Asymptomatic a/f

I am curious having read some folks talking about having afib discovered during exams

In my own experience, the onset of an afib episode has always been unmistakable - the rapid heartbeat and that feeling like your heart is jumping around like a fish out of water

Are there forms of afib that do not present any obvious physical feelings such that you could be in it and not recognize it - if so, is this usually confined to persistent or permanent or are there paroxysmal variants?

11 Replies

  • Hi netpi

    There are many different forms of AF as fish in the sea, I am persistent 24/7 in AF and hardly ever notice it. There are lots of people who have mini AF attacks during the night (paroxysmal) and do not know it unless they are on a monitor.

    It is mainly us persistent buggers that get this, but by no means all.

    Be well


  • Beancounter, when in afib are you in rvr, what is your HB? I assume you have slow afib, I think it would be hard to have a rapid heart beat and not feel it, appreciate feedback.

  • Hi Captain

    No svr usually around 75 - 80

    Be well


  • Those with permanent AF are usually asymptomatic. It is the start of events which is so traumatic. When it is there all the time and has gradually developed the body tends to accept it.

  • I have PAF. I thought I always noticed it until a doctor told me I was in AF but I wasn't aware of it. I think the floppy fish/cross bunny/trapped butterfly effect is caused by ectopics mixed in which often happens at the start of an episode but that is just my experience.

  • Hello netpi,

    Your description of afib episodes are almost identical to mine - I was diagnosed with PAF (paroxysmal atrial fibrillation) in 2012 (I have a more detailed description if you click on my avatar and view profile) My episodes are also unmistakable and very unpleasant. When they occur, it feels as if I'm climbing Everest - a racing ,irregular pulse even though I could be doing something as restful as reading, listening to music or watching TV - it certainly wakes me from sleep. Thankfully, I have been episode free for approx 18 months but have been told by members of this forum and my cardiologist that the episodes can return at anytime - as someone on the forum so aptly wrote "it could happen at the next beat of your heart" :)

    Wishing you well,



  • Permanent or persistent can be asymptomatic but I was told nearly all AFers have to go a period of being paroxysmal before ending up there. In my case there were quite a few symptoms that I had were mild but I put down to other things (including getting older). In fact I had never heard of AF until I was diagnosed as being in persistent AF. However with what I know now definitely AF symptoms!!!

    Also apparently the majority of have AF where the signals are generated in the veins. These can start with one or two and gradually over time can build up and over time more and more rogue cells generate signals.

  • Word missing Peter! 'The majority of ? have AF where the signals are generated in the veins' (???) This is news to me - which veins do you mean - in the heart or ?

  • Thanks very much to all who took the time to offer their insights and comments

  • I did not notice the slide into AF as I thought the tiredness and shortness of breath was caused by my asthma.

    Hear rate was at 120 before drugs now about 90


  • In my case, my AF condition (paroxysmal) was discovered during a routine ECG as part of an annual checkup. I had no idea and did not have symptoms - at least none that I recognized. Since discovery 3 years ago, my symptoms (dizziness, light headed, tired) have become more noticeable and I now know (most of the time) when I am out of rhythm.

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