Collapse .AF responsible?

Firstly what a great Forum. Very reassuring. Thanks to all contributors. 2 years ago I went to the supermarket and woke up in an ambulance very scary. From this diagnosed with af and an irregular heartbeat although no reason for the collapse found. Since then I've had 3 visits to A and E with rapid and irregular heartbeat and each time I convinced myself that this was the end and I'm not being melodramatic. I am now on bisoprol 7.5 and apixiban as well as blood pressure and cholesterol medication. This is the best I felt for over 2 years but the thought that something serious could happen any time really scares me. I'm just wondering if anyone out there has collapsed and been told it was a result of af? Also any advice on alcohol consumption and exercise. I am a 60 years old male. Thanks in anticipation and good health to all.

20 Replies

  • AF can certainly affect your blood pressure because it reduces the efficiency of your heart. I feel faint when I stand, but not so suddenly that I collapse before I can sit back down again, though. I've also had my heart stop altogether for up to 5 seconds (both spontaneously and with meds) but there was no loss of consciousness, so even then there would have been time to sit back down. That surprised me, I would have thought I would have lost consciousness fairly quickly with no heartbeat, but apparently not. So in answer to your question, I've not experienced anything that's left me thinking that I might collapse quite that suddenly (yet).

  • Yes, I collapsed whilst at work. I was perfectly well at a meeting. During a break I went to spend a penny and keeled over whilst returning to the meeting room. No warning at all. Ambulance to hospital where the A&E Consultant diagnosed AF. I had never heard of it.

    I think that some funny turns that I had experienced previously were probably AF. I have a rhythm problem but not much of a rate problem. I cannot feel my heart thumping during episodes, I just feel dreadful. But we're all different, aren't we?

  • Can I be indelicate and ask if you passed a large stool ? I told the ward sister when I had my pacemaker fitted that twice my AF was brought on by stimulation of my vagus nerve during a colonoscopy and a DRE. She laughed and said that we are always getting people pass out in the toilet  when a large hard stool stimulates the vagus or is it vagal nerve.

  • No, I cannot make that connection but micturition is a different story. If I start to wee a great deal then I know that AF is imminent. This is very well documented on this site. A fibrillating heart sends the kidneys in to over-drive.

  • Yes, I have read about that but most often with men up frequently due to prostate problems.

    Kidneys into overdrive because of heart rate or chemicals produced by the body during AF?

    As part of investigations into my hypertension I had kidney tests and an MRI that did not find any problems. 

  • Hi, the only time I was admitted to a & e I spent the night peeing every 20 minutes, it was as though I had a full bladder each time. I was told that the AF causes the atria to produce Atrial Natriuretic Peptide which is an enzyme which causes the kidneys to dump an increased amount of urine in order to rid the body of sodium. 

    Although I've had lots of AF episodes since, I only occasionally get this symptom.

  • I had a night  a night in hospital last March with AF and passed a lot then but for some reason always pass more in volume overnight that I do in the day.

  • I am the same as you in thos respect!

  • Yes some people do have black outs with AF and of course for those unfortunate people then driving is out. DVLA will need a medical report etc. Most people just feel weak or slightly dizzy.

    The main thing to remember about AF is that it won't kill you. Change you life yes but end it NO.  That said one does need to make some sensible changes to life style and if that means stopping drinking alcohol then so be it. I think many of use have found it to be a trigger even if in my case it wasn't the alcohol as I had the same problem with alcohol free drinks. Probably an enzyme in the formation stage before the alcohol is removed by osmosis.

    Changes to diet can also help  with a  reduction in reliance on meat and processed food being claimed to be advantageous. Exercise is important but since over exercise is a known cause of AF everything in moderation I would suggest.  A brisk walk or cycle is better than trying to run a marathon so do not become an OMIL (old man in  lycra)

    Please go to AF Association main website and read all you can from the fact sheets there so that you understand this mongrel and complex condition.  You will find a great deal of support there and here and I am sure that in time you will learn how to handle it and not be so worried all the time.

    Ask any question and we will try to help


  • Oh Bob you just perk me up and make my day with your sayings I.e  OMIL thanks Sann

  • Just to  re-cap on the DVLA situation you MUST inform them if you have had  blackouts and of course your insurance would be invalid if you suppress that information so I recommend that you discuss this with your doctor(s) at an early opportunity.

  • I didn't collapse because I felt it coming so lay down quickly. I was in a shop as well. I was taken to a coronary ward where they diagnosed severe AF. I got tried on different drugs till they found one that worked well (a rhythm control drug) and then discharged feeling fine and back to normal. I've been back to normal since then thanks to my EP who has done 2 ablations and also changed my drugs to keep on top of my condition.

    Don't know whether you're seeing an EP?


  • A friend of mine passed out three times when outside. First time he broke an arm and then two fractured skulls (once in the Tesco check out queue)

    It was only on the third occasion that a hospital took notice and diagnosed AF and a slow heart rate. He was put on Amiodarone and fitted with a pacemaker.

  • G'day geacie,

    I endorse all that has been said by others on here. But, would add, that if you want AF to control your life, if you want it to scare you to little pieces and you let it -then it surely will. BobD's comments apply so aptly. Once you and your medical team have got it under some degree of control and you have your confidence back just get on with living your life, its there for living. I never had the blackouts, rather feeling I was going down with 'flu. Then came food triggering my AF. Once on top of it I resumed my life. I was diagnosed in Jan 2010 aged 65. I'm now 71, still work - part time, 3 days a week, 10 hour shifts driving a shuttle bus 20 minute trips each way, with short breaks at the end of each trip. And as I hold a PCV licence I have strict medicals each year before DVLA let me continue driving - no sweat. I've had a partial knee replacement and still get out and do plenty of walking and fly to and from Australia to see my family.  Hey Ho, sod off AF, no place for you in my life !

    May the force be with you.


  • I often find that things come on in the night when the body is in auto pilot but not during the day when I am in control. Begone dull AF.

  • Hi there geacie.  Has a doctor given you a strategy for dealing with a rapid and irregular heartbeat?  I'm thinking of a 'pill in the pocket'.

    It sounds as if your treatment has been limited to putting you on a regime that will help to keep you on an even keel, but it doesn't seem to address improving your situation.  A visit to a heart rhythm specialist might move you forwards, enabling you to deal effectively with what your heart can suddenly do, assuming you are in a position to take action.

    Have you had standard tests like an echocardiogram and a 48 hour ECG?

    Alcohol is a known trigger for AF.  Quite a few of us here avoid it altogether and others drink in moderation. 

    What do you want to know about exercise?  Asking too much of your heart can be a bad thing!

  • I think there are Heart Rhythm Specialists and Heart Rhythm Specialists. I've been very ill for 4 months now, increasingly dizzy, bloating, wind, lifeless etc but all my HRS suggested was doubling the doses of Flecainide and Bisoprolol which made things much much worse as the ECGs and Echos ever captured the moment of crisis. Even my GP now says I should seek a second opinion, but says she can't refer me and I have to ask my currect Cardiologist to do so. I will let you know what response I get from him but doubt our conversation will be pleasant. I only hope I'm feeling well and slightly feisty on the day for my sake rather than his.

    Can it really be rocket science as I rarely go into AF to my knowledge but the episodes of what I assume to be SVT are really having a very adverse effect on my health and wellbeing.

  • I should perhaps have said EP but a cardiologist could also prescribe flecainide which is often used as a pill in the pocket.  I think the usual route is GP to cardiologist to electrophysiologist.  GPs, I believe, are not permitted to prescribe flecainide.

    In the UK one can put one's hand into a pocket and go privately direct to an EP and then slip back into the NHS.

    Sorry, KentAF that things are not going well.  I've not taken bisoprolol but don't much like the sound of it.  The intrusion of medication into one's life can be far worse than the original symptoms. 

    Buying a portable ECG device (most use an Alivecor but Omron also do one) enables us to take an instant 30 second ECG which can be a useful way of capturing any elusive arrhythmia.  Some people think this is a route to paranoia.  I've not used mine often but I like to be able to look at the erratic - or not very erratic - heartbeat.  The latter can be very reassuring.

  • Yes, I did. A year after I had a double bypass. I stood up in the living room and felt weak and wobbly. I thought immediately of my heart, and made my way to the kitchen where I phoned 999. Just at the end of the call, I collapsed onto the floor, with the phone handset hanging down by my head. I woke up to find the ambulance guys strapping me onto a stretcher. They wheeled me out to the ambulance, being careful to lock up and bring my handbag (they were great.) We then headed for the hospital at 80mph, crashing traffic lights etc. In the ER, they told me I had passed out due to AF.

    I was given Isoptin and told to take 300mg of aspirin. Released after 2 days. I've had AF ever since.

  • At least you had them call the aids.  I felt dizzy at work twice.  The first time at my desk and passed out and don't know how long I was out but later my mates said:  "Bruce was sleeping at his desk again".  The second time I knew I was going down so I backed up to a wall and apparently just slid down. I awoke some time later and nobody had said a thing. I guess they thought I was sleeping in the hall "again".  I work in IT and since EVERYONE is strange, I have no hope.  Now I tell my mates to kick me or something if I don't respond, call the aid car.

    Good luck.  


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