Should I have gone to A and E? Festive AF episode!

I have been on sotalol for several years now (I am 47 and had my first episode of PAF in 1997), and my usual "episodes" last for a few seconds only. However, at 1 a.m. on Christmas Eve I started abruptly into an irregular rhythm. I thought I would see how it was in the morning as I didn't want to rush off to A and E unnecessarily. In the morning it was still happening. Bearing in mind that my usual episodes last a few seconds, I was still reluctant to make the trip to the hospital as I was pretty sure that by the time I had traveled down to the hospital and waited the usual two hours plus, I would have dropped back into sinus rhythm.

By nine o'clock in the evening on Christmas Day, it was still happening, so I rang the NHS line for advice. Their advice was to get to A and E within the hour. I didn't do this as by the time I'd changed from my happy Christmas outfit into the scruffs of someone who might be hanging around in a hospital for several hours, I found I had gone back into sinus rhythm!

There were then a number of tears on my part. I started to question my sanity, I started to wonder whether I'd imagined the whole thing (despite my husband having listened to my chest and confirming my fears), wondered whether despite my feeling like I wasn't letting it stress me that it was all stress-induced and it the mere thought of going to hospital calmed me down and made the heart revert to normal.

Should I have gone to A and E? What would any of you have done? I haven't been to see the GP to report it, should I?

I was discharged from the cardiology department at Glenfield Hospital a couple of years ago as I was largely asymptomatic.

Emma

10 Replies

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  • Hi Emma, I've had AF since the 90s as well, mine started once a month then once a week then into a continuous cycle of 2 days of AF then 2 days fine, I can set my clock to it. I've now had my 3rd ablation and alls been well for a week so I'm hoping it works this time. I've never bothered going to A&E even though sometimes I've felt like it, I think its a personal choice really but I always knew I would come out of AF after a couple of days, I think your festive bout of it could be down to the usual Xmas stress and excess maybe so I wouldn't worry too much but if it happens again then certainly tell your gp or pay a visit to A&E if it makes you feel better, take care.

  • Christmas was a very quiet and stress-free one for us this year, and I barely drink alcohol and am trying to lose weight so I really don't know what the trigger was!

  • Hi Emma. I think next time it happens you should get to A and E just so that you get an ECG of the af then you should get back to seeing an EP . You should not have. A to waitrt as cardiacpatients usually go straight in. Alternatively you could dial 999 you would get a tracing without necessarily going to hospital

  • Hi Emma

    XMas comes up quite often when talking about AF it seems. I was first diagnosed on Christmas Eve 2003, shopping, which I find incredibly stressful and will not do it any more. It's even worse than Strictly Come Dancing, which also sets me off. I'm not joking by the way. If you don't drink then I think it might be stress in your case, or sounds like it. There's good and bad stress, my favourite music may also set me for opposite reason to Strictly which I think should be banned. And if we're going to see friends, I look forward to it but may still get some wobbles. Strange really.

    My GP prescribed some tranquillisers for me, for very occasional use and it works for me. Only use about 10 a year.

    Best wishes

    Koll

  • Hi Emma, Personally I never went to A and E after the first attempt as they never did much but watch and wait but then again I was an old hand at it. I think next time if I were you I would go to A and E if only to get an ECG done and maybe re-activate your treatment regime. You should probably be on anticoagulant by now as well- warfarin or one of the newer drugs if it doesn't suit you as your stroke risk has probably changed in the last few years.

  • I've been on warfarin since 1994 as I have a clotting disorder.

  • Yeh Emma listen to Bob anticoagulants are really important to anyone with AF - I'm lucky to be living proof of that.

    Brian

  • Thanks for the replies!

  • Hi Hilda. I would go to A E if this happens again as it may well do now. Did you have fast A F ? I nearly always end up in AE as my AF is invariably v fast and persistent . I have never had to wait long as cardiac cases are usually prioritised. I actually went into AF on Xmas eve 2012 and quite quickly changed to atrial flutter which ruined all my plans ! My GP always says that I should get to AE within half an hour . Sandra

  • Hi Emma I would have done exactly what you did - don't stress everyone else will do enough stressing for you. Get it checked out when out when you can but don't stress that only inflames it

    Brian

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