Just diagnosed with AF - Freaking out a little bit, Help?

Hi, I've just been diagnosed with Afib at 22 and don't really have a clue what's going on at the moment. It all started about eight months ago where I felt a really strong palpitation in my chest and suddenly felt sick and cold, but it was just the one. After going to A&E they couldn't determine anything as it had been several hours since the actual palpitation, so I thought I was just panicked and thought nothing of it.

Then on the 20th of January I had nasal polyp removal surgery. Before this I felt fine, worked out fine, no issued with my heart/chest. My heart rate before surgery was 70-75 on average, which it has always roughly been having checked it regarding fitness quite a lot. Upon waking from my surgery, instantly I could feel my heart racing and asked the nurses what was going on, and they informed me my heart rate had gone up to 210.

This slowly declined over about 30-40 minutes to about 170, at which point I was rushed to Leeds General Infirmary to be cardioverted (using Flecainide - don't know if cardioverted is still the right term?), which took my down to about 90-100. Instantly I felt better but not 100%.

Its been ten days since the surgery and the first few days were hell, no appetite, no energy, muscles cramping everywhere, all of which have started to ease, but was then informed that could've just been the anaesthetic leaving my system.

I'm now starting to hate most days as I'm currently on sick leave until next week, and feel like I'm sitting around waiting for my heart to play up again. I have an ECHO booked in soon but not sure when yet.

I've noticed since I constantly feel week, always feel like I have a flushed feeling in my chest, still don't have appetite. I'm constantly cold and I'm not on any blood thinners or anything. I assumed I could give it a few days to wait for my heart rate to return to normal but it doesn't appear so, and I feel like the doctors don't care when they tell me a heart rate of 95 is normal, whenever I say it's not normal when you've consistently had a heart rate of 75 majority of your life it isn't. To which they reply with 'Don't worry you're not going to die.'

Sorry for the long post but I honestly feel like my life has been taken away from me a bit, every example I read is people who were diagnosed in their 40-50s and have had ablations, where as I don't even want to have to think about heart surgery in my twenties!

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22 Replies

  • I'm now constantly checking my pulse, some times it goes down to 70 or even 65 and I feel like I'm getting better, and the next day I wake up and I feel like I'm sitting there trying to not throw up and my heart rate is 106 or something.

  • Don't panic Volshi! It takes some getting use to and then things will start coming back together. Are you back in sinus rhythm now? If so the feelings you are getting are probably either due to the drugs or your anxiety. It can take a bit of time to get use to the drugs and if no better there are other drug you can try. If anxiety based try to keep calm - don't keep checking your pulse - it just makes the anxiety worse. It could have been a reaction to the anaesthetic and if that's the case you might not trigger it again. If it wasn't there are lots of things which can be done. I go to the LGI and they are fantastic - you are in safe hands. Read up on this website all about AF and keep using the forum - there is a lot of experience on here.

  • They've not put me on any drugs for it. I've been trying to move round a bit more by cleaning the house a bit but then I end up crashing like crazy hours after.

  • Hi Volshi, Take a big deep breath. We've all been in the initial phase of being terrified by our heart's misbehavior, and confused by so much new information, Try to focus on the positive; you are young and it sounds like you are generally healthy. No one knows why we get AF, so that is part of the problem, but we do know that a healthy lifestyle will help to keep it at a minimum. Once you get the echo and other tests to make sure that your heart is structurally and functionally healthy, then you can get to an EP (electrophysiologist) who specializes in this electrical problem with the heart. Don't dismay, there are treatments that can get you back on track. Try not to panic. Meanwhile, get good sleep, eat super healthy foods, exercise moderately, and try to keep stress well managed. I hope you find the right doctors who will listen and partner with you to find exactly the right treatment plan.

  • So sorry to hear how things are not going your way right now, Volshi. I think it's quite likely that you have two issues and one (the aftermath of an anaesthetic) may well be short term only.

    I think we all know the way it takes the carpet out from under the feet when one's heart plays up and unwelcome is what it certainly is. Whatever your age, it makes you feel older than you are. But it brings some plusses with it at the same time (the old every cloud has a silver lining thing) and you'll perhaps live slightly more carefully in the years ahead being a bit more aware than most that hearts thrive on TLC and you'll be a bit more attentive and that will be reaping benefits for you along the line.

  • Thanks guys, it has made me more conscious of my health, but in terms of exercise, how long do I have to wait? about two years ago I was extremely fit, capable of pretty much sprinting for an hour, did martial arts and very intense cardio a lot like high intensity interval training, is this all a no go now? I've heard exercise isn't really an issue when it come's to AF?

  • Hi Volshi, just to say that my first cousin also was diagnosed with AF in his 20's. His dad ( my uncle) diagnosed in his 60's, my dad (his brother) was undiagnosed and had a stroke last year ( age 73) and i was diagnosed last year (I am early 50's) and had an ablation a week ago. It seems to be in our family....maybe check up and see if that is the same for you?

  • No history of any heart trouble in my family, minus like one case of angina

  • Hi again. AF is known in endurance athletes. Listen to your body and build up slowly when it comes to exercise.

  • Hi Volshi!

    The hospital will tell you that 'normal' heart rate is between 60-100. Stay calm as you're in the normal range.

    AF is a long journey so be patient as it will take time to work out what's best for you. UK has many wonderful specialists who deal with Arythmias.

    Do you have a cardiologist and/or an EP?

  • Not yet still waiting on my echo

  • Good news is you have been diagnosed early. With any luck this episode was a one-off for now but it means you and any medical teams you need to be treated by in the future know that you have a tendency to go into AF. Hopefully the echo will not show a problem but even if it does it means you have had a warning which many athletes don't. Listen to your body until you have been thoroughly checked out because it seems to be telling you something is wrong but the something may be nothing to do with your heart so if you have other symptoms make sure you get them followed up. Best wishes for this having been a blip in your life but if not you have an opportunity to take good care of yourself!

  • Another question is will my heart rate come back down? Some days it idles in the 80's but today is idling in the 90's and can always tell when it's high because I feel slightly short of breath, flustered in my chest and unable to focus and/or dizziness. Is that an afib episode? Other times I feel completely great, but if I've had afib this entire time, how come it's only now a daily occurrence where as I was completely fine everyday prior?

  • Volshi - I had a similar experience after my first AFIB episode. I felt lousy on and off for 4-6 weeks. Generally fatigued and with weird heart rates and pains here and there in my arms and chest. That first episode was in early November. By early to mid-January I was feeling like myself again. I avoid alcohol and have been exercising my normal amount. I also found that overeating or acid reflux seemed to contribute to my feeling lousy - a round of omeprazole seemed to help with that for now. I'm 33 and otherwise healthy. Hopefully your body adjusts and you start feeling back to normal soon.

  • Thanks for that, nice to know it's not exactly permanent. I'm just really down over the idea I could essentially feel like this everyday for the rest of my life.

  • I think everyone's case is different, but I don't think it's a foregone conclusion that you won't be able to get back to your normal exercise routines and things like that. It may take some time and potentially the right medication or procedure - but hang in there. I assume you've reviewed how your feeling with your cardiologist? I have a bad family history of heart disease, so they did a heart echo, stress test and 30 day heart monitoring for me. Thankfully the first two came back normal and still waiting on results for the third.

  • Still waiting on the echo scan which was advised after the episode, from there I assume I'll be in touch with a cardiologist?

  • Yes - I would assume so. I think a cardiologist will have to read your echo scan so they may reach out from there. If they do not, you may seek a reference from your primary physician (at least that's how it works in the U.S., not sure where you're located). For me, I went into the ER with AFib, and they did the heart echo that day and a cardiologist visited me in the hospital and arranged a follow-up appt.

  • I'm in the UK, they just cardioverted me and said they'll be in touch. How comforting...

  • Volshi, when they get in touch, make sure you get a copy of any ECGs that are done - you're entitled to it and it may well help down the line.


  • I don't know if these tricks will help you I was diagnosed with a fib 15 yrs ago,probably had it well before going by what things used to happen,however while waiting for my ablation the drugs were stopped and I was told by doc at barts hospital to take in deep breath ,hold my nose ,obviously keep my mouth shut and then try to force the air back out as if I was going to the loo .if it don't work first time try again,the other tricks I have is ice on my cartoid,which is on the left side of your neck and the best one if near mac donalds a milkshake .despite the ablation it returned but then I am 73 with heart failure so I don't get another chance with the ablation so I try these other options and I researched magnesium which I take religiously and do feel the benefits all I can say is they are worth a try

  • Hi I got diagnosed at 37 which when I joined the group 7 years ago I was one of the yourgest on here. I used to feel really down abount it and wanted a normal life going out and having a few drinks with my friends but that has had to stop as alcohol is a trigger for me and also caffeine dehydration triggers it and Chinese food. I used to like you be constantly checking my pulse. I have now learnt to live with it and not be as scared of it. I would still love to go out drinking alcohol with my friends but have accepted that I can only have one glass of wine now or anymore im in af and its not worth that. I do still get envious of my friends going out sometimes but most of the time im ok about it. Im on verapamil which does control it. I fond a lot of comfort knowing there are other people on here with the same condtion and im not alone. Its a great group and very supportive and friendly. I have learnt a lot more abount the condtion and don't let it get me down like it used to. If you want a to message me feel free hope you get sorted soon.

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