Atrial Fibrillation

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Hi, Last week my husband went to the dr. for a routine checkup to get refills for his asthma puffers. While there, the nurse practitioner that saw him noticed an "irregular heartbeat" and sent him for an ECG.  He did that, and a few days later got a message from the nurse at the drs office saying that they are referring him to a cardiologist and suspect he has atrial fibrillation. He is 52. Now we are waiting. They told him to start taking the low dose aspirin in the meantime, daily.  I am terrified. I have been googling, I am so scared that he is going to have a stroke or die. I have listened to his pulse...it isn't fast, it just seems that some beats are completely missing, like there is double silent time in between some beats. He told me that he had noticed it in the past after exercising and assumed that he had made a mistake when trying to listen....I asked him when that was, and he said about a year ago!!! We are waiting now, to see the cardiologist. We have 2 kids, ages 8 & 11....I am terrified we are going to lose him.

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  • Posted

    Ever since I experienced heart arrythmias due to side effects of drugs many years ago I have been using heart rhythm and rate monitors to find out exactly what was going on with my heart. I was never told of the details of my ecgs as the time.

    ?Having recently experienced nightly difficulty in breathing and admitted to a cardiac ward after visiting A&E I was diagnosed with atrial flutter which after a week resolved into atrial fibrillation and I was discharged pending cardioversion.

    ?I felt quite normal and made detailed studies of my own heart rate and rhythm during recovery to normal sinus rhythm.

    ?I was amazed to find out the differences of opinion between medical professionals on the traces I produced. I was also amazed at how many people seem to live with atrial fibrillation and suspect that I may have been living with a variety of it for many years.

    ?I suspect that atrial fibrillation is potentially a phenomenon of as yet undiscovered significance which people are likely to have been living with for decades.

    ?

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    • Posted

      HI Bob, so then maybe I am worrying prematurely? He is going for a chest xray on thursday, getting one of those Halsters that he will wear for 2 days to record beats (on Friday) and is seeing the cardiologist on April 8th and also getting an echocardiogram that day.....My kids and I are supposed to be going away for 7 nights on March 30th...I am afraid to leave him....I hate google, it only causes me grief, not relief.

       

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    • Posted

      Hi Carolyn,

      ?Yes, I'm afraid Googling things can raise many ungrounded fears from peoples' experiences. One of the problems with medical examinations is that medical professionals must report conditions they find even when testing for some other conditions.

      ?One aspect of atrial fibrillation diagnosis I've noticed is that more often than not the condition resolves itself in about 24 hours. The investigations your husband has been referred for are what I would expect and quite often they are not serious enough to involved hospital treatment. If is actually diagnosed as atrial fibrillation then the condition must have been observed continously for 48 hours to require timely treatment.

      ?Often irregular rhythms are exascebated by stress which may be more significant if your husband has asthma.

      ?I know it is easy to say but I think you should be assured that your husband  is getting the right diagnostic tests so try not to worry.

      ?P.S. My body sorted itself out during atrial fibrillation and I went into sinus rhythm before requiring cardioversion (if you've got as far as that on Google)

      All the best,

      Bob

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    • Posted

      Another trigger can be your digestive system if you suffer from GERD or bloating it can affect your vagal nerve,
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  • Posted

    AF does not kill you as millions of us live with it. My doctors father had it and he was 93 when he died recently. There are actually several Olympic champions with it.

    The stroke risk is actually quite low unless you have other factors to take in.

    Google  CHADS2  and work out his risk factors 

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  • Posted

    Hi Carolyn, as a person who has intermittent Arrhtyhmia (along with other stuff) and an Athletics coach i would say, dont let it rule your life, but do plan for working and livingwith it. Yes it ca nsee mscary but, with just a littleplanning and thought it is easy ot live with. yes it is a risk but it is a risk for people who make no effort toplan and be a little more sensible with how they live. We plan when we go out we take extra water, make sure of Flecanide in the pocket, soluble asprin...and this is it... you can live till ancientness with it.... but it is just how you cope with it, worry of course will only make it worse for both of you. So - yes accept it and plan with it... and see what the consultants advise, and above all, always ask questions, never be afraid to ask a question and if you dont understand the answer say so.... apart from that... be positive and try not to worry.... you know about it and that in itsefl is a big step... its the people who dont know they have it that have the worst problems...  
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    • Posted

      Thanks Andrew. Im glad I posted here. Google is suh a worry nightmare for me! He is such a calm and chill guy, I'm surprised it is him and not me! He does have a family history of heart issues, and I guess that's why I am in a panick. He is a acountant and is currently deep in the middleof busiest most stessful season (Jan-April 30)...couldn't have come up at a worse time. WIll be happy when we know more. I am trying to show zero stress in front of him...

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  • Posted

     I can understand your concern however If there was any major concern or need for medical intervention they would have sent him to hospital there and then.    It sounds like they have swung into very appropriate action to get the matter sorted out and its better to have a full picture from the tests  then start on a lot of drugs without necessity.    It's a problem that needs monitoring and shouldn't be life threatening as a heart attack is.   It's suprisingly common too and a lot of people have it.    Lots  of people get exercise/food/drink triggers so everything in moderation whilst you await your appointment.   (and after of course)      Looking up on line is a bit of a double edge sword -  a bit of a worry when something is new but a bit of a comfort when you have the same symptoms as a lot of other people but when you visit the GP's you almost feel you are the only one. 

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    • Posted

      True Kate, thanks for that.  He has obviously been living with it for a while if he noticed it last year.....Hopefully we know exactly what is going on after the 8th.....
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  • Posted

    My husband went in for a routine check up 5 years ago at the age of 44 was sent to a cardiologist. He was diagnosed with Cardiomyopathy. It was the scariest news ever. Stay off the internet. There is too much untrue information. He is doing well 5 years later with excellent medical care. But now also has Afib. Our life is very different now but there is also more appreciation for everyday. I have learned so much about Afib. It affects so many people even people with healthy hearts. The good news is that he is going to a specialist , he knows something is wrong and now it can be addressed. Stay positive!
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    • Posted

      Thanks Kelley, yes so scary. Glad yours is doing well. I am not Googling ever again! I think I am most stressed bc we are going away and I dont want to leave him but I dont know that there is anything i can do  and i dont want to scare the kids,which i would do if i cancelled....i just feel so helpless.....And I guess (like was said above) if it was super bad they would have sent him to the hospital immediately.
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