Anyone have atrial fibrillation but told it's a low risk?

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My husband of 60 found he had a fib after a chest infection last May. He has had lots of tests. He was told it was only 1% chance he'd have a stroke as he's other wise healthy. But he has the irregular heart beat constantly, not occasionally. No symptoms. After his last monitor test his heartbeat was 220 bpm after playing squash and the consultant wasn't happy and put him on beta blockers. I presume that means playing squash isn't a good idea! But husband says he'll never stop playing squash! I am very worried! What does anybody think?

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  • Posted

    As a paroxysmal AF sufferer I would not engage in anything that raises the pulse to squash levels, it just increases the risk. Excercise is encouraged but more moderately. Also look carefully at possible side-effects of his meds. to make sure that his condition is not aggravated by these as I've been down this road.
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  • Posted

    Could you elaborate on the side effects you mentioned Marco please. Lynn
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  • Posted

    Best to give it time to see what effects may occur. He will notice. Everyone is affected in different ways.

    After two days on beta blocker my heart rate went from 150 bpm to 36 bpm so I halved the dosage and it is now in the 50's.

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  • Posted

    Although 200bpm is very high, if the heartbeat is regular the risk is not so high. However if the heart is fibrilating (the heart wall is quivering and not pumping properly) it is possible for small pool of blood to gather in the middle of the heart and form a clot, This can can be extremely dangerous and may cause a stroke. I would recommend taking a more casual approach to the squash for a time just to be safe.
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  • Posted

    A beta blocker is not much in the way of medication. I would have expected him to be prescribed Warfarin.
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  • Posted

    Thank you so much for your comments guys. I need to get to the bottom of it! Lynn
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  • Posted

    Beta blockers like Pindalol and Sotolol can sometimes control A/F (They didn't help me). Other drugs frequently used are:- Digoxin, Amiodarone and Flecainide. For me Digoxin worked well for about 2 years then stopped. Amiodarone worked really well for about 8/9 years then affected my Thyroid. Flecainide has worked well for about 20 years. Three tips:- Leave out alcohol and drink Decaf tea and coffee; also avoid carbonated drinks which use caffiene as a flavour enhancer.

    I cant comment on the use of a defib although I thought it was used for V/F

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  • Posted

    My husband has AF and also has a low risk of stroke. He is not on blood thinners and we are happy with that.

    Basically if you have no other conditions and are under 65 then

    your risk rating on the scoring system is 0. As you know, this doesn't mean there is no risk but he is in the low risk category. You can have a look at the risk scoring tool they use by

    googling

    CHADS2-VASc scale - you can easily work it out online.

    After 65 or if you develop another condition then you are put on warfarin. Your clotting factors are closely monitored when you are on warfarin so that it is at a therapeutic level i.e. reduces the risk of clots i.e. strokes, heart attacks, DVT's etc BUT doesn't make the clotting factor too low i.e. you could get a bleed in the brain

    which is a less common type of stroke, but a stroke never the less. So, you don't want to be on Warfarin or another blood thinner unless the risk of stroke from clots without being on a blood thinner is higher than the risk

    of having a bleed due to too low a clotting factor.

    As to exercising and what intensity. As you will be aware, Beta blockers will reduce the maximum heart rate

    he can achieve and there are ways to work it out online so have a look. He could wear a run of the mill

    heart rate monitor which he can set to alert him when he is exercising near his maximum recommended rate.

    This way he can play squash and make you feel happier too!

    It's not easy being the partner of someone with AF!

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  • Posted

    I am amazed at the response! Thank you all, it's good to have some support and feedback! Lynn
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  • Posted

    Hi Lynn - I am 77 years old and was diagnosed with AF 1 Sept. last year but was never given any information regarding the risk of further complications. I was in hospital for four days and put on a waiting list (a long one) for a catheter ablation. My medication comprises 5 mg Bisoporol, 5mg Warfarin and 40mg Simvastatin. Over this last month my blood pressure has varied between 190/91 (pulse 70) at the highest to 108/54 (pulse 46) at the lowest. I take my medication in the evening as I find this reduces the side effects (muscle and joint pain). Regarding exercise I play golf three or four times a week. I found this tiring to begin with but my GP didn't warn me about possible dangers so I have carried on. I take my blood pressure regularly and record it. If I feel the need I make an appointment to see my GP and take the recordings with me. I was wary about exercising but now feel more at ease with my condition. I have only had one other instance of AF since September last year. After golf my pulse rate rises to about 100 but I do not feel unduly tired. If my pulse rate did increase to a much higher level I would certainly reconsider slowing down a bit. Regards Derek (joiner)
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  • Posted

    Thank you Derek, it seems that you have the a fib where you have intermittent 'flutters'. My husband has it constantly but no symptoms so that is different and that is what I'm really wanting to know about. Whether it's not so serious or if it will gradually get worse and be a risk for strokes and whether his heart will deteriorate as it's slightly enlarged already and if it's a big risk to play SQUASH! Because he's in denial it's a big worry for me and they won't talk to me about it (data protection bla bla...)

    Just a comment about your muscle and joint pain...that will be the statins that cause that...perhaps you should try another type or maybe try and lower your cholesterol by diet? I had high cholesterol (6) when I was a vegetarian and suffered pain. I went off it against my doctors wishes and went vegan (no dairy or animal fat) and it went down to 4 due to that diet. Just a thought. Lynn

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  • Posted

    My BP can go higher and lower than yours during the course of the day.

    It would seem logical that medications should be taken in the morning to control symptoms when we are active and many are prescribed that way. I have experimented with taking them at different times of day and certainly symptoms are less when I take Bisoporol in the evening or at night. I have also tried taking half the dose in the morning a half at night.

    Why did they decide to do catheter ablation rather than cardio version?

    I am now counting down the days for my cardio version next Friday. I have been having my INR checked weekly as it is supposed to be between 2.5 and 3.0 for the four weeks prior to it. Mine went to 3.9 two weeks ago and was 3.5 this week the nurse at the surgery said that they will not do it if my INR has not been within the range.

    I checked with the hospital and was told that they will still do it.

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  • Posted

    I was told by a doctor 27 years ago (now 52 years old) that I needed to have an operation, or takemedication for the rest of my life. I opted for neither, and embarked on a focus to remain fit and healthy. I surf, play tennis and run. I stay away from what western trained doctors suggested. I drink a particular herbal tea. All is good and I wish your husband well. He sounds like he exercises and stays healthy. Squash is a strenuous sport. 
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