Lone AF

Hi All, Looking for some advice/guidance. I've been experiencing AF for about 2-3 years episodes last for about 12 hours and have about 6 per year. Recently they seem to be increasing in frequency and my latest lasted 24 hours. A few weeks ago I paid to see a professor of cardiology and had an ultrasound / Holter / Treadmill test. I was told I had Lone AF and could be managed by a pill in the pocket as and when AF occurred. Bisopropol 5mg did not work on most recent bout. Cardiologist did mention having an ablation but I don't want to take medication or have an ablation. I am overweight and have a poor diet not enough exercise. I also believe triggers are after meals and alcohol but not always. Could I diet and get fit to get out of this situation, not sure if I should go back to same cardiologist - would appreciate your thoughts. Thanks in advance.

21 Replies

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  • Your cardiologist sounds like a sound bloke to me and good that he is offering you a way forward, Whatever you decide do get down to a a sensible weight and try to get fit. Cut out all alcohol, caffeine , reduce reliance on meat and have more plant based foods , exercise within reason (don't try marathon running) and look to a better lifestyle. It may well help your AF as many people have found BUT AF is usually a progressive condition and it likely will get worse if something isn't done soon to help.

    Forget triggers , they are secondary. You have AF therefore something or nothing will trigger it.

    Changing your life may well help but keep an open mind on treatment please.

  • I too was diagnosed with lone AF back in early 2014. My cardiologist, as a general rule has a conservative view about ablation, but as my events increased, his words to me were "if I was you, I would have a Cryoablation". Needless to say I took his advice and I have no regrets. Lifestyle changes are very important and may reduce frequency and/or intensity of attacks, but I feel that such changes should be seen as a means of making treatment regimes more successful and effective, but others may take a different view.....bearing that in mind, I think Bob is right. Based on what you have said, I think it would be a shame to ditch a cardiologist who appears to have your best interests at "heart" by making you aware of the treatments which could help you.

    Whatever path you choose to take, good luck and please keep us informed of progress

  • Losing the weight and taking exercise can only help, and for many people it has worked and they have not experienced more AF but for many others it is progressive - period. No-one can predict how change of lifestyle will work for you, but try it anyway.

    None of us want to take meds or have ablations but believe me, there comes a time when doing nothing isn't an option.

    Whatever treatment path you take the advice from your cardiologist is good, why would you not want to go back to him? What were you expecting him to say/do?

    Research, research and more research - good place to start is AFA website and the Annual Patient Day when you get to meet the top Electrophysiologists.

  • Hi Bailou, I have recently experienced the same options as you. I have PAF and was scheduled to have a Cryoablation last October but cancelled it at the last minute. I've been on a journey for the last year to help heal myself with lifestyle changes. I've changed my eating, lost over 15 lbs and have been practicing self care. On my own I have cut the Flecanaide I've been taking for ten years in half. I'm proud to say I haven't experienced an episode since having the flu this past April. I take Pradaxa so therefore I'm taking precaution against stroke. If you would like any advice or support on your journey I will help you the best I can, I'm not a Dr but I'm a person who has made the decision to do the work to help heal myself. If my episodes begin to progress I will happily go for an ablation but for now I'm being my best advocate. Good luck to you, Gracey

  • Well done Gracey, very encouraging to me as I am on the same track.

  • There are some great videos on YouTube about how to combat AFib with a better life-style. Not just physical things, diet, exercise etc. Also mental well-being and removal of stress as far as possible is, I think, key.

  • My AF built up to 12 hours every 9 days - the right medication (flecainide and bisoprolol) stopped it in its tracks. I was grateful to have the medication because living with frequent AF episodes was a nightmare.

    I'm sure taking gentle exercise such as cycling or walking on a regular basis will help you. It should keep your heart healthy.

    One other thing. Do you have a hiatus hernia? If so, eat little and often, rather than a big amount at once (especially at night). Eliminate spicy foods too. Hiatus hernias can affect and trigger AFs.

  • It may sound a bit controversial but postpone an ablation and use the threat of AF as the incentive you need to improve your health all-round, who knows you may even stop the AF as well.

    I have done just that with Lone AF, after stabilising with Flecainide, over the last 2+ years and would not go back to my pre-AF habits. I did everything lower gluten, sugar, zero alcohol, processed foods, large meals, more walking, exercise and prayer, less stress, mindfulness .....you get the picture. Good luck.

  • As you I'm doing my best to heal myself but will run for an ablation if PAF worsens. I'm doing very similar to you and have found eliminating wheat products and getting my weight to a healthy level. I've never been obese but have carried an extra 20 lbs on my small frame. The weight is down and no more digestive issues. I'm now a believer that to get healthy we must elimate inflammation in our gut. One question I have , Do you tAke Flecanaide daily or as PIP.? I'm still taking daily along with Pradaxa and want to take PIP of course only with EP guidance. I think it's so important that we all let our friends on this forum know that it's so important to live a healthy lifestyle. Even those who have had successful ablation should have not just assume they are cured and overeat and drink alcohol. Good health , Gracey

  • I asked my cardio if I could go back to PIP but he favours a constant daily dose, he is unsure about reducing the 200mgs/day but agrees it is my aim and if successful would give us more leeway to step it up should AF re-occur.

    I am stalling on a reduction very slowly to 100mgs/day (but very keen to try it) until my digestive system is better as I believe that is relevant re the Vagus Nerve.

  • I'm doing the same, I went from 300 mgs daily to 150 and I want to lower in time as long as AFib cooperates. Good health to you , Gracey

  • I am not overweight and had similar development. Ablation stopped it. Flecainide is the pill in pocket I used. Ask an EP

  • Do you have any symptoms such as shortness of breath and feeling like you about to pass out after slight exertion or any chest pain? If not, I wouldn't worry too much about it, if it happens so infrequently. You maybe should have a blood thinner such as Xarelto to take during such episodes.

  • If you go back to the cardiologist to say the Bisoprolol pip did not work he may suggest taking Bisoprolol all the time or another med as PIP. Doctors often start with the minimum medication and work up according to your response but if you don't want to take meds at all there is no point in going back to him or any other cardiologist. I should see this as a wake up call and take the lifestyle advice we have given. If things get bad enough you will grab any treatment offered but be aware that AF seems to move on a downward spiral and meds may slow the descent!

  • And all those lifestyle adjustments, including supplements and magnesium, will slow the descent too.

  • have the ablation and then get on with your life

  • You wanted to know what the abbreviation PAF means.

    It stands for Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation.

    You have Lone Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation.

    So do I!!!

    Pete

  • The trouble with a/f is not knowing when you might experience an episode so every time one happens it can be frightening. May I suggest you first go to see your GP and ask for a referral to a cardiologist. He is the best person to instigate the correct treatment for you. There is no hard or fast rule about what the triggers are. We are all individuals, some of us with underlying medical conditions. I do think bing overweight doesn't help and changing your eating habits may have a beneficial effect. There is a school of thought that relates gastric problems with this condition, so taking PPI's ( Proton Pump Inhibitors) could possibly be of benefit. The person in the best position to help you initially is your GP so go and see him/her. Good Luck.

  • No! Proton Pump Inhibitors will actually make your digestion worse - you need that acid to digest your food. If you don't digest your food properly, you will become short on essential vitamins and minerals, and the AF will get worse. You can improve your digestion by taking probiotics (from a health food shop). They contain the good bacteria, such as you get in 'Live' yoghurt, but will provide far more benefit than living on yoghurt, because the tablets provide far more of the good bacteria. You could try making your own sauerkraut too - but beware - what they sell you in the shops is not 'live' so won't contain the necessary helpful bacteria.

    For more information on healthy digestion (and good diet) look at the writings of Patrick Holford.

  • Polski, I totally agree with you. Drs put me on proton pump inhibitors for heartburn and I know they made my PAF worse. I've canged my diet and never to to sleep on a full stomach and no more heartburn. Plus I eliminated wheat products from my diet. No AF episodes since I stopped taking stomach aids and got my gut straightened out. Fingers crossed! , Gracey

  • Sorry to disagree with you but I once bellieved like you. Unfortunately I ended up with Barrett's Oesophagus which could have been prevented if I hadn't spent two years adhering to your theory. I now have to live with the consequences. So like I have said in previous responses "one size doesn't fit all".

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