research. They've identified the gene that they think is at the root of AF and the research is now starting to look at why AF kicks in when it does.

    My paternal grandfather and dad both had / have permanent AF and it looks as though my sister may also be starting to experience the odd episode.

    Strange that when I was first diagnosed a couple of years ago and mentioned a potential hereditary link, my GP at the time said she hadn't heard of anything like that before, but now it's one of the first questions you get asked!!


  • That's the one.

  • My brother had it too although our parents didn't.  Both had pacemakers He at 42 me at 49. He had stroke at 54 as he was only on clopedigrel  then a bleed on his kidney. My poor bro went on to get restrictive cardiomyopathy, had a heart transplant which he sadly died after 1 month. Aged 64  so sad   

    My family are now being checked for hereditary factors by Addenbrooks. I seem to just have Af from sick sinus syndrome, thank goodness. 

    My daughters all get flutters sometimes.  Hope and pray they don't get AF.  

  • I know my mother had it but it went untreated. She lived to the ripe old age of 82.

    I had palpitations in my teens but because my mother had been told it was nothing to worry about I ignored mine. Had a stroke 2 years ago due to AF. Get your daughter to a GP just to be safe.

  • That set me wondering:

    I'm surprised it was that long ago.

  • Thank you everyone for all your replies have started ball rolling and daughter is having a ecg tomorrow. So will take it from there. 


  • My dad has af and so do i

  • There is certainly a genetic factor but it is just one of many factors and does not mean your daughter has AF – she may have a different heart arrhythmia or her faintness and palpitation could be due to an adrenaline response to exercise. 

    Anyway there is no need to guess: if her symptoms happen regularly with using the treadmill she can easily have an exercise ECG test (stress test) on a treadmill and it will show what is wrong.

    Heart arrhythmias may happen after a virus illness and go on for a few months brefore fading away, so she may find that the problem settles down before any definite diagnosis can be made.

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