20 years old with AF and weak heart

Wondering if anyone has been where I am now, I had one singular case of A-Fib when I was 18 years old, went back to the doctor 5 months ago because of skipped beats and SVT's. I ended up getting an echo which showed my ejection fraction was at 52% which my doctor said was equivalent to a 60 year old. So it's 5 months later and I got a cardiac MRI which showed a 47% EF at a 5% loss over 5 months. My doctors are at a loss, I am slightly over weight at 6'3 but am very active at work with a semi healthy diet. My blood results are all perfectly normal as well. I have high blood pressure which my cardiologist is trying to find an underlying cause for but I have a very clean family medical history. I'm very worried considering my regression and that heart failure awaits at 50% I'm wondering if anyone has been in my position and what to expect in the future. Thanks for reading!

7 Replies

  • I would suggest improving the semi-healthy diet, and considering supplements. Why not try a nutritionist? (The Institute of Optimum Nutrition) might be able to help.

    Also you may find 'The Sinatra Solution' by Stephen T Sinatra an interesting read. Alternatively follow this link:


    and read the article 'How to get rid of AF once and for all' which includes a link to an article on how to decrease high blood pressure.

    There are options out there!

  • Just because the doctors cannot find a cause yet doesn't mean there isn't one, diagnosis may be a question of elimination. Keep on pestering for answers, in the meantime you may be able to help yourself by keeping yourself as stress free as possible by use of Mindfulness or Meditation - worrying is a downward cycle both mentally and physically and often we don't realise just how much this can affect our hearts.

    Unfortunately none of us, whether or not we have had similar experiences, can see what the future holds for you, however it seems to me that you are seeking for some hope that everything will be alright for you and you will recover?

    Improving diet & nutrition - there is more evidence coming through that nutritional deficiencies can be responsible for many conditions so research and go consult a nutritionist (not a dietician) and see if that helps. Doctors are not trained in nutrition unless it is a special interest for them, if you find one who is - hang on to that one.

    Unfortunately doctors do not have all the answers, although we would like them to give us solutions, but sometimes we have to put the work in ourselves.

    From my experience there can only really be a limited number of reasons for disease - genetic disposition - biology - that is physiology going wrong because of pathogens such as virus or bacteria - nutrition deficiencies such as lack of minerals the body needs to function properly either because the diet lacks the essential minerals required or they are unable to be absorbed by the body - or enviromenatal factors such as poisons and previous drug use (both prescribed & so called recreational) and which would also include living in a very stressful world full of electrical/magnetic fields which affect some people much more than others. And our inner life can also impact dramatically on our health so do not dismiss the long term effect of early traumas

    You don't say how old you are but you are obviously much less than 60, I can understand your distress with this decline and heart problems can strike at any age and are always distressing. You may get some people in similar situation as this forum was orginally set up for people with 'lone' AF which is what the majority of posters her have but in my time on here - 3 years - people will often post once or twice in distress and then nothing more is heard, we also may not have the answers you are seeking but please know that whatever age you are there are people who really understand just how distressing having something wrong with your heart is.

    Very best wishes CD

  • Sorry you did say how old you are and at 20 dealing with that stuff sucks, hope you find some one/things that can help - keep on pushing and don't listen to no is the best advice I can answer.

  • Thanks for the reply, I am going to talk to a nutritionist like you say, I'm actually 20 years old so yes much younger than 60 lol.

  • My understanding is that a normal EF is between 50 and 70, too low is under 40, 41 to 49 is borderline and higher than 75 is too high. I am not an expert in this field by any stretch, but I think you deserve a better explanation of what it all means by a cardiologist so that you can properly understand where you are in the greater scheme of things.

  • Hi Zachary, it's obviously a scary situation for you. Just to give a few pointers from a cardiology point of view:

    1) using different kinds of scan there is NO difference between 52% and 47% so both scans are agreeing that your left ventricular function, the main measure of heart strength, is slightly (but not badly) impaired – they are not evidence of progression.

    2) The most common reason for LV impairment at your age is a virus causing inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis) leaving it feeling rather injured, often for several months.

    3) Your original AF 2 years ago was probably the first episode of myocarditis - your heart recovered (mostly, at least) but has now been hit by a second bout causing the palpitations 5 months ago and the scans show it has not completely returned to normal.

    4) What your heart needs to recover is complete rest when the virus is active ( generally 1-2 weeks) and avoid excessive exertion (marathons etc.) for a few months afterwards. Also normal or slightly low blood pressure is very helpful so if it's even slightly high it needs treating.

    5) the cardiac MRI scan should tell a lot more than just the ejection fraction and your cardiologist should be able to give you the details of what it showed - eg how much scar tissue (which won't get better) and any other abnormalities.

    6) the important thing is to try to avoid any more virus attacks on the heart. This is where the healthy living advice is very important, especially getting a regular good night's sleep to boost your immunity (don't take on any job involving shift work).

    7) A repeat scan in 6 months may show some improvement but iven if it stays around 50% ejection fraction you should be able to live a perfectly normal life.

  • Hello Jonathan! Thanks for this very in depth answer! i was given a rough review of what the MRI showed. No scar tissue but my left ventricle is slightly enlarged and on the low side of functionality. If what you're saying is true than it will be a great relief to me I think.

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