Reassure me about artirial fibrilation

So, I’m a nervous guy. In fact, I have anxiety disorder, depression, and frequent panic attacks. Have for a while.

This weekend I had to go into the ER for artirial fibrilation. I’m on meds for it now (or will be, when I pick them up tomorrow). I know the doctors have done all they should, and I know I’m not immediately in danger…

But I’m scared. So, I’m asking here; anyone have any long-term stories about this problem? Recurring? Not recurring? How to deal with it? I’m hoping for something that will belay my fears over this if possible, but even ‘normal’ recounts will help.

It wouldn’t be appropriate to reassure you about your atrial fibrillation in particular, because you might be moments away from a stroke or death.

In general terms, however, atrial fibrillation is a controllable (often correctable) rhythm disturbance with fairly minimal consequences to the patient, particularly when no other associated cardiac abnormality is found.

Well that’s not very reassurHHHNNNNGGGGGG

I’ve had a few friends with a-fib. It’s not problematic in and of itself, but if it goes on for a long time untreated (days, weeks, months), you can develop clots that cause major complications (stroke, heart attack). But if you get medical attention promptly, then it’s not likely to cause trouble. You can get anti-coagulant drugs to prevent clots and heart rhythm-regulating drugs to help keep the a-fib away and in persistent cases, there are procedures to shock the heart back to a normal rhythm.

You’ve been to the doc early, and that’s great. Now do what they say, and in the long run, this shouldn’t be a major issue.

I have a friend who had occasional atrial fib, then constant for 16 years, then the doctors did an ablation and installed a pacemaker. After 14 years, she had it replaced with a new one 2 years ago. So it’s been 32 years for her, and she’s still going strong.

I have it. You did the most important thing - find out about it. I found out when I got rejected for blood donation for a racy pulse - though I had had a checkup only a month before where nothing was abnormal.

My cardiologist tried to treat it by basically rebooting my heart, which required me being out. The first time it didn’t work, and he put me on some nasty drugs which supposedly could do the job. My procedure was scheduled for a Thursday. On Monday I went to his office, no change, but when they monitored me on Thursday the problem had gone away. Operationus interruptus!

I’m now on Warfarin and a few other things, and go once a month to get my INR checked, which is done by a nurse and only takes a few minutes. No problems since, and no impact on diet or anything else.

Have they put you on a Holter? Have you had a stress test? I had a stress test a few months back and it came out fine. I’ve also started walking further than I had before, and I hope my GP will stop yelling at me about exercise. I have great blood pressure and great cholesterol levels, and I am pretty thin.

Anyhow, once the problem stops, and your INR is controlled, you should be fine.

Stress test in 2 weeks. My current concern is side effects. I’m feeling tired -all the time-, and nauseus most of the time. Also getting an occasional spasm in my legs, but only when I’m lying down. Any of these sound familiar? And do they stop? The fatigue thing is really, REALLY limiting, although I understand I’m only a couple days out on this. And yes, warfarin and multaq for now.

(Also, if you don’t want to go into details here, can we chat off-board?)

My wife thought that I was sometime out of breath walking the dog - no longer though. Never any spasms in the legs, though when it acted up I thought that my cellphone in my shirt pocket had gone into vibrate mode. Never nauseous, but I seldom get nauseous. But then I almost never have symptoms of anything.

My story is long and sad. I had a-fib for years. At the outset, it was pretty mild, but went to a cardiologist. She assured me that if you have to have a heart problem, this was the least worst. She did put me on warfarin which still take. It is a bit of a pain as have to get blood test every month to be sure and keep it at the right dose. Various foods can affect the level.

Anyhoo, after years of pretty much ignoring it, it began to get pretty bad. Could really feel my chest heaving about, and sort of shortness-of-breath feeling. It usually came in early evening, and would last for five or ten minutes.

Then it began to get more severe, and lasted longer. I realized the two or three days a week I had a glass of red wine before dinner, definitely triggered about in the evening, so stopped that. Later, found white wine or any alcohol would start the thing. So, alas, stopped drinking and it helped.

Then I began to have bouts that kept going through the night, lasting eight to ten hours. When they stopped, it left me pretty drained and tired. Doc has me stop several foods that seem to trigger the thing (all good stuff like coffee, chocolate, yogurt, bananas, etc). Didn’t really seem to help much.

I then had a bout lasting 18 hours, that began to worry me. Doc had me try a med, which did not help, and then I had another 18-hour episode. By morning I was also having tachycardia, so called 911, and when the medics got here, it was racing at around 180. Rushed me to the ER and was admitted. My cardiologist showed up, and scheduled me for some tests. I got up around 11 PM to go to the john, and the next thing I knew, six nurses were picking me up from the floor, with blood dripping from my forehead where I struck the floor, after my heart dropped to 30, and then stopped for 24 seconds! They rushed me to ICU where I had a couple more episodes and they shot me full of something that eventually calmed it down.

Next morning, they put in a pacemaker. More tests to see if I was in good enough shape to withstand a very strong drug. I was, and started on it, and had all sorts of nasty side effects, and it did not seem to stop the a-fib which was then having almost every night.

A while later, had another severe bout and was again rushed to the ER, admitted, and had more tests. Tried another drug, similar problem.

They discussed ablation with me, where an area of the heart that controls the rhythm is scratched up to stop this. I opted to wait, and then a while later, they started me on a new med called Rythmol. This is miracle, as far as I am concerned, as even with pacemaker exams, I have now gone more than 18 months without a single episode.

I do know a few people who have had the ablation, and apparently it works quite well, just FYI.

So, I am one of the unlucky ones that has pretty severe problems, but it is rather uncommon as far as I can tell. In any case, just keep track of what happens and when, and continue to see you cardiologist as often as directed, and with any luck, it will be at the most, only a mild annoyance.

Good luck.

ArrMatey!, I’ll contact you off-board with some more specifics, but here’s some general stuff.

My cousin was diagnosed with it when he was about fifteen. And it was a really, really bad, intractable version. I found out from my mom right after they’d airlifted him from his local hospital to the one near where I was living. They couldn’t get it to stop; it was really intractable. If I remember, he was in the hospital that time almost two weeks, and there were a couple of other incidents after.

He still has it, and he’ll be turning 21 in a couple of months. They’ve tried ablation, and it didn’t work. I believe it’s more-or-less controlled by medication, but he takes a bunch of meds. He’s never mentioned any side-effects, but I’m sure he has them. Being on a blood thinner, he has to be pretty careful about getting hurt. The point is, though. . .it doesn’t really keep him from doing much of anything (I mean, not that he was killing rhinos with his bare hands before or anything like that), and, with the medication, he’s at relatively minimal risk. They know about it, and he accomodates it in his life, and moves on. He’s got a really great attitude about it, too; it even made him want to go into medicine.

So. . .it’s not a great thing to have. It can really mess you up. But as long as you keep up with the doc visits, it’s just another thing to manage.

Right, even a small cut will bleed like crazy.

I’d advise yor not to juggle with sharp knives. :smiley:

Do you know what his target INR is? My nose kind of pseudo-bleeds more than usual, but my blood vessels there were close to the surface and I’ve always had more nosebleeds than most. Aside from that, I’ve had not trouble with wounds healing. My INR is supposed to be between 2 and 3 - it is like 2.8 the last time I had a test.

Foods do affect the effectiveness of the warfarin - but not much for me. I haven’t had to change my diet at all.

I go into a-fib when my body is badly stressed. Overly low potassium, overly dehydrated, several times during bad operations, a few times *after *major painful operations.

It is nothing. My doc gave me a pill to take if I go into a-fib. I don’t take a daily pill for it. I have taken that pill twice. He said if I wake up in the middle of the night and I’m in a-fib, go back to sleep, and if I’m not out of it in the morning, take my pill. If it doesn’t go away in an hour or two, go the hospital. (I have never done that, I take my pill and *then *go back to sleep…) Last fall I woke up in a-fib and went for a run. I couldn’t finish my run, but when I came home I was out of a-fib.

My doc told me the danger from a-fib is a risk of clotting if I am in a-fib too long.

My bigger problem is it is preventing me from getting insurance. (I guess that will change this year, eh?)

I’m not telling you to do the things I do, I’m sharing my experience - the main thing to take from this is: It probably isn’t a big deal. Listen to your doc and don’t spend a lot of time worrying about it.

You should have been put onto a Beta-Blocker for the afib. One of the major side effects of Beta-Blockers is extreme fatigue during initiation. Once your body gets used to it, you should start to feel normal again, normally takes a week or two, which is probably one reason the stress test was scheduled after that.