Afib with a pacemaker implanted

I have a pacemaker implanted and I know I am in constant Afib. I recently had my pacemaker checked at the arrythmia center and was told I am in constant Afib. Tonight sitting at my computer, my heart started to race and pound for approximately 60 seconds. It felt as if my heart was going to jump out of my chest. Has anyone had a similar experience and what did you do? My 1st pacemaker was implanted in Sept. 2000 and my 2nd was implanted in January 2008.

17 Replies

  • One would think the pacemaker is to regulate the problem. Obviously the answer is to seek a medical review of the issue.

  • Hi,

    After your pacemaker did you have an AV node ablation?


  • Hi Wendi,

    depending on the underlying heart problems ablation may not be required. I didn't get it. First 4 week check, everything ok. Yippee I can drive again.

  • I had this happen just once, earlier in the summer. At the time, I was weaning myself off of medications for what had been a fairly severe and excruciatingly painful leg ulcer. I thought, at first, it was a recurrence of the old AF/tachycardia but then reasoned that it was more than likely a panic attack brought on by withdrawal from the medication (Gabbapentin - an anti-epileptic used for neuropathic pain). The heart is a very senisitive instrument!!! I have not had a repeat performance. Presumably, you have had the AV node ablation? That plus the pacemaker should keep things steady. It was probably a rogue reaction to something. As long as you are having your pacemaker regularly monitored, you are on a winner.

  • Your pacemaker won't stop or cure AF. It still goes on in the background. Your post raises lots of questions - i.e. what other underlying heart conditions do you have, what type of pacemaker is it, etc.

    As Wendi says you may now require AV Node ablation.

    I am persistant AF, have been for years, but have some heart block so my HR was always low. Now have a CRT-D, (bi-ventricular pacing with de-fib), fitted 4 weeks ago, and didn't require the AV Node ablation. If my pacemaker detects V-tach it will increase the heart rate to attempt to terminate it. If that doesn't work within a certain time then it will "shock" the heart to terminate it that way and hopefully restore my HR to where it should be. At the moment it's classed as a Prophylactic implant and hopefully won't do any "shocking" for a long time.

    However, like the others, I think you need to discuss it with your pacemaker clinic to find out why this happened and get some answers. Your pacemaker records what is happening so they should be able to interogate it to find out why.


  • All my a-fib stopped when I took high doses of magnesium. I take magnesium malate. It gives me energy and it relieves muscle plain

  • How much magnesium do you take ?

  • I am the same as 7940. I started magnesium in January this year and have gone from regular AF attacks which would often mean hospital to having had 2 x 10 minute runs over the last 7 months.

    I have mad NO changes apart from the magnesium - I have now halved my beta blocker and anti arrhythmic.

    I take a combo of oral magnesium - taurate and chelate - about 800 gms in total and it's been a godsend.

  • This is something I will look into. Thank you!

  • I am in chronic AF and I have a 2 lead pacemaker. I take pradaxa and metroprol 25mg twice a day and all is good at this time, however if I feel my heart rate is getting too fast I will take an extra 25 mg of metroprol and it seems to be working for me.

  • thank you for this, I will consider it

  • I take about 750 mg of mag daily. I haven't had a fib for about 14 months.

  • thank you for this, I will consider it.

  • mpaulb3633

    Yes it is frightening when this happens. Of course sat at your computer or any other such quiet occupation that allows you to "listen in" seems to exacerbate the feeling. You are fully aware of your heart beat as you are when you go to bed at night and when you wake up in the morning. If that bad feeling continues and you feel unwell it is wise to call the health line, dial 111 and ask for advice. It is a 24 hour 365 days service. Have a chat through your problem with the nurse or doctor and take their advice. It may of course be a temporary symptom and may of settled by the time your discussions are over.

    You do not say what type of pacemaker is fitted?

    Your pacemaker is there as a backup depending on the model. I have a two line type with one line to the atria, the second to the ventricle. All mine does is put in an electrical charge to replace any that the heart 'forgets' to put in so that the heart continues to beat regularly. Put in in 2008 after collapsing on the ward floor (after a visit to the loo) the situation has changed now with the heart beat banging along at 110 BPM. Awaiting a second ablation in mid September which may resolve my AF problem.

    You should continue your visits to the pacemaker clinic and do not be afraid to give them a ring if you require information or backup. You will find them very helpful.

    A good idea is to keep a diary of any events. Good Luck.

  • thank you

  • I also had a similar experience 3 weeks after I had pacemaker implanted I dialled 999 and paramedics came did ecg and said I was in af 20 minutes later when they took me to ambulance it went back into nsr I was kept at a & e for 4 hours and then allowed home. When I have been back yesterday for 6 week pacemaker check it was proven I had been in af on numerous occasions one for 19 hours which I was unaware of so they turned the af algorithm on which they said should make a difference? I do not feel as light headed this morning as I have done but my heart rate is al lot higher than it was before. I would be interested to know what your outcome is and have you had pacemaker interrogated since your issue. Do you know it the algorithm does higher you bpm ? Another question is to anyone out there why do you think it is that at times one is very aware you are in af and other times you are unaware could it be the intensity of the beats?

  • I am in constant afib and have a pacemaker. My doctor said since the pacemaker will keep my heart rate over 60 he was going to start upping my metroperol to get the rate down under 100 most of the time. I am on 75mg metroperol twice a day and digoxin once a day and I feel good. My last pacemaker check I was only over 100 less than 10 % of the time. I have more engergy and I feel now I can cope with this afib monster, oh I am 72 years old.

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