New to AF

I am a 55 year old man. I was diagnosed with AF on 5th December. When I was in A&E, my heart rate was 140-150 beats per minute. I was admitted to the hospital in Oxford but given the option to go home by the cardiologist, which I took. I was put on 5mg bisoprolol and 2 apixaban a day. I then saw the cardiologist at the clinic on 15th Dec and had my bisoprolol put up to 7.5mg per day. I still feel odd but feel more stable. I have stopped smoking and drinking alcohol and coffee since my initial diagnosis.

The next appointment is at the clinic on 22 Mar, and apparently I am on the 3 month waiting list for a cardio version (although this is only a verbal confirmation).

I feel a bit "out on a limb" till then, enduring big changes to how I feel and what I'm capable of doing with little support or guidance. I also feel that the symptoms of AF are still there, albeit more moderate now that I'm on bisoprolol.

Is this the normal process? BTW, this website is really excellent!

21 Replies

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  • Hi Henry and sort of welcome, as welcome to the site if not to being an AF sufferer.

    If they are considering a cardioversion then presumably you are in AF all the time, and this is the most usual first move, although they do usually like a echo cardiogram first to check for any other underlying heart problems.

    A cardioversion (CV) is nothing to worry about, although under a general it takes minutes literally and you either go back into normal sinus rhythm (NSR) or not.

    Most important now is the anti coagulant, which you are taking and learning about AF, the more the better to be honest the the AFA website has loads and loads of information for you.

    Ask lots and lots of questions, you are amongst fellow sufferers and almost certainly someone has been there and done it, so dig in please.

    And lastly keep posting, your experiences will assist others.

    Be well

    Ian

  • Hi Ian, thanks for your helpful reply.

  • Hi Ian. What's that website address for AF?

  • Thank you Beancounter. I was finally able to take time to read up on AF and explore this website yesterday. It was very informative and helpful. It gave me hope.

  • YES is the short answer. Bisoprolol merely keeps your heart rate down when in AF and will not stop it. It will also slow YOU down all the time. The apixaban is an anticoagulant to help prevent strokes which are otherwise a high risk with AF.

    Go to AF Association website and read all you can for a better understanding of this mongrel condition. Ask here and we will try to help.

  • Thanks Bob.

  • Statistically, the risks of stroke are actually very low for some people with AF Bob, even for people in permanent AF. It is dependent on various risk factors. I think it is important to highlight this as although I find this forum very helpful, it had a real downside for me when I first joined and read constant scaremongering about strokes. I still haven't fully recovered from the fear it instilled in me. Obviously it is important to raise the issue of stroke risk associated with AF and other risk factors but it is also important not to generalise and speak as if all AF sufferers are doomed to a stroke...or as I have often read on this forum 'drooling in a corner'... Very frightening and emotive language to read when already feeling vulnerable.

  • The FACTS are that AF makes a person five times more at risk of stroke. The tricky thing is five times more than what? As Dr Sanjay Gupta recently said in one of his blogs it is not so much the AF as the company it keeps which is the problem. This is why we have CHADS2VASC as an assessment tool to decide if anticoagulation is necessary.

  • Exactly. So five times the risk does not always necessarily mean high risk. And that is my point. I understand why some people with AF can become ckmd very emotionally charged about the possibility of a stroke... AF is a risk FACTOR after all. But I have realised it is important to keep this in perspective too.

  • Hi Bob, what's the CHADS2VASC and where is this assessment located?

  • just google it or go to AF Association and search. It takes things like age. previous heart conditions, diabetes, blood pressure and works out if you need anticoagulants.

  • Hi Bob. Yesterday I was able to get on the AF Association website and I took the CHADS2VASC assessment. I scored 1 point. Now I understand clearly why I'm on an aspirin regiment. However I'm still having symptoms. Such as occasional shortness of breath and I can feel my heart skips beats, still having etopics too. Is this still normal even Baxter being on 50 mg of metroplol ?

  • Bob, Oops meant to type the word " being" not Baxter. Lol

  • Metropol is a rate control drug not a rhythm control one so yes you may still have symptoms. As I have said many times aspirin is no longer recommended for stroke control in AF as it doesn't. You are not helped yet it can still cause stomach bleeding for no benefit.

  • The figure of '5 times' is a generalisation or average across all people with AF. If you have AF plus high blood pressure, diabetes and other underlying heart problems your risk is probably considerably higher than that. You'd also be seen as a stroke risk even if you didn't have AF, but the 'blood pooling' that can occur during AF probably makes a stroke more likely.

    If, on the other hand, you have lone AF and no other issues (comorbidities) then your stroke risk is no greater than anybody else in the same position as you without AF, or so Dr Gupta's YouTube video implied.

    This is why it is extremely important to get an echocardiogram.

  • Hi Henry and welcome to our forum. You will receive lots of good advice on here from people who understand exactly what you are experiencing, we've all been there and at first AF can appear quite scary. Three months to wait for a cardioversion is a long time, I used to feel hard done by waiting for six/seven weeks!

    Unfortunately if your heart is still racing away that will make you feel really tired, especially if you try to do anything that requires effort. Do you know what rate your heart is beating at now?

    I've had lots of cardioversions and when my heart is racing away I can't wait to have one. I actually look forward to having the procedure, there's really nothing to it and its so wonderful afterwards to be back in normal rhythm.

    Wishing you well.

    Jean

  • Hi Jean, yes it seems like ages to wait especially as when I saw them in mid-Dec they said it would be end of Jan. I've queried that, so hopefully it'll change to what they originally said. Thanks for your encouragement!

  • Hi Henry, when I had my first diagnosed episode of AF I assumed I would be in AF until the cardioversion but one day I suddenly realised I wasn't in AF any more and I didn't have noticeable AF again for years so keep checking your pulse! Well done on the lifestyle changes, hate to mention since you've been so good but losing weight if necessary is helpful. Some people say they feel better if they can overcome the sluggy feeling and exercise gently too. Best wishes.

  • Thanks. I reckon I'm slightly over-weight (about a stone or 5-10 kg) so I am looking to lose some weight by a better, healthier diet. I'd be interested to know if you or any other people have any dietary recommendations.

  • That's not a lot, I didn't want to use the term 'obese' but you certainly aren't! If you post separately you'll get lots of advice but my favourite is 'Eat food, not too much, mostly plants'. If you Google the Eatwell Plate that gives recommended proportions of food. And most people with AF find that smaller more frequent meals are best, obviously avoiding foods that you know don't agree with you. Beginning to sound like Pippa Middleton so I'll stop there!

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