Atrial fibrillation (AF) is recognised as the most common sustained cardiac arrhythmia in clinical practice. Ongoing drug development is aiming at obtaining atrial specific effects in order to prevent pro-arrhythmic, devastating ventricular effects. In principle, this is possible due to a different ion channel composition in the atria and ventricles. The present text will review the aetiology of arrhythmias with focus on AF and include a description of cardiac ion channels. Channels that constitute potentially atria-selective targets will be described in details. Specific focus is addressed to the recent discovery that Ca(2+)-activated small conductance K(+) channels (SK channels) are important for the repolarisation of atrial action potentials. Finally, an overview of current pharmacological treatment of AF is included.