First documented AF - side effects of cardioversion

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I recently had my first documented case of AF. Though now that I have been diagnosed I know I had similar incidents before that were less severe.

The ER doctor gave me a medication and gave me 90 minutes to cardiovert, luckily around the 90 minute mark I did.

I have been referred to a cardiologist and get an echo.

Since my cardioversion by medication I have been exhausted. All day. I have trouble concentrating, and get winded very easily. It is very difficult to work, I feel like I'm a step behind everyone else.

Is this common? Or could this be a sign of something more sinister? I'm extremely worried. I just want to get back to life. I just want to get back to being a husband and father like I was.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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11 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi. I was diagnosed with paroxysmal AF last year at 51,  There seens to be no hard and fast rules for triggers  of AF. My experience is that anything with preservatives, sulphites or msg trigger my AF. I get very tired when l have AF and this is often the only symptom- l then check my pulse and it is irregular. Fluids with preservatives trigger my AF quickly and l have found a product called Pure wine removes the preservatives. My 2nd cardiologist ( electrophysiologist) started me on Sotolol and this has reduced my episodes of AF. Keep a diary of what you think may be a trigger for you, Get all the investigations to rule out causes and shop around if necessary for the right Dr. Good luck- it will get better when you find the right treatment.
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    • Posted

      I guess I should clarify. I have been exhausted since my cardioversion 4 days ago. I feel as though I have not recovered physically since my episode of AF despite my rythym being back to normal. I do not have any of the symptoms regarding a pounding in my chest etc. Now I'm continually exhausted with some lightheadness and concentration problems. I was wondering if this was common or if anyone else experienced the same thing after being cardioverted by medication.

      I have been avoiding preservatives as much as possible for quite some time. I don't eat fast food and also avoid msg . I generally cook all my meals, from scratch. I had been having an espresso every morning but I have not had any caffeine since my episode.

      Unfortunately because I live in Canada I cannot shop around for a doctor. The health care is free but that comes at a price. I don't get to pick who I see and I'll have to wait a number of weeks to see a cardiologist despite having an urgent referral.

      Thanks for your reply.

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  • Posted

    Hi again. Do you know which drug they used to treat you? If you find out you could google it and see if tiredness is a side effect and see what the half life of the drug is- then you might know how long it hangs around in your system. Maybe you are also a little down due to the diagnosis- it is a shock when you have been previously healthy. Hope you feel back to your usual self soon.
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    • Posted

      They treated me with some procainamide while I was in ER. From all the research I've done it only has nasty side effects if taken on a daily basis. The half life is only a few hours and doesn't mention any last effects that I am experiencing. I am only taking a baby asprin daily until I see a cardiologist. 
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  • Posted

    The fact that you feel winded and exhousted while not in AF concerns me. Like Robyn said, hopefully it's your meds. I'm on flecanide which has been amazing and I have no side effects. Thanks for pointing out your health care system. We are obviously going through a health care change in the US and I'm not happy with it!

    Good luck with your situation!

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    • Posted

      Thanks for the reply! I feel a little better today. Not that I am symptom free but I seem to be recovering more quickly after activity. I;m hoping this will continue to improve so I can feel like myself again.
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  • Posted

    Hi I was diagnosed last year with AF and have been on bisoprolol ever since - I found that it took me about 3 weeks to get used to the medication - I was tired and "spaced out" it got better.  So maybe check the side effects of your medication.  Like the others when I  have an episode I do feel tired. One of my triggers is caffeine - I now only have one cup of regular coffee a day and have also cut down on tea.  No more cola either!! Also alcohol - I used to love a Drambuie occasionally but this too triggered my AF so I stick to beer (one) or a glass of wine (one) and so far this has worked OK.  I had to go back to my doctor to up my medication as I was still having regular episodes with no obvious triggers - so maybe check back with yours.  Hope you feel better soon.
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    • Posted

      Thanks for your reply, its great to know that I'm not alone in my experience. I'm currently only taking a baby asprin a day until I see a cardiologist. 

      I have already cut out my only caffiene I had previously been having daily. A double espresso every morning, and I miss it a lot! I am a craft beer home brewer, so alcohol is hard for me to cut out entirely. I did not have any for 4 days following my episode. I am not one to ever drink to excess, generally only sipping on two beer at the most back to back. If I do find this becomes a trigger I will obviously have to cut it out entirely. I have to wait a couple of weeks to see the specialist so I guess I'll know more then.

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    • Posted

      Good luck - let us know how you get on - I love my coffee and as well as my one small cup of regular - now drink decaf - not the same I know but its better than nothing. I used to drink lots of cola but cutting this out totally I think has made a difference.I suppose a bit of trial and error will help identify other things.  Take care
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  • Posted

    Hi, hope you are feeling better ish now... with all of my treatments both drug and electro cardio versions, recovery was quite quick so i would go for getting further checks. I have flecanide as my back up and as noted elswhere it is great! however i now have other problems with the heart  and have other meds which arent quite so friendly... I would say get it checked out and exercise test while all wired up would give an indication of any other problems... good luck and i hope you get much better soon!  
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    • Posted

      Thanks for your reply. I am feeling a little better today and seem to be recovering from activity faster. But still far from being symptom free. 

      I am not currently taking any medication on a daily basis aside from a  baby asprin. I did get a prescription for somethign to slow my heart rate if I have another episode to try to cardiovert on my own instead of heading straight into the ER.

      I did already have a stress (exercise) test you mentioned that was completely negative. Hopefully this subsides soon and the ECHO I have scheduled will be negative. 

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