AFIB and Heart Failure

This is my first post. In June 2012 I was diagnosed with AFIB & Heart Failure. My pulse rate was 160. The hospital cardiologist decided to treat me with the powerful drugs which they routinely prescribe instead of trying a cardioversion. Three miserable years later, after trying beta-blockers, ace inhibitors, calcium channel blockers etc. all of which made my blood pressure go too low but didn't reduce my pulse to below 100 I finally had a cardioversion on 1st. July 2015. I was supposed to be on Amiodarone for four weeks prior to the cardioversion but I declined to have it because of its track record of causing fibrosis of the lungs, plus optical and many other irreversible medical problems.

Despite refusing amiodarone the cardioversion worked on the first attempt of a possible three. After 5 days I am still in normal sinus rhythm with a pulse between 60 & 75, but because there is a high failure rate I now worry that I will suddenly revert to AFIB. I was told to stop Digoxin immediately but continue with Carvedilol, Furosemide and Warfarin.

Has anyone got any useful advice for me about exercise, diet etc. to help me stay in sinus rhythm? I don't smoke or drink wine or spirits but have always liked a glass of modest strength beer, or shandy.

Does anyone have any opinion about Coconut Water, which is now sold in all the major stores and is supposed to contain electrolytes which are good for the heart-potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and sodium.

Would like to say that I am very grateful to the organisers of this site and the many contributors who describe their experiences.

8 Replies

  • definitely support coconut water!! The potassium in it has made an enormous difference to me. I would stop all alcohol in order to maximise chances of staying in NSR ( sure lots of people will disagree!!) I also take Magnesium supplements but do check with your doctor first.

    Walking is supposed to be the best exercise- not marathon running- much criticised by the EP who spoke to us last week!!- and gradual weight loss if you need it!!

    Don't get stressed either!!

    Good luck!

  • It's good news that your CV worked!

    CareAF produce a really good advisory pack on diet and lifestyle - in a nutshell:

    no alcohol, cut caffeine, artificial sweeteners, (I also avoid artificial colouring and flavouring) and processed foods

    increase vegetable and fish intake and drink at least 2 litres of water per day.

    Lose weight if you need to and take moderate exercise.

    I modified all this to suit me and concentrated on 'feeling good' about everything I was trying to do. So far so good!

    Best wishes and (belatedly) welcome to the forum.


  • Good to hear from you SongPlayer, but shocked that you had a heart rate over 100 for 3 years. It must be great to have it down, but the worry that things will go askew is something we share.

    I can't offer any informed comment on exercise, but I try to get at least an uninterrupted mile and a half of steady, brisk walking every day to get my heart ticking over nicely. You might have a different goal if heart failure is a factor.

    A fitness monitor (like a Fitbit) could tell you a lot about what you do - how much you sit and how physically busy you are and how consistent you are from day to day. We've been amazed how different my other half's stats turn out to be compared with mine.

  • Hi, when I was first diagnosed with AF and heart failure I was referred to a cardiac rehab programme which provided a lot of support on exercise, diet etc as well as an extensive programme led by a cardiac nurse. I would suggest you ask your GP to refer you to this.

    Hope the cardioversion holds


  • At the Heart Failure clinic I was told that caffeine and alcohol in small amounts are OK for the heart muscle but are not OK for the electrical system so I was advised to stop having my nightly Guinness. Spoilsports.... it helped me to sleep.

    I was also told to reduce my fluid intake to about three pints a day to help to limit the amount of fluid build-up in my lungs etc.

    Obviously this was advice based on my particular circumstances so it is best to have a chat with your GP or nurse. The same goes for taking supplements - especially if you are taking a diuretic.

    I join with the others in wishing you a regular NSR. Long may it continue!

  • All above great advice - especially exercise, losing weight and maybe trying magnesium. I use oil spray as my stomach easily upset. Then of course there is ablation. Certainly worth looking into. I had mine 2 years ago and life altering. I was having almost daily episodes and nothing now. There us a liklyhood I will need another and will do that if necessary.

    Best of luck

  • Have had two AF episodes since first diagnosed in 2012. First was dealt with by cardio version and the second was brought on by an extremely stressful work environment my company is in the process of being acquired by another one. A combination of increase the dosage of my beta blocker along with relaxation and better stress management has brought me out of the AF

    at the same time as the second AF episode I was diagnosed with mld heart failure. as well as increasing dose of beta blockers the cardiologist has increased the dose of blood thinners. I was in the Gym at least 3 times a week prior to the AF but I have increased the amount of exercise that I do as long as the better stress management and relaxation

    At this stage feeling Extremely good and currently on holidays in France having flown here from the Middle East where I live and work yesterday

    Looking forward to improved test results when I see the Cardio again in six months

  • Hi Songplayer, my cardioversion lasted 4 months when I went back into persistent AF during the night. I am not sure their is an awful lot we can do about it. I think that if it is going to revert it will, We can only be as healthy as we can, keep hydrated and try not to stress over it as I am convinced stress is the biggest trigger. Hope you manage stay in sinus.


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