Scared in Lanzarote!

Home today after a (mostly) great week in Lanzarote. Sunshine, relaxing, reading - all the normal holiday things of taking a break. On our last night we'd gone for a great meal, strolled back to hotel, read a bit and sleep - when suddenly and without a trigger (as far as I can work out) I go into AF at 2am! This is the first time for a year as I thought the tablets were controlling it. Heart rate was 165 - using my Alivecor, stating I was indeed in AF. Took another Flecainide and waited and worried as I was going home the following day and knew I'd not be able to fly. After 2 hours my heart was 143 by which time I was working out my travel insurance, shall I phone an ambulance, should I wake my husband (no point in us both worrying so didn't) and hey I want to go home!!

Finally at 7am my heart was 75bpm and although I felt weak and shakey I was out of AF.

It was horrid and quite scary and the journey home very long and I was quite edgy. Feeling better today after a good night sleep in my own bed.

Thanks for letting me share this and if I'd had the internet on holiday I'm sure someone would have been awake to reassure me.

23 Replies

  • Bummer as they say. Not sure why you thought you wouldn't be able to fly home if you were still in AF ? I have flown loads of times in AF . OK you feel rubbish but better to be doing something useful than sitting around where you do not want to be.

    Glad you made it home and feel a bit better.


  • Glad you are feeling better, though like Bob, am wondering why you wouldn't have been able to fly home in AF. It's no more or less fun than being in AF on the ground ;-) Hope your heart stays calm for the New Year!

  • When I was in permanent AF never stopped my flying puzzled why you thought that?

  • Glad you are home safe and sound !

    I certainly wouldn't like to fly with a heart rate around 160 and can't think why it would be OK to do so as others have suggested!! Then again I don't like flying anyhow .......I can see that with a lowish BPM as with those in permanent AF that this would not be a problem. I guess it all comes down to how your body is handling this.

  • I would either and certainly not before checking in detail.

  • I was told that if you are in persistent AF with your usual HB then that is ok. However if you have a significantly raised HB whether persistent or paroxsymal then that is the time to question and think. Also what other pains and symptoms.

    As with the situation of whether or not to go to A&E a key thing is the HB multiple (ie someone whose HB is 150 but is normally only 50 to 60 then HB is 150% to 200% higher whereas if it is normally 100 then HB is only 50% higher). That is why my GP was going to send me straight to A&E on one occasion and why I was mildly told off for not going to A&E on a couple of occasions.

  • The same thing happened to me, a few hours before we flew out to Lanza last Oct. like you, my af resolved in the nick of time. It is a worry. I don't know if I could go through with a flight, and I m so glad push didn't come to shove! It's a sobering thought for any travelled. I just do a lot of praying!! JanR

  • Praying certainly helped ...... maybe we should avoid Lanza??

  • No way, our fav destination. No stopping now!

  • My AF kicked off one morning in a B&B when I was on holiday last year, I laid in bed watching the time get closer and closer to breakfast time, and mulling over all the options:

    Ring 999 from my bed?

    Shuffle downstairs and ask them to ring?

    Ask them to take me to A&E? (it was only a quarter mile down the road)

    Eat breakfast in order to avoid making a spectacle of myself in front of everyone, then walk to A&E?

    It stopped just in time to avoid having to make up my mind, but I got a train home later the same day though.

  • Isn't it strange how we think because I didn't want to make a fuss either and waiting for it to pass was the best option.

  • So far, that's the only occasion when it hasn't happened at home, so I'm still wondering what will happen if I have to dial 999 in public.

    "You look alright to me, what do you want an ambulance for, they're only for emergencies."

  • Don't worry about that. It's unlikely that you will see many of them again, if any!!! If you want to be a bit dramatic just fall to the floor gently!!!

  • For me, that is your Vagus Nerve.

    I have no professional knowledge but I think the science, gleaned mostly from posts here, works something like this:

    You were a bit concerned all week and your parasympathetic system stepped up to deal with the concern. The last night arrives, the concern falls away "Phew made it" but the parasympathetic system takes more time to reduce accordingly. Result when you fall asleep feeling great, it keeps calming you (i.e. lowering your pulse or 'principal drummer' via the Vagus Nerve) even more to a level when the AF ('the support drummers') can start up.

    The solution, I would try, is to practice a new form of relaxation (Mindfulness, Qigong, Yoga etc) a week before you go and during your stay. Then on the last night avoid the wonderful meal, just burger and chips and before bed focus on issues to face when you get back. The aim is to keep your feelings more even throughout.

    I am sure to some this sounds like a kill joy suggestion but in my mind it is a no brainer and something you have to adapt to with PAF.

    Hope something above helps.

  • Hmm I can see this would be valid for a lot of people but for me my AF is a blip I have to live with, it doesn't control me, it is controlled by medication. I was not in the least bit anxious about it during my break and this holiday was one of many I have had since being diagnosed. I hadn't had an 'episode' for over a year so apart from taking my tablets daily I rarely think about it. Our last night meal is a tradition and once again I would not let AF stop me from living my normal life.

    I do practice Mindfulness, I do Pilates once a week, I walk daily and I live a healthy 'normal' life.

    Thank you for considering this though and I appreciate your reply.

  • Didn't appreciate all that...totally agree with you.

  • I am new to this board but have had AF for over 10 yrs now. I have only been treated with meds, no ablation or CV, not on anticoagulants other then aspirin. Cardio doctor wants to start me on Warfrin as my CHAD is now 2.

    I have experienced the something, being woken from a deep sleep only to wake up with a racing HR, sweating and feeling awful. I am on Sotolol 120mg twice a day and aspirin 325mg. When this happened last week on holiday (also my last night), I took an additional dose of Sotolol and the aspirin and moved to another room as to not wake up my partner. My HR took awhile to go back in NSR and I was able to go back to sleep. We had been walking earlier in the day at a higher elevation in the snow. Not sure if that had anything to do with it. I did feel winded while walking and needed to slow down and rest a few times, especially when going up hill.

    This has happened at home as well as on vacation, usually I am fast asleep when it starts. I know alcohol can be a trigger, but that hasn't always been the case. It gets a bit scary when I wake up in this state.

  • I think like you I go over what had happened leading up to the episode but not always find a trigger. I agree it is a bit scary to wake up with it and I take myself off hoping it will calm down, take an extra tablet, read a bit and wait.

    Hope you feeling ok at the moment :)

  • Aspirin is not an Anticoagulation (aka blood thinner) and has no place for AF treatment and confirmed by NICE in June last year. Glad cardio wants you on warfarin. Did he discuss with you the NOACs?

  • Hi PeterWh

    My cardio talked about putting me in a trial for Riveroxaban. I hadn't done much research on this until she suggested it. I was hesitant as I have been maintaining well just with the Sotolol. Lately though I have had a couple of episodes that woke me up and lasted for several hours. I just found this board and since reading everything people are posting, I've been rethinking that perhaps it might be a good idea. My internist didn't think the Warfrin was necessary. I'll see her tomorrow and discuss it again.

    I appreciate finding this board and hearing the experiences everyone has had and your input. Thank you.

    Happy New Year

  • From your post I am glueing that you are in the US. Things are different in the two countries but you could use the CHADSVASC scoring on the main AFA website to see about whether you should have an anticoagulant, whether that is warfarin, rivroxaban or one of the other NOACs. Even if your score is only 1 that does not mean that you don't need to take them.

    Also if solatol is just being taken for AF then in the UK it was taken off the list of medicines in June 2014. Look at BobD responses and NICE info. May also be something on main AFA website.

    Note that I am not medically qualified.

  • I always check with my doctor about flying with af. if he gives you the okay then this will cover you with your travel insurance

  • I have regular check ups and hadn't had any episodes with AF for a year so was definately ok to fly ......... it was the coming back that could have been a problem! Thank you for replying :)

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