Out of AF but Atenolol and Warfarin for life :-( & Vitamin D

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Had my cardioversion a couple of months back and all went well with no problems since but I was dissapointed to be told that I'm on Atenolol 25mg and Warfarin 6.5/7mg alternate days for life...

I thought I'd be able to come off them more or less straight away after my cardioversion but I've been told that, because I was asymptomatic, I have to stay on them for life "just in case AF returns and I don't notice".

Although the warfarin is not giving me any problems (my INR is very stable at 2.3), I don't like the Atenolol much as the dreaded swollen ankles have appeared. As I couldn't get on with Bisoprolol (nausea) and the hospital cardiac team were very anti-Digoxin ("it's for old people" they said) so it looks like Atenolol is the only option left?

I have an appointment with my diabetes specialist GP next month so I'll bring it up with her when she goes through my BP data.

I felt quite faint in the shower this moring and nearly keeled over. My pulse after getting dry, dressed and down for breakfast was 44 (so had probably been lower) which I think is too low for me. The surgery have also put me on diuretics to try and relieve the swollen ankles caused by the Atenolol. This is working but I was already peeing for England before I went on them - so you can imagine what it's like now!

I was always tired and lethargic pre cardioversion and I've been the same since. This prompted the GP to test for vitamin B12 & D defficiency. Lo and behold, my vitamin D results were "significantly" low so I'm also on vitamin D3 tablets for the duration, apparently in can take 6 months to a year to return to normal...

2014: off 3 tablets due to weight loss and lifestyle changes, but put on 4 new ones so feel like I'm going backwards!

Sorry that was a bit of a rambling post :-)

Off for a Sunday night glass of red. Might make that two....

Stuart

"rambling" - that made me think of Rambling Sid Rumpo. Have to look out my "Round the Horne" recordings for a bit of nostalgia.

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  • Posted

    Well done Stuart, interesting, yes round the horn were great shows.... i use alivcor for heart monitoring as with the spasm angina i can always feel the heart flutters... one to discuss wit hthe GP perhaps? I know some UK hospitals issue them, i bought mine of the great river bunch and it does help me monitor myself GP likes it too!! all i can say at present is be positive and keep us informed...

     

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    • Posted

      Hi Andrew

      Never come across the AliveCor device before. Looks interesting to say the least and, as I love technology, I might have to buy one! Can't see the hospital or GP surgery giving me one but I could ask the question. If you don't ask....

      Stuart

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  • Posted

    Hi Stuart, I too had a cardioversion in October, I went to see the cardiologist 6 weeks later. He said that he would discharge me as all seemed to be ok, however, when I asked him if I could come off warfarin his answer was the same as you got, that AF could come back and I may not notice therefore there was a risk of stroke. I am pretty good at taking my pulse and I think that I would notice if it was irregular like it was at the beginning of my AF episode. I would prefer a regime where I checked it every day than one where I had to take warfarin. My AF was pretty noticeable, I had a very fast BP and irregular pulse, it came on very suddenly and even after a couple of nights in hospital did not disappear, it was at that stage permanent until my cardioversion. I am keeping my fingers crossed it stays in sinus rhythm, How is yours? It is not the end of the matter though. I will see the doc in a few months and ask again if I can come off warfarin. If AF does come back I know what to do and it should be quite easy to get back on the anti-coagulant. I am 64 and they did prescribe me digoxin when I was going through a rough patch, so I suppose I am an oldie!! Good luck. 
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    • Posted

      Hi Lankylass,

      I'm 62 but the cardiac nurses obviously didn't think I was old :-). I think they really meant it was for people who were aged and didn't exercise or get about much due to a disability.

      I had absolutely no idea I had AF. By chance I'd bought a new Omron BP meter that had a better memory facility than my previous one and it just happened to have a facility to detect abnormal heart rhythms. It didn't claim to detect AF but I was sufficiently concerned to go to my GP when the majority of my readings were flagged as having irregularities. Subsequent ECGs etc., confirmed the AFdiagnosis and that's why I'm where I am today.

      So, as someone who was completely unaware that he had AF, I can perhaps understand their concern. However I think a combination of regular testing with my BP monitor with its abnormality indicator and my new found ability to detect irregularities when feeling my own pulse should be enough to identify an AF episode should one occur. Icing on the cake would be if I also had one of the AliveCor devices Andrew mentioned above.

      As far as I'm aware, I'm still in sinus rhythm and the ectopic heartbeats I had regularly for a while after the cardioversion have pretty much stopped now. So, fingers crossed, I'm one of the lucky ones.

      The other problem I have with Warfarin is that I have a spinal stenosis which is currently treated (very effectively) with spinal injections every 12 months. This treatment almost completely stops my back pain for several months and then it gradually increases until I go and ask for some more injections! My last injections were just before my AF diagnosis so I'm pretty pain-free at the moment but the specialist at the hospital has said that she wouldn't undertake the procedure again whilst I'm on warfarin. She said she would want me off it for at least 7 weeks before and 7 weeks after.

      So, my choice will be - bear the pain or risk a stroke for 14 weeks. To be honest, I think I'll come off warfarin and have the procedure because I'm not sure that the stroke risk is still there if my AF has been "cured"?...and I don't like pain...

      Stuart

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