Large Left Atrium Risk

I'm aware I should ask my GP this, and will, but thought I'd ask if anybody here has experienced this with not so frequent paroxysmal AF. When I was first diagnosed with this in 2012 I went for an echo that showed no heart abnormalities. Since then I have had AF episodes twice, maybe three times a year, each one very mild (lowish heart rate) and lasting anywhere between 6 and 18 hours. I am concerned about the left atrium becoming enlarged due to AF but do not know how bad the AF must be to cause this. Should one go for an echo every few years or so to check on this or would it show up through symptoms? Has anybody here with paroxysmal AF found that their left atrium has become enlarged because of their AF and how did you find out that had happened? Maybe I'm overthinking this but the more info one has to hand the better one is prepared to consider what action to take next.

thanks

6 Replies

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  • We are all different. I know that doesn't help but such is this mongrel condition that one really can't generalise. My understanding is that controlled AF is unlikely to cause enlarged left atrium . If the rate is allowed to run riot then it may happen but not normally if well controlled.

  • My last echo showed an enlarger atrium but consultant said nothing to worry about as this is usual for AF patients.

  • You are over thinking it. It is a SHOCK when you first find out. I also was first diagnosed with PAF in 2012 and only had an occasional event every 1 - 1.6 years. Then 2 happening back to back within 60 days convinced me I was getting worse. AF is a progressive disease and NO ONE, including the cardiac drs. can tell you how long it will stay the same or progress. The longer you have AF the less successful your eventual Ablation chances are. THAT is why I decided to take action and have mine a few months ago and get off the drugs that were not working. I am almost 3 months post ablation and doing great even though I am ALSO recuperating from a serious PE that was caused by the ablation event just days later. Luckily I am very healthy and have no other co morbidity issues to deal with at age 60. Being knowledgeable and proactive - it's a good thing.

  • Sounds as if you were a bit unlucky there as I read that the risk of a PE is extremely low, less than 1%. I understand that AF is considered usually progressive but I have read stories where people have allegedly put into into remission or got rid of it due to lifestyle changes and/or supplements. I also take the view that the procedures will get get better and more successful as more is learnt about the condition as well as the new technologies that are being introduced all the time. I still get the impression that ablations are still in their infancy, relatively speaking. That said, I'm keeping an open mind about it all and getting medical advice along the way.

  • 54 years old, previously had heart attack 2008, angina 3 years later all well controlled with medication, then last Easter started with af (paf) sotalol, ramipril and apixaban , now waiting for ablation.

    If I go 2 days without a attack I think I'm cured, although I know there is no cure, all I can do is manage my life and my mind.

    This is a individual problem and as previously stated everyone's symptoms differ, post your concerns and this site will no doupt be able to offer advice and support but ultimately if your are worried you need to seek advice from your cardiologist.

  • I had paroxysmal AF for 5 years and following an MRI immediately prior to ablation (I got that as part of a research trial) it was found that my atrium was slightly enlarged. It was thought that it would return to normal following successful ablation. No AF now for nearly two years so hopefully it has reduced to normal size - it certainly won't be getting any larger. Happy days.

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