AF Association
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Confused Newbie

Hi, I'm the wife of a newly diagnosed AF sufferer (67) who is having difficulty coming to terms with everything and who is a terrible worrier by nature. I'm so glad to find your website and I'm gathering as much info. as my brain allows and am passing it on slowly but surely in "bite-size" chunks.

I'm confused about the referral pathways to different services.

My husband was taken to A&E in Royal Glamorgan Hospital, by paramedics, with an uncontrollable heart rhythm (ave. 182) and was put on a 12 lead monitor for 6 hours and given Bisoprolol 2.5mg and Clexane injection. Was then transferred to Acute Med. ward and had CXR and was put on a 24 hour portable monitor. Confirmed diagnosis of AF next day (by Acute Medicine Consultant) and put on Warfarin and told would be referred for Echo and would have to attend Med. Day Unit for daily INR testing and remainder of course of Clexane. Discharged home after 48 hours.

10 days later INR is stabilising but no appt. yet for Echo (is this usual?) and f/up appt. is with Respiratory Consultant not a Cardiologist??? Does this seem odd? In your experiences which Dept. would normally be responsible for AF?

He's never had any respiratory problems nor any cardiac problems previously so I'm confused - nothing else was diagnosed just AF.

Sorry if this is too much detail but any information gratefully received to help me steer my way through the network. Many thanks

11 Replies

I too find it odd that they are referring him to respiratory department and would suggest that you ring the hospital and ask why. Your husband should be seen by a cardiologist and preferably one who understands the electrical side of the heart since most are mere plumbers. This is a NICE quality standard.

It may take a while for echocardiogram appointment so don't worry about that just yet. The most important thing is that he is on anticoagulation as AF makes us more at risk of stroke.

Just be assured that whilst AF is life changing it is not life threatening. Ask any question here and we will try to answer.

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Thanks so much for your prompt reply. He goes back to MDU tomorrow for INR testing so will make further enquiries there and if no joy then a phone call to original referring Consultant beckons.

I'm sure I'll be back with more questions and hopefully my husband will feel a little more in control of his situation and be able to take over in his own right in due course.

It's so very reassuring to know help is at hand so thanks again


Read as. Such as ylucan to ask informed questions AF website good start

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Sorry about this but welcome to our mad world of AF!!!! You will find out in time that AF varies enormously from person to person; medicines affect each of us quite differently (types and quantities); and consultants have different knowledge and opinions. AF is more of an art than a science in many ways. Don't worry about the ups and downs.

Bob didn't say specifically (though inferred) that you want to try and get an appointment with an Electrophysiologist (EP) Heart Specialist not a general cardiologist.

Hopefully some of those living in Wales will see this post and respond because they know the hospitals and the specialist EPs because there are a number of differences between the NHS in Wales and that in England.

Look up on the main AFA website before you go to see where the EPs are. Select ones who do ablations (even though that may not be the route that is taken). There is a specific list.

When you go to the hospital tomorrow get them to check on the system about referrals. It could be that your husband has been referred to both cardiology AND but equally it could be a mistake.

Good luck.


It will become less confusing. The site is brilliant Firstly ask to see an EP and or a cardiologist consultant. Press hard for echocardiogram and all tests. Look at the youtube f cardiologist in York Sanjay Gupta about magnesium and his comments on AF. You can also email hi, . Ask for the new anti coagulant drugs like apixaban and look at diet esp alcohol and getting proper sleep. Also GSM in food esp Chinese food etc. Good luck

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Hi DoubleEm, you have had a few clinical replies already so I will stick to just suggesting that you try and get your husband to practise mind relaxation techniques early evening - any breathing exercises/mindfulness/Qigong and many others on the internet and prayer is a great comfort, if the belief is there.

AF is physical but has a mental component via the Vagus Nerve, which connects the brain to the heart and stomach. Some people's Vagus is twitchier than others. Either way improved relaxation, I would say is a must, as you proceed through the checks and stabilisation - assure him it does get better.


I'm not surprised that you are confused DoubleEm. This is a great site and has helped me in the past. Don't worry about asking questions - both on here and at the hospital. I was diagnosed with AF at my local hospital after an overnight stay, discharged on Bisoprolol and Warfarin with appointment for anticoagulant clinic and told I would get an outpatient appointment for 6 week checkup. Nearly 3 months later, after numerous phone calls, I found out that the ward had forgotten to request an outpatient appointment!

Read as much as you can. The internet is a great source of information and you will get plenty of support from the nice people on this site.


2 years ago, when I was a "fit" 67 year old I was taken to hospital in an ambulance! I knew nothing about Atrial Fibrillation, not even what it meant. I went through all the tests, I had all the panics, my poor wife worried too!

We were processed through the routes of diagnosis and treatment as described by others on this site. Apart from waiting between appointments, because there are so many of us, we have no complaints, the doctor etc were really helpful.

But we are all different and have individual symptoms...

It was worrying and VERY disconcerting to have all the heart beat monitoring and circulation tests then to go to highly trained and experienced specialists, cardiologists and EP, who then ASKED US what WE wanted to DO?

Anyway I am now assessed and diagnosed and on treatments

The feeling of panic is not good, not knowing, what's best is a worry, resulting insomnia is definitely bad and makes things worse! This is where having this site is so helpful - we are as now cool and relaxed as we can be.


This site really helps! Every bit of information, shared experience and advice gives comfort and encouragement. And when we confront the specialists we can discuss and understand better our problems. It won't be so difficult to come to make the hopefully right treatment choices for our particular issues!

I am very grateful to be a member of this club

Take care all! Keep in touch, it all helps.


Hi DoubleEm,

I live in the same area as you - I was under one of the consultants at Royal Glam before getting a private referral to Dr O'Callaghan, our "local " Electrophysiologist (EP) in Cardiff. The staff at both Royal Glam and the Heath (Dr O'Callaghan's team) are great so your husband is in good hands.

If you have any specifically local issues you want to discuss, drop me a private message and I'll be happy to help. (To send a message, click on my name at the top of this reply and at the top right of the next screen you'll see "Message" as an option. You'll see replies to your message appear as an orange dot next to the bell at the top of the page - click on that and you'll be able to read the message.)


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Thank you all for your very helpful replies. We have discovered this morning that there has been a mix-up with my husband's referral and this has now been corrected so no longer under the care of Respiratory Consultant and echo is pending shortly.

We will take all your good advice on board while we navigate the system and I'm sure

I'll be back very soon looking for more words of advice. Take care everyone


I am also with Dr O and his team in Cardiff he did my ablation in 2014. I now normally see Rachel one of Dr O's arrhythmia nurse's she is very supportive and reassuring you can phone her anytime for advice.

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