AF Association
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Fainting episodes

I am Calli111 and are 72ys old and have AF which did not show itself properly until last year. My heart rate is kept under control with Digoxin and is fairly stable at 80-100bpm. The most horrible thing about this if the exhaustion and weakness I suffer several times a week and the breathlessness on exertion like walking or carrying shopping. I am booked for a cardioversion in July with a view to an ablation If my heart will revert to SN temporarily. This AF has literally stopped me in my tracks and turned me into a semi hermit. I do fight it each day by doing as much activity as I can including a minimum of 30mins. walking, all my housework and at present painting my garden furniture, fences and shed. I rest regularly and are coming to terms with these changes as I have always led an active life. I was thinking today about when I was young and remembered that between about 12-27yrs I suffered fainting episodes and I do now wonder if these were warnings? My sister died at 59 when her heart stopped for no obvious reason overnight and a post-mortem was unable to determine her cause of death. Does anyone know if there is a genetic link to this condition? It would be interesting to know.

I do not let any of this worry me and I do not feel any sense of anxiety, I look on the bright side and think to myself "I can only die once!!!!" ha,ha,ha..........

5 Replies

Very interesting post.

Did the fainting happen at all times of the day? Did it happen when you were "relaxing". Did you ever hurt yourself?


When it first happened I fell in the fish tank, but as they progressed it would happen when I was standing as in a queue. After a couple of years I learned to recognise when I was going to faint. It was like a dark cloud coming into my brain and if I could sit down quick I got better without alerting anyone, but it could happen anytime or anywhere. The GP put it down to vertigo, but I know it wasn`t. Nothing was ever found to account for these episodes and gradually over time they faded.

I spent 9 months in hospital when I was 11yrs old with viral pneumonia and rheumatic fever so maybe that did not help. There are so many conditions that doctors don`t know.

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Hi Cali , If I understand correctly rheumatic fever can damage the heart in the very young. This is just something I remember from what I was told as a kid so it may just have been my Gandma's old wives tale.

Syncope is not uncommon with AF as the blood pressure can drop suddenly so maybe you have had a pre-disposition to AF all your life. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that AF can run in families but this is most likely due to the physical construction of the body with hearts of a specific size and shape. If one wants to call that genetic fine but so far there is little scientific evidence.

Syncope and sudden adult death are covered by a different branch of Arrhythmia Alliance (STARS) so you may find some help there. AF is seldom if ever fatal in itself.

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That was what happened to me when I was first diagnosed with AF. I would almost faint when standing and I had to sit or lie down quickly to avoid passing out. It got so bad I couldn't do anything and in my early 50's, and fit, I became an old man.

They told me that it was because my ticker was not ticking regularly, it did not get enough blood/oxygen(?) to my head, hence the faintness. Lie down, then enough would get to my head and I'd feel OK again.

Quite simply, my AF was treated successfully, first with drugs then an ablation (my choice, drugs were still working), and haven't had that problem since. With me, no good just slowing my heart down, it needed the rhythm to be regular.

Hope you get it sorted and get your life back.


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Thanks for that it gives me hope that i may return to normal.

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