SURGERY, AF, POTASSIUM: I thought this might... - AF Association

AF Association

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I thought this might be of interest to anyone facing surgery in the future and just to add to general knowledge

3 weeks ago I had a hip replacement and on the second night after successful and uncomplicated surgery I woke with AF. This was really disappointing as I had a very successful second ablation in April 2014. Blood tests showed that my potassium was low. I had intravenous drip of potassium together with potassium tablets and Bisoprolol for a week and then as pip in he pocket. It has settled down now

I am having a knee replacement when I have recovered and will certainly let all the medics know about this experience which set me back a couple of days I would be very pleased to receive any comments please

10 Replies

Each time I've gone into AF I have tested low on potassium. Last year I had it tested while I was out of AF and it was normal. My Dr. friend told me that potassium naturally drops during an AF episode. Anyone else been told this?

G'day gardenome,

I have never had a hip replacement and only recently my first bit of surgery for over 15 years (when I didn't have AF anyway). My latest bit of surgery was on 6 Nov 2015 for a partial knee replacement. I never had my AF return. However I must say I have always eaten a banana a day for years now so maybe that has helped my potassium levels. I was more concerned (as it happened, needlessly) about the effect of coming off Warfarin. From when I stopped Warfarin (about a week before surgery) to when I returned to my INR range was 29 days.

Best wishes for your knee job when the time comes.


Elaine1951 in reply to carneuny

I take a pottassium supplement in addition to magnesium to ward off AF. Confinced they are linked

Hi,yes Septicemia started off my AF journey,whilst I was in ITU I was given a potassium I/v in one arm and antibiotics in the other!

Later on I was given potassium in tablet form,so obviously low potassium must be connected to AF ?

gardenome in reply to Annekw

It's good to know about potassium but a hard way to learn. I am now taking potassium supplement

Good luck on your journey with this horrid problem

My AD was caused by the Septicemia,UN fortunately the conversion failed,will probably try another if not I will stick with the medication!

Good Luck!

Before my af was detected and properly diagnosed I to had very low potassium and had iv drips and disgusting salty tablet drink, I was told that low potassium can cause electrical problems with the heart..... About a month ago I had several bouts of af and also suffering cramps which took me to a & e this time the bloods came back as severely low phosphate levels and was given replacement therapy... Again it was said such low levels can affect the heart rate... It certainly hasn't cured me but I will definitely be asking for these to be checked if I'm having a really bad time with my af... Make sure they check your levels again before your next op and do indeed inform them of your experiences because it can be put right.... Good luck 🙏

Hi! Gardenome,

Just dashing out to get my Potassium tablets after hearing what has been said on the blog.

Thanks for reporting this which is so useful to those who are contemplating surgery.

I am due my first knee replacement in April. I know the betablocker and anti coagulant I am on reduce my intake of magnesium and I can see that might be the case for the potassium. It's back to the banana's! I also take Co enzyme Q10. Yes, I rattle a bit but better safe than sorry.

The tannins in tea reduce Iron intake and I have been warned about this prior to the operation as I am very keen not to have to get involved with any blood transfusions.

I am equally keen not to disturb my sinus rhythm which was so welcome in September when I received my second catheter ablation.

I hope your second operation for the knee progresses well and you make a quick recovery with the hip.


gardenome in reply to DavDug

Hello Dave

I'd be very interested to hear how your knee goes Yes I am on bananas and CoQ10 and my recovery from the hip is very good. Hydrotherapy tomorrow which is wonderful as I can do all my exercises for my hip without knee pain as of course it isn't weight bearing

Good luck


DavDug in reply to gardenome

Thanks Penny. Looks as if I am relegated to the banana bowl. Could not find any tablets at the Pharmacy. If I remember I will make contact with you. Not looking forward to it as this is the 3rd op on this right knee. But----- we persevere. Thanks for your remarks. Get well. David.

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