AF

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I have just been diagnosed with AF at the weekend , I am a 52 year old female . I have been looking about to see what it means and I'm now terrified , I have to the shock treatment to hopefully rectify the rhythm , can anyone give me any advise or tip x thanks 

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  • Posted

    Hi Bernadette

    Perhaps the first thing to say is that the condition is not life threatening. Yes it certainly can be scary but if you can think of ways to de-stress that will help. Also avoid caffeine and alcohol which are often triggers. If the shock treatment doesn't work then the main management would medical and it will be a case of getting the right combination of dosage and type that suits you. If medication is not working then there is always the ablation procedure and that has a good success rate second time round.

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  • Posted

    Please don't worry - I was diagnosed 2 years ago, was put on warfarin as doc felt if I'd had it for some time the shock treatment wouldn't work. My surgery has a warfarin clinic and at first I went weekly till the dose was correct then you can go longer between each visit. What wasn't discovered at the time as stethoscope not used ! was that I had a leaky heart valve!!!!!!  Had no symptoms apart from a 2 year cough due to fluid on lung from leaky valve!! Lucky they found it! After a 7 month wait I had op in Jan to repair the valve, a great success luckily

    early heart

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    • Posted

      I know how you feel, my Mum had lots of little strokes (trans ischemic attacks) which caused vascular dementia so I too dread it, but be assured that the warfarin really does help - I (and maybe you too) could have had AF for years and didn't know so we're doing the right thing!! 
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    • Posted

      I would change doctors if I were you. Diagnosed you with AF and did not use a stethoscope and then told you that as he thought that you had AF for some time that Cardioversion would not work.

      My aortic stenosis was discovered by chance when I had a thorough examination when trying to get on a new BP treatment programme before any noticeable symptoms appeared.

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  • Posted

    Oops! Posted too early!  Just to say I had op and all was well, they did the Maze procedure to try and get me back in rhythm during the op and have to wear a heart monitor for a week to check if I can come off warfarin. However if not then I am lucky that I have no bad side effects from warfarin and know it is lessening my chances of a stroke.  I hope the ablation works for you, all the best. 
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  • Posted

    Worry not, people live with AF for years and you probably read of the worst cases. Did your AF just suddenly start or was there a reason for it? In my case it was as a result of having my aortic valve replaced. I was hardly aware of even having AF at that point. The first cardioversion a few days after surgery did not work so I was put on Warfarin, Amiodarone and Bisoprolol until I had a second successful cardioversion three months later.

    The cardioversion is nothing to worry about, you’re sedated, you wake up and are hopefully told that it was successful and the next day life is normal. If it is not they will do it again a few weeks later. At that point I was taken off Bisoprolol as I normally have a very slow heart rate but kept on Warfarin and Amiodarone. My surgeon said to continue them for three months and stop them if still in sinus rhythm. The cardiologist had other ideas so I stuck with the surgeons advice.  

    Perhaps once you have had AF you may be disposed to get it again. I had a colonoscopy last December and the probe stimulated my vagus nerve and put me back in AF. This time I felt the fast and uneven heart beats as soon as they started. Again back on the medications and another successful cardioversion in March.

    You get conflicting instruction from different cardiologists at the same hospital. I did not want to take Amiodarone again (Google the history of Amiodarone) BNF and other journals say that Amiodarone should only be prescribed for life threatening Arrhythmias but most dish them out like Smarties.

     The first one said that Bisoprolol was sufficient but a few weeks later a more junior registrar said that I could not have a cardioversion if I had not been taking Amiodarone for eight weeks. She did not tell me that my Warfarin should initially be reduced when starting Amiodarone as it enhances the effect of it. As a result my INR went from 2.1 to 3.9 within a few days.

    At many hospitals now cardioversion is done by specialist nurses and this has cut the waiting times down where I live.

      

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    • Posted

      Hi Derek , I was watching tv in the middle of the night when it started I didn't have a clue what was going on , it lasted about 3 hours and I would not go to the hospital , in the morning when I put my feet on the floor it started again I went to the A&E were they very quickly diagnosed me , I was put on a drug to try and flip the rytham back as I was at 180 it came down to 14o so they 24 hours later put me on the beta blocker . I am waiting on an appointment fir the warfin clinic , then I go for the heart shock 8 weeks later , they don't know for sure what caused it but I'm self employed and I am stressed beyond belief , I think this May have been the cause , 
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    • Posted

      Hi Derek, Thanks , you seem to always give good information and advice! Was interested in your comments on Amiodarone - I read the article on it and it's very sobering reading. It seems on this AF journey tho that being on an antiarrhythmic is compulsary if beta blockers aren't working and before they consider other treatments such as cardioversion or ablation? In all your reading have you found a less toxic antiarrhythmic than amiodarone and did you decide to go back on it?

      Bernadette, yes it is scary being diagnosed with AF - I'm a few months down the track, but it does get easier as they sort out which medication/treatment is best for you. Initially I was very anxious and I think this made my symptoms worse. I know it's easier said than done to tell you to be less anxious/stressed! I tried some relaxation methods which helped and also kept telling myself that I wasn't going to die from it, nor was I going to let it rule my life! I also think getting information helps altho be selective as you can tend to read a lot of scary stories out there which aren't necessarily the norm. This site is great for support and asking others about their experiences. Hopefully the cardioversion will fix your AF, all the best and think positive!

      Cheers Maggie

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    • Posted

      My first time on Amiodarone made me unsteady on my feet and I lurched like someone with Parkinsons and my hands had a tremor. It also affecte my eyes.

      The second time I was prescribed it the tremor started again as did the floaters in my eyes but worse was loss of equilibrium and light headedness  (not like vertigo) when moving and making small turning movements  in confined spaces like the bathroom and shower where I had to keep a hand on the wall to balance myself and wash with the other. I was becoming a danger in the kitchen. This time once outside and walking I was much much steadier. 

      I Googled the symptoms and was surprised how many people had exactly the same symptoms for a variety of reasons.

      Treatments and drugs vary immensely because of the severity of the AF and the cause of it. I doubt if I would ever have gone back into AF it I had not had the colonoscopy. The cardiologist said that colonoscopy is a fairly frequent trigger of AF and agreed that my loss of equilibrium is often a side effect of Amiodarone.

      This UK Health link covers much that we need to  know on causes and drugs to control AF.

      https://patient.info/doctor/Anti-arrhythmic-Drugs.htm

       

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