AF Association
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I have a history since 2011 of occasional fast pulse(85-170). I was told that I would be ok with it. In Dec I was diagnosed with

pericarditis and soon after I came home I started having frequent skips and heart rate would drop to 30's sometimes for 5 to 10 mins. I was referred to a special heart dr and at the time he saw me I was having a first time afib that he got on an ekg. He scheduled me for cardioversion but I am not sure that is what I should do as I have had only one afib but I continue to have slow pulse, not as often or as long but still slow. Has any one else had this problem?

4 Replies

Do you know if you saw an EP, an Electrophysiologist? or was he/she a general cardiologist who are more like the plumbers of our hearts whereas EP are the electricians. Ensure you go to the right heart doctor

Cardio version is a general term and usually means having pads attached to your chest through which an electrical shock jump starts your heart into a normal rhythm. I have never had this procedure but lots of people on this forum have. Don't worry, I believe you are sedated so don't remember anything about it. Sometimes you may be chemically cardioverted by drugs through an IV.

Sounds like you may have something more than lone AFib. Normally, in the UK, when the heart goes so low and then so high it would indicate something like sick sinus syndrone and the AFib and tachycardia would not be treated by daily, oral drugs until you had a pacemaker fitted. This is to prevent the heart from the bradycardia, the slow heartbeat or pausing when taking drugs like beta blockers which will slow the heartbeat.

If you are new to all this I would recommend you do lots of research and go back to your doctor and ask all your questions from a knowledge base. In my experience this makes a huge difference to the way you are treated by the doctor. The AFA have a lot of very useful leaflets that you can download and I am sure they have one on cardio version.

Hope that you have recovered from the pericarditis how horrible for you. It is all very scary isn't it when this sort of thing happens and you don't know too much but this site is fab for mutual support. Take care.


Hi Evefay

Sounds really scary I am sure after pericarditis this is the last thing you want and would prefer to just get back to your life.

I'm not medically qualified, but usually cardioversion is used when the heart is in A Fib to try and put it back into normal sinus rhythm and for most of us on here that would be out of A Fib. However, and remember that I am not medically qualified, the procedure means that you are actually linked to a computerised heart rate monitor, and it delivers the electrical shocks very carefully integrated with your existing heart beat to try and put the heart back to normal. I suppose that there is no reason why this should not work for either a fast heart rate or a slow one, if both of them are arrythmias and abnormal heart rates.

But it sounds like that your doctor has not really explained either what you have, or the treatment to you, or at least in a way that you understand, so I'd recommend that you went back and asked a lot more questions before the procedure.

Cardioversion itself is nothing to worry about, usually performed in the ante room to an opertaing theatre they fully anaesthetise you (not usually just sedation) and it takes only a few minutes and you don't feel anything.

When you come round there may be some soreness where the pads were (sometimes two on the chest or sometimes one chest and one on the back) but they give you some brilliant ointment that makes that go away quite quickly.

Completely agree with CDreamer that knowledge is king, so read the AFA website from cover to cover and also the Arrythmia Alliance website. certainly download and read the brochure on cardioversion.

Do let us know how it goes and be well



I question your description of "a first time afib.". Many (possibly all) of us can have episodes of AF without being aware of it. My ElectroCardiologist recently had me wear a 7day ECG recorder to see if this was happening. I woke up this morning aware that my heart was fibrillating and I don't know when it started because I had a good day yesterday. Good luck with your treatment.


To all who have responded thank you so much. To give more info my new cardiologist thought I was having a heart attack but after a cath at the hospital I had no blockages so I guess with test he concluded that it was pericarditis. I was put on an nsaid for 7 days when home. The slow beats started after I finished the nsaids. I have always had a slow pulse(50s and 60s) but now it nose dives leaving me weak and breathless. I used a pulse oximeter to show the PA at my cardiologist office and she referred me to the electrocardioliogist. I have monitored my pulse since my first fast rate in 2011 and have not seen afib, I also wore a zio patch for 2 weeks that showed 39 fast beats and 1 slow so I had a very hard time convincing my PA that I was having slow beats. When she finally referred me, I was actually having my first afib when he did an ekg. The PA did 3 ekgs that showed normal. I am not woworried about the cardioversion, I just need to find out if that is what is best or if I need a pacemaker first to see if the afib returns. I ordered a pulse oximeter recently that records and am printing charts that shows the slow beats. I have an appt with the EP may 15 and will have questions and charts for him. I hope I have not forgotten anything but again, I thank you all and I will let you know what happens.


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