Elevated ST segments

A few days ago, my mother passed away. It was a terribly upsetting circumstance, although I held her as she took her last breath, and played Australian bird sounds to remind her of her childhood homeland. Her niece and nephew were also there with her. I am completely devastated and traumatized, and feeling grief like I've never felt before. 24 hours later, I found myself in AF for the first time in three years, and I have been in and out of AF ever since. I increased my dose of flecenaide and started taking beta blocker, and am in sinus rhythm now, but a cousin thinks I may also have a few elevated ST segments. I am worried I have "broken heart syndrome" so I've sent my Kardia readings to my cardiologist. I will let you know what he says!

Last edited by

33 Replies

  • Nothing much I can say but sending warm and healing thoughts and condolences on your loss. JanR

  • Thomps95, my condolences to you for the passing of your mother, I felt the same grief you described when my parents passed a few years ago, knowing they're not suffering the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" anymore helped me accept and deal with their absence from this life, as for feelings of grief, I promise they shall pass in due course, I think it is great that you and your mother were able to see each other before her passing, in a way you helped deliver her to her final journey as her loving son, may she rest in peace. I have read that very intense grief can certainly stress the heart, I hope you will be able to cope better knowing that you should not be to hard on yourself, after all I am certain that your mother would not want you to become unwell, easier said than done, however sometimes I honor my parent's memory by taking it easy and being kind to myself, I know this would make them happy, I hope you will eventually feel better.

  • So very sorry to read your post, and to see the great sorrow your mother's passing has left you with. It is the penalty we pay for loving so much. I know absolutely nothing about ST segments so cannot contribute. However the lovely posts you have received will I hope go some way to help make you feel better.


  • Very sorry to hear of your loss. It is good you could be there. My mom died just minutes before I got the hospital which I always regret but my sisters were with her so that was nice.

    I had some bad family news a couple of years back and it brought my arrhythmia on. Instead of increasing my heart meds, I took an anti-anxiety pill courtesy of my doc, which worked if I remember correctly. The effect of the bad news did wear off over time so I think just the passing of time is a big factor.


  • So sorry to hear all of this, Thomps. Your sense of loss may well have had an unsettling influence and as the rawness recedes, I hope you find your heart will be less troubled.

    I sometimes think that the later in life one loses one's parents, the more keenly the loss kicks in. I'm sure many of us have been thinking of you so far from home at such a sad time.

  • I do feel for you in this sad and difficult time. Regardless of where you are in the world people give good treatment for AF. If you are concerned seek medical assessment. No one here can advise you on your present situation, it needs feet on the ground who can look you over I'm afraid.

  • I am thinking of you and pray you will soon be comforted. It's the shock and distress that's jogged you into af. Just hold on it will pass

  • I can't comment with any knowledge on what you are experiencing in your Afib I am afraid.

    But so very sorry to hear of your loss - losing a parent can be heartbreaking. I found great comfort in the this article when six years on I was embarrassed that I still weep over losing my father.


    Thinking of you, Thomps95.

  • I'm so sorry to read your news Thomps and it will be a comfort in the future to know that you were with your mother. Your pain and sorrow have probably triggered the AF at such a traumatic time for your family.

    I hope the doctors where you are can offer advice and help.

  • Condolences to you and yours. Roy

  • Emotional trauma can indeed lead to physical symptoms. They will pass. Your mum must have been a wonderful person to have been loved so deeply.

  • So sorry to hear your news Thomps, my condolences.

    I don't think there is anything one can say at this time to ease the pain of your loss but please know that this is a very surreal time, you at in shock and it will take time to adjust so yes, your body and soul are reacting to this immense loss.

    Be kind to your self.

    Think of the happy times you shared together.

    Practice and focus on your breathing as this is how you can be kind to yourself and your heart and it will help your body to recover and adjust.

    As others have said, it could be useful just to be checked over to ensure there is nothing serious amiss, let others look after you now.

    Very best wishes CD

  • These are wonderful healing responses, and at the moment I am again in sinus now - though I fell back into AF several times since my original post - yesterday I decided to fly to Boston to my God-son's wedding (my youngest first cousin on my mother's side, who himself lost both parents and two siblings by the time he was 34) - the joy, the children, the beauty of the Charles river over which we looked, the hilarious and loving speeches, the comfort of extended family, feeling welcomed, the dancing, and the music: Cole Porter, other 40s music, then to 60s: Supremes, James Brown - and the support on this forum. This is the AF medicine I needed. I will, of course, get myself checked out, but I feel there has been a reversal of a dangerous physical process triggered by this trauma. Thank you - If anyone has book suggestions, let me know. Rinpoche's Tibetin book of the dead was suggested, but am sure there are many.

  • How about 'A Grief Observed' by C S Lewis?

  • Sorry about your loss but at least you were there. I missed my mothers death by about 5 minutes.

    It does take some time to get over it but then actually you get fonder memories not about the ones at the end so much but the good times together when you were younger.

  • So sorry to hear about your dear motherThomps,try to keep well.

    Best Wishes,


  • Thomps, so sorry to hear about your mother’s passing, and that the trauma brought back your AF. It’s great though that you attended your Godson’s wedding, and found the experience to be a good medicine for your problems. To answer the question in your original post – flecainide does give rise to elevated ST segments; in fact it is one of the drugs used in the provocation test for Brugada Syndrome, which is an arrhythmia problem that can put the heart into VF and sudden cardiac arrest for no apparent reason.

  • Thanks for this - my cardiologist always explains this to me but I never remember which aspect of the ECG is affected by flecenaide, and I don't have the expertise to see this "elevation" myself.

  • So sorry to hear of your sad loss of your dear mother. It's an awful time as I know from experience. Clearly the devastation and stress you are naturally going through has triggered your af which is compounded even further by being out of your own country and having your usual medics on hand.

    I can't comment about your suggestion of broken heart syndrome as I know nothing of it. However you need some medical support be that heart wise and or anxiety help. I do hope there is someone close to you who can get you the assistance you need.

    Thinking of you, big hug. Things will settle and I wish you peace of heartl and mind in your grief. X

  • Back in AF for most of the day ... Will this nightmare back-and-forth cycle never end? Taking daily anticoagulant (apixaban) and counting the days until I get back to Sydney - Ughhh!!!

  • I'm so sorry Thomps95! You brought your mother into the next realm with compassion and bravery with the beautiful sounds of Australian birds, and her niece and nephew there by her side, holding her as she took her last breath, I literally felt that in MY soul...as my own mother passed in much the same way, and it's indelible on your heart! So hence, your heart can and will be affected by this, and thank God you took your meds! Now I'm not going to go on about this...I'm going to repeat what most others have said...elevated ST segments means this: STEMI....MYOCARDIAL INFARCTION!!! ST ELEVATION MYOCARDIAL INFARCTION! GO TO ER RIGHT NOW! Your labs still might show elevated troponins and BUN...Go get help NOW!

  • Thank you all for your concern - wonderful - but I might have gotten ahead of myself and I do apologize. I've sent my Kardia readings to my cardiologist and am waiting for him to get back in touch. The "elevated ST segment" was NOT diagnosed by a doctor, nor was it indicated by software in Kardia. It was simply an impression of a cousin who knows a bit about ECGs as she used to be a paramedic - but even she was not concerned.

    And remember, even if there are elevated ST segments, they might be caused by the increased dose of flecenaide. The most sensible move for me is to talk to my cardiologist - he has the information and will get in touch if he is concerned.

    In the past three months I've been checked by two different cardiologists for my annual cardiac checks. Both declared me fine. With that information, I feel comfortable waiting to hear back from my cardiologist before rushing to ER.

    I should hear back in a few hours, and will let everyone know what he says - thanks so much again for your concern! xx

  • Oh thank God! I would never want you to suffer a STEMI! Your cousin would have you go to the ER if there was a concern of STEMI right? GOOD! I confess I was quite worried over here in the U.S.! The STEMI and nSTEMI being nightmares in my heart, and having lost my mom lost year I was duly propelled by your horribly sad story...meanwhile I am praying for you, as your grief is no less and you loss is something so large that you still need to watch over your heart now as never before! All the best to you HeartFriend, and I thank you for putting my mind at ease, even tho you are the one who needs comforting right now! Prayers and Hugs to you! XXXOOO

  • So sorry to hear your sad news and hope that you can draw comfort from the knowledge that you were with her, as I did, and do after my mother's passing two years ago. I think any anxiety grief or upset can cause AF to rear its ugly head and it is usually as with me after the event. Let's hope with time that all settles down.


  • Agree with Jo 100%. Make it tomorrow's first job.

  • I have sent my readings to my cardiologist in Sydney - he has my email and phone number if he thinks there is a serious problem. I've also shown the Kardia reading to a nurse who did not seem too alarmed, but will let you know what my cardiologist says. It's never ideal out of country (insurance tends to avoid paying for pre-existing conditions)

  • Your Mother would be happy if you looked after yourself now just as she did for you a long time ago. You have had a rough trip on a roller coaster, so get checked out.

  • I am really Sorry to hear of your loss.

    I didn't even realise there was

    "broken heart syndrome" although it is amazing how the body reacts to various stresses and strains of life. I had my first AF episode after a stressful time, many changes, leaving family and kids behind for work (out of necessity), always angry and bitter and wanting a break. I sat down and followed a yoga DVD and by the end I was in AF (I was 45 at the time, last year).

    After reading the posts here and over a period of a year that focusing on the good and the smiles as few and far between as they may be is more helpful and helps the body the focusing on the sadness. (Easier said than done). I feel I am just at the beginning of that journey.

    I wish you well


  • My cardiologist replied - he is not overly alarmed about my Kardia readings, and agrees that stress has caused these extended AF episodes. He gave me advice regarding medication. I have been back in sinus rhythm for the past 8 hours, but who knows what tomorrow will bring. He recommends I get a full ECG just to be on the safe side, as it isn't possible to draw strong conclusions from the single lead reading from Kardia. I will keep you informed.

  • Thank you again - we'll see what happens when I get back to Sydney at the end of the week. I'm going to really take it easy between now and then

  • Thomps95 You might find useful info on this website antiagingfirewall.com--look for science and technology of longevity by vincent guiliano

    There are posts on this blog by him and others every month from 2009 thru current Of particular interes t you might like to read about glucosamine and condroitin, sirtuins, co q10, shilajit, electrolytes,NR (nicotinamide riboside)--this one is great for your heart. Much info at this site. Look at the glass half full-what can you do to make your health longevity longer?--not half empty-such as what terrible thing is happeneing to me? (afib). There are a lot of "diseases of aging" that are really deficiencies and imbalances that can be corrected if you know what's going on. Guiliano is 88 years old and still does research and gives lectures to doctors and medical students. As to your broken heart syndrome, there really is such a thing. Look at the web site of a holistic cardiologist Dennis A. Goodman at Langone nyu medical center in NYC--he has a story about broken heart syndrome, where a father had a strong disagreement with his daughter, she moved away and they had not spoken for years. He was having heart issues--but there appeared to be not a lot physically wrong with him-- so he asked if there was anything he was upset about and when he found out he suggested contacting the daughter. Once they had reconciled the man's health improved. although there were some minor issues he was tremendously improved.

  • Oh Thomps95, I'm so sorry to hear about the passing of your mother. I know just how much it hurts and my thoughts are with you. I can still shed a few tears for the loss of my mother and she died 35 years ago. Your feelings of sadness right now are perfectly normal so go with them. Time will heal and you will hopefully look back at the days you had together with great fondness and remember some of the things she did that made you laugh, rather than feel sad.

    Big hug.


  • Thanks for your empathy. I almost need a therapist! What was particularly horrible was to see her gradually get weaker and weaker, knowing the medical system could easily reverse this slow death with dialysis and other intensive care interventions - but this was not her choice, and would have left her with pain, suffering, continuous medical procedures, and possibly not more than another 6 months anyway. So we went for a peaceful, painless transition.

    But it is an emotional anxiety: When your mother is drowning in front of you, do you put out your hand or stand back with your arms folded, even if that is her wish?

    I found the experience traumatic, and won't ever get over it - but I will gradually get perspective and remember her for all the loving and fun times we had

You may also like...