New Dilemma

If its not one thing, it's another, isn't it?

I found myself back in hospital on Friday with more chest pains and lethargy, but since my cardioversion just over a week ago, despite too many Ectopics and a few runs of double beats too, I've remained in NSR. I'm pleased to report that all the tests came back normal and had the opportunity of discussing my entire history with a fabulous American doctor, who just after his hand over took the trouble to spend well over an hour with me....... Talk about educational.

On Sunday, I finally had a free day of any symptoms, but today they were back with a vengeance and have left me somewhat confused. I wondered if anyone here had experienced any of the following, and I'd be very grateful for your thoughts.

My normal resting heartbeat is between 58 & 60 bpm.

Early this afternoon my heart rate dropped to 50bpm, I felt a slight fluttering in my chest, a few palpatations and a band of pain that went right around my middle to lower back. Whilst I didn't feel my heart racing, my Sportsline Duo ECG accurate watch monitor, (which I've worn these past couple of days) went totally nuts.

For several hours later, I felt like a drained car battery. I can't find any other way to describe it.

As a result of Fridays trip to hospital, my medics have arranged another treadmill test and more tests are bound to follow.

One thing the doctor told me that I don't quite get is that AFib can sometimes be fast but show as a slow beat because some of them are actually missing? Has anyone else experienced anything like this?

Thanks again. You are all absolutely amazing and I'm proud to be a member of this forum.


11 Replies

  • Definitely on home monitors the heart can be fast but the device cannot pick them all up, and if irregular it will show the ones it does pick up. On mine, if its too fast it shows up as an error, but if just moderately fast (117-125) then it will pick up some and maybe show my h.beat is 71 or something. But my monitor shows the heartbeat is irregular. Once in the Urgent care they had to finally go to the ekg to get my rate. Even their more sophisticated monitors couldn't read it.

    Are you on a medication that could be responsible for the symptoms, a pulse too slow, etc? Sometimes beta blockers drop it too low and you might have to adjust the dosages. I have found that when it drops too low it can set off irregularities. Sounds like you have a good doctor to discuss things with.

  • I agree re home monitors. Useless in AF and only serve to confuse. The only reliable thing is a 12 lead ecg. Other things may tell you that you have a problem but only a 12 lead will show what it actually is. When I did some random testing last year with a hand held device we found a number of people who we then did 12 lead ecg on and only two of them had AF whilst the other nine had different arrhythmias. The total sample was 85.


  • True, but one can learn to read & decipher the home monitors and sort the kinds of arrhythmias for the most part - at least on my Omron M3 blood pressure/heart rate machine I am able to. But then i have very clear body signals for each kind of arrhythmia so it's like a confirmation...and not everyone has such clear symptoms. I don't know anything about the hand devices, my guess is that they are not as reliable as the Omron M3. But you are right in that a 12 lead ecg is the only thing that can show, for example, no P-waves...and specifically whether a PAC or a PVC or other things.

  • Yes, I am on Bisoprolol that does slow my HR but things seem to kick off at 50bpm. Right now my HR is sitting on 58 and s absolutely fine

  • Much of this sounds familiar so don't panic (I am assuming your doctors have discussed anticoagulants).

    I wouldn't trust any readings from a heart moniter when in AF although those with an arrhythmia indicator can be useful.

    I was always totally drained the day after an AF episode but my latest drugs are now helping.

    With regard to resting heart rate, I always used to be around 58 but it is now in the 40's thanks to bisoprorol.

    I know this is easier said than done but my advice is to relax and concentrate on the things you can control (diet, weight, general fitness etc). Attitude of mind can play a big part. Also consider a magnesium supplement.

    Hope this helps but I appreciate we are all different.

  • Good call Craggy.

  • Yes, AF can leave you feeling like a wet rag sometimes, can't it? It's great that you got to talk to a good doctor, and also good that they are going to do more tests. And as for the fast/slow thing, I remember the first time I ever had AF I wasn't very good at feeling my pulse and all I could feel were the occasional hard beats. I thought my heart was stopping... I now realise of course it's just that all the little beats are so weak you have to concentrate to catch them, and I daresay these wrist monitors have a problem with them too. Try not to worry too much, it sounds as if you have some good people on your case and trying to sort you out :)


  • Yea, I've got a great team thanks Lis. It's been a lot more settled today too which I'm obviously pleased about. Thanks again x

  • Hi Nigel

    My experience for consideration.

    I have been told I have sick sinus syndrome where the heart cycles between Bradycardia (<60 bpm) and Tachycardic AF (>100bpm). I first presented to my GP about 4 years ago as my normal resting heart rate was getting lower, despite decreasing fitness (at this stage it was 50bpm) when it go as low as 37 one day I went back and 3 days later I was in hospital with Tacky AF (180bpm). I think the 2 extremes feed each other, when my heart rate drops too low - in the 30s (normally in the 40s now) it can start a fast AF episode. Also when my heart resets after a fast AF episode my heart rate plummets alarmingly and I can nearly pass out. It was one of the reasons that I was keen to have an ablation as I was convinced that if I could get the fast AF controlled I would stop having the dreadful Bradycardic dips. An article describing this (you might need to create a log in).

    Despite daily heart rate irregularities since my ablation 2 months ago (including fast flutter up to 200bpm), I have not had any sustained fast AF episodes (which means I haven't had to go to hospital, have any additional treatments or use my beta blockers that make me feel rubbish) and crucially not had any reset Bradycardic episodes (which are the real frighteners for me). When I go back in a months time I am hoping that enough has been done to postpone having a pacemaker for now (though still see very low heart rate some mornings (<35bpm) and I don't know how low whilst sleeping.

    I'm glad that you have such a proactive team on your case and I hope that you get to understand the root of your personal issues soon.


  • Thanks for your comments everyone. I agree with Bob re monitors and total accuracy but find its still really useful. Once symptoms stop the chest strap comes off anyway. Interesting points re the Bradycardia.

    Thanks again everyone.


  • pacemaker has been a godsend to me

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