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AF Association
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Help please

Had Mitral Valve repair a year ago, and as I had AF also had a cryomaze procedure with the aim of stopping it. Have been doing ok, with only occasional problems until Wednesday, when I started with chest pain. The pain was only mild so I ignored it for a few days, until I gave up and phoned 111 on Saturday. They sent me into the hospital, ECG, blood tests, Xray all came back normal; they said they thought the pain was muscular/skeletal. Then yesterday I started feeling palpitations. I have tried to relax, I've tried to distract myself, but I'm struggling. I keep feeling my heart pounding, feel exhausted and every so often feel strange sensations in my chest. I'm here alone with a 5 year old child, and so I think that part of it is anxiety. I've got an appointment with a cardiologist on 24th which I've had to wait over 3 months for. He will have the results of a 24 hour monitor and an echocardiagram that were done ages ago, and which will not show any of the effects of the current episode. Feeling very much alone. Feeling frightened. Don't want to be the A&E hypercondriac.

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My cardiologist and EP both have electrocardiograms in their office. Last time I had it done at EP he came in while it was taking place and looked at the readout live and commented on it. In US if makes a difference.

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Anxiety goes with the territory so you are not a hypercondriac and you are right that it will exacerbate your AF symptoms so it is important to pick up some relaxation skills.

Have an emergency plan - if you had to go to hospital quickly who would you ring for your daughter? Would she be prepared without being anxious? Your anxiety may well be communicated to her, children are very good at picking up things so maybe it is important to talk to her about ringing 999 - could she do that and say her address? It is very unlikely anything like that would ever happen but it helps to be prepared.

A few people do have pain with AF and it is always wise to get it checked out, but it is very rare to be anything other than tension. When there is something wrong with your heart it is natural and. normal to be anxious but you do need to manage it. Breathing techniques help a lot, visualization - many on line- Mindfulness, CBT, meditation, yoga can all be very useful self-help tools.

Some people invest in Kardia app so they can track their AF but if you are a worrier, some people find they can get a bit OCD about their trades so depends if you would find it reassuring to know or worry if you see AF,

Go to the AF website and download all the info and read read read - know your enemy - knowledge is power.

For those with with other conditions such as Diebetes, AF can be a secondary condition so it is recommended that 1st line treatment would be for the primary condition. I cannot take any of the drugs for AF as they are contraindicated for my other condition so it is important that when you see the EP you emphasize this and he knows your diabetes consultant. I have a 'red' alert on my file to ensure I am not given any drugs in A&E before consultation. Don't assume it will be known - you have to be your own advocate,

Having said all that AF is not a dangerous condition, it is not life threatening and many people live with permanent AF and lead relatively normal lives and have done for many years. It takes time to accept AF in our lives and it will get better, we have all felt very down and anxious at the start of our AF journey - it does get better and this community is a fantastic source of support.

Best wishes CD,


Suzie, I do understand how you are feeling.

In the dim and distant past I presented at A E with bad chest pains etc and was eventually reassured by a very sympathetic doctor that it was muscular pain .Took 24+ hrs for it to subside. Chest pain should always be taken seriously though.

If you are still experiencing problems could you see / speak to your GP for advice and perhsps get something for your anxiety which so often goes hand in hand with AF. It is so much harder when you have dependent children and even more so when you are alone.

Your appointment is next week so not long to wait. Do hope you feel better soon. Let us know how you get on.

Best wishes



Hi Suzie - My doctor's surgery has an ECG machine. Why not ring yours and see if they have one and can check today just what your heart is doing, mine always get me there within a few hours. Ring and explain just what is happening and how it's making you feel. If this can happen, ask for a copy of the ECG so that you can show it to your EP next week. Your surgery may well send a copy to him too and I'm sure your GP will reassure you on your condition.



I sympathise and empathise with you. This is a scary condition and in no way are you a hypercondriac. Can you ring your GP and see if they can arrange an ecg for you as a priority.

I know it's a week away but you are almost there seeing your consultant so hold on tight. Bless you I do feel for you and being alone with a small child is an added worry. Anxiety is part and parcel of this condition so please take that into account.

Can you ask your GP for a referral to a clinical psychologist specialising in health related issues. I have had a years worth of support from one and it is soothing to have someone who understands emotionally in your corner.

Remember we are all here for you at any time you need someone to talk to. X


Well I've been to the GP this morning. He listened to my chest and sent me through to Leighton hospital. Within minutes I'd had an Ecg and blood tests and been seen by a doctor specialising in heart problems. They were all fantastic. I'm now back on Bisoperalol. Cardiologist next week. Feeling so much more reassured and confident, thanks in part to the support here. I don't think my AF journey is anywhere near an end, but it's true, anxiety worsens the situation, so hopefully when I have my next AF I'll be able to keep calmer. Having my little boy depending on me makes it more frightening, but he's also my inspiration. And he knows how to dial 999 if there is a real emergency! I've done yoga in the past. Think I'll try to pick it up again. Also the hospital gave me a syringe to blow into (?!?) Apparently that can help some people come out of AF. Thanks for the supportive messages guys! Maybe when I'm a bit more experienced I'll be able to return the favour!!

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Any time you need reassurance or ask a question or just sound off....... we all support each other. xx

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