Just Diagnosed

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After experiencing some palpitations and breathlessness over the past week or so I went to see my GP. I had an ECG, was sent to A&E, admitted to hospital for further tests and diagnosed with AF. My heart rate was not particular fast,

I'm still in AF and have been given Bisoprolol to control my heart rate. I've had problems with palpitations and chest achiness for the past 2 years and have had numerous ECGs which have always been normal so this is a bit of a shock. I'm a bit confused as to what happens now really. I have got an apt with a consultant coming up, but does this mean my life style wil have to change? How can I get back to normal heart rhythm? Can I still drink alcohol?  I don’t drink a lot but enjoy a couple of glasses at the weekends and have some birthday parties coming up. Also, what about exercise? A month ago I was training for a charity cycle ride and was riding 20-25 miles a time. Where does this leave me?  Since taking the Bisoprolol I have been getting headaches – will they subside in time?

I have undertaken some research of my own but I would be good to have some views from other on this forum. I’m 47 years old.

Thanks,

Stuart

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  • Posted

    Beats me. That's what I don't get. How can you ride for so long and be in abnormal rhythm. What are the consequences? Always hearing more likely to have a stroke with afib. Blood thinners help but not with the rhythm..What is brisopolol. Is there another name for this drug?
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    • Posted

       Bisoprolol  is a beta blocker and brings your heart rate down and usually the first AF drug tried.
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    • Posted

      Last month I wasn't in AF and could cycle 20 miles. The last time I went out, earlier thsi month,  I struggled with any sort of incline so I knew then there was something wrong.
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    • Posted

      When you were in hospital did they not suggest a cardioversion ? If done with a few days of going into AF you can have it without being on Warfarin for weeks to get your INR into the range they later need.

      AF can be started suddenly in various ways. Mine started four years ago after heart valve surgery as happens in about a third of patients. Cardioversion put me back in sinus rhythm for 15 months then stimulation of my vagus nerve during a colonoscopy put me back in AF. Another cardioversion put me back into sinus rhythm until my vagus nerve was again stimulated nine months later during a DRE (rectal examination of my prostate)

      Many other things can stimulate the vagus nerve.  

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    • Posted

      Actually, the drug is Bisoprolol, prescribed in 2.5, and 5mg tablets with an upper limit of 10mg per day. I've been taking 5mg per day for over a year with blood thinners (Dabigatran) with no adverse symptoms.

      Don

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    • Posted

      No they didn't. They just concentrated on my BP - which was normal anyway. I can only assume excessive alcohol may have started it. 
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    • Posted

      Are you a snorer Stuart? Do you tend to wake up 'tired'?

      If so sleep apnoea may be a contributing factor?

      Have you ever had a sleep study done.

      excessive alcohol makes sleep apnoea even worse, therefore putting more strain on the heart.

      Cmbination of excessive alcohol and severe sleep apnoea is almost certainly responsible for me being a part of this forum (well, that and family history, 15 kgs overweight, bit of smoking and ongoing sleep debt!).

      Time to heed the warning signs and start looking after ourselves better I guess?

       

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    • Posted

      My wife says I snore sometimes, but generally sleep soundly. It's the excessive alcohol and weight issues that may be my cause. I don't drink through the week, only at weekends. Sometines, I meet friends socially and drink more than I would at home. I'm also classed as over weight with a BMI of 27 and my wight has yo-yo'd this year. I agree, time to look after ourselves.

      I was watching a clip as recommened by another member about weight loss and the effect on AF. 

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  • Posted

    Hi Stuart, firstly (and this is I think the hardest) try not to panic, I know it can be a shock when you first get a diagnosis.  What is likely to happen is you will be followed up by a visit to the consultant, who may then give you a portable holter monitor to wear for a few days so they can see what your heart is doing.  The Bisoprolol also known sometime as Cardicor will help to reduce the electrical impulses in your heart and may help to stop the AF completely, it will also reduce your blood pressure therefore taking the strain off your heart a bit.  There are many different drugs used to help with AF and they work slightly differently but generally they seem to start with a Betablocker to see how you get on and then will introduce other types of medication at a later stage.  There are 3 different types of AF. Paraoxymal AF comes and goes, sometimes your in it and sometimes it stops, medication can help to control the intervals and length between them. Persistant AF is AF that doesn't stop on it's own and once your in it the only way to stop it is by having a Cardioversion (where they use the paddles under general anesthetic to stop the heart, it then in theory starts again in a normal rhythm) it is a very reliable way to treat this type of AF. Permenant AF is where neither of the above options work and you are just in it all the time, it never stops, and with medication to help take the strain of the heart and the use of blood thinners it can be tolerated for the rest of your life (although an ablation - where they use a wire to burn away a very small area of the heart where the impulses are coming from) can be an option.

    It is generally not advisable to drink alcohol or caffienated drinks as both of these substances temporariliy contsrict blood vessels making your heart work harder (and it's already doing that)!  You can do exercise but try not to over do it and go for the burn, gentle exercise, walking, swimming are all good and no weight bareing exercises eg weight lifting etc.

    Bisoprolol like any medication has different side effects for different people, personally it makes me very dizzy and nauseous sometimes but mostly I am ok now, give yourself time to adjust to the dosage, takes a good month.  Good luck with your AF journey, it's very common and your not alone!

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    • Posted

      Sian,

      Many thnaks for the detailed reply. I have read alot of information over the past few days and there is a lot to take in. I suppose I'm just looking at others experiences in how they have adjusted their life style. The messages I have had back indicate that alot of people are able to stay in sinus by knowing their triggers or through medication. I'm worried that i'm stuck in AF and at risk of a stroke. I'm not on blood thinners as I didn't meet the diagnostic criteria - I was too young!  

       

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    • Posted

      As far as I know, the risk of stroke lowers as your heart rate lowers, watch that your heart rate doesnt drop under 40, if it does go to a+e. If it helps there is a blood pressure monitor you can buy from boots, it's £99 and it will take your blood pressure and heart rate and it will also indicate if your in AF or not, it's new out and I noticed it advertised in my local pharmacy. You could , if you wanted peace of mind get one. It's difficult because anxiety mimics AF sometimes so some of the funny fluttery feelings you get could be anxiety. If they discover you are in AF all the time then they should offer the cardioversion, but they will try drugs before that, also you would then have to take anti-coagulents like warfarin etc as the risk of stroke is increased during the procedure. It is an awful lot of information to take in. If it helps my mum has had 8 cardioversions in the last 13 years so any questions ask away, but there will be a journey of meds and consultations before that stage as they need to work out what AF you have first. As they know my mum has persistent, she is in and out in 24 hrs now. But at the beginning it took forever!
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    • Posted

      I have paf and it would worry me if I was not on blood thinner and am surprised that your doctor hasn't prescribed unless there is some good reason for not prescribing. I'm on Bisoprolol and it's the best med. I've taken for af control. Still get episodes but fewer than with Ramipril or Candesartan.
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    • Posted

      Unfortunately Omron confirmed that even the better BP monitors that show irregular heart beats are not accurate when you are in AF.

      I take my BP three times a day and get very variable readings that usually show the irregular heart beat symbol but my heart rate is usually between 70 and 80 bpm. My pacemaker kicks in if it goes below 60bpm. 

      I think that the 60/80 bpm rate is good but when I have my pacemaker checks it shows a lot of readings up to 122 that I never catch on my monitor.

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    • Posted

      Derek if you Google boots AF monitor, you can see the new AF machine they have released, it's currently £129 and it says it detects AF, I don't have one personally but yes you are correct that standard bp monitors do not work whilst in AF.
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    • Posted

      Interesting?

      I was 48 and was put on blood thinners.(am 50 now).

      but I guess that's because I was admitted with a tachycardia induced cardiomyopathy from undiagnosed .

      I dismissed my symptoms, thinking I had a virus or the flu!

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    • Posted

      My BP monitor is a Microlife , it has detected Afib on several occasions when I haven't , so worth its weight in gold as far as I'm concerned, wouldn't be without one.
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    • Posted

      If you go to the NICE website they have a couple that they approve also the British Heart Foundation. The top one is about half of the Boots price.

      I got my Omron MIT Elite Plus on Ebay for £49 (usually abot £140) from a doctor with a very posh address in Sandbanks selling who was evidently selling a sample. The older one I have beeps out your heart beats which seems a good idea.

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    • Posted

      In US. Why would I get one in the first place? What good does it do to know what is happening? What can u do about it. I do not feel anything at all.
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    • Posted

      It wasn't prescribed as my diagnostic score (CHAD?) was 0. Does you sinus return naturally? I've found that after taking the tablet I always get a headache for a few hours and feel lightheaded. I intend to speak to the consultant about it. 
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    • Posted

      'Knowledge is power'! (In my opinion)

      Have gone into Afib twice twice this year without knowing it, my BP. detected it.

      went to emergency & got cardioverted back into sinus ASAP.

      Afib begets Afib, and being in rhythm helps you stay in rhythm.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for the reply and to everyone else for their thoughts, experiences and suggestions.

      I did buy a wrist style monitor on Amazon last year that works quite well. Whe i was in hosptial they moved me to another ward during the night and took my blood pressure - it was high. I know my pressure and also what the readings were when I was admitted and I said "that readings not right" to which the nurse said "the whole ward has been high tonight". Needless to say she got another machine later on and my BP was back to normal. So even hospitals don't always get the readings right.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for the reply Sain.  I saw the consultant today and he wants me to have an echo and a 24hr tape test. He also wants to start me on an anticoagulant with a view to having cardioversion in the near future. How long is the average time for your mum to stay in NSR after cardioversion?
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    • Posted

      In the old days, before they realised that a Cardioversion was the only answer, they would start her in hospital with a pump of Amiodarone, Digoxin tablets and Warfarin.  After the Amiodarone/Digoxin didn't work they would discharge her with a 6 week supply of all 3 in tablet form and then after 6 weeks they would take her in, give her the cardioversion and then monitor her for 2 hours and then let her out.  Nowadays because she is on Warfarin permenantly they just take her in, starve her for 12 hours, do the Cardioversion and then 2 hours later she is out. It's all very quick.  The amount of time she stays in a regular rhythm varies the first ever one lasted 8 years! After that we are lucky to get about 18 months out of them and at one stage she went in 3 times in an 18 month period.  There doesn't appear to be a particular reason for them to last different amounts of time (nothing that we have noticed anyway) I'm not sure if it isn't just luck?!
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    • Posted

      Sian, I think I would take the 8 years! From what I have read it does appear to be a lottery as to whether it is successful or not. 
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    • Posted

      I've had 5 cardioversions sin Dec 2014. 

      First on lasted a few days, was then put on Amioderone and cardioverted three weeks later. Being on Amioderone clearly helped me to stay in rhythm and dug me out of the hole I was in.

      Amioderone is a great antiarrhythmia, but has potentially fatal side effects! So was only on it for a few months.

      Anyway, second cardioversion last 11 months (probably had residual protection from the Amioderone as it has long half life and takes ages to get out of you system).

      Third one in Jan 14this year, followed by the fourth on Feb 11, then the fifth one on the 29th of Feb.

      So had ablation on April 20, all good so far. Just have to be good and wait to see how it all goes.

      Derek is right cardioversions aren't as bad as they look

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    • Posted

      When I was havin a cardioversion another patient was having his 16th!

      But he had sleep aponea and was massively overweight..

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