Difference in type of AF fast or slow! - AF Association

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Difference in type of AF fast or slow!


I would be interested in the percentage of the types of AF. What is the percentage of people with the fast heart beat AF and the people who's heart just goes out of rhythm and their heart rate doesn't go above 100 when in AF. I have the latter and have been given drugs that slow my heart down causing all sorts of problems. The doctors assumed I had the fast one, so I went down to the doctors when I was in my AF and got an ECG so I can now show the cardiologist. I have stopped all the medication and now stop it by making my heart go over 100. A good game of badminton has stopped a couple of times or walking up a hill. I used to take Flecainade to stop it but as it didn't stop for many hours it must have stopped on its own. I was told to rest when taking it so it was counterproductive for me.

It must be two different things and doctors don't seem to recognise it. I would be interested when people post to say if what type they have as AF seems to be different.

26 Replies

Hi Lucy

I'm different again, my heart is always out of rhyhm 24-7 and my resting heart rate is around 80 most of the time, and I am in continuous A Fib. In a good game of badminton I go up to around 160 and even gentle exercise pushes me to around 110 very quickly (a minute or so)

I suspect there are a great many different types of AF, so you may have to expand your categories.

Be well


AF all the time now

BP at rest between say 75 and 90 almost at random !

Up to 120 plus when walking fast

Hi. I was like you for a long time(about 10 years). Then over the last few years my heart rate crept up to 100 and then 130. However I could still have Slow A.F. as well. Sometimes within a short space of time. When it was under 100 it didn't bother me but over that I felt agitated and light headed and my blood pressure plummeted as well. Fortunately flecanide has worked for me so far. I take a regular dose of 100 mg twice daily with no side effects but my E.P.is happy to do ablation if it stops working. Hope this helps your fact finding mission ! X

My heart rate is normally slow (around 50 bpm). I have periodic bouts of af when it can rise to about 150 bpm which occurs when resting.Thankfully this does not happen often. The only medication I have is Bisoprol and I only use this as a 'pill in the pocket'.

Normally 100 at rest but not so bad at any exercise except walking up hill and carrying a lot of weight. Like beancounter I find pushing it ultimately makes me feel better but this could be a risky strategy for some. I am well anti coagulated.

What a complex problem, we need all the specialists to get together, nerve( vagal nerve), cardiac, ones dealing with stomach (food triggers). adrenal glands , psychiatric (stress). May be we will get closer to the causes. It's usually only dealt with by an EP or cardiologist. Thank goodness we have this forum, together we may be able to make sense of this.

I get AF about once a month and it can last for a couple of days. I have a normal pulse of 60 but in AF it is much more random but never goes very high eg over 100 for a sustained period of time. My strategy to try and stop it is to get on my bike and push it a bit. Normaly works.I have stopped all alcohol which has made a difference. I am trying to handle it by keeping fit and avoiding triggers. I am probably not a severe case and am trying to minimise resort to drugs. I currently take losartan and have just started warfarin.

ragtopgal in reply to AFCyclist

sounds like you are in pretty good shape. why would you need warfarin at all?

and what are your triggers?

AFCyclist in reply to ragtopgal

AF means you are 5 times more prone to a stroke. I turned 65 last year and my cardiologist said I needed to be on Warfarin, which I have been on for 2 months. My main triggers seem to be alcohol, stress (eg late to the airport) and I minimise caffiene and avoid Coca Cola.

Garywf in reply to AFCyclist

I am like you in that I am 67 & like to keep fit on the bike (road & mountain) & in the gym.

There are now alternatives to Warfarin that seem preferred. I have been prescribed Apixaban but there are others. May be worth having a chat to your doctor.

Lucybod in reply to AFCyclist

AFCyclist Your type is like mine, but I get it about twice a month, I think either a stressful day or a some alcohol that starts it.

AFCyclist in reply to Lucybod

I agree, alcohol and stress are my main triggers. Strangely it does not start immediately but can be 24 hrs later.

Lucybod in reply to AFCyclist

Yes that's exactly what happens to me. Got it next day after going to a wedding and drinking a couple of glasses of wine.

AFCyclist in reply to Lucybod

I have gradually reduced my alcohol consumption from 40+ units a week 5 years ago, to about 20 a week, and then 1 a week 2 years ago, and now zero for last 8 months. I think AF is reducing (nothing for last 2 months). Time will tell. Also trying to reduce stress and rushing around. Should also say that I have left bundle branch block (diagnosed on ecg 15 years ago) but AF only started when I was 60. I think it was due to alcohol.

Lucybod in reply to AFCyclist

I have had this problem since I was a teenager on and off I am now 66.I used to ignore it until a couple of years ago it lasted about 10 hours and I went to A&E they gave me a couple of pills and sent me away. Then a year later it happened again and then I was prescribed Bisoprolol, after that I got it more often and had eptopic beats nearly every day. Last year I was given Flecainade pill in the pocket it seemed to stop it until I took 300mg of flec during a 24 hr period and collapsed and they say my heart stopped. So now I have stopped all medication, I feel much better and when my heart decides to jump around I try to exercise and it goes back to sinus on its own.

AFCyclist in reply to Lucybod

Keep taking the exercise! My AF can last for a couple of days. I get fed up with it and get on my bike and it normaly kicks back in after 20 mins or so. If I find anythingelse that works I will let you know.

Lucybod in reply to AFCyclist

I will, when I was taking Flecainade I was told to rest which was the complete opposite to what my heart needed. I have a tread mill now to walk the AF off. I use it also for exercise. I also walk the dog, do tai chi ( very good for relaxation) and badminton.

That's really why I asked the initial question about fast and slow AF. The people with the fast type couldn't possibly exercise when in AF and need Flecainade, Bisoprolol etc.

Etc. but slow type I thought you could use exercise to get rid of it as in both our cases.

My heart rate goes up to around 170 when I'm in AF, I've heard of higher though... It is also irregular. I'm on bisoprolol and warfarin, which seem to be working for me except the warfarin appears to have bunged me up. I need large platefuls of prunes, I think! Or Dyno-Rod...

Hi Lucy

Like Ian I am 24/7 AF. My resting rate is 44/45 and on exertion goes up to around 65. Ocassionally have resting going down to 38. My rate is so low because I have LBBB, (1st degree heart block). If it wasn't for that my rate would be 4 or 5 times higher, going by my AliveCor ECG and then my cardio would have had to do something about it, instead of doing nothing.

As others are saying, it is extremely variable from one person to another. I find the best thing is to accept that I will have some bad days but thankfully, mostly good.

Keep well and enjoy your research, it's the only way we learn.


Hi Lucybod! Re slow and fast AF - don't be fooled by what you feel is slow AF. In AF, the heart chambers sort of tremble. This is inefficient, because not all messages to make a beat travel from the upper to lower chamber properly. However, this means that many beats are very weak and don't register as a pulse when felt by the sufferer, although they are occurring! At my last examination by my GP, my wrist pulse rate was around 62, but the 'beats' detected by the stethoscope (the GP was listening to my heart rate while checking my wrist) was in the upper 90's. It is all very confusing, but this shows that pulse rate as detected by the sufferer, either by holding the wrist or listening to the beeps on a home BP monitor, is not always an accurate count of what's happening!! My message to all AFers is to try to carry on as normal unless you feel woozy. Good Health and Happy New Year to us all!! Franelaine.

Hidden in reply to franelaine

That's precisely what the EP at the Patients Day said. Because of arrhythmia which plays havoc with heart beats, actually measuring the beats is difficult, so best thing is to go with how you feel. Next best was a stethascope, he said.

I was on a big machine a few weeks ago in A&E. My heart rate was bouncing around between 90-160, and my pulse (i.e. BPM) reading on the same machine was 72!!!


Lucybod in reply to Hidden

It must be very difficult for a machine to work out your Bpm if your heart is all over the place. I remember in A&E the blood pressure machine kept restarting as it couldn't get a proper reading. Very painful!

I'm not sure you're going to get a valid response by asking people about slow vs fast AF, as most of us are on drugs anyway that will affect hear rate (e.g. beta blockers) as well as specific rate control drugs. When I was diagnosed with AF initially it was fast AF, but now my resting heart rate is below 70 although since I am in permanent AF it's very irregular. Exercise does increase it (and makes it a bit more regular), but due to the AF it's difficult to get an accurate reading of the rate

Lucybod in reply to excalibur

I was interested to ask what type people had when AF started to manifest itself.

Hi, my first post - so glad to have found this site. I have had PAF for 7 years. It began as a very occasional occurrence and has since developed. Flec Ac has been my prescription; 100mg as Pill in Pocket and now twice a day. I believed that I had 2 types of AF which I described as missed beats and super fast. I now know that the missed beats feeling is simply additional, tiny beats followed by a big beat, the former being undetectable and the latter very obvious.

In terms of what I believe contributes to the start of episodes: alcohol, stress, caffeine and exercise. However, even this is erratic. E.G. I just returned from a 5 mile run with no effect. One constant I feel is dehydration so I really concentrate on my fluid intake.

Just to finalise the introduction, I spent 15 years of my life as a racing cyclist and trained 4 or 5 days a week throughout the year. My adult lifetime alcohol intake probably averages out at less than a unit a week and my food intake is not excessive. My first AF bout happened in a race and my max BPM was 254! So far the only thing I really know about AF is that it is different for all of us.

My AF was fast. I once read about exercise to put yourself back into rhythm and so I tried it. After 5 min vigourous exercise I checked my heart rate and it was over 200 so I went back to lying on the couch during an attack. When I went from rhythm control to rate control I was able to work during an attack but it still wasn't pleasant and when not in a f my heart rate was very slow especially at night.

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