Introduction: Acute atrial fibrillation (AAF) is the most common arrhythmia managed in the Emergency Department (ED). Direct costs of AAF are primarily attributed to ED visits and subsequent admission to hospital. A better understanding of patients attitudes regarding ED attendance is necessary to develop strategies to improve the patient care experience while simultaneously reducing ED presentation and inappropriate hospital admissions. This study aims to describe patient perspectives on ED use for AAF using in-depth qualitative interviews. Methods: An interview template designed to explore why patients attend the ED for AAF was constructed based on the Theoretical Domains Framework, a theory-informed approach that utilizes 14 domains to describe influencers of behavior. We conducted audio-recorded, semi-structured interviews of patients following their presentation to the ED for management of AAF. Interviews were anonymized, transcribed and imported into NVivo for coding and analysis. Two independent reviewers used a direct approach to code participant statements. Discrepancies were resolved by a third party. Belief statements were generated and relevant domains identified based on high frequency scores, conflicting belief statements or evidence of strong influencing beliefs. Results: 12 patient interviews, mean age 63.1 years, 91.7% male, 75.0% recurrent AAF, were completed. Patients stated that they attended the ED because: 1) symptom severity; 2) they were instructed by physicians to attend the ED should their AAF recur; and 3) they were encouraged by family members to attend. Their primary goal was to have relief of their symptoms. There was no expectation of specialist consultation or admission to hospital. Even though most patients stated they were open to managing these episodes independently, they reported that they did not have the knowledge or tools to do so. Conclusion: Patients with AAF present to the ED because of their symptom burden, social influences (physician and family) and lack of other management options. This study demonstrates the need for development of patient self-management strategies which will empower patients in their disease management and may decrease future ED visits.