Warfarin Do's and Dont's

I have persistent AF and after seeing an EP last week I have been placed on the waiting list for an ablation. Obviously this will require me to be anti coagulated and I'm awaiting a letter from my GP to attend warfarin clinic. I was placed on warfarin two years ago for a very short while when first diagnosed with AF, the plan was to cardiovert me if the medicine I was taking didn't work, however it did and I was taken off warfarin. I have no issue taking warfarin, as this is a prerequisite to my ablation and I'm aware of certain risks and some things to avoid whilst on warfarin, but one of my pastimes is quite physical and does involve a little rough and tumble. Common sense would indicate this has to be stopped, but in doing so leaves quite a void in my social life. What are the main things people have had to give up when starting warfarin? The plan is not for me to stay on it long term, but even with a successful 1st time ablation I don't see me coming off it for at least 6 months. I expect longer too, as my EP states there is a 60 - 70% chance of the ablation working all together, so I don't see a first time fix, if there is a fix at all.

23 Replies

  • OK so don't try sabre fighting of tiger wrestling but most people can live a fairly normal life. I have been on warfarin for ten years and my wife who isn't bruises far more easily that I do. I had a really bad fall on Saturday and bruised my ribs (wet tiled floor --smacked the floor with my arm to slow me down and then fell onto my clenched fist) but no outward sign of anything. That said we are all different and I would be guided by the warfarin clinic if I were you.


  • Thanks Bob and Oooph. Sounds like a really nasty fall, hope all is ok.

  • I think it's contact sports like rugby that are not advised- also keeping within range is important as a fall would be much more serious if your INR was too high. Self testing ( machine is expensive £300 so might not be option if you think you won't be always on Warfarin) helps to check range, but if you don't self test I would push for fairly frequent tests on the grounds you are physically active and want to ensure INR is not too high

  • Thanks Rosy, I guess time will tell. If I am to be on warfarin long term, then I would prefer to self test.

  • it's very reassuring- I test weekly and studies have shown that's much safer. About once a month my INR seems to go up too far ( I don't drink so not alcohol related!!) and I just have some spinach which brings it down quickly ( first time I had too much spinach and it fell too much!!)

    I have got used to how much Warfarin results in particular INR and can adjust slightly when needed You need to be stable for a bit before your clinic will let you self test but it's easy. Also means you can travel etc without worrying about appointments

    Hope all goes well with you

  • could you tell me please what your physical pass times are??

  • I'm still quite active and have a various hobbies maddogbabe99. I train in a gym where primarily it is contact sports like boxing and wrestling, although of late I have just stuck mainly to the wrestling and just hit the bags and pads. I also play football in a veterans league, which I enjoy immensely and it's only twice a month, so plenty of recovery time. I have been somewhat limited of late, as my AF has been making weekly appearances, so when in AF I just have a light workout.

  • thanks for quick replyi'm asking for my dad who's just been diagnosed ans hesalwys been fit and healty

  • Don't think the boxing and wrestling will be a good idea- could you switch to non-contact sports?

  • You could be right Rosy. I've always talked a good fight, but not been the greatest when it came down to it :) I'll see what the recommendations are when I get my letter from the GP.

  • I have had to give up a lifetime hippy of horse riding. When you ride horses you have to accept that eventually you WILL fall off and in my past experience it is usually on my head! I was initially devastated but accepted it as inevitable if I wanted to stay alive! My life has changed but in many ways for the better as I now have had time to do some of the other things on the good old bucket list. Life often has a way of turning out for the best I find. X

  • My wife fell off last year dedeottie and broke her back. She's 99% OK now though but will never ride again. She could have so easily ended up in a wheelchair. Nurse at the specialist hospital commented that if it weren't for women and horses, and men and mountain bikes, they'd be out of business!

    So just maybe AF's done you a favour?


  • You are quite right and you certainly don't bounce as well as you get older.

    I'm so glad to hear that your wife is o.k. I think she has definitely used up one of her lives.

    Do you still have horses around? I gave my lovely young horse to my best friend and now I follow her competition progress so feel like I still have a connection with the horsey world.

    Nothing in the world would here me on a motor bike so no worries there.x

  • Or a mountain bike!!

  • Yes, still got her horse who's 22. He'll stay as a pet till he goes belly-up. He's has 2 Shetlands for company and a right pair of comedians they are ! She's also got a very nice young Welsh Section D mare/filly, bred on the farm, broken-in and started showing, but not sure what she'll be doing with her yet. Will probably end up giving or loaning her to a good home. I used to ride as well, but got chucked off, as you say, did;t bounce very well so thought it best to call it a day. I didn't know I'd been thrown, just saw the world coming up to me!


  • There are two sets of guidelines relating to eligibility of AF patients for sport, one published by the European Society of Cardiology, and the other by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. In both cases, patients on anticoagulation are not eligible for contact sports.



  • Wow! Thanks for the articles ectopic. I've learnt quite a bit from them and not just about anti-coagulation and contact sports. Needless to say, it looks like I'm in temporary retirement.

    Thanks again,


  • I assume guidelines like that will only be enforced if you're participating in an event which is supervised by a governing body, aside of that it will be your own decision.

  • Hi Jason, Three comments.

    If you are down to have an ablation I would suggest you read up on the latest laser balloon method as it seems to be more successful, not all hospitals have the kit to do it. I had 100% success from it first time. I posted a link to a video of it a while ago.

    Is it perhaps time you looked at other sports, a lot of footballers go on to play golf later on in life?

    Seek out a suitable diet for your illness, so as not to be aggravating the condition.


  • Thanks Phil,

    The procedure we discussed was catheter ablation and that seemed to be the only option. I'm awaiting my appointment letter with a date (I was told the procedure would be in about 3 months). I'll have a look back on your posts and view the laser balloon, thanks for that.

    My diet is pretty healthy, again. I say again as over the past 4 months I developed an overactive thyroid due to amiodarone. I lost 22 pounds in weight and felt generally rubbish, so ate pretty much what I wanted to put a little weight back on. The past month I have picked up and started to get back to full fitness. I still have weekly episodes of AF, but other than a little breathlessness I'm ok.

    Contact sports appear to be a non starter for a while. My EP sees no problem with me getting back to what I love when/if the ablation is successful, but I may have to consider different pastimes. Dedeottie in an earlier post mentioned she had to give up horse riding, but found other things to do.

    Thanks again,


  • Hi Jason,just like to say when I had my ablation last August I also had a duerdenal ulcer and so couldn,t be on any anticoags and I,ve been fine.

  • Thanks argzxoni61 - I didn't know the procedure could be carried out without anticoagulants, I just assumed that was a given. I'm aware of a pre-procedure test I have to have to check if there are any existing clots, but I assumed anticoagulation was a requirement before and after. I just guessed if anticoagulation couldn't be administered, then the procedure was a no go. Forgive my ignorance :)

    I'm glad all went ok for you and here's to many years AF free.

  • I had to give up field hockey when I went on to warfarin 5 years ago. The danger was being hit on the head by a ball or stick. In the event I was 58 and nearing the end of my hockey career so probably not such a bad thing. I've found plenty of things to do in the meantime - I cycle (road and off road though nothing extreme), trek, kayak, swim, go to the gym etc. so its not quite as exciting as a tight hockey game but a lot more age appropriate!

    I would suggest you consider investing in a Coaguchek monitor - just about the best thing I've ever bought.


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