Really Confused about When I am in AF

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I am a 57yo male recently diagnosed with AF - I say recently although it started 4 months ago and I have been in Resus' 9 times since then with HB up to 193. I am still waiting to see a cardiologist and my GP just keeps saying its only AF and put me on Warfarin. I have done research and understand what AF is and the risks but although I understand it I am not sure when I am in it. Reading these forums many people say I had an episode last year or I have them every 3 months but like I say I have had 9 fast AF episodes in 4 months - is it fast AF people refer to when talking about AF. In addition to fast AF everyday I have Palpitations and Flutters although my HB is low and seems steady - is this AF?  I also have episodes when my HB is low but clearly erractic and also episodes when the heartbeat is erractic and the HB seems to vary from 60-100 beats and is not constant. I have had 16 episodes like this in the last 4 months but is this just an irregular HB or is this also AF?  These episodes are always when I get up in the morning and for some reason all my fast AF episodes have been when getting into bed or within 5 minutes of getting into bed - it seems to be connected with lying down.  The biggest problem for me is dizziness regardless of what my heart rate is and this has led to some distressing incidents when out and about which now makes me anxious about going out and even led to a few panic attacks - of course all these fed's the Af and the AF feeds the anxiety.  Apart from Warfarin on no medication at all - I always self revert from fats AF as well - the longest in took was 2 hours and the quickest 20 minutes. Sorry if my questions seems daft I am just a bit confused by what others actually mean by AF. Thanks.

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  • Posted

    I had AF, my doc put me on Rivaroxaban an anticoagulant  it's better than waferin and it means taking one tiny tablet a day,  he sent me to a cardiologist who fitted a pacemaker, the A F has gone and my pulse is 74/82 I feel 20 years younger I am 77

    I think being in AF means your heartbeat is raised to something like 160-190 beats per min.

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  • Posted

    From what I've read I think AF affects people in many different ways and some are acutely aware when they're in AF and others are not. Similarly, what works for one person doesn't work for the next. It's obviously a complex condition!

    In my case I had absolutely no idea I had AF, I picked it up when my new BP meter indicated an irregular heartbeat on most readings. Prior to diagnosis, but during the period I obviously had AF, my pulse rarely went over 80 and my blood pressure was considered a bit low and one of the 3 BP meds I was on was stopped. So you don't need to experience a high heart rate.

    I had a cardioversion a couple of months back (which worked) and I'm now on 6.5mg / 7mg of Warfarin (alternate days) and 25mg of Atenolol for life. This is mainly because I was asymptomatic and wouldn't necessarily have known if my AF returned and the doctors thought it would be best practice. I'd rather not be on warfarin or atenolol but I need to have another chat with my GP about that when I see her in a couple of weeks.

    Perhaps I should count myself lucky to be asymptomatic....

     

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    • Posted

      Hi Stuart1953 - apart from the fast AF when my pulse is all over the place 193 then 160 then 180 then 150 etc (within seconds) I also have many bouts of AF? where the heart beat is erractic but below 65 and many episodes where the HB is erractic but the rate is variable but never gets above 100.  I was told to only call Ambulance if gets above 110 for more than 10 minutes so just sit these episodes out at home and don't really think of them as AF - just an irregular heart. Was told to call Ambulance if got Chest pain but if I did that I would be at Hospital all the time.
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  • Posted

    Not a daft question at all... and if you dont ask you dont get answers... I am on pocket flecanide for mine... when i feel it takea pill. i also use alivcor to check, as i also have Prinzmetal angina vasospams, macro and micro, i cant actually feel when i have other heart problems so use the alivcor to advise when i am having a bad heart (AF) day. discuss flecanide with your cardiologist. I find it very effective along wiht a brisk walk sometimes additionally... if it all gets out of hand then its off to A&E.. but otherwise i self monitior... on a bad bumpy day i know it though!!! hope this helps.. any qustions ask away...
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    • Posted

      Hi Thanks for reply - GP told me will not be allowed PIP since my normal HB is too low - she says it has to be over 70 (my resting HB is about 42). I also do not know ehen in Fast AF - my heart can be going 190 and no idea apart from I get a pain in the back between the shoulders - thats my sign, take my pulse and then call the Ambulance.
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    • Posted

      Interesting, thank you Andy, odd as my resting pulse can be as low as 42 to 48... (i was competing still at sprints 100m to 400mH before all this happened) and they were happy to prescribe... also if the pain between the shoulder blades is a guide point - darn... but yes i do recognise what you mean. Will also be looking for a heart electro thingy person near me if such exists this looks interesting too... i have to admit i have become more "i am ok" since using the alivcor so much... though i feel i want to go in and get blood tests done with the new set up they talk about and being tested for lower levels of the indicators... to get a better idea of damage being done etc.were you an athletic type? and yes i get dizzy too... annoying and sometimes quite off putting.
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  • Posted

    You seem to be going through a rough time so I hope you get a cardio appt soon! I am also new to AF and am 53. I had an episode of irregular beats and fluctuating between 70 to over 200 and was given fleccamide to stabilise it, staying in for monitoring for a day. Since then am on a bisoprolol tab each day, have had a 48 hr portable monitor, a heart scan and have a follows up appt in March to collate results. Just getting a few flutters since the event in November and hope I don't have to medicate for life. Heaven knows what causes AF, so many varying cases on here. I hope you get sorted soon and please stay in touch.
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  • Posted

    Hiya Andy,

    AF is all things to all people with, at times some comon features. It is a mongrel condition, a wild beast. Briefly, when diagnosed my HB was at 160 bpm and I was put on a beta blocker (Bisoprolol - 5 mg/day) and Warfarin. Beta blockers are used to bring the heart rate down and maintain it, I was diagnosed 5 years ago aged 65 in Jan 2010, and once my body had got used to Bisoprolol and adjusted to it my heart rate is now at a steady 65 bpm - prior to AF it was around 88 bpm. (The normal accepted heart beat range is between 60 and 100 bpm, so at 88 I was approaching the maximum anyway. I discovered a link between food and the onset of an AF event and discovered that if I calmed the vagal nerve I could get my heart under control. The vagal nerve controls both the heart and the digestive system. Consulted a nutritionist went on a food plan and now cannot recall my last AF event. But I'm on Bisoprolol and Warfarin for life - no big deal. When I felt an AF event it felt like inside my chest one of several things - 1) a squadron of butterlies in combat, or 2) a mob of octupuses wriggling away or 3) my heart trying to break out of Alcatraz. However, I'm also one of those weirdos who can equally be in AF and not know it. My understanding (and I'm not a Dr.) is that palpitations and flutters are not AF per se, but can be said to be the prelude to an AF event. Equally, I don't think you've had the right medical advice. I suggest you look at (if you haven't already done so) asking your GP for a referal to an EP (Electrophysiologist) - they are Cardiac Consultants who are specialists in the electrical circuits of the heart. I would also suggest you go into the Atrial Fibrillation Association website where - if you ferret through it you will be able to find an EP near where you live. Sometimes the medical approach is to prescribe meds for heart rate control (such as beta blockers) or heart rythmn control. It seems to me nobody has decided which of the two is appropriate to you.

    Good luck.

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    • Posted

      WOW so many replies and so quick - thanks everyone.  Carneuny I don't think I have the option of Beta-Blockers according to my GP. My normal resting HB is about 42bmp (thats not a new thing I have had a low HB all my life - and though fit and exercised a lot by no means an athlete). The GP says Beta-Blockers would take my HB too low.  To be honest very nervous about taking any medicines to control my heart - just seems fundamentally wrong if you know what I mean, and the side effects seem hoorendous. Also GP told me will not be allowed pill in the pocket because episodes too frequent and again HB too low (needs to be above 70). Will keep you all posted of developments. 
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    • Posted

      Hi, I have af, after having open heart surgery for a leaking mitral valve in october, i a now on rivaroxaban, an alternative to warfairin, and bisoporol, i was just wondering if you had side effects, and what they were, on the bisoprol, as i have dizziness blurred vision, and really weird episodes of deja vu, also is it possible to have a small amount of alcohol, as i haven't had a drink since my op. thanking you.
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    • Posted

      Re your mention of the vagal nerve.

      I first went into AF after having my aortic valve replaced in May 2012. The first cardioversion then did not work but a second one three months later did.

      I then thought that my AF would be gone forever but I had a colonoscopy in December 2013 during which my BP and heart rate went very low and I went into AF. The explanation was that the procedure had stimulated my vagal nerve to cause it. I had another cardiovdersion in March 2014 and have been OK since.

      Evidently cardioversion also stimulates the vagal nerve but puts the heart back into sinus rhythm. I often wonder if many people with AF have had an incident that has stimulated their vagal nerve.    

      Recently I had a digital rectal examination of my prostate and when I checked my normally high BP later it was 110/51 and stayed low for a couple of days. Another vagal incident?

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    • Posted

      I went into AF after my aortic valve was replaced. When I had side effects from warfarin rivaroxaban was suggested.  

      My research found and was confirmed by the drug companies that 

      Rivaroxaban and the other newer anticoagulants are contra indicated for valvular AF and patients who have had aortic valves replaced with tissue or mechanical valves. This was news to the cardiology team at my local hospital. 

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    • Posted

      I love that I'm not alone with thinking food is connected to AF. I have to eat regularly, more than 6 hours between meals and I suffer. Sugar definitely sets it off as does msg, asparatamine and a few too many carbs. I find eating a clean diet helps massively, is this true for you? Oh and keeping myself highly hydrated too. X
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  • Posted

    I have persistent afib, waiting to go into hospital for catheter ablation. 2 in 3 chanve of success. I'm on warfarin to and digoxin for rate contriol.
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  • Posted

    Hi, Andy, you sound like the same as I have, Paroxysmal AF where y ou are ok for most of the time with the odd missed or extra beat which makes you feel dizzy and a bit light headed and then you get the episodes where your heartbeat is elevated to ove 100 bpm. My GP says once it gets to 120bpm they class it as AF. I have now been told to go on Warfarin or one of the newer drugs. I have had to decide and give my answer tomorrow but looking at the pro's and con's I am thinking Warfarin as the other option means if you need an operation or you suddenly lose blood you would bleed out very quickly as there is no reversal so your only hope is dialysis which sounds awful so I am thinking the long tried and tested warfarin which means a few blood tests in the first few weeks but it can be reversed with a Vitamin K injection so sounds better for me.
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    • Posted

      Hi Mazieboo22   - that's why I went onto warfain - my GP said its effects can be reversed with vitamin K very quickly in an emergency whereas the newer drugs take ages to reverse.   I am on 3mg Warfarin and had no side effects at all - the first few weeks abit of a pain having to keep going and getting your  INR and went way above my target of 2.5 very quickly and so they are now experimenting with the dosage and I go every 2 weeks. I know a lot of people see this as a drawback but to be honest if this stops me having a stroke I am willing to go every week or so to make sure the drug is doing its job and keeping me safe - I don't see that as a hassle but a reassurring check-up.
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