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AF Association
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When do I go to hospital?

I'm at home in AF since 5a.m. Heart-rate is fluctuating between 100-140. Shall I sit it out and if so for how long?

26 Replies
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Hi Marilyn

I was advised by my GP to go to A+E if my pulse went over 130. If you go at least they can record what it's doing. I would always ring the NHS helpline, or out of hours GP for advice before setting off to A+E, then I was expected and was seen quicker.

Hope you are soon back into sinus rhythm.

Best wishes.

Jean

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Thanks for your advice Jean. Yeah maybe I'll try 111 but the last time I used the service it was useless! My resting pulse was 180 and the guy said "just pop along to your GP surgery". So I did and they immediately called the emergency ambulance!

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I've never rang the 111 number. I would ring your out of hours GP for advice. If you are going away tomorrow you need peace of mind now.

Jean

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I think it is very much up to the individual. People in permanent AF manage their lives quite well mostly so it is only the shock of paroxysmal AF attacks which drives people to A and E. Personally I never bothered after the first event as I knew that they probably wouldn't do much other than monitor but if you are still trying to get a proper diagnosis then a trip to A and E can be useful in providing an ECG.

BobD

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Thanks for your advice Bob. I was diagnosed with PAF 3 months ago and this is the first time I've had an episode, although it is milder than the one that landed me in A&E.

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Mamamarilyn: I was diagnosed with PAF several years ago but until recently it wasn't much of a problem (just rapid beats for a shot period). For the last few weeks I have been getting chest pain, more often with pain in my mid back, nausea and the worse headaches ever. When I take my vitals BP is high (183-198/93-100) & my pulse is slow (64-72), so go figure. At 1st. I thought it was mu GURD but now I have no idea...keep saying the next time it happens I'm going to the hospital (but haven't)

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Hi mamamarylin,

It shows how conflicting and confusing advice can be. My GP said 140 or over for more than one hour means a visit to A&E.

People on here who know their hearts well often wait longer but if you are not sure it must be best to err on the side of caution.

Angela

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Thanks for your advice Porridgequeen. I'm supposed to be going away tomorrow so maybe I should get checked out!

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Hi Mamamarilyn.

If you are unsure then err on the side of caution especially if you are going away tomorrow. They may well be able to sort you out so that you can better enjoy your trip. You don't want to be stuck with it while away. Best wishes. Dee.

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Hi Marilyn

I have twice rung the 111 service and contrary to most people's view they were brilliant.Both times I was ringing for advice and the decision as to what to do was taken from me.A paramedic car turned up followed by an ambulance and then I was admitted to hospital for a couple of days . Therefore I didn't feel guilty that I had made the call unnecessarily.

Fi

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Hi Marilyn,

Personally if you feel that the symptoms are less severe you should sit it out at home. Going to hospital can make you much more anxious!!!! Trust me looking at that monitor constantly is not a good thing.

Wyshing you well

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I had a heart attack because my heart was going at 218 and I did not notice it ( until the feeling of a cricket ball went though my chest). The Machines were going mad when I was in hospital but after tests they said I had no real damage and it was bought on because it vortexed in my chambers and was not getting enough oxygen to the heart.

It is not uncommon for me to have a nice 60 pulse and 150 heart rate. It is only the fatigue that really makes me aware that it is not playing the right tunes.

Be Well

Phill

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Hi Phill

I'm confused! Are you saying that the pulse can be different to our heart rate? If so I had no idea that this could happen.

Jean

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My heart will miss / add beats in such a way they they do not leave the heart valves so the pulse may be irregular but be lowish. My first time I was in Hospital with double pneumonia and that was when they noticed the strange ECG back in 1992. I was put on Oxygen, antibiotics and a high dose of digoxin. I had a 2 nurses checking my heart and pulse independently every 2 hours. Until a sister and junior nurse came. junior on the wrist sister on the heart. Junior fiddled about the wrist and said she could not find it. sister in a nice way said okay swap over. a little bit more fiddling about with my wrist the sister looked up at me and the junior and said back in a minute. Next thing I knew I had a crash team with me. No one could feel my pulse at all which panicked them more than it did me. I felt rough but was just very tired. They ended up pumping me with fluids to quicken the release of digoxin as it worked a little to well.

We are all very different but I try not to let it rule me but do relax and keep to my limits when it goes into wobble mode

Be Well

Phill

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Well, I really didn't know that could happen. I live and learn! Thank you.

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Hi Jean, Yes, there can be a difference between the pulse measured at the wrist (radial) and the actual heart rate (apical pulse). This is called a pulse deficit and it does occur often in AF. It is not really clinically significant and happens because of weaker contractions of the ventricles (lower chambers of the heart)

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Thank you for your response Grandma. My GP tells me to always take my pulse in my neck, but I have difficulty finding the pulse there. Would this method give a better pulse indication? If I could find it of course!

Jean

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You are right, Jean. A carotid pulse would be the better indicator, but it can be tricky to find sometimes. Another alternative is to listen to your heart with a stethoscope. You can get a really inexpensive one that would do the job on Amazon for less than $15.00. As much as I hate to hear my heart sounds when I am in AF, once I convert I just listen and listen to that reassuring sound of NSR. Even if my pulse is regular, I have to hear it before I believe it.

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Hi Grandma - Thanks for letting me know. I may well buy a stethoscope. Yes, it's always very reassuring to hear your heart in sinus rhythm. I've managed to ignore checking my pulse for a few weeks, but in the evening and when I go to bed it does a real thumping beat, that just can't be ignored and keeps me awake! I have to make sure I don't lie on my right side or it's worse, on my back is almost as bad too. My left side is fine, but that makes my leg ache. Oh the joys of this condition!

Hope your arm is 100% better now.

Jean

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I had a heart attack because my heart was going at 218 and I did not notice it ( until the feeling of a cricket ball went though my chest). The Machines were going mad when I was in hospital but after tests they said I had no real damage and it was bought on because it vortexed in my chambers and was not getting enough oxygen to the heart.

It is not uncommon for me to have a nice 60 pulse and 150 heart rate. It is only the fatigue that really makes me aware that it is not playing the right tunes.

Be Well

Phill

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I was on paroxysmal AF I had an attack last week and I forced myself to suffer for three days then I went to ER where they admitted me for ablation since I was on AF for few days which was not good

Actually based on my experience if the bad symptoms lasts for more then usual to it is more sever than usual it is better to go to hospital

Regards

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Maitha, I think you're right about this. I waited only 10 hours and when I arrived in hospital the doctor asked me why I had waited so long before coming in!

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Hi mamamarylin

I can really feel for you and understand the dilemma you find yourself in; I had several attacks which finally put me into hospital in February this year. I knew nothing of Afib at that point. All that stuck in my head was the word stroke. This turned me into a complete nervous wreck with worry for months on end; I lost a stone in weight. I felt very much uninformed coming out of hospital, Basically I was given flecanide 25mg morning and night and warfarin and told to avoid cranberry juice? No mention of what to do in the event of another attack. Since being out of hospital I am dreading having an attack so much I cancelled my holiday to Madeira this year. If it wasn’t for finding this site god only knows what frame of mind I would be in today.i still live in fear but have a better perspective on afib, believe me if I do get an attack I will be straight up to a & e

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We all differ quite considerably in how AF affects us mentally and physically. My personal feeling is that if you are at all worried, and feel ill and unable to cope then seek medical assistance. There is no point in letting the condition worsen through discomfort,anxiety and fear.

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Hi Marilyn

I'm wondering what you decided to do. Did you stay at home or go to the hospital?

Jean

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You really needto seea doctor and if you have those symptoms go to ER you could die next time.

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