ectopic beats atrialfibrillation

hi i'm new here. would like to from others who suffer from ectopic beats and atrial fibrillation. (af) do they make you feel really awful? mine do. i feel panicky, breathless and feel like i am going to pass out. sometimes i feel as if my heart is going to stop. i am female and 66 years old. i am waiting for an ablation for the af. has any none had this done and if so did it work. i feel my life has lost its quality as i am constantly thinking of my heart. it stops me going to sleep at night. would really like some feedback on this.

28 Replies

  • Hi and welcome you have come to the right place. there are so many lovely people on here and if they can answer your questions they will. at the top right hand side of the page you will see search box type in Ectopics and there will lots of posts on the subject hope this helps.

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  • I forgot to say that if you also type in (Sanjay Gupta ectopics) you will find some excellent videos by this cardiologist and there is one that has exercises that can sometimes help deal with ectopics

  • AF is a long journey but you have some great travelling companions here.

    Ectopics are something everybody gets even without AF but your problem like many here is that you have become so focussed on your heart that you notice every little thing going on. AF won't kill you but it might feel like it sometimes. Learn strategies to help you cope and the first is to educate yourself as knowledge is power to dispel fear. Go to AF Association main website and read all you can about this mongrel condition.

    Ablation can be successful but is only part of ongoing treatment. I had three before my AF went away( complicated heart mine) but yes I still get some arrhythmias and ectopics but most of the time it does not stop me having a bloody good life. I was 60 when I started my journey 12 years ago and have been AF free for nine years. The other arrhythmias are less troublesome for the most part and pale into insignificance with some other health issues I have beaten over that time. Learn to enjoy the life you have as it is the only one you are going to get and incredibly precious.

    Learn deep breathing using your diaphragm not your shoulders and try to slow your breathing down to less than six breaths a minute for at least five minutes. You can do this quite safely. I can get down to four . This slows down the nervous system and can help stop ectopics. You don't say what drugs you are on but I trusts that you have anticoagulants for stroke prevention which you would need before the ablation anyway and hopefully something to help when an event is happening.

    Ask questions here. Nothing is too stupid. No really!

    Now relax and breathe

  • thank you. i only have flecinaide and propanorol for when the af kicks in. mine is at the paroxzymal stage,(sorry for the spelling) i don't take anything unless the af starts. my main worry are the ectopic beats. they really make me feel worse than the af attacks. yes i am on apixaban for stroke prevention. i feel my heart is going to stop . its like going over a hump back bridge continually. awful sinking sensation. like you are falling with loads of heavy thuds and quite breathless at times.

  • would also like to add i hope you continue to enjoy good health.

  • Totally agree about the ectopics and I love the description! I could have AF without noticing except I felt weak but ectopics are very disturbing. I am sorry to have to say as I don't want you to be disappointed that an ablation does not seem to improve ectopics, in fact some people have more afterwards. The good news is that unless you have extreme episodes they won't harm you physically, it is the anxiety and 'Chinese torture' effect that is harmful (please will any Chinese readers not take offence!).

  • PS I had an ablation and it worked, not 100% but very near.

  • thank you. i know that ablation does not cure ectopics. but your replies are very reassuring.

  • ps hope your ablation continues to be nearly successful.

  • would also like to add i hope you continue to enjoy good health

  • Wonderful advice bob.

  • Hello and welcome to the forum. I find ectopics very uncomfortable - causing breathlessness and wobbly legs. As souljacs says, Dr Gupta's short videos on ectopics are really useful and I found his breathing exercise actually stops them for me. It's important to try to remain calm - difficult I know - and breathe. All cardiologists will tell you that usually ectopics are harmless in a structurally normal heart, so take comfort.

    AF is something else - I found it debilitating and frightening and could only lie down and wait for an episode to pass. Since starting Flecainide in 2014, I've had no more AF. Hopefully, your ablation will put an end to your AF, as it has for many members of this forum.

    I know exactly what you mean about losing your quality of life from anxiety and worry - probably most of us have gone through the same thing. Things do get better when we see light at the end of the AF tunnel - we find treatment that works and methods of coping with bouts of ectopics and AF.

    Try the breathing exercise for relaxation - I find it very good first thing in the morning and it may help you last thing at night to get to sleep. Read all you can and ask any questions you have - someone will be able to help.

    Best wishes

  • than you so much. it makes me feel better knowing that i am not alone with this awful condition.

  • I never noticed ectopic beats before my two ablations but since the last one

    I have had two 'runs' of them several hours in length. Both times they gave me

    symptoms so similar to AF, lightheadness, trembling, tired and generally feeling so unwell that I

    thought I was starting AF again.The heartbeats were two rapid beats followed by a

    longer gap then two beats etc. I sent Kardia ecg to the hospital and the registrar

    informed me they were ectopics and no worries at this stage. Since Christmas have no more of these events and no AF.

    Yes you do feel panicky, especially at first but as you learn about AF and come to terms with it

    you adjust. Hope your ablation is successful.

  • thank you and i hope that you continue in having no more episodes of af.

  • I sympathise with you.

    I do the same.

    Anxiety doesn't help it.

    So many gere to advise support and help

    I check my pulse many times a day. I xant hrlp it.

    But read what others say.

    They are amazing and .full of ideas.

    Good luck.

  • This is a recent diagnosis in my case but yes they do make me feel really awful and quality of life has suffered. Ablation should help. TM would help reduce anxiety I think. So I'm going to try that. Hope it goes well for you.

  • thank you, i hope it goes well for you too.

  • Hello princedog 111, I believe most people who post here will empathise with how you are feeling including me. I threw ectopics for years before AF began in earnest and I did have several ECG because I panicked so much. I wake at night because my heart slows down or belts out its own tune, so much that I wonder if it is still working properly but it passes. I dont panic now, thanks to my cardiologist, medication and this very supportive site. I am sure you will get the help and medication you need and you will get back on an even keel. Watch the Videos and try not to be afraid because I believe stress can make it worse, really things will get better!. Best wishes for the ablation.

  • thank you. you are right i do panic and i know that makes them worse. its strange because the last time i called the paramedics (i really thought i was going to die) the minute they were here the awful ectopics stopped. my blood pressure was through the roof and the paramedics were sure it was because i was so stressed. they were more concerned about that than the ectopics. i have watched the videos and find them very helpful as i do the replies i have had from all you lovely people.

  • I went through the anxiety and horrible feelings for a couple of years. I had events daily that made me feel faint. I finally had my ablation a year ago and it made a big difference. Before the ablation I was a wreck. I had to give up the job position I had worked my entire life to get to and did not think I would ever get over this. With the ablation and support from a naturopathic doctor, I am so much better. I have my life back. I also went gluten free and had to give up caffeine and anything with aspartame or sucralose (splenda). To this day if I ingest anything with gluten or these other triggers I will get miserable ectopics. Please look into your diet to help also. You may be like me and just be very sensitive to things. I feel for you and want to encourage you that with time and help you can get better. I do not take any meds for this just have to be diligent about what goes in my body. Also, yoga, exercise and meditation are helpful to calm the nerves.

  • thank you so much. i am eating better and have cut out all the junk i used to eat. yes i am very sensitive to things and am a worrier. i went on a site recommended which is Sanjay Gupta ectopics. he is cardiologist and has a video covering everything about ectopics. he also gives good advice on how to breathe properly and relax. thank you for your encouragement and i am so glad that you have come through this.

  • Hi I can see you have already had many supportive messages and good sensible advice so I don't have much to add. When the AF and ectopics are at their worst you do feel very alone and insecure, and there is no doubt that the anxiety does make things much worse. Do watch some of Sanjay Gupta's videos on You Tube as they will help and inform. Do try one form of relaxation exercise. I downloaded one to my phone which helped a lot in the early days. Others are right, this is a long journey, and there are no guaranteed cures, but there is every chance an ablation will diminish and maybe eliminate the AF, if not forever then for a long time. The medications do get better and more refined as I have witnessed over 30 plus years of a misbehaving heart. Ectopics are more frustrating and you might just have to learn to live with them, but if you can accept that they are not a life threatening condition and find a way to be less anxious about them, this will in itself help reduce their effect. The deep breathing exercises do really help, and if you Google deep breathing and ectopics you will see large amounts of information and self help guides. Having said all this, there are times when even the most philosophical of us feel low and "why me" about this condition. In that case you know where to come for a shoulder to lean on. All best wishes.

  • thank you for your advice. i do take on board what you lovely people say and i have been on Sanjay Gupta's website. it is really helpful. it is nice to know you can talk to someone who has the same complaint as you. doctors don't seem (in my opinion) to really understand how debilitating this can be.

  • AF has considerably diminished my quality of life, as well. I am also awaiting a catheter ablation, and am reluctantly taking Amiodarone, in spite of it making me vomit, feel nauseous, and tired. Don't worry about the ablation not working: it only has an approximate 50 % success rate the first time, but don't be daunted. Perhaps talk to someone to manage anxiety? And learn to accept new limitations: it's our new normal. But, yes, quality of life is impaired. Good luck.

  • thank you. yes you are right , this is indeed our new normal. i think that is a positive way to look at it. hope your ablation is successful.

  • hi again. i would like another answer to a question if i may. how long does anyone with AF wait until they call an ambulance. i have had various answers from the paramedics and staff at A&E. all differ. i do not want to waste their time and more importantly not to put a strain on our already overstretched NHS. i use pill in pocket medication only. would be grateful for some feedback from you lovely people.

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