Vagal AF

I don't contribute on here much (sorry) but I do read everyone's stories and coping strategies which have helped me no end over the last couple of years.

During My latest cardiologist appointment he discussed the 7 day tape that I had done back in the summer and suprise surprise it came up with no af episodes!!! I found it hard to believe as I felt terrible a few times during that week. To cut a long story short since then I've only had little episodes of feeling weird or racing heart rate but tonight as I was watching telly I was suddenly aware of my pulse racing and the inevitable onset of panic and do I need to go to a&e or not. I ended up going for a brisk 5 minute walk with my wife and by the time we returned home my pulse was dropping back to normal levels.

I've read a bit on here about vagal AF and how people are affected while they are resting, has anyone out there got any good ways of coping with this as I can't unwind anymore due to the fear of af rearing its ugly head.

Thanks guys as always.

21 Replies

  • If you have regular gentle exercise I think it helps as it keeps your pulse rate from dropping too much - which then seems to allow AF to kick in. Also, small meals with vagal AF. I have vagal AF but haven't had an episode since noticing my potassium level was low when the AF bad enough to go to A and E ( levels OK in between) I started having potassium rich food ( and prescribed Magnesium Citrate) and, touch wood, haven't had AF since then ( 2 years ago in April)

  • Hi rosyG

    Can you let me now how much Magnesium Citrate you take daily? Ive been taking 150mg daily for a couple of years and wonder if I should increase. I am on Apixoban, seven months now and no side effects, and think I have vagal AF too (as paroxysmal and only at night) although have not been officially told that by my EP.

    Last attack which was mild was 2 months ago. Great to hear yours was almost 2 years ago! Long may that continue.

    thank you

  • Hi Foxglove- yes I take 200mg a day- GP chose the dosage but a cardiologist advised me to ask for it as I was stepping up potassium rich food

  • Hi rosey. Even before I knew what vagal afib was, I told my daughter it always happened after I ate, or ate a lot( took about 6 episodes over 3 months to get the connection). My potassium was also low and my mag on the low end of normal. I told my cardiologist I wanted my levels check more often and he put me on K and slow mag. I feel so good, I am weaning myself off my metoprolol. B//p stays 115/70 and Pulse 60-60.

    I am 4 months post ablation and I I have had NO episodes since I have been on the mag and K.(about 6 weeks now. )fingers crossed

  • Yes I think Potassium makes a great deal of difference and magnesium is good to balance it! Hope you stay well !!

  • When I was first diagnosed with AF last December I bought the Kardia device. In the early days I was obsessive, checking several times a day as I was so aware of hard jerky beats or my heart racing I was sure I had AF but all was clear. I was (and still am) very aware of all the thumping and banging going on but it doesn't worry me quite as much as it used to. Then last month I had a long episode (the first I am aware of since last year) and it was useful to have a record of this and also the fact that it felt very different to all the other activity.

    So for me, having the device has given me peace of mind - I check perhaps twice a week now if my heart is racing and apart from last month all is well (touch wood!)

    I have no idea if I have vagal AF, sorry I can't help there.

  • Vagal AF tends to be at night or after heavy meals Some people have a mixture so you can't always tell without tests

  • Hi Ads, firstly I agree with Rosy Magnesium & Potassium supplements are a good plan. I know one shouldn't promote a particular brand but check out Nutri MegaMag as its the only convenient compound I know with Mg, Potassium and Taurine plus others; it was recommended by my Naturopath and I have taken it for 2+ years.

    Secondly, more recently I have found deep breathing and holding the air in for 4 seconds (allowing the lungs to absorb the oxygen) and then breathing out over 6 seconds could be important. I do 4 or 5 several times a day and when I wake up in the night for a pee. I believe Vagal AF may be triggered by lack of oxygen/shallow breathing at night or when relaxing. I first realised it helped to take deep breaths if you felt AF coming on (e.g. when watching tv) or a brisk walk. 'Breath-right' nasal strips and an open window have helped at night.

    Hope something there works for you.

  • Yes, I have found with me it is definitely associated with 'not breathing enough'. I have trained myself using a small pillow not to roll over onto my front and not sleep on the left side, as this often stops my breathing in the night and kicks off the AF. I'm not particularly overweight, it's just something I do. (It invariably happens at night with me.)

    Also, if I'm concentrating hard on something, sometimes I'm aware of almost holding my breath and my heart sort of 'thumps' to warn me and going into a deep breathing routine usually sorts it. All very odd.

    Among various other supplements I also take Mg 3 times a day and a 99mg potassium at bedtime and I'm finding these help

    Good luck everyone!

  • Good to know you agree Sibelius. You mention concentrating hard and don't do what is evidently quite common which is to hold your breath whilst typing on the computer e.g. if you are absorbed in an important email.

  • I meant to add in my reply the extra Mg is taken with a CoQ10 supplement as well.

  • Don't worry about not posting or replying!!!!

  • I have vagal af and have found a few tricks that seem to be effective but it's always a question of whether the tricks were successful or whether the af would have stopped on it's own since my episodes are self terminating usually within 30-60 minutes but methods I have employed to bring it to a more rapid return to sr include splashing cold water on my face as soon as it starts, coughing heartily and various forms of the valsalva maneuver (fwiw, the cold water on my face has stopped 2 episodes within minutes )

    When the above methods are not successful, I have propranolol and ativan as a combo pill in the pocket (20 mgs propranolol .5 mgs ativan) and this combo has never failed to stop it within an hour

  • I go to a Chiropractor for my neck issue and he told me when the PACs start to heat my neck for an hour and lay on my back hanging it over the edge of my bed. Most of the time they cease.

  • The cold water works and deep breathing and relaxing and Ativan-- anything to get your mind off af helps. One other remedy my ER doc told me and I tried it. It worked. Get a frozen frappe at mcdonalds(mocha is good). Take just one big drink. It kind of gives you a chest freeze for a few seconds--kind of like the brain freeze you get with a frozen slurpee, only in your chest. This is not scientific or medical-just worked for me. Or maybe the laughing I did afterwards stopped the afib.

  • Many tears ago someone I worked with had AF. His consultant told him that if he did not have his pill in his pocket to drink some cold water.

  • Gosh....wish it was that simple !

  • Funny how people differ. I twice went into atrial flutter immediately after drinking a frozen smoothie.

  • Evidently a smoothie or a frappe can stop or start the problem. Go figure. My cold frappe stopped mine.

  • Same with me - I can splash my face with cold water and stop an afib but drink some cold water and bring it on - sometimes there is no rhyme or reason and everyone is different with different tolerances

  • I have been doing the deep breathing Bob suggested a while ago when I feel my heart start to thump. It really seems to be working . I like many of you said sometimes breathe very shallow. I sleep with a CPap because of sleep apnea and have learned to concentrate on deeper breathing. The CPap is a wonderful aid and for anyone who suspects they have sleep apnea please get a sleep study because you will get better.

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