How do you control yours?

We'd love to find out when you have an AF episode, what do you do to get it under control?

63 Replies

  • I'm afraid I'm not usually able to get mine under control. I try to relax and practice slow deep breathing but it still gallops away. Even Bisoprolol as a PIP does very little at all. Fortunately my episodes are not very frequent as they usually require DCCV. ( last one 8 months ago)


  • Like you I try to relax, perhaps watch something (not a crime drama !) on t.v. and I take 80mg of Sotalol -my cardiologist said I could take this extra one occasionally. I might go to bed but am usually unable to sleep. Fortunately my AF episodes are less frequent since I had a major stroke. Why that is I have not been enlightened (maybe because the doctors don't know)

  • annlynne awful for you to have suffered a major stroke. Were you taking an anticoagulant at the time? How are you coping?


  • Hi Yatsura, I was taking Clopidogrel and was due to srart on Warfarin the day after my stroke in preparation for an ablation. Returned from holiday Thursday( having had frequent AF episodes) ,was very busy with laundry all weekend . went out for lunch on Sunday , called at my daughter's house, tried to knock at the door and my left arm would not move. She rang for paramedics and they whisked me off to hospital. I was paralysed on left side, but thanks to a marvellous Romanian physio I learned to walk again. I have not taken well to disability I am sorry to admit. I am very frustrated at lack of ability to do things, and I tryuly feel the real me died. BUT I am alive and God must have a reason for not taking me.

  • annlynne for most of us stroke is our biggest fear . I hope that those who are reluctant to take anticoagulants read your post.

    You seemed to have done so well in learning to walk again .

    None of us really know how we would cope until it happens to us . I can only imagine your frustration.

    I wish you well.

    Kind regards


  • thank you Sandra and Yatsura - if you read my next post I didn't intend to write 'nascent' I couldn't think of the word for 'in it's infancy' and couldn't get up for thredictionary.

    Annlynne x

  • So sorry to hear this - this has reminded me to see GP/EP for a review and enquiry about anticoagulants, but I'm under 60 and have no other risks so assume they will be reluctant?

  • Hi, I don't want to alarm you but I kept putting off the old Warfarin because I thought I was too young. I never smoked and was very active, looking after two grandchildren three days a week, walking everywhere. Also doing all the admin for my son's nascent printing company for another three days. My diet was healthy but I had an underlying health problem with AF. It was always "well maybe I'll start on warfarin next year " I was just 60 when my brain attack hit. The only plus was that I was tanned from my holiday and had had my legs waxed which satisfied my vanity. I wasn't the youngest on the ward though as a teenager was admitted. I have been prescribed the maximum dose of sotalol and I take warfarin to maintain an INR of 2.5. My cholestrol is 2.3 currently maintained by statins. I would say if the medics reccomend anticoagulants do not hesitate.

    Good luck and good health Annlynne x

  • Been on anticoagulants for five years age 62 now

  • I couldn't control mine if out and about just sat down till felt able to move again if home lay down. I had benign tumour removed from heart and cox maze procedure. Take bisoprolol and flecainide that and pacemaker keeps me mostly arrythmias free

  • I never could control episodes either. Lying down on my right side, trying to think of something else helped me to cope but the episodes terminated in their own sweet time.

    Flecainide has suppressed them for nearly 3 years now.

  • Has anybody ever managed to? I never could.

  • Hi

    Same as other posts. Could never control them despite trying all the recommended things e.g. Blowing through a straw, lying on side with knees to chest, breathing slowly etc etc

    Elsie xx

  • Never been able to control my attacks ..... but I have gone some way in easing symptoms , stopped alcohol, coffee, sweets, drink plenty of water take a nytol if I struggle to sleep and I have educated myself on how to cope, sit and rest deep breaths and wait till it passes . The problem is I don't know when or how long any one attack is going to last .

  • Same for me, l find tai chi helps as well and using rescue spray

  • It never occurred to me you could. I was once advised by an out of hours doctor on the phone to take an extra dose of Propafenone as I was not on the max, not great advice as I later discovered. I try to carry on as normal until I can't or the AF stops.

  • First thing is I try to stop the triggers if I fail I stop what I'm doing pop the flecadide and wait!

  • Once in an arrhythmia I just have to let it do its thing until it stops. However, I do find that altering my position and gently walking around can sometimes help me get out of an arrhythmia after a while. Sitting still and lying down make me feel worse and ironically make my heart bear faster. This has been proven on telemetry when I have been in hospital lots of times!

  • Sometimes valsalva manoeuvres work, other times not. Sometimes tapping helps, other times not. Sometimes breathing and relaxation helps with visualiztion, sometimes not. Sometimes listening to a normal hearbeat helps, sometimes not.

    If I have tried everything and nothing works then I just go to sleep and hope it has gone by the time I wake up - mostly it has.

  • Where you kidding or do you know how we can lol

  • In general it is hard to "get it under control" since it seems to go when it goes. But I have been successful with the following:

    1. Sit up - lying in the wrong position, including lying flat - can make it worse or maintain the AF;

    2. Adopt "child position" - on knees folded over with head near ground;

    3. Controlled breathing: for each breath, breathe in, hold breath, and let air out slowly with pursed lips, like blowing through a straw;

    4. If you have any techniques for eliminating bloating and gas - do it;

    5. Take more rhythm control medication, and/or rate control.

    6. Mindfulness: focus your mind on the idea of sinus rhythm -

  • My immediate reaction is to want to walk briskly to get the heart working but not hard, which I have tried but this only slows it a bit. However, the last time I had it I just lay on a sofa, relaxed and really focussed on an NSR heart beat recording on my iPad and I went back into NSR after 20 mins.

  • Can't control it - cope with it or manage it. 99% of the time mine starts at night & sometimes I can sleep with it but sometimes it has been so violent I have to go to A&E. Hate having this.

  • Can't control mine. I just have to go to bed and try to relax until it ends, usually 12 - 15 hours later. However since my ablation they have been shorter, less violent and less frequent. I'll try some of the things Thomps95 suggested next time.

  • I certainly can't control mine and take some comfort from the fact that other people can't either (not in a nasty way). Deep breathing and taking it easy are the only things that relieve symptoms.

  • Hi

    Lying down on my right side normally controls and eventually stops it

  • I am not on medications btw

  • Is that not a strange question for anyone in your position to ask?

  • I initially wondered too, but I welcome such questions.

    So little is known about how people cope with AF attacks. If you look at websites on how to cope with AF, it's filler ("talk to your doctor" or "get counselling" or "relax").

    My electrophysiologist often asks quite basic questions such as "can you tell the difference between short runs of AF and a series of ectopics?" (for me the answer is no), or "what does it feel like when you are in flutter? (my heart beats feel ineffectual and a bit rapid, and if I exert myself at all, my heart races unreasonably).

    I've learned as much from the sharing of personal experiences on this forum as I have from reading original research papers, or talking with my cardiologist. This forum is a rich source of valuable information for the AF association.

  • An alright question between members but surely an administrator should not ask in a Little Girl 'We'd love to know way'.'

  • Think this is just intended to be a friendly approach.....I have no problem with it !

  • I think that I have tried all the methods listed above and none has ever really worked. But I take an extra 150mg Flecainide - on top of the 200 I take every day - when the AF comes on and that seems to work after an average of four hours. But, of course, I don't really know if it's the drug doing the job or whether the AF would have resolved naturally anyway in the same period.

  • Absolutely nothing helps! They just run their course. Could be days, hours minutes long you can never tell!

  • This question has been asked many times before on this forum, but I admit not recently and hopefully new ways of halting AF are being discovered all the time.

    It's strange that now everyone is saying that nothing helps because I remember in previous ones a lot of members gave some good suggestions. However, whereas I gave some remedies previously, now I've been in constant AF since last Sunday I have to say nothing has worked for me. I can only hope if my AF doesn't stop I'll be offered another cardioversion, they always get me back in to sinus rhythm.


  • So sorry to hear that you are back in AF Jean. Hope it is not too long before you are able to see someone about it. Take care.

    Gloria x

  • Take care Jeanjeanie. I hope the doctors sort you out SOON it's no joke being in AF that long . xx Annlynne

  • I drink a slush puppy

  • Now that would definitely bring AF on if I was in NSR. Maybe I should see if the reverse is true.

  • soon as my AF starts I gulp a slush puppy down and get stomach freeze, it works for me :)

  • I can never tell whether I'm about to go into AF or am just having a run of ectopics. As soon as I get that 'feeling' I try to relax and do my deep breathing. This usually works but it makes me think I'm just getting ectopics. When I go into AF, it's usually instant and I've tried many things to come out of it, including most suggestions made on here, but nothing works.

    If I just accept it and relax and try to go to sleep (as it always comes on when I'm about to go to bed or already in bed) it subsides and doesn't really bother me other than that slightly funny feeling in my chest and obviously erratic pulse. It gradually fades over anywhere between 6 and 18 hours and I suddenly realise I'm back in NSR. I don't get this instant going from AF to NSR because when I'm in AF it doesn't affect what I do, I just happen to be aware of it and sometimes even think I've gone back into NSR when in fact I'm still in AF. Checking my pulse at the wrist is how I always determine for sure whether I'm in AF or NSR.

  • my pulse doesn't always reflect whether I'm in AF. It sounds crazy but the caediologist confirmed it.

  • Does that mean you can be in AF but your pulse is still regular? That would worry me because even though I'm sure you feel better, I'd rather know when I was in NSR or not.

  • This is the case with flutter. Flutter is often regular. I can see it on my ECG strip.

  • My last (only my 2nd). I used self meditation. As I was waiting to be driven to ER, I set and cleared my head as best I could of all thoughts. Instead, I concentrated stillness and checking my HR. I don't know how, but that is what happened. Less than 10 minutes or so I was back in normal HR and needed No intervention. Who knows, but that is what happened.

  • Cannot control it.Just have to let it run its course.

  • Fortunately Ive only had three since diagnosed 15 mo ago. First two were 10 hours of hard a fib, very anxious times. First time I went to ER, got admitted to hospital two days, sent home on sotalol. Second time 4 mo later, stayed home, cardiologist had me take extra sotalol and it stopped 10 hr later, I just sat and rested, drank extra water. Third time was after consulting EP. He took me off sotalol and just gave me flecainide and metroprolol as PIP. He also told me if I exercised, lost wt, ate healthy, a fib would b less aggressive. I found that tobe true. I lost 30 lb, did what he asked and third and last a fib was almost 7 mo ago, very mild, I took PIP and in 90 minutes it was over. Amazing to me! He said next time, wait an hour before taking PIP and see if I self convert. Im hoping there is no next time

  • This was a good question. I learned a lot from your responses. I thought I had a good handle on my triggers so I drank ice tea, several cups at a church function. I added ginger and magnesium to my diet so I was confident. It's been five months. I didn't think a little caffeine would hurt. After working all afternoon at our fish Fry, sitting in my chair before bed , FLOP goes my heart. Checked on my BP monitor and my heart was irregular. I was so disappointed, I took 50 mg metropol and went to bed. It took 23 hours to return to normal beat. My question is how do you feel after an episode? I just felt so weak all over. How long do you wait to exercise again?

  • The only time I managed to convert to NSR quickly was on waking up realising that I was on the verge of AF and immediately started coughing vigorously and the AF never developed, most odd but did the trick. I am sure that I read it on this forum., It may never do it again who knows but it is worth a try. I think the trick is to catch it before it gets going properly. Regards Jo

  • A cardiologist from USA who was in the same marina as us when we were sailing in Carribean told me to cough vigorously if I felt AF coming on. So I did on the odd occasion I felt it coming on (not often in those idyllic conditions) It is stress that is the cause of so many illnesses. love to all sufferers xxx Annlynne

  • I get on my bike and go for a cycle. It can then be between 15 mins and an hour before I go back into NSR. Normally after a hill. This works most of the time but occasionally it does not.

  • Yeeeeees :). This works for me as well, but I'm affraid, that we are the rare case. I have the so called Coumel type fibrillation: resting heart rate 50-60 bpm, under the episode it goes up to 80 bpm. During road cycling goes up to ~120. Importantly I don't have any syptom because the increased heart rate compensate the loss of atrial function.

  • Oh boy, my first episode my heart rate was well over 200 I was in resusciation for a couple of hours while they tried plenty of drugs intevenously. And pee! I peed for Britain-why does that happen ?


  • Propafenone

  • I don't quite get this...surely if we could get it under control, by which I take it you mean stop it, we wouldn't have the problem.

  • I believe the medication I've been prescribed has controled my AF (atrial flutters) I'm on Metroplol 25mg twice daily. I take one in the morning and another pill before bedtime. My cardiologist also has me on 81 mg of aspirin daily. I was diagnosed in October 2016. I've changed my life style. I drink one cup of decaf coffee daily. I've lowered my sweet intake because I' be found that when I eat a lot of sweet desserts, I start to feel etopics. I drink 32oz of water daily. I also do very light workouts. Such as light weights, brisk walks and stretches. This works for me. I do feel tried on occasion and get shortness of breath. I am scheduled for an Ablation in June. But since I haven't had any tachycardias since last December, I'm considering not having an ablation. The only reason I would consider to have this surgery is to get off medications and for my symptoms of SOB and triedness would go away. What I would like to know is, can the Atrial Flutter turn into Afib or worst? May I please get a reply on that? I'm from the United States. And I'm thankful for finding this forum. I love the support and encouragements but I don't understand some of the list of medications mentioned on some people's statements.

  • I suggest you ask this as a separate question. Medication s often have different names in different countries but if you find out what the basic drug is it helps.

  • Many of you will have read my post where an EP doctor thought I did not have AF. This was good news but unfortunately not correct. It was good news for a couple of days. So back to this forum.

    I have had varying degrees of success stopping AF. If I try to stop it, before it gets rolling as I call it, I can have near 100 % success rate. I am not on drugs and don't have other health issues. Sometimes all it takes is rubbing the right side of my neck and increasing my activity by walking or running on the spot. Walking briskly for 20 minutes or more outside has stopped it 100% of the time over the last month since I started trying this. I also have found a more qualified chiropractor and after only about 5 visits, he has changed my symptoms especially since the last visit where he tried adjusting the T1 and T2 vertebrae. The chiropractor needs to be very skilled to achieve positive results it seems. This is the third one that I have tried. Then, this morning, I tried using my Scenar on different frequencies and found that applying 8.4 HZ to the tarsus of my right ear, stopped the AF that had been running for about 3 hours. This is the first time I have tried this so maybe it is not repeatable. I will try it again in the future. Studies have shown electrical stimulation of the tarsus can stop AF. After much messing around with chiropractors, I am pretty sure the nerves in the back are a big factor but heart doctors will never say this is so.

  • No, the medical profession refused to accept that my AF was genetic despite the fact that my mother and all three of her siblings had suffered with it, along with two of my first cousins. They all had strokes.

    Now cardiologists tell me "of course it id genetic" I also had extreme problems with my back since my early twenties. I was diagnosed with two prolapsed lower discs and was treated by various NHS physios and private chiropractors . I can see similarities and a logical explanation in what you are saying.


  • Since Scenar and chiropractor type possibilities are much less definite and established, trying to determine if these treatments have merit is a bit of a guessing game. There are few, if any, studies on these options. The last chiropractic adjustment probably made the AF worse but I now know it probably did something. One treatment is often not enough. To re-adjust the back and change the muscle memory normally takes many treatments; and likely, for people who have had the condition for a long time, the number of treatments required will be considerably more than one.

  • A brisk walk can help or a large bowl of ice cream eaten quickly, I don't know why but either can sometimes work for me

  • I've had success with jumping in a cold shower a few times now, although the last episode (which was just last week, first one in just over 12 months) took a bit longer - 3 showers within about 12 hours, but it finally got there. I also try relaxation/meditation to slow the heart rate, and as it started late at night I managed to get some sleep then do the shower thing in the morning. It started when I lay down after a heavy meal and couple of wines - I do think overeating is a big trigger for me, and so is stress and being overtired.

  • Thank you for all of your responses. I have read on the forum, and had calls from some people finding that certain manoeuvres have been successful. We are interested to see if there is one that's more commonly used than others. I am sorry if this caused some confusion or upset.

    Thank you again - Rachel - AF Association

  • This is a good subject for us all to discuss every so often.

    It would be interesting Rachel, to hear what these successful manoeuvres you've ben told about are.

    During the first week after my third ablation, I could bring my racing heart back into rhythm just about every time by doing the Valsalva manoeuvre. Other than that, it rarely works now but I always give it a go. I think I've tried every single thing recommended on this site.


You may also like...