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AF Association
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Normal ECG and heartbeat

I just found this group a few weeks ago and it has been great for me. However, here is my dilemma. I was diagnosed with AFIB after my regular doctor heard my fast, irregular heartbeat and did a ECG that day (in January). Now yesterday I had a second one and it was completely normal...heartbeat, rhythm, everything. The Cardiologist is now going to have me wear a heart monitor for 2 weeks.

Has anyone had this happen? Could it have been a one time thing? I do distinctly remember having 3 cups of coffee the morning of my appointment in January. I have since January changed my diet and cut out 95% of desserts, fries, chips and added veggies AND the coffee.

Is it normal to diagnose just after one incident? I do NOT have any symptoms anytime. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thank you.


13 Replies

Hi Barb

Yes Afib can come and go and this could be a one off episode for you. Hope the 7 day monitor goes well.

A fib is diagnosed by the ECG, and yes if that is how your heart was beating then you have it, but you might not get it again for ages, it really is a mongrel condition .

If you don't have symptoms certainly makes life easier although they might still decide to treat it.

Good luck and do let us know how you get on



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Others more knowledgeable than me will surely reply to you in a full and enlightening way.

My AFib started with an isolated incident and developed gradually from there. Usually any ECG I have is completely normal - only when my heart is pretending to be in the tumble drier does an ECG reveal tell-tale peculiarities.

I'd just like to suggest that if you are having a 2 week monitor (and I assume it's a 3 lead ECG) ask when you get it what to do if the stickers itch. If you have an allergic reaction, the irritation may stay with you after you have said goodbye to the gadget and continue to be troublesome for a few days.


Good luck!

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Actually, my cardiologist told me it is a patch that goes on your arm and can go in the shower and everything. No wires. And there is supposed to be some kind of a button to push if I would feel anything irregular going on. So we will see how that all goes. All new to me.

I have read that sometimes the heartbeat, etc. is fast or irregular because of a virus or something food or ???? What do they look for to diagnose AFib right away? I am still trying to learn.


Patch on the arm sounds good! Much better. Something triggers AF - the finger points at things like alcohol and caffeine in particular, but I can't explain what sets mine off, nor what stops it. It just goes.


Just an update...I had the 2 week Zio Patch. It was a patch that stuck on the upper left side of my chest. No leads. Well...the results showed NO episodes over 2 weeks. So now I am left with the one episode they found in January. I didn't know I was having that one.

Now I am still in the dilemma of "does this one episode forever give me the diagnosis of Afib"???? I have never been to the Emergency room, never felt any symptoms, don't feel sick, so I still don't know.


Nice to have the update. Good that there was nothing to be picked up by the monitor. I'll be asking for one like yours if I ever have to be monitored again.

We have all learnt thing or two from the answers your question generated!

Let's hope you will remain symptom free from now on. All the best.


Hi Barb,

I had a similar experience 13 months ago and spent my first night in hospital in my 70 years. My BP was normal but my heartbeat was all over the place. I did not have any of the symptoms normally associated with heart conditions - I just felt unwell. Everything returned to normal within 36 hours and thankfully has remained thus since then. I am on Warfarin and Flecainide. My consultant's advice before signing me off was " to go and enjoy your life". I have lived that advice since within reason. He also told me that AFiB can be a once only incident or it can become a more frequent health condition. My hope for both of us is that it is the former. I hope that this helps.

Best wishes.



Hi Barb

It could be a one off incident, but most likely if you have had one episode you are very,likely to have more but it may not be for months or years. I found they came in clutches, several episodes in 8 weeks, then Nothing for over a year, thought I was clear then more. Gradually they became more and more frequent and severe and I felt worse and worse, even when I didn't have episodes. That seems to be a familiar pattern for most of us on this site. I do hope yours is a one off, but no one can say for sure, horrible I know.


They look at the ECG traces and will be able to see if it is AFib immediately as it has a very irregular pattern called a saw-tooth, so named because it resembles how a saw looks, not at all like the pattern you see at the beginning of Casualty.

If you google ECG traces, AFib you can see whAt they look for.


Thanks everyone for your replies. Every bit of information helps.


My first trip to the hospital turned into a nightmare. Because I knew nothing about A-Fib, I assumed the doctors did. Bad assumption. Gradually I learned that I can detect the A-Fib by feeling my pulse. An A-Fib pulse is irregular with missing beats. The blood pressure machine that I purchased will tell if I am in A-Fib but it will not read the beats correctly. It will give a number but not the correct one. I purchased an ECG machine for $150.00 US and now I can read my heart rate myself whenever I think I am in A-Fib. With this, there is not guessing and I can send a printout to the doctor if he would accept it. .

The EP specialist gave me drugs which made the A-Fib worse. After five weeks of A-Fib and feeling lousy, I went off the drugs against my family doctor's advice since none of the EP guys would offer him a solution. The A-Fib attacks became less and less. When I went back for a follow-up with the EP, he said they usually only give drugs to people whose life is negatively impacted by A-Fib which mine was not so why did he give me drugs? I have noticed that artificial sugars and sulphites will give me A-Fib. At least I think this is so.

As an aside, I have found that drinking milk gives me nosebleeds, taking coconut oil allows me to breathe normally and not be stuffed up all the time, eating peanuts gives me pains in my hips and vitamin E stops tingling in my toes. If I want any of these things, I just stop doing what works and I get all these symptoms again. I know. I have experimented. All sound weird but if you pay attention to your body it can tell you stuff. Doctors did not find solutions to these problems. Their drug solutions did not work. I avoid what I think are my A-Fib triggers like the plague. I have not had A-Fib for 12 weeks but maybe that is just good luck.

My suggestion is to not take drugs unless you are having A-fib a lot, it does not subside within a few hours on its own, and you cannot find or wish to avoid the triggers that may be causing it. If you have only had it once that you know about, this may not justify taking drugs. I know I did not have A-Fib twice a day before I went into the hospital which I had when I was put on drugs in the hospital and when I left. Learn, learn, learn and then ask the doctor lots of questions. If you have not had adverse symptoms that have affected your life, it is unlikely that you will have them right away so you have time to do your homework. Often drugs have side effects worse than infrequent A-Fib. Some people have infrequent A-Fib all their lives and live normally without drugs. The doctor will scare you about strokes and these must be considered. Chad scores and other indicators predict risk Taking anticoagulants has a risk and not taking them has a risk. Reputable studies are beginning to show more of these risks. So be sure you know and understand what is being suggested before you jump into taking drugs. Unfortunately every person reacts differently, so the doctors are never sure if what they recommend will work well. In my case beta blockers lower my heart rate to 30 or less which is not a good thing to experience. In one hospital, I was given them and they nearly did me in. When I went to the heart hospital, they wanted to give them to me again since these work for most people. i said no. One near death experience was enough for one week. Sometimes drugs are a trial and error process which you will read about on this site and remember you are the trial so be convinced the trial is needed. Some doctors will not like it when you question them. Its your body so you should decide, when you have all the facts. I did not have them. I went on blind faith without good results. I hope this adds another dimension to your thought process.


Interesting post engmac!


If anyone is interested M & S do a reasonable sulphite free wine in red white and rose. It's called 'Naturae'. The white is a chardonnay but quite nice. Morrisons and Tesco don't stock any sulphite free and Ocado do a red only. I did a bit of research on sulphites as they are known to aggravate asthma which my daughter has (she thinks that wine with sulphite make her a bit wheezy) and subsequantly found that they are connected with A Fib too.

I only have a glass or two a couple of times a week at most but think that wine with sulphites can give me a spell of tachycardia(regular) during the night. Not had and since switching to the sulphite free wine.

My Chads2 score is 0 and I've only had one known prolonged A Fib episode but a history of mostly uncharted or witnessed short runs of 'palpitations' so I'm not on thinners, however my EP told me that one thing he's sure of and that is he will be seeing much more of me in the future!

So now I feel I'm just waiting for when it become much worse : (


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