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AF Association
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AF with a slow heart rate

Hi all,

Can someone explain to me AF with a slow heart beat ie 55-60 - how do you detect that you potentially have AF (or are in the state of AF) if the heat beat is normal/slow - is this possible? - is it the irregularity of the beat ie you would be able to detect it through your pulse?

I have recently had PAF - all calmed down by beater blockers etc but I am wondering if the beater blockers are simply covering up for the AF in anyway albeit I feel fine - pulse feels normal, slow and regular.

6 Replies

I have no medical training so cannot comment on whether AF may be present but I could always detect the irregular pulse in my neck, just below my jaw - carotid, I think. I found BP and finger pulse monitors unreliable in detecting irregular pulse but the little Alivecor ECG monitor caught it every time.

AF for me was always fast - 90-230 pulse rate but some people have said that their AF happened with slower pulse. When checking my pulse, if I hear bu-bum, bu-bum nice and regular, I'm happy - it's the bu-bum.............BUM, bu,bu,bubububub, ......bu-bum that you really don't want!

AFA website has info on checking pulse - best wishes.


I have PAF and my regular heartbeat is currently in the 40's (probably due to my daily Bisoprolol). When I have an episode it is now pretty obvious to me because of the way I feel and the sensations in my chest. Also, when I manually take my pulse it is very irregular.

Confirmation comes from my blood pressure monitor machine that has an arrhythmia indicator which is usually reliable (unlike the bp readings that cannot be relied upon when taken during an episode).

Finally, when out and about I also use a free android app on my phone called 'Instant Heart Rate' which includes a heartbeat trace. This trace is very uneven and craggy during an episode and contrasts sharply to a normal trace when in NSR.

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I've had AF without any increase in my heart rate. When it was bad, I could feel a jumping in my chest. When it was not bad, I could feel a twitching under my left arm pit, a bit like when your eye twitches, but just to the side of my heart. Really tiny feeling but quite distinctive.

I've also had quite pronounced AF when on a monitor, and I couldn't feel anything !!


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I don't know about beta blockers and how they work. I am in AF but with a slow ventricular rate because I have disease within the conduction pathway. My heart rate is always irregular, this may be hardly noticeable or very irregular - for me this varies and there does not appear to be a pattern. I wonder if sometimes my AF increases and it's during these spells I feel unwell? I know that if your heart rate becomes too slow it can make you feel dizzy, lightheaded, you could even faint. I am fortunate that I have never passed out.

My consultant said my condition is very rare and difficult to diagnose. I had lots of heart rate monitoring, MRI, CT scan, echocardiogram. A failed cardioversion with long pause in heart beat apparently also helped to confirm diagnosis.

Your condition may not be like mine at all, it's not appropriate for me to be on beta blockers as it would slow my ventricular rate too much.


I have the same pulse rate and it's very clear when AF starts, I don't need to describe it you will feel it. Many here have said they have had AF without feeling anything and I intend asking my cardio next time if there is anything I can wear 24 hours for a week to check this. However, on whether to take an anticoag if you have a CHADS score of 0 is more of a personal choice taking into account your/your partner/relative's feelings, other medical issues and your lifestyle including food and supplements.

I haven't found many useful stats on strokes in my position but my current view is if a stroke for a completely healthy person is 1 in 5000 and my risk is 1 in 1000 I can live with it. It also stops me being complacent as I improve my lifestyle.


When I have an AF my heart just goes out of rhythm but never goes fast. I was prescribed Bisoprolol and in 2013 had 42 episodes of irregular heart beat, I used to take Flecainade to stop it it wasn't very effective. After nearly dying after taking 150mg of Flecainide then 12 hours later another 150mg I have stopped both Bisoprolol and Flecainade. In 2014 I only had 29 episodes of AF and every time it stopped on its own after about 12 hours. Most of the time a bit of exercise will kick it back into rhythm. i think Bisoprolol caused me to have more episodes because it would slow my heart down which is the opposite of what was needed. I don't think the doctors listened to me and assumed I had the fast AF which probably would suit having Bisoprolol and Flecainade. I only take Pradaxa now and just carry on when I have an AF as luckily it doesn't affect me physically, I can even run when it's out of rhythm.


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