What is a AF flutter

Please help me understand what a AF flutter is. I have not had an episode since Sep when I got told I have PAF. I am on beta blockers and blood thinners like an asprin base. But cause I am going thought pre menapause when I get hot flush and night sweats. I can here my heart beating, but when I check it it s only beating 60/70 beats a min. Then why does it feel like it's beating fast and I fell a flutter by my upper chest and in my tummy. Can any one please help explain gift better. I am not sleeping well so I think my heart is beating fast but it's. Not it's never been higher than 80 beats per mins and that's when I went swimming. I don't feel dizzy or have pain or shortness of breath. They did 24 hour ECG and I have normal arrithmya and my 2 part perfusion scan shows all is fine. DO YOU THINK I HAVE BEEN WRONGLY DIAGNOSED...... I am seeing a cardiologist in March to see how I am getting on. But I don't think I have AF so please help....

17 Replies

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  • Hi Sweetsugar and welcome to the forum.

    Firstly and most importantly, you were diagnosed with AF you say in September, I am guessing you are female and therefore your CHADSVASC score is more than zero, and depending on your age could be 2.

    Aspirin is not a recommended drug for stroke prevention in AF you should be on an anti-coagulant like warfarin, and the sooner the better, so please get back to your doctor quickly and ask them why you are not on warfarin and what your score is.

    A Fib itself can be hard to diagnose, it's done using an ECG and it has to catch you actually "Fibrillating" which if you were diagnosed with PAF will only be at time that generally you can feel it too. Wearing a 24 hour monitor is as likely to catch AF as the likelihood of having an episode within that 24 hours, it's hit and miss, but if you were diagnosed in September, what was happening then? Did you have an episode?

    Honestly, it's hard to misdiagnose, so if they saw it in September (and you can look this up, the ECG lacks a p wave and is very typical in A Fib) but the question more likely is how often are you having the episodes.

    Now the one thing you need to now if that we all vary, but generally you will now when you are having an episode, it's usually accompanied by a faster heartbeat. You need to think back to how you felt at the time you were diagnosed.

    Probable reasons fr what you are feeling now?, once someone tells us we have something wrong with our heart, and we are ALL the same here, we become very aware of our heartbeat and tiny changes. In actuality our heartbeat, even in a normal person, has bumps and grinds and little "ectopic" beats all the time, but WE notice, most people don't.

    Atrial Flutter unlike fibrillation, is generally a more regular irregularity (if that makes sense) and comes from the other side of the Atria, not the side with the pulmonary attachments, and therefore is generally much easier to treat. But again an ECG would show up atrial flutter almost immediately.

    Do I think you've been misdiagnosed, no, I think you had AF otherwise they would not have told you so, and you are now very very aware of your heart, and that's probably a good thing, what's not good it being too worried about what it does. It's a very strong and resilient organ, and can put up with a lot.

    Go see the Cardio, see what they have to say and also read up on the AF website about A Fib, And go back to your GP and challenge them why they are using aspirin, it's not an anti-coagulant.

    Good luck, and keep us informed.

    Ian

  • Thanks Ian

    I am on anti-coagulant it's called copidrogel and it 1 tablet daily plus 1 bisoprolol 5mg daily.

    Yes they only said I have AF at the time when I went to hospital. Via doctor. And 24 hour ECG done in Oct the cardiologist said is fine. So like I said just have to wait to see hime again in March. And no I have not had that feeling again like I did in September. But I think I am getting anxiety attracts and it makes me feel like I could have a episode,, but it settles down and I try to get back to normal.

    I just need help in understanding fully. What and how and what can make these feelings go away. My doctor has offered councilling

  • Hi Ian

    Just wanted to ask you. Am I going to feel like this all the time cause if I do I think I will be depressed for ever. And that's not me. Cause ever since Sep I feel like when will it get better.. Or am I just going mad?

    SS40

  • Hi Sweetsugar

    No you are not always going to feel like this, the anxiety, and sheer ruddy fear is perfectly normal, and to be honest just about all of us go through something very similar.

    When I was diagnosed, I think I cried for around a week, thought I was going to die, literally re-wrote my will and starting writing letters to my children.

    Truthfully, as one American doctor says, A Fib is not a fatal condition, it just feels that way when you are having an attack :)

    You will come through this it's only been a few months, and you are still learning about the condition and what to expect. but knowledge is power, and above all knowledge conquers fear. As you come to find out more, so you will understand more, and that will calm you down and make you come to terms with the condition more easily.

    Read this forum, so many inspiring stories and inspiring people, read the AFA website from cover to cover, then go back and read it again to take in what you missed the first time. All of that will be fuel to your growing positivity, and begin that process to learning to come to terms.

    Its a real mongrel of a condition as BobD would say, so many different types and it effects everyone differently, but above all, YOU control A Fib, don't let it control you. In 3 months you'll look back at how you feel now and wonder what you were so worried about. I promise you :)

    Good luck and keep us all informed, one of my ways of feeling better about the condition is to read the inspiring stories of others, so don't starve me of my positivity fuel

    Be well

    Ian

  • Hi Ian my chadsvasc score is 1 do you think I need to see a EP. As I have been reading thief forum and everyone has high heart beats mine are only 50/65 tops. I do get palpertations due to menopause. But when I measure my heart beat it's 65/67 tops so how have I got AF. And like I said all my test are clear. And the cardiologist said I am ok to go on holidays now if I want to, cause he is not seeing me till March this year. And when I had an episode of high and irregular beats last September that's when they told me it's AF. So I am on anticogulants and bisoprolol. And I only feel palpertations when it time of the month, due to like I said menopause. Otherwise my heart beat is fine. So do you think I need a second opinion and to see a EP. I am healthy otherwise have low colestrol, fine blood pressure, no thyroid and nothing else they could find. So I want to know if they have just diagnosed me wrongly. Please help cause I need to know why it happened and what it is. My perfusion scan was perfect no blockage or no node problems. And my 24 hour ECG was showing normal sinus cardio rhythm. So please can you or any one on this forum help me. Thank you

  • Hi sweet sugar

    Yes I do think you should see an EP, I'm not medically qualified but I understand it's really hard to misdiagnose A Fib, on your ECG the "p" wave would be absent or waving around and not regular, it's hard to catch it sometimes but generally not easy to get the diagnosis wrong.

    Now your heart rate and A Fib are two different things, you can have a top rate of 50 and still be in A Fib, it's the regularity of the atrial beat not the speed of it which determines A Fib, My heart rate is around 70-80 at rest, but I am always in A Fib, never ever go out of it.

    All the other stuff is great and good news it means it will be easier to treat and deal with, now the link to menopause seems to be at best vague, like I said I am no medical expert but the studies I have read seem inconsistent to linkage to the menopause.

    It sounds like you have had all the tests done which is great, it also sounds like you are getting only occasional symptoms, which is great also, BUT you need to be monitored, and you need expert advice, and even if the EP says "Nope you're fine come back and see me in six months" then it's been worthwhile.

    Also great news that you are anti-coagulated, I don't know about you but for me the scary stuff is the stroke I hate the idea of that more even than a heart attack.

    Go see the EP write down a whole list of questions that you want to ask him, take someone with you and you will only remember 60% of what he says, and maybe expect to be monitored again during those ectopics? they might go for another 24 hr ECG when you know you are likely to have problems and then call you back.

    Be well, and try and stop worrying anxiety is the friend of A Fib it feeds it and nurtures it, try and just get on with life and take the medical appointments in your stride, I know it's hard, but there are lots of people on here far worse than you and I and they do it, so I get strength from them.

    Be well

    Ian

  • Hi mate -Ian's info is good -but maybe you need a 2 nd opinion.

    Sometimes GP's jump to conclusions.

    Keep calm and work thru it

    The cardio should sort it out. But if you think he's wrong get another opinion.

    This forum is great as someone will have the same symptoms as you.

    Brian

  • I agree with everything Ian says especially the warfarin. Just to clarify, Atrial Fibrillation is when the left atria instead of contracting in a regular manner, pulsates or as has been described. "writhes like a bag of worms" with no regular beat. This means that the ventricle which is the pumping chamber often has nothing to pump hence the irregular pulse.. Atrial flutter occurs in the right ventricle and as Ian mentioned is often more regular but fast. The right side of the heart pumps used blood from the body to the lungs for re-oxygenation and back to the left side to start all over again. Ectopic beats are the "my heart missed a beat" thing, They occur when the ventricle beats out of synch so no blood is in it and the pulse feels a gap. Everybody gets up to 200 of these day but only we AFers seem to notice them. These can be very off putting and yes I feel every beat and even hear them as a shooshing noise in my one good ear so at night it can be pretty worrying if you let it.

    The worst thing with AF is anxiety so try not to worry. Read all you can as knowledge is power.

    BobD

  • Thank you BobD

    Cause I think I am going made I think I will get more knowledge when I see the cardiologist again in March. But you are right I think I get anxiety so that's what is making me all flustered. Like I said they are not worried about me as all tests have come back good.

    SS

  • Hi sweetsugar40,the first thing I did when it happened to me was panic,and it got worse.I agree with all of the replies it allways seems worse than it is especially when it,s your heart.Try not to worry,things do get better it just takes a little time,dont get anxcious try to relax good luck it,ll get sorted,all of us on here have gone through it.argzxoni61

  • Anxiety is really the key issue here

    I try to keep myself busy all the time to stop monitoring my heart beat , I noticed my bad days always in the weekend !!

    I was not like that before I got the atrial flutter , but that nasty feeling always in my mind and awaiting a trigger to get panic anytime

    Yes the problem is there , but the anxiety will make it worse , the more you ignore it , less episoids you may get

    The most important thing you are taking your anti coagulant , beta blocker will help a lot with a proper dose

    All the best dear

    Regards

  • I also hear a wooshing noise in my left ear, i have PAF and now flutter as well but not on any anticoagulant i was taken off Aspirin a couple of months ago and was told i don't need it.... SS dont worry i was like you to start with five years ago but you soon learn to get on with it.

  • Hi Kazzyr

    You have PAF but have been taken off anti-coagulants?. Have you checked your CHADVACS score?

    I must admit, my score is zero, but the thought and fear of having a stroke leads me to remain on warfarin. For me I'd rather take a couple of tabs each day than end up in Hospital with a stroke, that REALLY scares me.

    Oh and aspirin is useless in preventing stroke in A Fib, might as well suck boiled sweets, in fact in increases the chance of a stomach bleed and does nothing to prevent stroke. Should only be used alongside an anti-coagulant when treating separate conditions.

    Good luck

    Ian

  • Thank you all so much you have been so helpful :)

  • Hi Beancounter what is chadvacs score?? never heard of it?

    Thank you

    Karen

  • Hi Kazzyr

    It's the score by which you should be assessed for the necessity to go onto anti-coagulants, I'm going to assume that you are female so that's a score of 1 straight away, and then the others depend on your age and other conditions.

    You can take it online here

    mdcalc.com/cha2ds2-vasc-sco...

    Now depending on who you then talk to about it, and someone please correct me if I am wrong here, if you score 2 or higher then EVERY medical professional reccomends anti-coagulation, so warfarin or one of the newer anti-coagulants.

    The challenge comes if you are 1 or 0, personally I am 0 but I remain on warfarin as the risk of stroke terrifies me, and I would rather swallow a few tablets than end up with a stroke.

    Some medics, say that anyone with AF should be on warfarin, but that's not universally agreed. I'm a total coward so I am firmly in the prevention is better than cure camp.

    Be well

    Ian

  • Thank you my score is 1 i was told by my Cardiologist and GP that as i have PAF i am not at any higher risk of a stroke then any one else, Strange.

    Karen

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