Paroxysmal Afib at 60

I was diagnosed with Paroxysmal AFIB 6 months ago. I didn't realize I had it until I was diagnosed during a routine visit to my PVP.

I was sent to ER where I was also told my creatinine level was at 2.1 with 1.27 being normal.

My kidney function has slowly come back in the last 6 months but it has been a scary ride.

I have ultrasound and stress test which all came back good. I should also state my BMI is 23.2, no high blood pressure, no sign of any heart disease.

I exercise daily, doing cardio and resistant training 5-6 days a week. I am currently on Cartia XT 120 mg.

I went almost 6 months and had another afib episode which I felt emwhike I was at home and verified with bp monitor. Went to DR and converted back after 10 hours with e,tra dosage of Cartia ST.

I had another episode 1 week later. This time I stayed at home took an extra Cartia as instructed by my Cardiologist and converted back 5 hours later.

I have an appt with an electrophysiologist in a week and will wear a holster kit before I see him.

I have read a lot and it seems to me I am a good candidate for catheter ablation.

Anybody have thoughts on my assumption?

Sorry for the long post.

37 Replies

  • Your bouts are infrequent and short in duration. An EP may wait until it interferes with your life even more. However, I fought it for a couple of years and finally got the ablation. It is a relief to be in NSR and be able to exercise at a pretty high level. Good luck!

  • Thank You

  • The EP will be the best arbiter. I'm sure you can wait a week!

  • You do sound like an excellent candidate and I'm sure your EP will confirm the sooner the better. Nice to see a desire to go straight for the cure rather than faffing around with a bottle of magnesium or cutting down on chips! Sorry, that was a bit below the belt.

    I would imagine AF is already interfering with your life and, believe me, it will increasingly interfere with it - if you let it.

  • Thanks, I felt my best chance was to act aggressively. I appreciate the feedback.

  • Hi, just chipping in here. I know that in the main, af is thought to get worse over time, almost inevitably. Many sufferers testify to this. I must be one of the lucky ones. I was diagnosed in 1998, promptly treated with only a beta blocker, and the af actually went away for 7 years. It came back, and was bad for several years, but gradually the meds have been tweaked and now control my af reasonably well. I have never had to stop working or playing, exercising or changing my lifestyle. Losing weight made a good difference, and I now consider myself to be fitter than I have been for a decade. I have periods when af comes more often, but then dies down again. I live in the hope that it will not, in fact, get worse, and at 75, I look forward to a well managed life without too many limitations. 😀 JanR

  • I don't reply often, but I was 60 when I had AF for the first time. 60 and normal weight, good bmi, no sugar, low cholesterol, reasonably fit. Two years of tests, specialists, medications, warfarin, angst. Then I read up on magnesium and started taking it religiously. And have not had AF since, nearly 2 1/2 years. Could be a coincidence, but a good place to start is always self education, and I do wonder what if I had tried magnesium in the first instance. As far as I know it can do no harm. I'm not offended by the reply above, because everyone is different and I for one am very happy to be AF (and medication) free for 2 1/2 years. For self-education this was the best site for me, but you could try YouTube for York Cardiologist.

  • Thank you for the info.

  • My dad also takes magnesium supplements and sea salt and no more af since then. Abt 1.5 yrs. My dad is 78 this yr.

  • Really interested to know more about taking Magnisium. Am 60 and have had Af , with attacks every few weeks. But really don't know where to get sensible, reliable information on amounts etc.


    My dad took magnesium bisglycinate (200mg elemental magnesium daily).

  • Hi Lizie-Loo, I don't know the protocol about mentioning specific products, but I get liquid mag sent from USA to Oz. Postage is a bit exy but after so long AF free I am reluctant to stop it. I might have a look for the product that shermanong mentioned. I notice she has mentioned drcarolyndean; she has free ebooks (which advertise her products) but also offer a lot of information. Sanjay Gupta, the youtube York Cardiologist also gives a spiel about magnesium. cheers

  • Many thanks for getting back to me!😊

  • May be a stupid question but Can I ask how you take magnesium please. I was diagnosed four months ago and will try anything to feel better x

  • It is a well known fact that being fit and healthy makes no difference to AF, in fact from what I have read, sportsmen and women are actually prone to it. In some people stress can be a catalyst so maybe if you have a stressful job.....

    I have PAF and for the last couple of years had seen a big increase in events but since just before Christmas have had none. I cannot put this down to anything specific although I did try Magnesium last year but it didn't make the slightest difference.

    I will not go down the ablation route until I have absolutely no choice (mainly because of other health issues) and the thought of having to have the procedure done multiple times because it hasn't worked which is apparently common, puts me off. I hate taking medication but hey it's working.

    I hope the appointment with the EP helps you to make a decision that suits you.


  • I think there may be a misunderstanding about ablation "not working" the first time. As my doc explained after my first ablation, which kept me af free for a year nd a half, after months of persistent af, somerimes new pathways grow over the affected areas and there needs to ne a little "cleanup" work. It's apparently very common to need at least two to finish the job of the first.. After the second, I have been both af and medication free now for going on three years.

  • I agree and disagree with you, Netty. Yes, sport can be a factor, but all things in moderation. I think that being fit and healthy can only be good and AF will have less of a hold. Isn't it asking too much of your heart - either with too much strenuous exercise or expecting it (and your knees) to carry around a large amount of weight - that can be an invitation to AF, along with stress and other undesirables in one's life?

    I feel I'd be better off if I hadn't taken a lot of medication and had had a second ablation sooner than I did. Not perhaps the route for everyone though.

  • Thank You.

  • Not sure what other health issues would make you "prefer" not have an ablation. You can either have it or not. It seems to have worked 100% for me so is worth considering. I had PAF episodes foe 20 years. Rarely (every few years) at first. Then 10 times a year, then after a stressful period it became more than once a week. In retrospect I would have done it sooner. Even though it is now "cured", the risk of it returning may be increased depending on the total duration of exposure to AF.

  • I have a nutcracker oesophagus which apparently is likely to cause problems and, although he has left the decision with me, I suspect he was relieved when I said I would wait and see. The major reason is because I have chronic leukaemia.


  • Netty,

    So sorry to hear of your other ailments. Best of luck with managing them! I guess it's very difficult to deal with all three. Regards, Mike

  • Thanks Mike.

  • If you don't mind my asking, what is a nutcracker oesophagus? I was worried when I had my ablation that it would make my swallowing difficulty worse but fortunately it hasn't made much difference.

  • The oesophagus moves in waves to help move your food down. It can also move when you are not eating. The rate at which it moves is apparently measured in mm hgb (whatever that means). I was told that the normal rate is 120, mine moves at 480. My oesophagus is also twisted.

    There is nothing they can do to cure it but the acid reflux that I was struggling with (the reason for the manometry test that identified the problem) has gone since losing a considerable amount of weight.

    I suspect the reason they are reluctant to do the procedure on me is that the risk of oesophageal damage is multiplied iwith such severe movement.


  • So glad it worked so well for you teachtolearn but the reports from others of multiple procedures seems to indicate that maybe you are in the minority or maybe the people who have a successful ablation then stop posting?


  • OK, I have had an ablation - for flutter. It was a non-event and I feel a lot better.

    But for me the central consideration is the small but not insignificant risk of complications from the procedure. They are rare, mainly nothing to fret about - but they happen at about a rate of 1 in 50 patients. That's the same as the risk of a catastrophic accident while base jumping from a mountain cliff in Norway ... :) so you may want to put on a base jumping suit when you check into the hospital.

    What are these complications? There are lots and many are not too horrible. But I'd discuss the risks with your EP and/or cardiologist, one by one, and ask (in as nice a way as possible) if any of your EPs patients have had complications from the procedure (and what were they), and how many ablations has the EP actually led so far (and hope that the answer is not "you're the lucky first")

  • I too did not want to mess about on meds and luckily my EP was of the opinion that with ablation the sooner,the better. I spent 6 months on waiting list and breathless on bisoprolol. Had ablation in November 2013, came off bisoprolol the same day and after a bumpy 5 months, everything calmed down and blissful NSR since then. I take no meds except anticoagulant (apixaban) and feel good.

    Good luck with decision 🍀

  • Thank You

  • Why are you still taking Apixaban if you have no AF?

  • Advice is generally to stay on them as it could come back or i could get very short episodes and be unaware of them. I am female, over 65 and possible TIAs in the past. This makes my risk of stroke higher.

  • What worries me (as a reluctant Apixaban user) is that if you have a bad bleed there is no antidote - my GP muttered something about having plasma intravenously! But for 12 hours till the Apixaban wears off???????

  • I have no real answer to that except to say that I prefer the risk of a bleed to that of stroke!! Most bleeds can be dealt with through pressure and other methods and as you say, apixaban is leaving the system after 12 hours. I suppose you just have to make the decision and live with the risks. Anyway, that's what I've done and I don't really worry about it. Sorry not to have a better answer.

  • What sort of bad bleed worries you willywombat44? Most external injuries can be controlled. Yes, if they are very severe, they might kill you, but they would probably come close to killing off a person who's not on an anticoagulant too! Have you ever worried about this in the past?There's surely a very small chasm between treatable and fatal that those of us on a NOAC would fall into and those with normal blood wouldn't. We are just a little bit more vulnerable and I thought before I took a NOAC it would worry me but actually, now that I do, it doesn't.

  • Yes at this stage the success rates are very good. Had mine early and after the 4 months where the scar forms (That was a bit of a bumpy ride) I have not had an episode now in 2 years. Had mine agrd 55 regular cardio excercise and a bit overweight. I'm also on no meds at all not even Asprin. I had had the echo stress cardiogramme and an angiogram which also were clear. Hope this helps. Good luck

  • Thank you.

  • Never straight forward and you can only listen to your consultant who will take all things into consideration I am sure. I am on meds have been for four years. Working and getting on with life. Feel tired but that's part of getting older not every day but some days. Not considering any procedures unless my quality of life changes. Difference of opinion is always interesting and helpful so whatever you decide the very best of luck.

  • My VA Doctor has advised me that I am at high risk for stroke because I have bouts of AFIB that last about 2 hours or less. Sometimes two a day. Then go a couple weeks with little "flutters" but not the full blown AFIB. Everything I read says that if you go into Afib for 24-48 hours, it is serious. Is my Doc wrong about my 2 hour episodes? I am on Flecanide 200mg a day. Seems to keep it down but it always feels like it is just under the surface trying to "break out". I am getting an appointment with an EP through the VA, and personally hope they recommend ablation. I guess I can deal with the recovery period if there is light at the end of the tunnel. The Afib episodes are very depressing and scary for me.

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