AF Association

Vagus Nerve Question?

Whilst I sit and wait for my appointment with a specialist, I have been reading quite a bit about Afib and all it's peculiarities.

I recently came across an article on the Vagus nerve and was wondering if anyone on here has any issues with this particular nerve.

The reason I ask is because I'm still at a bit of a loss as to what is causing my occasional feelings of faintness and dizziness. The very symptoms that lead me to visit my GP in the first place where he discovered my irregular heartbeat and diagnosed Afib.

If I understand correctly, problems with the Vagus nerve can cause these symptoms and I was wondering if there were any other symptoms that I could look out for that may suggest I have Vagus nerve issues.

I'm still convinced my considerable intentional weight loss since January has something to do with my current health issues, though not sure weight loss is neccessarily connected to Vagus nerve problems.

Anyway, any thoughts on the Vagus nerve would be gratefully received.

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As I have said on many occasions (check out vagus nerve in the Search facility) it is the main neural superhighway between brain. stomach and other organs so it can affect all sorts of things. Drastic weight loss could I guess upset things and if you can find a way to calm that nerve then you could reduce your symptoms and problems. I am always reluctant to recommend non medically approved methods, but feel that my vagal problems reduced after Bowen treatment. (Other treatments may also be available LOL).

It is also important to understand that in order to have AF you need a predisposition which can be genetic or acquired. Unless you are an athlete or fighter pilot it would be normal to expect it to be the way your heart is built but once you have AF then all sorts of things can set it off and the more you have it the more you will get it till you either control it with drugs or have an ablation and get rid of it that way.

Calming the vagus nerve may well reduce your events and improve QOL.



I calm mine down by only eating small and more often, and never fill myself up.



Absolutely agree with you here the same & find it helps a lot. Sandra


Still plodding alone and trying to get answers myself ....I have just been to see the gastroenterologist re my gastroparesis and the heart involvement and he agrees that it is linked and has upped my Mirtazapine to try and calm the anxiety which he feels will in turn calm the stomach issues and perhaps inadvertently calm the heart down as well so we will see will happen in August will update then cheers

Jo :)

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Hi Arkwight, re other symptoms - my AF is vagus-nerve related and I get a gurgly stomach before and during an AF episode. The vagus nerve controls both "fight and flight" and digestive systems, but on occasion struggles to do both at once. A similar scenario happens when you try to digest a large meal.

When in AF, my neck area becomes very sensitive as well - the nerve comes up both sides of the neck, so leaning back into the shaped basin at the hairdressers while in AF was agony!


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Clarification needed after further reading - the vagus nerve is responsible for keeping a constant heart rate rather than the fight or flight response. The "fight or flight" response comes from a different part of the nervous system.



Like almost everything else in the body, I guess we all have different levels of Vagus Nerve sensitivity.

Mine has a lot to answer for and so I agree with most of the replies so far...light meals, don't make the brain (stress) and stomach work at the same time. I also had a furry tongue (GP no good) and paid for a hi tech urine test which said very poor gut bacteria and prescribed Probiotics and Glycine; the latter helps anxiety.


I first went into AF after heart valve surgery as many patients do. That was sorted out by a cardioversion and I thought that was it. I later at different times had a colonoscopy and a DRE. Each procedure stimulated my vagus nerve lowering my BP and heart rate and I went back into AF.

Digestion issues like reflux, GERD and Hiatus Hernia can also affect the vagus nerve.


There are many anecdotal reports of actions which both seem to precipitate and lessen Afib. Helps to keep a journal. Anyone seen scientific study of Afib remedies such as ice water on face, bearing down, etc?


I've had heart palpitations for 7 hours today which started off after I ate a small lunch but I think it gave me indigestion anyway which made me feel bloated and away I went....ended up with mild heart burn or chest discomfort took a disprin as ordered by my EP man and a GTN spray...then hydrolyte to replace potassium as I get deplete easily with that and 2 magnesium tablets....its all but gone now thank heavens but truly is a battle when it happens....

At least I kept it together tonight and handled it at home as when I go to ED they say your alright and go home so am learning to cope with the unpleasant feelings I have to live with...just want to manage it I wrote down what I took today for next time...

cheers all


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