AF with low heart rate?

Hey all I'm finally starting to accept this and have adjusted my diet and life to reduce stress and try to minimize my anxiety. Since fecainide daily my heart rate is now usually around the 60s-70s which feels a lot better than the 150s lol. At night when I'm going to sleep though after feeling fine all day I can't help but to concentrate on my heart. I feel as if my body is vibrating which takes me a lot longer to fall asleep could this mean that I am in AF and can't tell or might this still be my anxiety that hasn't entirely left? Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Thanks..

11 Replies

  • I am not on flec so can't comment directly, but I am on beta blockers which also slow my heart rate down (my resting rate is currently around 56) and I also notice my heart beating much more, especially at night. In addition, I have also lost a reasonable amount of weight, which may be a factor (less padding around the heart?). I wonder if a slower rate means the heart has to beat that bit harder to get the blood around, so it is actually beating more strongly? I don't know, that's just speculation so I will be interested to see people's thoughts.

  • Ever since starting on Flecainide I feel as if my heart is beating more forcefully. I too notice it more at night, especially if I am laying on my side.

  • Bob and/or Grandma will correct me if I'm wrong but I think that you can always tell if you are in AF by checking your pulse via your wrist or carotid artery. If your pulse is regular then you are not in AF.

    When I am in AF my HR isn't particularly elevated. My NSR RHR is usually around 50bpm and my AF RHR is around 80bpm but has been as low as 60-65bpm. This is without any rate or rhythm medication. I am only taking warfarin.

  • Hi Buzzard,

    I in the same boat as you, low heart rate around 50-52 (ex-long distance runner, used to be around 38bpm ). I get Atrial Flutter when I hit the 80-110 bpm whilst biking uphill, stopped that now.

    No rate/rhythm control either.

    Best Wishes


  • Hi Barry,

    Rather a long time ago, when I was doing A-Long Fell Races, my RHR was down to around that 37-38 mark. I think that the problem with the uphill cycling is that you are asking your heart to make a rapid increase in HR which makes it trip into AF. I am finding that, by using spinning and my turbotrainer, I can get to almost pre-AF levels of power output as long as I make the increase progressive.

    This morning during my spinning class I got a little over enthusiastic and pushed my self into AF at around 85% but you don't know how far you can go until you have gone too far!

    My plan during this winter is to slowly improve my output before tripping into AF in the hope that I can hit the hills next year AF free. Wish me luck, Mount Ventoux is still on my bucket list!

  • I think you are right there that rapid increases (and possibly rapid decreases also) can trigger AF. I crazily got into my head at 60yo short sharp sprints were good for you and found they were good for AF as well!

    I have found over the last two years a good maxim (but not very satisfying) is to 'grey' all activities be it physical or mental. You do get used to it.

  • Hi Buzzard,

    Thanks for your comprehensive reply. I am very impressed with your planning and preparation in keeping AF at bay and the way you are training to achieve this goal. I wish you "good luck" with the hills next year and maybe Mount Ventoux.

    Due to the fact I cannot run anymore (arthritic knees), I

    just bike to work (8 miles round trip) and a longer bike ride on Sunday just to keep my general fitness levels up.

    I just use a normal city bike at the moment, but I am thinking once I get my ablation done, I might get a better bike to improve my fitness levels.

    I like you just monitor myself through my pulse (wrist), I don't use any other gadgets. Thanks for the advice in respect of "hill work". I have taken note.

    Keep it up!

    Best Wishes


  • I get what I have described as a 'fizzy tummy' not unlike a low level electrical hum through the torso (kind of like when a fridge motor kicks in and sometimes you don't notice until it stops). It usually occurs at rest and commonly when going to bed; it can stop very abruptly but can go on for a couple of hours. It is not AF; as have checked on Alivecor and my heart is at a normal rate; although can sometimes see more electrical activity. I have wondered if it my vagus nerve. Anyway I don't think it is anything for me to worry about.


  • It's probably because you're lying down. I get the same, just got used to it, and also can only sleep on my right, sometimes my back, but never my left.

  • I read a few years ago that if you have AFib you should never sleep on left side so I started to sleep only on right side. It does get frustrating to not turn over. One night I was feeling confident that AFib was controlled with Flecanaide I turned to left side for a bit and sure enough, went into AFib. I did mention this to my cardiologist but he rolled his eyes, who knows!

  • if you can afford an alivecor monitor for your phone you could check your ecg to see what's happening- good that your heart rate is lower as there won't be any damage occurring!

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