Two types of A Fib?

I was wondering if anyone else has had the same experiences of AF as I have. I was diagnosed in 2008 and most of my episodes have been "single" ones whereby I go days, but most often weeks and/or months, without one, but when they come along they last a long time (on average about 20 hrs I'd say, with the longest I've had being forty hrs).

However, I also experience a different type of AF that I've always had down the years but these days I get it two or three times a year whereas before it tended to be just the once every twelve months. In these episodes, the AF seems much more erratic I suppose the word is - I have spells of three weeks or so where it never feels that far away.

In this type of AF, I have shorter episodes that are easier to get rid of, but if I sit or lie down for any length of time, they invariably come back.

I went four and half months without any sort of episode recently which is the longest I've been without one in ages, but during this time I sometimes wondered whether the AF would be back with a vengeance when it did return.

In the past week, I've only had one day that was AF free (ironically, I ate a large portion of fish and chips at about 10.30pm when I got in from a football match that night!) and Friday and Saturday saw me in and out of it all of the time. Yesterday was better, but today has not started well.

However, whereas with the more regular and longer episodes where a climb up a steep hill can get me back into sinus rhythm sometimes, all I've tended to need to do to end an episode in the last week is get up and walk about for ten seconds or so - in the past, it's taken a bit more than that to return things to normal with the erratic episodes, but it's always been easier than with the other type.

Strange thing is that in the last week, I've almost wished I was in AF at times because I could then just get on with life rather than be waiting for my heart to start acting funny again (especially if I'm sat down or trying to go to sleep). My attitude as a paroxysmal AF sufferer has always been "well at least it's not persistent or permanent" and I've been puzzled to read sympathetic comments from people with other versions of the condition to those of us who have the one where it comes and goes, but, after the last week, I have begun to see where they are coming from.

5 Replies

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  • AF is AF is AF. The intensity and frequency can vary between individuals and with individuals as it is such a mongrel condition but basically AF is what you have, the symptoms vary. I never had blackouts, and only once felt even slightly dizzy whilst others feel like this a lot. I was seldom ill enough to go to A and E whilst others rush there quite often as they are so ill.

    What I can say is that AF is almost ALWAYS progressive so people find that while they start with infrequent events, after time, which could be weeks months or years the events become more frequent and often more violent.

    Hope that helps

    Bob

  • Yes, my experience is that the condition is slowly getting worse Bob. I now get some dizziness when going back into sinus rhythm, but I still believe that I have it pretty easy compared to many others.

    I've been to A and E three times in the last seven years while in AF - the first time to get it confirmed that it was AF and the other two in August when I was discharged both times while still having an episode because my heart rate (generally between 70/90 bpm) was not deemed high enough to warrant me being kept in. This confirms what three GPs have told me (they said I could stay in AF with that heart rate indefinitely without the need for cardioversion and the EP I saw didn't seem to have a problem with it when I mentioned it to him either) - whichever one of my so called two AFs I'm suffering with, the heart rate is much the same.

  • Sounds similar circumstances to me last year.

    Clearly late and or big meals need to be avoided. I was put on Flecainide 50mg twice a day and still found in the evenings as soon as I relaxed in front of the TV it would threaten so I got up and did light household chores to keep moving. I also avoided being dead tired when going to bed. Despite this I still had 9 episodes in March 2014, my Flecainide was doubled to 100mg per day (max usual dose 150mg per day, I believe) and no episodes for 11 months now.

    Hope this helps.

  • Thanks orchardworker, I saw an EP in August who said I could go on Flecainide if my symptoms worsened - as I mentioned yesterday, for four months, I had nothing, but the AF is back with a vengeance now and a visit to the GP to ask to go on Flecainide isn't far off I'm afraid.

  • If you have Lone PAF i.e. no other heart/health issues then I wouldn't worry too much about Flecainide as the research suggests it is OK. That said I don't believe it and am working hard with lifestyle changes incl some supplements and other checks to reduce my drug dose - the cardiologist has already said I can reduce the dose to 150mg per day when I'm ready.

    Incidentally, you/others may be interested to know of a simple urine test arranged through a practitioner (in my case a Naturopath) called Organic Comprehensive (sample taken at home and dispatched frozen by courier to a lab in Denmark). I had my results yesterday that cover a whole raft of health checks incl vitamin levels, fatty acids, gut bacteria plus a lot more - it has proved useful as in my case it clearly identified what was good and bad.

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