Understanding AF

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Hello,

I keep reading in some posts that people say they are `in fib` but I just can`t understand what that means.   I am guessing it means the occasions when people who have AF experience a wildly beating heart but I don`t know if this is right or not.    As far as I understand it AF means that your heart may not necessarily be thumping too hard but rather is it an irregular heart beat and so then you may well not be aware of it.

Kind regards,

Kathleen

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13 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Kathleen,  I have AF and it seems to be a permanent thing.  I recently had to have a general anaesthetic (not for AF) and before I was put to sleep the Anaesthetist who was smiling at the time of telling me, pointed to my heartbeat on the monitor. Well, the pattern of my erratic heartbeat looked like a massive earthquake was going on, all I could see was these massive lines going all over the place and yet, I'm not aware of it. The only time I notice anything is when I've eaten and after awhile things calm down again.  LuckyPenny

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    • Posted

      Hello LuckyPenny,

      When I was diagnosed with AF three months ago I saw the monitor just like you describe,   an earthquake going oin!      I have only had my pulse taken twice since and that when I went to the doctors,  the first time she said my pulse was very fast but also erratic.   She put me on Bisoprolol then and asked me to come back in two weeks.   When I went back she said my pulse was normal but still erratic.    I can`t say I am really aware of it.    Thanks for taking the time to reply and share your experiences.

      Kind regards,

      Kathleen

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  • Posted

    The ECG evidence of atrial fibrillation is like LuckyPenny! says. The subjective experience can be unnoticeable or rather debilitating. If you feel the pulse in your wrist and it reminds you of the percussion section in a calypso band, that's it. If the beat is regular, meaning that the spaces between the beats are of equal length, you are not "in afib". 

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    • Posted

      Hello hhanover,

      I just can`t manage to feel my pulse in my wrist but can feel it in my neck.   Seems alright to me but not sure.

      I have tried it many times and either I am never `in afib` or I don`t know what I am doing.........which seems very likely.    Thanks for the explanation.   I must try it the next time the doctor says my pulse is erratic to see if I can feel it myself.

      Kind regards,

      Kathleen

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  • Posted

    For me it meant you heart is out of rhythm. The more out of rhythm greater the risk of stroke. Also symptoms. Since my ablation much less tired. Also cannot walk up steps without getting so tired and having to stop..My experience so far. 
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    • Posted

      Hello Betty,

      Thanks for your reply.    I am glad to hear that ablation has been helpful to you.   Yes we all need to listen to what our bodies are telling us and rest if we are tired.    Stairs and hills seem to be a problem for us all on here.

      Kind regards,

      Kathleen

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  • Posted

    I'm trying to understand the differences in Afib as well. In my case, I know my at rest heart rate is 46 bpm. When I have an Afib episode, my heart starts racing at anywhere from 120 to 175 bpm and stays there for hours (now). Used to just last 2 to 30 minutes. Last episode was a month ago, heart racing 140bpm, then after 13 hours it just went back normal by itself to my high 40's resting rate. Seems to always start at night when I'm in bed asleep. This variation or type of Afib apparently is called tachycardia.

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    • Posted

      Hello yes and isn`t it nice to be able to speak with others who often have had the same experiences.   Your resting heart rate seems very low but then again I have heard others say similar things.    It must give you a shock if you waken in the night to feel your heart racing.

      Kind regards,

      Kathleen

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  • Posted

    Hi Kathleen, it is the heart beating erratically with extra beats happening that are sort of in the background that is why it is hard to pick up on conventional BP machines or even taking your pulse manually. The fact it is beating out of rhythm means you have a chance of the blood pooling so it is not functioning properly. Lots of people live with AF as long as it is controlled correctly and of course blood thinners are a must. Sometimes like in my case, the tachicardia is also present and that is very dangerous as your heart is beating far to fast and out of rhythm which is not good and then you need meds to slow it down. Sometimes people do not know they have it until they are checked out but in my case if feels like a wobbly jelly in my chest with a battery in it that is the best way for me to explain how mine feels and I do know it is there. This is the longest I have had it the last two times which was 12 years ago and 4 and a half years ago it was gone in 24 hours but I am now two months in Afib and awaiting an appointment from the Cardiologist and also a 24 hour monitor. Hope this helps smile
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    • Posted

      Hello,

      You explain this very well,  thank you.   I thought the purpose fo Bisopropol or similar tablets were to stop the heart beating too fast though so don`t you take anything like that?

      Kind regards,

      Kathleen

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  • Posted

    Hi Kathleen, this time round it was different. 12 years ago it came into normal sinus rhythm when I had blood taken out of my arm.

    The second time four and a half years ago I woke up with it and on seeing the Doctor it was very erratic so he gave me Bisoprolol and within an hour it was normal till this last episode. I picked up some sort of bad infection. I didn't know at the time but the AFib just came on and I saw the GP who said my temperature was up I then had antibiotics and she said was I fit to travel as it would be gone in four days when i was flying out but they did nothing and it was in Venice that it got really bad I got Pneumonia and had nebulisers, Steroids and very strong antibiotics a much stronger dose than we give in the UK but good job I did as it was some sort of superbug. When I came back I went straight to hospital and felt really ill and I had taken the Bisoprolol with me and was taking it but it was working against me as it triggered my asthma off so It was not helping.

    I am now on Diltiazem which seems to keep the fast pulse down most of the time but not completely then in the night it drops drastically to 49/30 with a pulse of 46 which is not good so back there tomorrow to see what they are going to do next but still waiting after 9 weeks for the Cardiologist letter and 24 hour monitor.

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    • Posted

      Hello Mazieboo,

      Gosh by the sound of it you have had a terrible time of it these last few years.    Let us know how you go on tomorrow and in the weeks ahead.

      Kind regards,

      Kathleen

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