My GP says there is no physical cause for my PAF, is he right?

As some of you may remember I have had four ablations for my PAF which have improved it dramatically. But I still get occasional PAF and the EP has stated that I will have to live with it because my heart muscle is to thick for him to affect the area.

I have accepted this situation and have read about Cognitive therapy, meditation etc. So I approached my GP to ask what was available on the NHS for me, he listened quite sympathetically and offered me an appointment with the practice shrink so that I could be assessed.

As I am basically open to anything that may help in the long run, I accepted the appointment and was just about to leave when he declared that me asking for such help was an admittance that my PAF was totally caused by anxiety and that I should give up my job etc. I argued that because the EP had made the PAF much better that there was obviously something physical, but he seemed to think that the improvement was imaginary.

I have the appointment tomorrow and would like something to take to show them that PAF can be caused by an abnormality in the heart etc so if anyone has any good links I would be grateful.

I accept that there is some anxiety in my life, but no more that the next man and I fully believe that I have had the pAF since a young age, and have only felt the symptoms as I have got older.

Thanks guys

20 Replies

  • Oh that is a new one... that your improvement is imaginary! I've heard the reverse but that takes the cake. I am sorry, change doctors. I would like to meet someone who is still in the throws of AF that doesn't have some anxiety. I know my situation isn't helped by stress, but then such is the case for most physical situations. I so hope you find some help soon, you deserve better. Keep us posted.

    PS I've changed how I react to AF with meditation and breathing which helps, but none of those options have removed the AF. I believe we are a very courageous lot of people on this site. I'd like to see some of these doctors go through a few months with what we've done for years! NOt maliciously, just so they could understand! Keep us posted, take good care.

  • Too true

  • I would support Iris's comments wholeheartedly .

    Is there anyone else in your family with similar symptoms? I think that I have inherited AF through my father's line. I have an aunt and 2 cousins with it. I cannot identify others as they all died at a relatively young age. A friend has just been diagnosed. Her 2 elder siblings both have it.

  • My mum was diagnosed with a heart murmur amd slightly leaking valve in her forties. And when I was first diagnosed one of the things they found was a slightly leaking valve.

  • Having someone in the family with a heart problem should help to back your case (my goodness what a wally your doctor is!). Have an ask around - one of my cousins has AF, which to my mind really supports the case for a family (physical) cause.


  • I say change your doctor too.

    How dare he even challenge your improvement if you say you are improved. That's insulting and a cop out. You are the one who knows most about yourself and as GPs they should go with that. I believe they are even told to listen to the patient more and not to rely on test results for instance but rather what the patient says they are experiencing.

    Never think the GP knows more about your condition than you, it's possible they might but more probably they do not. In most of our cases, we are well read and informed on AF, where their knowledge is 'general'. Like a 'Jack of all trades'.

    Everyone experiences stress, we all do and some stress is good for you. Look at all the people who have more stress than you or I and are not experiencing AF. Everyone in a war zone right now would have it. The average person deals with rushes of adrenalin without their heart tripping into AF. It's the electrical conduction in our hearts that misfires and goes haywire sometimes and we are not in control of that.

    What can the practice shrink do about that? You being told that there's no more that can be done medically does not mean it's cause by anxiety or 'an admission' that it's all in your head. If you were feeling anxious, he's certainly not helping.

    It's absolutely not in your head, of course it's not. It is still down to physical causes even if the cause cannot be found. New cures and causes are being discovered for medical conditions every day.

    Look into taking supplements though. I do. There are many sites with advice on them. 'Afibbers', an American website, is one of them. is another.

    Good Luck.


  • "...he declared that me asking for such help was an admittance that my PAF was totally caused by anxiety"

    What an unprofessional thing to say!! Even if he is right - which he isn't. Give up your job? Why, for goodness sake. Well done you for asking for any help that can be given - pity it had to be via such a doctor.

    Like others, I find AF makes me anxious, worried, fearful and miserable but at no time did anyone say it was caused by anxiety. As I have no heart disease or structural problems, I was told that it could be inherited or the tendency could have existed in my heart from birth or it could be natural ageing. Somewhere I did read that valve problems can cause AF (if I find the reference I'll post it for you) and the first AF diagnostic tests done are always for defects in heart structure (echocardiogram/angiogram).

    I sincerely hope that your appointment gives you the help you need - you've come through so much, so well. Best Wishes.

  • Timmo - the site where I read about valve disease and AF was but there are loads of other references to it on the web. WebMD has a list of physical causes of AF too.

  • This condition produces stress, anxiety.... all of which we may or may not have had prior to AF but the condition certainly contributes to the augmentation of such!

    We might not be able to eliminate the AF but we can shift how we relate to it.... takes a tremendous amount of patience and self-compassion.

  • What a plonker Rodney. Actually the word I had in mind was much worse. Stress is a side affect of AF for goodness sake !

    In order for you to have AF you need a predisposition to it. This can be genetic, or acquired. It is an electrical circuitry problem in the heart not the brain.

    Change doctors!


  • NICE has recently said Psychological should be available for AF patients because they realise AF causes such stress for us all- ignore the GP- just because they don't know what causes AF they feel they have to blame the patient!!

  • CBT will work on yr thought process, it will not have any affect on your AF , just help you cope with any worry like thoughts which may increase the levels of stress hormones in your system.

    agree with the others, change your GP if y can, or ask him to educate himself.

    From my understanding some people do have physical abnormalities which contribute to AF and lots of others have normal physiology but just acquire these rogue electrical pathways for reasons unknown. As Bob says you may Just have a predisposition for it.

  • Thanks for the support guys and you have all said pretty much what I was thinking, but sometimes you need to hear it from other people.

    I like my doctor and he feels like a friend, he was the person who first diagnosed me and he has given me lots of support. But at my last appointment he was smiling at me as if I was somebody who was deluded!!

    Its time for a change!!!!

  • Medical professionals do at times struggle with the concept that there is not a cut and dried answer for everything!!. The links between our psychological health and physical health are so important. Meditation, mindfulness, relaxation, whatever floats your boat. I do in and out of all of them just wish I could build on meditation as I'm not practicing enough to improve. There is no excuse for a doc to give you that impression. He needs a course in communication skills. Whatever he may be thinking (judgmental person), he should be able to stop it "leaking" out during a consultation.

    Best wishes Wendy B

  • Hi, anyone want meditation and relaxing regimes, go on youtube and do a search for Buddhist meditation. If the content you find doesn't relax you nothing on earth will. Hope this info helps some people.


  • Hi all, here's something to make anyone relax.

    Buddhist meditation music

  • Change your GP there are a lot of lousy ones around...sounds like the arrogant gits in my practice! Gone are the days of people being in awe of their GP I for one am not. When I expressed my discomfort at my AF last May to a GP cardiac specialist he replied "you don't like this very much do you?" Erm what part of AF was I supposed to like? What a callous and stupid remark to make to anyone....asshole! This ruined my patient/doctor relationship with him and got me and him off to a bad start! Don't see him now see someone else I can talk too.

  • Well just back from my appointment, and I told her what I wanted and what my goals are. (An interest in Mindfulness and meditation). She rolled her eyes when I told her what my GP had said and promised to email me some information on groups and help in my area which is all covered by the NHS!!!

    Why couldnt my doctor have done this!!! She was a bright confident young lady who listened to me and quickly assessed that I didnt need to see her.

    What I need to do is find a doctor who has an understanding of AFIB. Maybe we should start lists on here?

    Thanks again guys!!!

  • I wanted to post this morning but my holiday Wi-Fi ran out....reminded me of something......

    Just to say that it seems to that the worst part of this is your disillusionment with your 'friendly' GP. Before you leave I hope you will explain very clearly to him where he went wrong as it may help others!

    Best wishes for your quest, please keep us updated.

  • I have been told that the heart is fine but the electrics are faulty. I would say that you have a GP that really does not understand your condition.

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