AF and numb feet. Is it the tablets?

I am 6 months post-ablation and my heart is currently behaving but I am having a horrid problem with numb feet. It's hard to explain what it feels like. There is no swelling and no apparent arthritis but I am aware of numbness and I have intermittent difficulty walking. Last weekend I drove for 90mins and when I got out of the car I could hardly walk because my right leg was strangely unco-operative.

I am taking Simvastatin, 2.5 Bisoprolol and the AG dabigatran. I have previously been on various beta blockers and Flecainide. I have not taken Flecainide for 3 months. The only thing that caused obvious side effects was the calcium channel blocker ( Tildium ) which cause severly swollen ankles.

I also have very cold hands which has never been a problem before. Could something have caused nerve damage?

I would be most grateful for comments about my symptoms and to hear if anyone else is similarly afflicted.

Best wishes to everyone.

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21 Replies

  • My right foot goes numb while out walking if it is a cold day. This is quite new for me and the only tablet I take the same as you Jennydog is Bisoprolol so maybe a side effect of that?

  • Hi Jenny. My guess is bisoprolol but there is a very small chance that a nerve could have been damaged during the ablation (getting into the femoral vein), but this would really only affect one leg not both. Many people complain about cold hands and feet on bisoprolol. I suggest you speak to your doctor. The caveat on the main page says contact on this forum is no substitute for medical attention (or something like that).


  • hi.i have copd stage three,that has put my heart into tachy cardia,which is being treated with asprin and verapamil,

    my right hand is like a block of ice and my feet feel like they are solid when i walk,i have had this since the tachy cardia,,but i am being put back under the cardiologist,ive been told its caused by the heart wanting more oxyigen for the vital organs,i can have a lung infection but my sats will be 98 or more

  • Hello jennydog - that sounds miserable, especially in cold weather. The oddness in your feet after sitting in a car for an hour and a half could be from circulation problems - the same with the cold hands feature and perhaps caused by our old friend Bisoprolol. Flecainide might have had some effects, too but after 3 months, surely most of it would be out of your system. I take 1.25mg Bisoprolol and 2x100mg Flecainide and have freezing hands but feet are OK so far.

    I would certainly talking to a physician who is knowledgeable about side effects such as this and can recommend a way forward. In my own case, having horrible breathlessness on 2.5mg Bisop, two GP's and a cardiologist dismissed it as 'a normal side effect' - it took an EP to get action to lessen the misery by a reduction in the dose.

    Best wishes, hope you get a resolution soon.

  • I wrote a bit earlier today about my numb feet which may have been caused by flecainide, which I no longer take. They used to feel as if they were wrapped in cling film, but it became more as if they had been filled with concrete, and the outside bit was just starting to set. Does this seem familiar? I take atenolol and losartan as well, but was on lisinopril instead of the losartan when I first noticed the problem.

    I've had cold hands and feet for years. My atenolol dose was halved by my GP when I saw him after an interview with the pharmacist who told me to mention the cold feet. My GP doubled the lisinopril at the same time, but I subsequently found I had an irritating cough, which has gone now I'm on losartan.

  • Hi Jennydog, definately the bisoprolol I have exactly the same, mine are

    white, It happens each day and I have got myself some lovely furry mitts.

    As it seems to be the only side-effect I havent worried too much it could

    be worse. Shirley.

  • why is it so many of us appear to stay on meds even after a successful Ablation, is the main idea of an Ablation to get us of meds if the Ablation is a success.

    I certainly hope to see the back of any meds if my Ablation is successful.

  • Yes, but it's best to come off gradually. Apart from warfarin, I don't take anything connected with AF. I ditched flecainide completely after 4 months. I do have atenolol and losartan to control blood pressure and have done for many years.

  • I going to get off warfarin the first opportunity i get, my EP has said if I need to stay on an AC then it will one of the newer ones.

    I came off flecainide beginning of January, and my AF episodes reduced dramatically.

  • I'd like not to be on warfarin! I haven't yet come to terms with my last INR appointment 10 days ago.

    Interesting that you have less AF when not on flecainide - they had me taking more of it!

  • Yes rellim they prescribed me a higher dosage back in November14, but by Xmas I knew something was not quite right, gradually reduced my dosage until I stopped, and all the better for it.

  • I'm delighted to have been able to give up flecainide and wish I'd not been taking 300mgs a day for eight months before my ablation.

  • I use flecainide as Pill in the Pocket, only used it 3 times so far and I am so happy with it as it stops the AF within an hour. I had read and heard so many negatives about it that I waited till I was staying with my daughter at Christmas to take it the first time and am really annoyed with myself as I had suffered several af episodes prior to this and did nothing.

    Just proves that different people, different meds, different outcomes.

    I loathed the effects of Bisoprolol.

  • Mick, Many EPs want patients to stay on meds for a period after ablation to allow the heart to heal in a calm environment. I have to confess that my EP wanted me to stop after six months but it took me another two to wean myself off them. That was six years ago and whilst I take loads of meds for other things. nothing for my old AF.


  • Thank you all for your kind replies. Relim's description is exactly right. I am back to see the EP next Friday so I may get some help then - if I see him and am not fobbed off with a nurse again.

    The reason I am still on medication is because I have/had a "severly dilated left atrium" and fibrosis and the idea was to give my heart a bit of help.

    I did not think that the Bisoprolol was the cause of the numbness so I am going to have to rethink!!!!!! It's interesting that Leo's right foot is affected as it's my right one which is worst too.

    Again, thank you all.

  • I was taken off Bisoprolol and put on a calcium channel blocker which was not good for me. Since then I have been put back on bisop but seem to be having a bad reaction. I had my cardioversion last week but since then have been so breathless and wheezy with a kind of tightness. My gp said to cut my 7.5 bisop down to 5 but after 2 days this has not helped. I am thinking that tomorrow I might just cut it down even further to 2.5. Thought I would have felt better after cv but have not been able to go to go to work I feel so awful. Still getting the odd bump after cv but hope this settles down. Anyone felt worse after cv? All a bit depressing - sorry . Patricia.

  • I have been on various doses of Bisoprolol, 5, 7.5, and 10. I am now on 2.5 pos-ablation , just to help my heart which may have been scarred by radiotherapy on my shoulder. As I have often woken up with AF I decided to take my 2.5 tablet before bed time. It seems to have worked as I have had no breathlessness for ages. I had a cv during my ablation and didn't feel my heart at all for 8 weeks.

    I do hope that you feel better soon. If you have not already seen an EP then I recommend that you ask your Cardiologist to refer you.

    Best wishes.

  • Thank you for sharing your experience with Bisop....I am going to try taking it at night. I will continue on the 5mg and then maybe cut it down to 2.5 with GP's approval. I have never been told of an EP but I will mention it when I see my cardiologist in June. Thanks again Jennydog! Patricia.

  • I have had similar symptoms. Yesteray my left toes and end of foot were numb. My GP told me not to worry about it. It has been on and off in its severity for some time now. Importantly I have had this before I took any med at all. I mean nothing. I am still not taking pred as awaiting rheumy appt.

    My thoughts are it is nerve damage from your lumbar area. Check your L4 and L5 vertebrae. There are nerves that pass through and feed the feet. These nerves can get compressed in the lumbar reagion and give these symptoms. Sitting in a car over bumps and undulations in the road makes the effect worse, as those lumbar vertebrae get moving and the nerves get rubbed etc.

    Just a thought. I am not medically trained. Ask your GP this point.D

  • Wow, that has set me thinking!!

    I do have an unstable disc in my back. It has slipped twice in the past. I joke that 10 mins of slipped disc is more painful than giving birth to both my sons without any painkillers. it's true, too!!!

    Thank you so much.

    Best wishes"

  • I took flecainide, only, for some 10 years. After 8 years I noticed that my feet had lost some sensation. ( This was whilst on holiday walking in bare feet on a solid floor.) Over time the numbness spread upwards to my knees then additionally my hands and finally my face and all accompanied by an internal shaking feeling. I decided that I would take note of my EP's advice to have an ablation and was switched to Propafenone, just prior to my ablation. Within days the shaking disappeared and the numbness in my face, hands and feet subsided. Some 5 years after my ablation my lower limb reflexes are quite weak and I have been told by a neurologist that I will have suffered some permanent damage. This has not affected my ability to use my feet and have regained, to my mind, the full sensitivity to touch in them. I am not conscious of any problem with my hands.

    I was informed I had a neuropathy and it can be caused by many drugs. In my case it was just the flecainide that my body had become intolerant too.

    The ablation was a success, 95%, and now use the propafenone as a PIP without any problems.

    Hope this helps.

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