New to AF

I've been reading the posts on the forum and they have helped me so much. I was finally diagnosed with PAF in March, following a year of being told by my GP that there was nothing wrong. I had to visit a private GP to get a referral to a cardiologist. Fortunately, Benenden Healthcare helped with the cost of the echocardiogram and 7 day monitor but it has still been an expensive journey. My cardiologist is very good and suggested drug therapy before considering the surgical route. 3 weeks of Flecainide nearly killed me off! Have now been prescribed blood thinners and a beta blocker. I only have 1 episode a week, if that, and never lasts longer than 2 minutes. Happy to take blood thinners but am thinking about giving up other drugs as I can cope with the symptoms and I get my quality of life back.

Any advice would be gratefully received.

12 Replies

  • Anticoagulation is important to prevent stroke as I am sure has been explained but left untreated AF can lead to long term problems as well. Ablation which is a procedure rather than surgery is one way of improving quality of life but if your AF burden is as light as you say then for now you are lucky. Do understand that AF is usually a progressive condition so be prepared to change you views as time progresses.

  • Thanks Bob. It's sometimes hard to know what to do but I will follow the cardiologists advice.

  • Hello Pam and welcome to the forum. The only one who can advise you on your drugs is your physician but I found beta blockers make me tired and breathless. I don't know for how long you have been taking the beta blockers, but it took me weeks to get used to them. So far, your episodes are slight but AF is usually progressive, just how soon and how much is dependent on many factors.

    Have you looked into lifestyle changes and whether you might benefit from them and perhaps lessen your AF? There is a wealth of advice on this and other topics on the main AFA website

    Health issues such as sleep apnoea, high BP, diabetes and stress are also factors which need to be considered as modern thinking is that AF might be an indicator of other health problems, rather than an isolated condition.

  • Hi Finvola. I have literally just picked up the prescription of Bisoprol 2.5 and will be starting them tomorrow. I've not read much positive about them, to be honest, and am quite worried about how I'm going to manage my job. I think lifestyle factors have a lot to do with it. I have had high BP for a number of years, not very well controlled. I lost 3 stone but still have 2 to lose and having a mother with dementia is very stressful. She also has AF so there is the hereditary factor. I'll just have to see how it goes with the beta blockers. I have a review in 3 weeks with the doctor to see how things are going.

    Thank you.

  • Hi I couldn't take Bisoprapl 2-5mgs my Gp reduced it to 1-25 mgs - no problems now.

  • Since being diagnosed with paf in June last year I have seen 3 different cardiologists. The first told me if the symptoms did not bother me I didn't need to take any medication to control the afib, the second prescribed flecainide a pip but the third said I should be either taking flecainide all the time or anticoagulant with the pip (my score is only 1). I'm fast coming to the conclusion that you need to make your own decision on what works best for you after doing as much research as you can. In my opinion there's no point taking tablets to improve your quality of life if they are having the opposite effect.

  • Hi Jans. Yes, It's a bit of a minefield and I certainly have a few more questions to ask the cardiologist when I see him again in a fortnight. He is happy to refer me to an EP but I'll see how it goes. My blood pressure does need to come down so perhaps the beta blockers may work for me. Flecainide was not for me at all. Did you find it hard to get the initial diagnosis?

  • I had symptoms during my late twenties when I had my kids but then nothing till I started the menopause. 5 years and 5 doctors later and my palpitations were​ still being put down to menopausal symptoms. Then another doctor ordered a 24hr holter but also told me to ring for an ambulance the next time I had an episode. The holter only picked up ectopics but the ambulance crew picked up the afib. I've asked to be referred to an EP but have been told they're just for if you're having an ablation, don't think that is correct though, I've now been referred to a fourth cardiologist for another opinion! Then presumably I pick one of those or pay privately to see an EP

  • I really hope you get some answers. My cardiologist offered to refer me to an EP if I wanted to discuss an ablation but I've talked to a couple of people who saw an EP right from the start. I was just happy to see someone who believed me!

    Good luck!

  • Hi Pam. I have been taking 2.5 mg of bisoprolol for about two months now. I also have PAF, diagnosed November of last year. It took about a month for me to adjust to the mediction, but now I feel pretty good. I still get the occasional bout of palpitations, way fewer than I had pre-bisoprolol. I sometimes feel a little light headed, but overall, compared to how I felt before the bisoprol, the minor side effects are worth it. The frequent palpitations that I had every day, the resulting dizzyness and the fear of slipping back into a full blown PAF attack were far worse in my opinion. I guess that everyone reacts differently to medications but my experience on bisoprolol has been positive.

  • Thank you and I'm glad it is working for you. I'm certainly going to to give it a go as I'm hoping it will help with my blood pressure as well. Falling asleep at work is my main problem but you have given me hope that it may settle down!

  • All the best Pam. You can only give it a try to see how it goes. Let us know how you are doing on it.

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