Atrial Fibrillation

leokaren
By leokaren Latest Reply 2011-01-24 01:39:59 -0600
Started 2010-11-17 18:20:40 -0600

I was recently diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. Any comments, advice, etc. are welcome.


13 replies

HeartHawk
HeartHawk 2010-12-12 16:53:41 -0600 Report

Leo,

Lot's of people here with Afib conditions so this community is a good resource. Yeah, they can be frustrating. Here is some advice based on what I have seen and discussions with cardiologists.

  1. Afib can be relatively benign and controlled. The biggest problem is with pooling/clotting of blood and clots subsequently going to the brain. Your doc may prescribe a blood thinner to combat this.

  2. Have every test you can get to define the root cause of your specific condition. EKG's, echo-cardiograms, Holter monitors. even a full electro-physiology work-up to gain command and ease your mind. This not only gives you the information you need but may also relieve stress if this is a factor.

  3. I once had a prominent cardiologist remark that putting in a pacemaker was a routine procedure and the equivalent (for him anyway) of a appendectomy surgery. It sounds a lot more complex than it is.

  4. Seek multiple medical opinions. No one doctor has all the answers!

HH

leokaren
leokaren 2010-12-13 15:59:59 -0600 Report

HH, Thanks for the encouraging and supportive comments. Yes, I am on a blood thinner, Warfarin 2.5mg.

Thanks, Leo

GmaBobbye
GmaBobbye 2010-12-10 11:07:19 -0600 Report

I was diagnosed /w A-fib on '03. Since then, have had multiple medical problems, a heart attack and 7 surgeries in last 2 years -( most cardiac/circulatory related issues), and am currently on a handful of meds. I had a pacemaker installed 6 months ago after numerous black-outs related to extended pauses in heart beat (up to 9 seconds recorded on a Holter). I had my 6 mo. pacemaker today and passed with flying colors. No RTC for 6 months, unless I have any problems. It is set for 60 bpm.
Since then, thanks to the supurb support and care of my PCP-(a D.O.), a cardiologist-(an M.D.), a venous specialist-(a D.O.), and an OB/GYN- (also D.O.) I am in good health and as active 77 yo female (be 78 in Jan.) could hope for.
For anyone with a cardiac related diagnosis, I strongly suggest you pay attention to the nessages your body is sending to you and follow the regimen your cardiologist has set for you. Also, while you may not see the cardiologist as often as you see your PCP, they will be in contact. Also, if at atny time in the future you may be scheduled for any additional surgeries, be sure your cardiologist is aware.
Above all, minimize your salt intake, drink plenty of fluids, keep active and watch your weight. (BTW, I am a retired RN)
Wishing you health and happiness and best wishes during this holiday season. Be careful, holidays are not a good reason to over indulge in anything.

jbs2travel
jbs2travel 2011-01-24 01:34:28 -0600 Report

I have had a fib since Oct 09 and it is not controlled by meeds or ablations and am considering a pacemaker. I am glad to hear that you are so happy with yours. Any specific info you can give me?

tieleg
tieleg 2010-12-01 04:54:20 -0600 Report

Hi. Try not to worry too much about it. Your cardiologist will be the one to help you. I have had the problem for quite a few years now and the medication keeps it under control. The stress test will let them know whats going on in there. Do what the Dr. tells you and your be OK. Ignore these people who tell you how bad it is, you can live with it beating badly. I know because I have. Think positive and get on with your life

leokaren
leokaren 2010-12-02 23:19:50 -0600 Report

Thank you for the supportive and informative words. I am having a problem puting this heart business in perspective. I've had a liver transplant…took old one out, put new one in…all fixed. Had feet of bowel removed…cut it out and sew it back to good bowel…This heart thing is a "it's under control" level. I've always had things fixed, so your words are just what I needed to put things into perspective.

Thanks again,

KLH

tieleg
tieleg 2010-12-03 06:40:54 -0600 Report

Glad to help. Sorry for your problems but you seem to have them under control. I've had illness most of my life and find the positive thinking is a major help, and it sounds as though it's the same with you.

smilingabbie
smilingabbie 2010-11-19 13:19:55 -0600 Report

Hi leokaren,

I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation in April of this year, after a scary 17 hour episode in the hospital. I have had 2 episodes since then. I have had all kinds of tests: from blood tests to stress or exercise test and echo cardiogram. As far as they can tell so far, the episodes are related to stress. I've had heart palpitations since I was young, and before the first a-fib episode, the palpitations were happening with more frequency than I'd ever had before, maybe 4-5 times per day, when I'm used to having them once a week. Just before my other two episodes, the palpitations were happening every five minutes or so. I now have Metoprolol to take when I know my heart is racing and I am about to have an episode, and I've only had to use it once. It worked really well and the only side effect was making me a little drowsy, since it's job is to slow the heart.

This afternoon I am going in to see my internist to get a Holter monitor, where my heart activity is monitored for 24 hours and I keep a written diary of all my activities. Two weeks from now I go to see a cardiac electrophysiologist to see if I need to have ablation therapy. I understand the ablation therapy will stop these episodes completely, and it's a permanent solution. Down side is that there is a chance I may need a pacemaker afterward. I don't know that much about ablation except that it is recommended in patients that are younger and have many years of heart condition to live through. I'm 40. Although the thought of having a catheter wire inserted into my heart is a little scary, I trust that the specialist making this decision is basing that decision on years of experience and my own test results. It's been explained to me that no two cases of a-fib are the same, and on the bright side, it's one of the better heart conditions to have!

I wish you well, do write back and let me know what your experiences have been like.

Smilingabbie

jbs2travel
jbs2travel 2011-01-24 01:39:59 -0600 Report

I have had 2 ablations - the first one worked for about 8 months, the 2nd one for about 3 weeks. Drugs do not control my a fib and I never 'convert' on my own. I was 63 when I had my 1st ablation, no problems, 1 night in hospital, then take it easy for about 1 week. I am now in discussions with my cardio doc about a pacemaker which should solve the problem permanently. When my a fib first started it was really scary, but now I am used to it and just pace myself. Very tiring when my heart is beating 112-120 beats a minute. Hope all goes well for you; let me know what you decide to do

leokaren
leokaren 2010-11-19 23:02:51 -0600 Report

Thanks for your comments; sounds like there have been some frustrating experiencs with your heart. I was just diagnosed last week so have had no real experiences with A-fib. I started 2 months ago, when my stress test showed something "funny". Followed with acatheerization which didn't show any thing. two weeks ago I had an echo done. On Tues 11/9, I met with my cardiologist to discuss it. "It's fine, you have a very strong heart. However, at the beginning of each visit, I get an EKG…it showed atrial fib. I am 67. I will see my doc early Dec. for next step, or treatment plan.

Best wishes with your heart.

Later,

Leo

smilingabbie
smilingabbie 2010-11-21 21:44:01 -0600 Report

Hi Leo,

Thank you for your reply! In discussion with a RN friend of mine, I found out my a-fib is not as serious as it can be. She said she has seen people whose heart is in a-fib all day, every day and they take pills and they live with it as best they can. When I did a stress test, it came out normal. Same with the echo. And every doctor's appointment since April, I have an ECG and they are always normal. What's really disappointing is that they may never know what is causing it, if my heart appears to be normal and healthy. After I was admitted to emergency for my fist bad episode, they asked me if I had been binge drinking recently. Since I can pretty much count the number of drinks per year on one hand, I said no. Then they asked if I had my thyroid checked, as a hormone imbalance can cause it too. The only thing the bloodwork found was a small deficiency in potassium once, and magnesium another time . So if eating some banana or taking potassium or magnesium supplements will help, I don't mind!

Take good care,
Smilingabbie