AF or not AF

After having two possibly three TIA`s I was told by stroke doctor that I have paroxysmal AF (23 seconds of AF showed up on 24hr heart monitor ) after over a year I was sent to see a cardiologist who is now saying I don't have paroxysmal AF, I am told that I need to stay on Dabigatran because of my risk of stroke, But I am very confused about this .......... I have also been taking part in the study for the aliveCor heart monitor there is definitely something going on but I don't know what it is , as I have no Idea what AF looks like on an ECG, I showed the cardiologist a few print outs and he glanced at them then just dismissed them .

7 Replies

  • Maggie, the most obvious indication that you have an irregular heartbeat will be evident on your aliveCor heart monitor. The upward spikes should, with a regular heartbeat (normal sinus rhythm or nsr) be very much the same distance apart. If you are in AF they won't be - some of the spikes will be close together and others further apart. Take a look too just before each spike and, if you are in nsr, you should see a small upwards movement in the trace - not large enough to call it a spike but visible nonetheless). This is called the p wave. If it's not there, then again you are probably in AF and you need to speak to your GP about seeing another cardiologist or going back to the stroke doctor. Someone thinks you need stroke prevention otherwise you wouldn't be on Dabigatran. If you believe something is wrong, don't delay. If your current cardiologist can't concisely and satisfactorily explain away your concerns to you, then he doesn't deserve to retain you as his patient. Good luck.

  • Also, the usual advice. Is your cardiologist an EP. If not ask to be referred to one as they are the specialists.

  • sorry not sure what an EP is

  • Sorry Maggie EP is electrophysiologist who specialises in electrical issues in the heart, so AFib flutter etc . The average cardiologist mainly works with the plumbing of the heart i.e. arteries, valves etc.. I hope this is useful. If yours is not an EP you can ask to be referred to one.

  • My Cardiologist sent me for a stress test and another 24Hr ECG but said nothing showed up ( although I hear this can happen )

    My AliveCor readings sometimes look quite normal but then I am getting readings where my heart is racing and the spikes are close together and all over the place, and I get others which my GP said is my heart skipping a beat then racing to catch up again , I am usually feeling quite unwell at these times ie shakey dizzy and very tired .

    I understand that the Dabigatran is to prevent anymore TIA`s , but what I don't understand is if PAF was not the cause of my TIA`s what was ! but the hospital have said they will not be doing any further tests to find out

  • Has your GP or anyone else seen your AliveCor traces? Not so much those where the spikes are simply close together (tachycardia) but where there is clearly different sized spaces between the spikes indicating arrhythmia.

  • When I took some of my alivecor readings to my GP , she had never seen or heard of the alivecor , she was also very busy that day so only looked at one reading , but I will go back and see her again

    Thank you for the help :)

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