Have i got AF

I am mot sure what is going on, I seem to every do often, ie every 7-8 days get palpitations continually I cannot ignore them as I feel them. I exercise on a bike 3-4 times a week, just 5 miles each time. I eat well and do not have stressful life. I do enjoy a drink and on rare occasions have too much ie 10-12 units in 1 evening. I feel worried as I cannot control the palpitations feels like my heart is turning over. My heart rate is 58 resting and my blood pressure high end if normal. I do not get racing heart just palpitations. Have i got AF?

24 Replies

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  • Hi Sapphire, If the palpitations that you feel are irregular in rhythm, and rapid, is is usually the case with AF, then maybe that is what you have. Some people with palpitations have a different variety of SVT, which is any arrhythmia that happens above the ventricles of the heart. May I suggest you see a physician, to do some testing, like EKG and/or Holter monitor that you would wear for up to a month to be able to document and diagnose your heart rhythm. Then you can move forward and treat your specific problem. Good luck!

  • Learn to take your pulse. If it is fast and irregular i e chaotic with no rhythm then it may be AF if just fast then no. Atrial Fibrillation is always a chaotic irregular rhythm but can really only be established by an ECG which would show absence of p waves. You need to get suitable monitoring done, or even pitch up at A and E during an event to establish what is going on so that suitable treatment can be established.

    One thing for sure is that alcohol will not help so start by stopping at least until you get a diagnosis.

  • My pulse, or heart beat is slow ie around 58 resting. But when i am on the exercise bike, I can see the pulse and sometimes it will be missing a beat every 5-6 pulses s0o this means it is irregular. I went for an ECG the other day at the doctors and when the nurse showed the doctor he said it was completely normal, but at the time I was only getting the odd palpitation.

    Because the palpitations go away sometimes for a few weeks I have not really done anything but when they return it seems to be worse each time.

    I am wondering whether to take your advice and visit A and E the next time they are bad, I just don't want to make a fuss.

  • If you are getting missed beats these are probably ectopics or out of place beats which are quite normal. AF is chaotic with no rhythm so just as few missed beats is not AF but you do need to sort this out if only for your own peace of mind as worrying about it will not help.

    If it IS AF then rest assured it will get worse and eventually will be picked up but best not to wait that long.

  • Turning up at Aand E is not making a fuss if your heart rhythm is chaotic ! - at present it may be the only way to get a diagnosis and if it is AF or SVT the sooner you get that the better.

  • Do you smoke? Are you an ideal weight? Have you had your thyroid function checked? Have you a family history?

  • I do not smoke although on the odd occasion I have one. I am a good weight and although my mother had a hyperthyroid mine was checked last year and it was okay.

    I have just discovered a letter from the hospital as I had some tests done in 2012 - the Dr says a normal PR and QTC intervals. Echocardiogram showed normal left ventricular function with no valvular abnormalities. 24 hour recording showed very occasional ectopic beats and one short episode of an SVT lasting ten beats. If continues verapamil 40mg or ablation.

  • Normal PR And QT along with normal Echosound is extremely encouraging. I'm fairly sure you are becoming over cardiac aware. Not to say you dont have REAL problems though.

    If I was your doctor-I'd advise you to practice relaxation exercises and MAYBE put you on a low dose Beta Blocker-possibly propanolol as this is good for ectopics and anxiety.

  • Is it okay to have the odd glass of wine with propanolol?

  • The odd one-but I wouldn't get drunk-it could well cause hypotension

  • Do you mean hypertension?

  • No-far from it. I mean hypotension-LOW B.P.

    (I've always hated the 'Hyper' and 'Hypo' prefixes, they sound so similar. I've worked on the wards and its nearly caused mix ups and I'm sure it certainly MUST have caused serious mistakes. )

  • You really should go and see a cardiologist so he can examine you. There are so many heart rhythm disorders, it could be one of many. Really important to find out which one so it can be properly treated.

  • Bob, your comment that Atrial Fibrillation is always a chaotic irregular rhythm is interesting. Comments like this have helped me to understand what is going on. Thanks. As you say there are different types of AF.

    When quiet, I can actually hear my heart. The loudest sound is always the final one of the beat. I also vibrate slightly. While taking a 12 lead ECG, and relaxing hard, I was able to count my pulse. It was totally regular, and around 60 (the bisoprolol had brought it down from 80). The ECG gave me 107, and the doctor confirmed AF. I have not studied the ECG since, but my guess is, the ventricles were regular but the Afria were faster, and probably irregular.

    Does this make sense to you? It seems to me, we need to think about two pulse rates, one for the atria and one for the ventricles. It is the first one, the atrial rate, which is harder to feel or count.

  • It is not possible to "feel " atrial rate. What pulses in our arteries is the contractions of the ventricle as it forces blood around. Atrial fibrillation CAN and does affect the ventricular rate so that the pulse become chaotic.. It may well be that you are unable to feel all the beats for the same reason that BP machines are unable to get a correct reading when in AF.

    I too can hear my heart but never rely on that and always take my pulse.

  • In my case I have a noisy metallic Mitral valve, therefore, when quiet, can hear the Atria, which are quite distinct from the ventricles. I rely on it totally. When not clear, I usually take a neck pulse because the gap between the feeling and my fingers on my wrist is very distracting and also the neck pulse is usually more obvious. Even with the neck pulse the distraction of the sound can be there. The doctor when he checked me always relied on his stethoscope.

    Is there a variant of AF where the ventricles are steady and the atria vary?

    Stethoscopes are cheap. Has anyone used them on themselves?

  • Sometimes well actually quite alot of the time I can hear a vibrating hum and it is not tinnitus, I just try and ignore it though but I can sense it is to do with the heart?

  • Hard to say in your case. There is actually quite a lot of resonance in the body. My gut and lungs vibrate to the bass guitar and heavy beat. It hurts -- never mind the ears. Similar feeling to road works or a diesel lorry. Keep listening though, try and pin it down. If not, get to know what is normal for you. A general principle is: change needs investigation.

  • I have been diagnosed with Atrial Tachycardia. I sometimes feel that my stomach is vibrating too. Is this something you have ever noticed ? It occurs between my ribs at the point where the oesophagus joins the stomach. I also find that when I have reflux or gastritis it can bring on the AT.

  • You need to see doctor. !

    Phil

  • Yes, find out what it is. AF is usually a wildly chaotic pulse and can be fast. If you want a demonstration, google 'arrhythmia dance' on YouTube and watch the guy in the hat with the heart on his T shirt. There are various types of arrhythmia to watch.

  • The advice and information presented is good. IMO, Afib comes in many forms and always best to diagnose early. You might want to do what I did here in Canada. Discuss with your GP and ask for an ECG test and wait until you feel your heart isn't normal and then go for the ECG. Your GP will then see the results and contact you.

  • I disagree with pip_pip. At this point you do not need to see a doctor. You need to keep track of your experience. That's right - identify your "symptoms," determine how to measure them, keep track, take notes - including how your "symptoms" affect your activities - and be consistent about it. But first of all, relax and don't get caught up in anxiety. That just raises your blood pressure and clouds your brain. Develop your personal database so you can see what's happening. Otherwise you'll just be shooting at a fleeting target in the dark.

    Above all, don't take medications unless you, yourself, believe there's good reason. Read up on the different anticoagulants - Eliquis (apixaban), Pradaxa, Warfarin/Coumadin - flecainide, diltiazem, and the various -olol medications that control heartbeat. Get to know the up- and down sides of these drugs before you talk with a doctor. And don't let yourself be treated like a statistic. You're an individual and your medical care should reflect that.

    So relax, keep track of your experience, and don't yield to anxiety. :-)

  • Thank you, I think that's a good idea, I will definitely keep a diary and will only go to the doctors if the palpitations get bad again. It's so weird that when I see a bargain in the shop I often buy a second as back up, but there is no back up with your heart. So protection and awareness are the key points I have gained through discussion.

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