A positive note

I just thought I'd relate my husband's experience and improvement, for what it's worth, and in the full knowledge that everyone is different.

His first experience of AF was being taken into hospital unable to breathe and a heartrate of over 170. Five days later he was still in hospital and still in AF, and then they found he had a blood clot. He was given the option to stay in hospital or go home so he came home and basically sat on the sofa for a month afraid to move hoping that he didn't go back into sinus until the clot had gone.

When we joined this forum I read that AF gets progressively worse and I felt sick. How much worse was this going to get, how much worse could it get??

He was started on Apixaban and four weeks later had a cardioversion that lasted ten days.

A week later he was put on Amiodarone which put him back into sinus and kept him there. The cardiologist advised him to come off Amiodarone and the other drugs, leaving him only on the anti-coagulant. He was put on the waiting list for an ablation.

So thats his history....and I'll come clean. I work as a holistic therapist and specialise in nutrition, so with my background I put him on a programme of supplements. and lifestyle modifications.

His AF is still there, it always will be, but the episodes are very rare now and he goes back into sinus all by himself, something that the cardiologist said he couldn't do. The times he has gone into AF we have a good idea why......stress (adrenalin) and tiredness seem to be the biggest reasons and it seems to be a delayed effect. The AF can happen a day or two after the stressor.

Basically, what this long post is all about is that AF can improve, not ever be cured, but improved over time. He has postponed his ablation to see how far the improvement can go. The only drug he takes is Apixaban.

The other thing I want to emphasise is that this is just him, and may not apply to anyone else as in my own training it was drummed into me that everyone is unique and presents with a unique set of symptoms. Having said that, it was also drummed into me that most people can improve to their own personal limits, if given the right circumstances.

15 Replies

  • Thank you Jo. I was a bit concerned about sharing this but I just wanted to say that AF doesn't have to go downhill ALL the time.

  • Thanks for sharing that! You are preaching to the choir here with me :-) I totally agree that lifestyle modification is key, and developing AF usually is a reflection of one's overall health. While AF typically has a trajectory that worsens over many years, ( I had 5 years of silence, and another 5 years of relatively rare, easy to convert episodes before sickness kicked off a bout of persistent AF which led to ablation)......you can go a long way to stabilize or at least slow down the process. I also did everything possible to be healthy around my AF . I will say that now the recommendations are to proceed with ablations earlier, rather than later so that is also something to consider. Ablations work better when there has been less disease and stick better with a healthy lifestyle. I actually just posted a link to an article about that a few hours ago. Congrats to you and your husband for hard work to be well.

  • Thanks Grandma, duly noted. As far as the ablation is concerned he cancelled it, but asked to be put to the bottom of the list, not taken off the waiting list completely to buy him more time to see how much more he can improve. It's his choice, not mine, by the way.

  • Been having a few bad days and feeling rather negative about this Muppet condition. but I must say your post brighten my day. Keep up the good work you and your hubby make good team. I know people whose AF has got better and not worse over time not cured as you say but a lot better. It is so easy to lose sight of the positive things but posts like this really do help.

  • I'm glad you posted this - it's very important to understand that AF may be a temporary problem as the body can heal itself - and that lifestyle changes can contribute greatly to this (especially stopping alcohol, reducing stress, losing weight and regular exercise)*.

    If necessary "pill in the pocket" drug treatment can be helpful to tide you over while nature is doing its work.

    *also treating even mild hypertension

  • Yes, we felt that the few months he spent on Amiodarone in sinus bought him time for the heart to heal. The echocardiogram subsequently showed no abnormalities.

    I remember being told that because the heart is such a vital organ it heals quickly, a bit like the liver can regenerate. I need to research this further to find out if this really is true.

  • Well unfortunately the heart cannot regenerate (except maybe with the help of added stem cells) but it can recover from injury, especially caused by viruses (myocarditis) and toxins (e.g.alcohol) given time and rest. If the injury is severe it usually helps to be taking beta blockers during the early part of the recovery - they stop the heart trying to work too hard. They often make people feel slowed down, so once the heart is better it's nice to stop them and get your energy back.

  • Ah, interesting. My husband has had viral pneumonia and pleurisy in the past. He's never smoked, but it seems to be a weakness.

    When he was admitted to hospital in AF I thought he had pneumonia again because he'd been quite ill with a high temperature and cough a few days before but stubbornly carried on working through it.

    The Amiodarone gave his heart the time to heal.

    It's all beginning to make sense.........finally.

    Thank you.

  • What would be classed as Mild hypertension my reading is always between 120/55 to 135/60

  • That's fine.

    I would classify mild hypertension as 140/85 up to 160/95 (at rest) - any more that that is getting severe.

  • Thank you so much for you reply that's good to know

  • as far as I am aware as JPC mild is considered over 140 and up to 160 over 90.

    I am not sure I turst machines at docs it gave 165 and she re did it a few minutes later and reading was 135 - I still got more pills though

  • Yes it's difficult to get a reliable reading of blood pressure - and it's not just the machine's fault. The actual blood pressure can rise or fall by 30mm within a minute. The only solution is to take lots of readings (always at rest) and average them. I generally suggest making them in batches of three, ignoring the first if it's much higher than the others. Then do the same 3 (random) times a day for a week. This gives about 20 readings and make an average of the systolic (top figure) and diastolic bottom figure separately to give a single reliable measurement.

    If this is OK you can forget your BP for 3 months and then repeat the "splurge". If it is too high (even slightly) you should increase the medication (with the advice of your doc.) and re-check in one month

  • thats great news happy for you both -just wish I knew which circumstances are right for me .

  • I have been trying beetroot capsules for a few months and my blood pressure does seems to be lower I also take CO Q10 and daily probiotics vitamin D prescribed by GP I don't really want to take BP meds if I can help it.

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