AF Association

Retirement due to AF

Hi there, is there any one on the site who has retired from work due to AF ? I work in confrontational occupation as such where physical contact can happen and with high stress levels and long working hours I find this dramatically affects my AF. I do find it takes some hours to recover from a working day, and of course this is affecting my work life balance. And indeed my ability to exercise, which I used to do regularly. I realise my employers have a duty of care, and I will be seeking some form of expert assistance to present to them regards AF ( they are pretty ignorant of the situation ) however, does anyone have any guidelines or advice ? I have carried out some investigations as to when my AF takes place, and it is generally in work when stressed or afterwards in recovery. On leave days or rest days I find little or no affect on my work life balance. I did this at the suggestion of my specialist. I have had AF for three years now which is controlled by medication. And this works well. But sadly my work brings on and affects my health which as we all know if I go in to AF regularly I could easily suffer a stroke or heart attack.

I am 52 now, and my family, as yours are I am sure very concerned about this ongoing issue. I have given it great thought and tries so hard to fight this and carry on but I am now left with little else other than to seek guidance.

I am reluctant to have an ablation due to the fact it isn't always successful and the fact it can go wrong ( minimal I know but there is a risk )

Any help ?

8 Replies

Keith I do sympathise. I actually took early retirement at 52 although I wasn't diagnosed with AF till seven years later. Best thing I ever did but then I had other skills which enabled me to remain useful to society and I had a reasonable index linked works pension.

Having said that I can't agree with you about ablation. I had three before they finally nailed my gremlins and would have a fourth at the drop of a hat if needed. The risks have to be laid out but frankly in my view you stand more chance of being hit on the head with space debris than actually being seriously inured during the procedure. The other point is that you should be on anticoagulants to reduce the stroke risk and then that point isn't valid. I haven't heard of anybody having a heart attack as a direct result of AF but if untreated it can lead to cardiomyopathy and eventually possibly heart failure. Before you give up on work I would reconsider your options for treatment and discuss the situation with your HR people.



Dear Keith, I work as a nurse and the type of work I do can be very physical. Last year I was off of work for 3 months with a four month phased return, closely monitored by occupational health doctor. I also kept my nursing union representative informed to ensure I was fully aware of my rights and responsibilities as well as the rights and responsibilities and duty of care that my employer has towards me.

My understanding is that as I have a chronic health condition I am protected by the disabilities employment act, although I don't think I am considered to have a disability. I may have my facts a bit muddled but I know I cannot be penalised when I need to take time off for medical/hospital appointments and my line manager has to ensure my working conditions remain appropriate and safe for me. Some modifications to my working day have been agreed to which has made a positive difference and helps limit/reduce my tiredness.

I am 57 and very concerned about my work-life balance, protecting my health and my pension. I am still trying to obtain clear information about my pension rights so I can make an informed decision before making any choices.

I am not sure if my ow n experience can help you in any way but I hope it can. Wishing you all the best.


Hi Keith

I wrote a long reply and then deleted it - I think it is far too personal a decision to comment upon.

I think that you are right that you need expert advice to weigh up your options. I just wanted you to know that I appreciate it is a life changing situation, facing this level of impairment and it's horribly difficult to make those decisions about procedures and work, all of which affect not just yourself but your family.

I've just accepted redundancy in part due to my AF and I am just 50. I also had an ablation 6 weeks ago which is unlikely to rid me of my symptoms as hoped. Despite this both have been the right decision for me and I feel very hopeful that the lifestyle change will reap health benefits.

I hope that you get the support you need from family, your employer and your health care professionals to be able to work out the course of action for yourself and feel comfortable with it.

Take care and have a happy Christmas.



I'm 55 now and work for myself. Have done for 12 years. No sick leave or paid time off for me.

In fact I never have any time off. I'm worried I'd lose my contract.

Even after a violent PAF episode one late afternoon in June 2012(had left work luckily) where I was taken off in an ambulance, I still turned up at work the next morning and only told one person.

I am lucky at the moment where I am not having AF attacks just short runs with plenty of ectopics.

I rarely tell anyone about my heart rhythm problems.

I don't see this as a disability just something to live with and make the best of.

I try to put it to the back of my mind.

Giving up work is rarely a good idea in my opinion.



I did high pressure work all my life running a business. I came down with AF in my early 50's and there is no way on earth I could have continued, so had to get out. I was controlled by drugs and later an ablation, but it was still a constant problem. I "retired" in that I got out and started farming, which is nearly as hard as farmers tell you :-) but it's low stress, straight-forward work. Guy I know up the road was also in a high stress job, by pure chance same industry as me, MD of a company with a few hundred people etc. He didn't have AF but had to get out. He is now a happy window cleaner. You can make changes in your life if you really want to and your back's against the wall.

Good luck whatever you do.



HI Keith 1973 ....Its a mind bending experience to have to retire because of ongoing AF....Mine started quite a few years ago and I had many trips to hospital ED. I was 54 ish when things went pear shaped but battled on never knowing when the next AF episode would take hold and become an issue with working as a nurse and trying to teach....but this year my life turned upside down and retirement has been forced to look after myself and be looked after by hubby who is fantastically attentive....I have other issues but had my ablation in September and now am feeling much better from the heart problem even though I do get some weak AF episodes and still get SVT on occasions....nothing like before but as everyone will tell you on here you need time to heal and be mostly has all comes together even with some scary moments and a couple of trips to ED for a check when it gets a little overwhelming too....I think even though I'm a chicken and have got gastroparesis from having the Ablation I would probably do it again if I had too... Don't sell yourself short seek every bit of information you can and make choices from being informed ..... .always seek opinion from your cardiologist and then what your wanting from your quality in your life is what matters .....its a personal thing I think.......good luck with whatever you do....

:) Jo


1 like

Thanks all of you for your replies, the biggest issue for me isn't giving up work but reducing the extreme stress my work continues to give me and long hours, unchecked, unmanaged with a heart condition that mangers currently refuse to recognise or take a duty of care to assist me with. I have a meeting with our HR and medical people on New Year's Eve, my union state they should retire me. They say this to reduce the chance of my employer being blamed if something does happen at work. The problem is we can all talk about duty of care, and individual responsibilty but I work for an employer who has a poor track record in this area, and will work you for long hours expecting the last drop of blood from you. Yes, I can go sick and quote my increased AF difficulty, they will have to pay me and eventually retire me I suppose.

However, my main point was to hear from people who have been retired with this condition, mine only gets Worse with increased work stress, and is pretty ok without it. Its a real issue which concerns me greatly, at 51 the last thing I want is a stroke from an AF episode or a reduction in quality of life just to please my employer or indeed the ego of fellow professionals who 'carry on regardless'

Thanks for all your responses :-)


Just as a a closure to this, my employer ill health retired early six months ago. If you want to have some dialogue about the process feel free to mail me,


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