Hello, all...New to the group!

Hi, I am 39 years old and was just diagnosed with AFIB. I was diagnosed with it in the emergency room 02/16/17 and have had issues with it before I ever went to the E/R but didn't know it. It just progressively has got worse to the point I had to go to the E/R. Now my cardio doctor says that I am going into afib too much and he thinks i need an ablation. All of this is scary.... and from what I have been reading I think it looks like I may need a pacemaker as well. My heart rate is usually mid 55 to low 50s normally. Can you tell me what the resting rate should be for a pacemaker ? I meet with my EP at the end of April and I am nervous about what he is going to tell me.

11 Replies

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  • My resting rate is 60bpm.

    I've had the AV Node ablated.......so a Pacemaker is compulsory lol!

  • Welcome to the group, although I know you'd rather not belong! I'm not qualified to offer medical advice, but can share my experience after living with afib for about 20 years. Like you, I came to realize in hindsight, after my first night in intensive care,, that I had been experiencing afib episodes for a while already (a few years, in my case). It is scary, although it becomes less so as you understand it better, and become more confident that it won't kill you, despite how awful it feels. Also like you, my resting heart rate was in the low 50s ( I did a lot of competitive cycling at the time).

    I will offer a few observations, just based on my experience. First, I would get a second opinion before leaping to ablation (although I've now had 3). Lifestyle changes can often make a big difference. Try to figure out what your triggers are---e.g., my big 3 were stress, over-exertion, and alcohol. Meds can help, if you can tolerate them: anti-coagulants (almost mandatory), possibly a rate control med, possibly a rhythm control med. Personally, I couldn't tolerate the rate control meds (you may not either, with your low resting heart rate), and the rhythm control meds weren't sufficient after a few years. But let me stress: in hindsight, I should have made greater lifestyle changes at the outset--just too stubborn.

    Finally, if your only symptoms are occasional afib episodes, I think it's way too soon to contemplate a pacemaker. Others in the group can share more experience with that (I still don't have one), but I think you'll find only a small percentage of afibbers need one.

    I wish you all the best, and encourage you to be aggressive in trying lifestyle changes.

    Dave

  • Hi Alyssa & welcome - normal resting HR varies, dependent upon individual - an elite athelete may have a HR of 45 and which is normal for them but for a couch potato to have such a low HR may be of concern. 60-90 would be considered in normal range so 55 doesn't sound very low. Mine is now 65-70 but used to be 55-60. what exactly makes you think you may need a pacemaker?

    Lifestyle changes can make a huge difference for people who over indulge and never exercise but even if you are healthy weight, have good diet, never drink excessive alcohol and have no other diseases, AF can be progressive. I identified a few triggers, cut them out and AF progressed anyway. I was not overweight, fit, did competitive sport and made no difference - the only thing that helped was ablation.

    Research, research and more research (from trusted sources such as AFA) helps you ask relevant questions of your doctor.

    You are very young to have a pacemaker so I think doctors would be reluctant to implant one unless there was another issue other than AF as pacemakers rarely help AF.

    Please feel free to ask any questions and keep reading other posts for more information but do hold in mind that we are all different and react to treatments differently and in the end all treatments are a balance between benefit and risk.

    Best wishes for your ur AF journey - CD

  • Lets be very clear about this. A pacemaker will not stop your AF. Even if you had the extreme treatment of ablating the AV node (the heart's natural pacemaker) after PM installation your atrium would still be able to do whatever it wanted as eh pacemaker does not control that part of your heart. The only reason for a pacemaker is if your heart rate is excessively slow. Whilst low, yours is not excessively so at 55 bpm.

    Drugs can help control symptoms but in many cases the side effects can be troubling and remember that any treatment for AF is merely about improving quality of life. Many specialists believe that early intervention by ablation stands the best chance of a good outcome and there is no doubt that the longer you have AF the more difficult it is to treat.

    My advice would be to go to Af Association main website and read till you drop. In this game we need to be our own experts on US in order to have the correct intelligent conversations with our doctors.

    Yes all this is new and scary but we have all been there on our various journey's to where we are now and trust me when I say it does get easier.

  • My HR goes as low as 44 bpm when resting and my GP is not at all concerned. On Sanjay Gupta's video about HR he even said some people could go into their 30s in their sleep. He said if you experience no dizziness with a low pulse, then why complain because your heart is being very efficient.

  • I think BobD's reply is very good and confirms what I have learned, eg. my cardiologist said that for anyone who has AF, it is their mission to improve quality of life for the individual. I had a pacemaker fitted quite early on (when my AF episodes began 4 years ago). My heart rate dropped to 26 beats per minute - but I didn't know, as it happened in the early hours of the morning, and was discovered when I was wearing a heart monitor! So, yes, to have a pacemaker is to stop your heart from going too slowly. My family thought my AF symptoms were over because I had a pacemaker! No!!! I am not overweight, have always eaten good food (not crisps, sweets, biscuits) and love fish and salads. I have tried, as BobD mentioned, to e.g., not drink alcohol, but sometimes I am fine when I have a few drinks and sometimes will get AF after only half a glass of wine! So perhaps it is not the alcohol, but something else? Stress - most of my life has been stressed!!! Why have AF now? I do note that I cannot lift heavy things without feeling exhausted and out of breath now, but is that the beta blocker? Who knows! I shall be having a catheter ablation in 4 months but am nervous as it doesn't seem to always work and it is a scary-sounding procedure. If only we really knew what causes this scary condition. I am very symptomatic, so feel wiped out whenever I have an AF episode. My heart resting rate, by the way, is 68 bpm.

  • Hi

    Try not to be too Anxious big hug 🌺

    Welcome to the site

    Your resting heart rate is not too low many poeple have a resting heart rate at 50 to 55

    j am not on beta blockers mine is around that figure and drops to 40 when sleeping as j formed by my cardiologist

    He states thats normal ,

    A heart is depending on many things what meds u are on and your cardiac health

    As long as it goes up and down this is notmal if i was going for a walk it would increase this is notmal too

    Try not to worry 🌺

  • My heart rate had always been 50-52, at rest It wld go from 44-48. Because of my low rate Dr were limited to only certain drugs they could use. I was also told it is a possible contributing factor as was my sleep apnea as well. My heart rate continued to go down on Rhytmol (antiarrhymic) to 33-36. Last year after 2 1/2 years of various medications and cardioversions x8 to control the afib I did end up with a dual pacemaker following a cardiac arrest from Tikosyn while in the hospital. I have done extremely well with pacemaker and different drugs since then. Seems it was trial and error for me to find the right recipe...I take metoprolol, flecainide 50 mg twice daily, and 5 mg warfarin. That is all the meds I take. Considered ablation just have not been able to feel confident in the outcome, especially since I am doing well. I am 61 and basically only major risk factor is a ton of physical (excess hours 60+)and mental job stress for many years. I have made changes but it is still more STRESS than I need. My daughter being a 10 cardiac nurse had always told me, "Mom, you are going to need a pacemaker" I did not want to hear it😮She was right. Just take care of yourself, you are young. I worked way way too many hours stressing my body.

  • Another one or two opinions?

  • My heartrate was between 30 - 35 before I had a Pacemaker fitted, I've been in AF for roughly 30 years now with some periods when I had a normal sinus rhythm. I had an illness that caused damage to my heart muscle when I was 15 and my various problems began then so maybe I'm not the best person to give advice but I would strongly recommend that you research thoroughly and ask for as much help as you can. My resting HR is now 60 and it can't go below 45 (apparently) however it has increased to 125 which it never did before the Pm. A lot of it is swings and roundabouts and overall I'm relieved to be in the land of the living, even with a dodgy ticker ☺️. I hope you find your answers, good luck

  • Thank you all for your advice, and taking the time out of your day to respond to me. I do feel a lot better about my consultation with my EP at the end of April. This is just something new to me, and I have done some research. I will try not to worry until there is something to worry about.

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