In favour of Amiodarone

I know that amiodarone is not a nice drug to be on for too long, particularly for those that have side affects, but I think it has helped me. I was in persistent AF for almost seven months and thinking I was going to be a 'permanent' candidate, when my (paid for) visit to the EP ended with him prescribing amiodarone in an effort to get me back into sinus rhythm. AND, three weeks later, at last, with a huge jolt to my heart, sinus rhythm was restored and I started feeling better. To be honest, I hadn't realised that I wasn't feeling as well as I used to. Two weeks later I had my first visit with the cardiologist who was supposed to perform my cardioversion and she told me (as I suspected) that I didn't need this procedure and I could now stop taking the diltiazem. I was over the moon...until the next day when I went into AF...but it didn't last more than half-and-hour and I came out of it, helped by trying every method I'd read about! She told me she would send a note to my GP to take me off the amiodarone and put me on beta blockers instead, to help heal my heart which wasn't as good as it could be after being in persistent AF for so long and, probably, because it was a nasty virus that put me into persistent AF in the first place. So, I have Paroxsysmal AF and I'm thinking this is better than persistent as there are hours in every day when I am in sinus rhythm? My 'attacks' are always when I am resting in the afternoon (watching telly) and/or in the middle of the night when I get up to go to the loo. This seems odd...although usual with 'loan' AF which I am hoping I have ie; there's nothing really wrong with my heart...I just have AF! To cut short what is becoming a long story....I am convinced that the days where I have had less episodes are those when I take a long walk (2 and a half miles to town) as-well-as remembering to take my magnesium in the evening. I read somewhere that magnesium can help in getting me out of AF. I shall be taking long walks more frequently and will never forget to take the magnesium! Here's hoping it continues to work. I am booked to have an MRI scan in January and I'm hoping there's someone that can reassure me it will be OK. I have claustrophobia and I'm worried that I won't be able to go through with the scan, which will be in one of those whole body 'cases'.

18 Replies

  • RE the MRI scan I fully understand. Ask for a blind fold would be my advice or just keep your eyes tightly shut and think of a nice place you love like a beach or sunny hillside. It worked for me! They do often give you headphones and play music so it can be quite a nice place to relax if you aren't looking at a white wall a few inches away.

  • The walks are a good idea- you may be like me and have a low resting pulse which allows Af to get going= gentle exercise can definitely work

  • Re the MRI, had 2, take a CD of music that you really like, which I found helped me the 2nd time, a bit of Dolly Parton always cheers me up. Re the amiodorone, yes it does work, but it is a powerful drug. Make sure you keep up to date with all your blood tests and things like eye tests. Amiodorone affected my thyroid which is now under active, and although stopped amiodorone a couple of years ago thyroid still affected

  • I had a head and spine MRI done yesterday (Sunday, they're on catch-up.)

    It took 30 mins lying flat-out with my neck in a collar and wearing a face guard which was similar to the head gear that Princess Diana wore when looking for land mines. As I didn't want music they fitted foam ear plugs instead of head phones.

    3 months ago I had a shoulder scan which took 20 mins. My shoulder was pinned in a clamp and I felt as though I was being fed through a plastic igloo with the plastic 2" from my face. The ear phones didn't help either.

    Yesterday I commented to the Radiologist that I hadn't liked the shoulder scan. She said that they could have fitted a face guard for me then too. It would have been easier as with the guard I could not see the roof of the scanner.

    Be aware that it moves a few feet and it clanks and beeps. However if you explain to them then I think that you will be just fine. There is no pain involved but do make sure that you have an empty bladder.

  • I fell asleep during the MRI for my heart and that was in the morning and including the fact that they were asking me to hold my breath on a number of occasions!!!!!

  • How could you sleep with all the noise the machine produces ?

  • With ease apparently!!! Probably would have happened even earlier in the scanning if it had been in the afternoon!!!!

    I wasn't surprised since if I am relaxed and lying down or in a chair I can go out like a light without even knowing anything. However when I do wake up I'd get disturbed in the early stages of sleep then getting back to sleep can take hours.

  • You are like my wife, she can sleep anywhere or through anything. She even slept through a minor earthquake we were on the edge of when the bed tilted and bits fell off the hotel we were in.

  • Well I can wake up if there are storms etc. Just depends on where in the sleep cycle I am and how deep. Sometimes wake up three times in the night for unknown reasons.

  • We lived in Surrey when we had the great storm of 1987 and she slept through it.

    Our buildings fire alarm went off in the night once and I had to waken her.

  • Thank you everyone for your lovely replies! I do have quite a low resting heart rate which could explain the need for exercise. I can't wait to 'lose' the amiodarone'. I hate taking it...just waiting to hear from the GP. I'm not sure I can keep my eyes shut for half an hour, so it's a blindfold or mask for me. It seems that having an MRI scan is something I just have to go through. I'm guessing most, if not all AFibbers have one. Better to know what's going on...

  • You can have your eyes open or closed. Mine were open throughout.

    Do remember to have a wee before you go. My friend had a heart scan which took the best part of an hour. She has a weak bladder and they were lucky not to need a mop.

  • you don't say where you live. If you're worried about a claustrophobic MRI there is an open MRI scanner at Cheltenham where you don't have to go onto a tunnel. My late partner used this and it also meant I could be alongside holding her hand while it was done. It's at Cobalt in Cheltenham which is a private charity but you can be referred on the NHS there free. If you live further away there are other open MRI scanners


  • I was told the open scanner wasnt powerfull enough for a Cardiac MRI

  • if an open MRI sounds attractive, I suggest you ring Cobalt and discuss it with them. Their scanner was powerful enough to show up my late partners deep brain tumour.

  • Hi try not to worry about Mri it's not as bad as it sounds

    It sounds like listening to a drill what I done I know it sounds stupid was to sing in my head and count made it go faster lol

    I was very allergic to the drug so was unable to take it so if it works for you good o

    I'm in perminant a/f and have been for 7 years

    I take warfarin and touch wood not doing to bad at all get moments but try to switch of know when to ask for help but can't remember last time I had to do that

    Take care

  • I was given a sedative which helped me with the claustrophobia and keeping your eyes shut and anything restrictive i.e face mask or blind fold wont help speak MRI and they will help you

    Good luck

  • Thank you so much all of you for taking the time to reply. I don't feel quite so nervous about the scan now and I will ask about the open ones. Good advice about having a wee before I get scanned. I hadn't realised it would take so long! Also, I'll mention my claustrophobia and whether I can get a sedative if they think it will benefit me. After being in persistent AF for almost 7 months and worrying about it constantly, it is humbling to know you've been in permanent AF for 7 years, Rusty8.

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