Mum's been diagnosed

Hi all,

I'm new to the forum, my mum got diagnosed with AF today, I went with her to see the cardiologist and it was a lot to take in for both of us, I had thousands of questions I knew I should ask but I just couldn't think of them and the although the doctor was friendly enough It felt very rushed and I would have welcomed recommendation to support networks such as this to help us with how we cope with the news but maybe that was too much to ask. Anyway I'm super glad I found this sight because I can tell my mum is scared stiff and I just want to help find the information to help her.

She's been told she needs to start Warfarin and then have a cardioversion in 6-8 weeks. has anyone had this treatment? and can it resolve the AF? I'm also really scared of Warfarin and the side effects (such as internal bleeding and clotting) how serious can that be and what the likely hood this can happen? Will she really have to take it for the rest of her life as the doctor said can't her INR optimise over time if its an issue at all? I say this as mum hasn't had a stroke before, and is 63yo so if the cardioversion works can't she stop the warfarin?

also I'm not sure all possible AF causes have been explored such as Heart Valve Disease, as she has got regurgitation in the Mitral and another one (I forgot the name). also she is over weight. could any of these reduce her risk factors such that she either may not need a cardioversion or could come off Warfarin at some point.

I'm really sorry to brain dump like this I just would like to give her and myself the comfort we need to make this diagnosis less of a monster and the fact we only had the diagnosis today hasn't really left us enough time to let it all sink in. Anyway happy I found the forum and any advise would be super welcome .

Thanks all

8 Replies

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  • Hi there GladU. You've done well to find us. We are a nice bunch, very supportive, all living world wide with this tedious condition. AF should be acknowledged and respected, yes, but also should learn to take a back seat in our lives and not have the upper hand and feel like a monster. There are many ways of managing it - medication, surgical procedures, lifestyle changes. It tends to make us live healthy lives and can bring quite a few benefits one way and another. Cardioversion is a bit of a stop gap solution.

    You will find that the forum is keen on the life-long protection of anticoagulation because the big enemy is stroke. Warfarin sounds scarier than it usually turns out to be but some of us have found it an uphill struggle and there are new but more expensive alternatives.

    AF doesn't go away and tends to progress but it can be controlled and kept at bay. It's not a one size fits all condition. Some of us have it all the time but it doesn't have a big impact, others have brief episodes that are very debilitating. Most of us get it under control one way or another and become experts in managing our particular brand of AF. It's scariest when you first discover it.

  • Thanks so much Rellim296 I am comforted a lot by what I am reading on the forum just to know there's the support out there. I work hard to not make AF the focus and seek to find the controls that make life 'normal' for mum. Thanks again.

  • Hello and welcome as they say.

    A F Association website has all the information you need so go there and read till you drop.

    On teh matters you raised.-- Cardioversion may return normal synus rhythm (NSR) but is not a cure for AF. It may hold for a day or a year but at least it shows that NSR is possible so the AF is not permanent.

    Regarding anticoagulation this is vital to protect against stroke and warfarin is not the evil you think. Most people manage it easily as I have for over ten years but if not then there are some newer drugs which are approved though more expensive if you have to buy your own (not in uk ). Bleeding is very rare but if you cut yourself it may take a little longer to stop. Again read the fact sheets available for more information. Generally speaking at your mothers age she should be on anticoagulation and no she shouldn't stop even if the AF is corrected as it may return at any time. You can always stop warfarin but you can't undo a stroke and AF related strokes are usually amongst the least recoverable.

    Ask any questions and we will try to help but above a;ll remember AF is not life threatening, just life changing.

    Bob

  • Thanks Bob that's really helpful and put things into perspective.

    GladU

  • Hi Gladu, I was first diagnosed with AF at the age of 33 and had my first cardioversion then and was started on warfarin. I have been on warfarin ever since (cardioversion was successful, but only for a short period, have had six others since then and one attempt at ablation, which was not successful either), and have never in 25 years had a problem with warfarin, as long as it is taken as prescribed and regularly monitored things should be fine. AF does progress and is individual to each person, I find it best to put it on the back burner and get on with life, okay I can't run marathons, but then I couldn't before either, but I still enjoy life and won't let AF take me over. :)

  • hi gladu . Cardioversion is dramatic to watch but a complete nonevent if it is happening to you. Mine always worked but only for a few weeks but I have an auntie who had one four years ago and has been fine ever since. My father is in permanent AF and has been for years. He is quite happy on rate control and at 84 still works six days a week.

  • I had a heart attack in my sixties due to AF. Warfarin, Cardioversion and put on aspirin and beta blocker. Cardioversion worked for 4 years. Bad cold Af returned another heart attack, helicopter ride and cardiologist put me on Apixaban.

    Protocols have changed and its anti coags for life. Another cardioversion put me in Sinus again.

    Thing is - there is an antidote for warfarin, vit K, so in veg which can leave INR up and down. Apixaban no antidote yet but it is short term you take it twice a day.

    Neither affect my life in any way though I do wear an alarm bracelet. I may be a little more careful when cleaning windows etc.

    She will be recommended to lose weight and eat a Mediterranean diet. Fish veges low red meat, sugar.

    Doc in hospital said I was lucky it was HA as stroke can leave you permanent brain damage.

    LUCKY to have a heart attack! Yes I am careful to take Ant coags. Small cuts, scratches heal easily.

  • Hello Gladu...It is a lot to take in when you are first diagnosed with AF,and everyones history is different....Read EVERYTHING you can lay your hands on about AF Make notes of anything import..I sometimes use the big US hospital sites like The Mayo Clinic and The Cleveland Clinic....plenty of up to date advice.Read about the 3 new drugs as well although for peace and quiet your mum may be best off taking Warfarin until things settle down...it is cheap and the docs. dish it out readily. Do not let Warfarin rule your mums life.If she pops the pills and gets her tests done when advised all will be well. You have time to consider all the others I have just gone onto one of the new ones after a few years on Warfarin. Use this site whenever you can.It is supportive,lovely people who understand this problem and it will make you feel less alone.Good Luck to you and your mum.

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