Just thought I'd update on my AF journey...
I was diagnosed with AF back in June after a visit to my GP for a feinting episode I'd had that day. He put me on 1.25mg of Bisoprolol to keep my heart rate steady and referred me to the local hospital for a cardiologist appointment which I was lead to believe was to get an echocardiogram done to check the structure of my heart.
My appointment was yesterday. Upon arrival I had my blood pressure checked (all ok) and was weighed. I then had an ECG which showed I was still in AF.
I then had my consult with a very nice eastern European gentleman who asked me to relay my story so far and checked it was consistent with my GP's referral. He then talked to me about AF, but in truth didn't tell me anything I hadn't already established from this forum. He then did a Chads2 assessment and like my GP said based on the result would not consider any anti coag treatment as in his opinion in my particular case he felt the risks outweighed the benefits, although my Hasbled risk is also very low. I did express my concerns about having a stroke, but he was adamant the risks weren't increased in my case. I tried to argue that surely having AF was a risk in itself even in the absence of any other indicators, but all to no avail.
He then said I would need an echocardiogram but that wasn't being done there and then, I would be called back for another appointment to carry it out. Explained I thought that was one of the reasons I was there, but apparently not.
He went on to talk about having a Cardioversion and asked if I wanted to get that booked in while I was there or whether I wanted to go away and think about it. I said that it had been my intention to seek out an EP when it came to any treatment regarding my AF and I was only seeing him as a first step to establish the general health of my heart and for him to refer me to an EP. He didn't seem over enthusiastic about my plans, but didn't object to them entirely. I wonder maybe if cardiologists take it as a bit of an insult when you suggest you want someone else to deal with your heart problem?
He then listened to my heart in the good old fashioned way doctors do with a stethoscope and declared that he didn't pick up anything unusual or concerning and that the echocardiogram would give him a better picture once it was done.
Unfortunately he then dispensed with the 'good old fashioned' way of doing things when it came to checking my heart rate. He pulled out his smartphone (yes it really was an smartphone and I know this because it rang twice while we were chatting.) and asked me to put my fingers and some attachment fixed to the back of the phone to read my heart rate. It eventually settled at 88 bpm
Because of this reading he told me he wanted to increase my Bisoprolol from 1.25mg to 2.5mg. I was a little annoyed at this suggestion because I felt that based on my own pulse readings taken twice a day for the past three months, my rate had never gone above 80 at rest and was more usually at 75 which I was lead to understand was a perfectly acceptable rate for someone in permanent AF. However, my cardiologist suggested his phone was more accurate than me taking my own pulse and he never offered to take my pulse as he clearly had faith in smartphone technology.
Am a being unreasonable on this particular point and am I wrong in thinking taking your pulse is a fairly accurate way to measure heart rate? I ask this, because I really don't want to increase the Bisoprolol if I can help it. I'm only on 1.25mg at the moment, but even at that dosage I'm sure I'm suffering some of it's side effects like tiredness and cold hands.
So to summarise... I'm waiting for an appointment to get and echocardiogram done, I've been instructed to increase my Bisoprolol, I've been asked to consider a cardioversion and have been invited back to see him in three months time.
Does all this sound familiar to my fellow sufferers and is there anything I should be doing/asking at this stage?
Many thanks for everyones continued support.