Living with AF

Hello, I'm new here. I am 76 and have AF. I've had it for a year now and have had 4 overnight stays in hospital. The latest was last Wednesday. I've now been put on Warfarin and Bisoprolol. The hospital doctor advised me that the AF attacks will get more frequent and probably end up as a permanent condition, with no let up. This has really alarmed me. Has anyone here been advised of this? I'm also type 2 diabetic, so my chances of another heart attack or stroke are increased. Not a good outlook for me.

18 Replies

  • Sadly I agree that AF will almost always progress. I am surprised that you have only just been put on warfarin for stroke prevention as this should really have been done as soon as you were diagnosed bearing in mind your other issues. your other problems. At least now you have some protection! AF does not usually lead to heart attacks (miocardial infarction) but can long term lead to enlargement of the left atrium (cardiomyopathy). if untreated.

    Hope that helps . Very very few people die from AF!


  • Hello, Bob Thank you for your reply. Your comments have given me some optimism. I'm sure this forum will give me support.

  • Hello Margar and welcome to the forum. When I was diagnosed with AF' I was told that it may get worse but that there are drugs and procedures which can control it. Usually Bisoprolol is the first drug to be tried - it slows the heart rate. Was your hospital doctor a cardiologist? Ideally you should see a cardiologist who specialises in the heart's rhythms - an Electrophysiologist or EP for short.

    I'm not surprised that you are alarmed as your doctor has been rather full of doom and gloom. Incidentally, the doctor I saw in hospital was the exact opposite - he said that AF is not too much to be concerned about!!!! Many people lead reasonably normal lives with AF - it's a matter of getting to a cardiologist/EP who can fully assess your condition and prescribe the best treatment for you. Your GP would be able to advise about this.

    Try not to be too worried - read as much as you can about Living with AF on this forum, the main AFA website and the CareAF website. Both of these websites have information packs which you can order free of charge and they are superb. Everyone here has been where you are today and I for one was scared when I was diagnosed, too.

    Best wishes


  • Hello and thank you for your welcome. I do have a cardiologist, but haven't seen him throughout these episodes. I see my GP next week and will ask him more questions about seeing my cardiologist again. I'm glad I found this site. Your support is encouraging.

  • A cardiologist is simply a plumber, you need to see an electrician, an EP (electrophysiologist) your GP should be able to refer you. If they won't for whatever reason spit your dummy out, you need to see one and you have every right to ask for that.

  • Hi Margar and welcome. You'll find all the help and support on this forum. Everyone is wonderful. Good luck with your journey


  • Hi Margar and welcome... Your doctor is being a bit gloomy - yes, AF tends to be progressive but most of us manage to live our lives around it as best we can. The AFA website is a really great resource, there's lots of good information there. The important thing is that you're now on an anti-coagulant so you have a good degree of protection from stroke. Do ask your GP to refer you to an EP - those are the experts, who can answer all of your questions.


  • Hi Margar17. I thought you were referring to me - same age, same complaint, same medication!

    My AF progressed as time went on and is now permanent, and has been for nearly a year. I suffered several other arrhythmias when in NSR which were very debilitating. I don`t get these when I`m in AF so I have chosen to stay in AF permanently. Your body gets used to the new regime and you`ll probably find - like me - you`ll become symptom free after a while. 2 cardiologists have endorsed my choice, and with a little care, I`m living a normal life. Medication is a daily bisoprolol and an anttcoagulant - mine is Sinthrome. So don`t worry, it isn`t as bad as all that!

  • Hello marga17,

    I am 74 this year and have Paroxysmal AF,mine comes and goes.

    I've had this for 16yrs,and have learned to live with it,don't think about it between episodes and I just get on with life.

    I take beta blockers,alpha blockers,sartans, statins,and recently one of the new anticoagulants,so I feel even more confident ,that I am getting help to

    reduce the risk of stroke,I know it is very frightening when you first have this,

    Tell don' ask your GP that you would like an appointment with Cardiologist,they will put your mind at rest,I can pick up the phone anytime leave a message if I'm concerned about anything and I get a call back same day,so please don't worry.I live in Scotland,so maybe it's different practice here.

    I enjoy my life,volunteer at the local Hospice 3 times a week and keep busy!!

    Hope you feel better soon.


  • Thank you all for your advice, you have made me feel much better about AF. I've never heard of an electro physiologist, so I will talk to my GP about a referral. I generally do try to get on with my daily life, but the episodes, when they occur, still alarm me. If they last longer than two hours, I have to go to A&E which means an overnight stay. I'm told to expect this to happen more frequently. Do any of you have to keep going to hospital when episodes occur? I was being treated with Amiodarone and it certainly kept AF at bay, but after three years, side effects kicked in and made me very ill so I had to come off them. Within four months the attacks started! That was when Bisoprolol was prescribed, in low dosage, which has now been increased to 10mg daily.

  • I had increasing episodes as you describe until, within a year, it became full time AF, about 120-130 beats per minute, generally. Went for a catheter ablation in September and have been AF-free (except for occasional "blips" now and then), not on any but blood pressure medicine, ever since. I'm nearly 68, so lots of good years left as you do. That one simple procedure has made all the difference!

  • Hi again Margar,

    Yes, I've practically lived in hospital since last September, well, that's how it feels anyway.

    You're absolutely right though. If you go into AF get yourself to hospital. This condition is pretty safe provided you don't ignore it.

    Good luck


  • ive never been to hospital when AF comes to call just rested and waited for it to pass whether at home or out and about.

  • Hi, Im a year older than you and take Rivaroxaban and Bisoprolol, the thing

    to remember also is try not to worry, I just found I had to get on with it Im

    too old to to sit around lifes too short. I do understand that some days you

    will feel so bad that thats all you can do, Ive been in Tesco and told them to get an ambulance for me, you feel silly but worse things happen, I have gone

    in quite a few places and if there is no seat and I need one they very quickly

    find one. I really hate making a fuss but if I need to I will. It is very frightening

    but you will pick up lots if good advice on this site, so first step cardiologist

    then EP. My cardiologist recommended me to my EP as he thought I would

    need an ablation, I just dont understand why others are'nt automatically

    in this way. Watch the Bisoprolol you may be perfectly ok but I found I

    needed to amend the dose and this is fairly common.

    Take care, Shirley.

  • Hello and welcome! Yes, I am sure you will get much support and re-assurance from this forum. My Cardiologist said very similar things to me last year - he stated that if he were a gambling man he would say that in ten years time, my AF would be with me permanently! Thanks for that I thought, still by then, who knows what might happen! My advice is, take every day as it comes, listen to your Doctors and keep taking the pills! Seriously though, all the very best to you. Dorothy

  • Hello! I am 83 and it looks like my AF has gone permanent, so I have found these very supportive comments to margar17 very useful. I too am on Bisoprolol and Warfarin.

    Thanks again to everyone.


  • Hi I am 77 and have had PAF since May2010. Have a great consultant who works out of Kings College and the London Arrythmia Centre. I take bisoprolol ,candersartan and warfarin. As I had lots of ectopics started this year 25mg flecainide twice a day. Touch wood seem to be under control at the moment. I have also been told that I may get PAF more frequently. Also had congenital Wolfe Parkinson White syndrome until I had an ablation in 1991 which got rid of the problem. I am still playing golf two or three times per week winter and summer but AF is difficult to live with especially at the start. Hope this helps. Happy days. Pete.

  • I too have AF and was considering an ablation procedure but I ran across a website that deals with natural remedies and found 2 supplements that have seemed to help me tremendously. They are Taurine and L-Arginine. Also getting extra potassium and magnesium in your diet helps also. I try to have either a banana or a baked potato or both everyday and I take a bath in magnesium enriched epsom salts everynight. I also take a magnesium supplement. Since doing this I have not had an A Fib episode in over a week and before I was having at least one everyday.

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