What are your symptoms? Are any of them a bit unusual for AF?

My paroxysmal AF is proving to be quite confusing. I seem to have a range of the usual symptoms:

- Breathlessness when sitting or lying down

- Palpitations

- Irregular heartbeat

- Pulse shooting up in rate with movement (i.e. 55 --> 130 just because I stood up and starting walking - it settles down to ~80 after a few minutes walking)

But then I have a few others which seem a little odd:

- Breathlessness (and sense of something going on with my heart) BUT with a regular pulse

- Feeling of fibrillation (and associated needing to go to the toilet) BUT with a regular pulse (sometimes slightly elevated, i.e in 70s)

I have always understood that AF is meant to be accompanied by an irregular pulse, but this doesn't seem to always be the case. Are these last two symptoms indicating some other kind of arrhythmia?

They appear to be very reproducible. I had the 'fibrillation with a regular pulse' on and off for about an hour last night. It started every time I laid down and sometimes woke me up.

17 Replies

  • There are no unusual symptoms for AF . It is such a mongrel condition that ANYTHING is possible. I do doubt you are having AF if your pulse,is regular so likely a different arrhythmia.

  • your pulse may sometimes be almost regular with af. Only way to be certain is with an ecg

  • Have you asked to wear a holter monitor for 24 hours, or longer if possible, to see if these events are captured, and if they can be explained?

    I also occasionally have odd sensations similar to what you describe, which doesn't seem like AF nor ectopics. I don't know if I'm now just oversensitive to any feeling near my chest, or if something else is going on. I am considering requesting a monitor for this reason. (although I don't know if I request through my GP or somehow contact my EP or cardiology dept directly).

  • Yes, I'm awaiting the results of a 2 week holter I had in July (it was requested through my cardiologist), unfortunately, while I had plenty of funny palpitations I didn't have any of the mobile phone buzzing sensations while on the holter.

  • Describing subjective feelings is difficult, but......

    The one I noticed for years before I was diagnosed was a feeling of an occasional beat that was extra large, I now know from watching bedside monitors that that's actually a missing beat.

    Apart from palpitations and the 'normal' fluttering sensation, I get a feeling like a mobile phone on vibrate.

    I get a feeling I can only describe as like an airlock hammering in a water pipe.

    Another is a feeling that my heart is 'yawning', a sort of stretching in the way your jaw does when you yawn.

    Then there's a feeling that there's a fist grasped around my gullet.

    Then there all sorts of effects on my consciousness. Describing them as faintness is too simplistic, they're sometimes a sort of weird 'spaced out' sensation.

    Migraine is a common effect of PVI and atrial septal aneurysm, but I get ocular migraines without having had a PVI, so I wonder if they're an effect of the AF itself too.

  • That mobile phone vibration is exactly what I was getting last night. I've mentioned it to my general cardiologist and he had no idea what it could be. I also get the slightly spaced out sensation too sometimes and I'm sure it's related to blood flow and AF/palpitations.

  • I know that one I think, I would describe it as a shiver, sometimes more of a shudder. I still have lots of weird heart and body sensations sometimes even though I don't as far as I can tell have episodes of AF any more.

  • I sometimes get that feeling like you get on a roller coaster just as you go down the big drop... like catching your breath

  • During bad episodes ..

    Pulse 'chaotic' no rhythm 155 bpm,

    heartbeat fast/chaotic and pronounced,



    cold sweats,


    feel faint,

    odd sensation of being grabbed in the throat .

    feelings of fear and anxiety as thought I have had a shock or someone made me jump, but it is not a momentary thing it goes on for hours.

    I have high blood pressure which I think may exacerbate my symptoms. During an episode my BP can soar to 210/110 then drop within minutes to 119/80 which is I think why I feel so ill.

    During not so bad episodes: irregular heartbeat, pulse just a little fast and slight breathlessness.

    With PAF I think here is no 'normal' or unusual, we all vary.

  • I think you've hit the nail on the head with your last sentence! I've had all those symptoms, it's just so variable and there doesn't seem to be a rhyme or reason for them. Occasionally I feel almost normal, other times I can hardly walk.

  • I can get the odd sensation of being grabbed in the throat but it's mostly, as you say, doodle, as if I have had a shock or as if something suddenly jumped out in front of the car and I narrowly missed a serious accident. I feel shaken with my heart going much too fast. I have no breathlessness - I just feel unpleasantly disturbed.

  • I had a lot of what you described. But AF would jump as high as 157 or send my into false VF. That was a range of 180 or more. AF use to wake me at night. I would freeze or I would sweat. I'd also get dizzy, tunnel vision, panic attacks because could feel adrenaline pumping (Butterfly's in the stomach almost). My doctor had me on medication which helped some. But I am one of the extreme cases. I had 5 ablations an AV node ablation and finally a sympatectomy. It still get palpation from my AF but they are not as strong. I am in permanent AF so I still get some symptoms like dizzy short of breath and I lack energy. My lowest pace is 70 my highest is 90 so I don't have much leanency to do much for now. I'm sending good thoughts and prayers that they figure out how to fix you up and make you better. Hugs

  • Rubyladyemerald :-) you sound as though you have had a rough time. What a nightmare AF can be. I hope you can find something to help you soon..

  • Goodness! You've certainly been through the mill. What's 'false VF'?

  • Falls VF or ventricular fibrillation is when the atrium fibrillation is so fast the get a shock from my ICD. My heart rate hat to be at 179 or higher. Usually here in the USA after enough shocks that when they do ablations. I was lucky. I was started on meds before my first ablation. But I have gotten so bad with so many shocks that my last ablation caused my Ventricals to go into it's own arythmia. It was a Ventrical storm. It took four shocks to pull me out of it. Valium and Metoprolol as well. So I had to have a surgery that cuts off the adrenaline to the heart so my chance of being shocked has been greatly minimized. But now I'm having all kinds of new issues. I have electrolyte drops especially potassium, magnesium and sodium. I don't get around like I want alot of the nerve pain has gone but I get winded easily. And to do very light cleaning in a small room takes me 4 hours. So I went from normal AF to extreme in 13 years. I now have unconvertible AF. The doctors are not to worried about that.

    The good news of this is I'm not afraid of being shocked from just walking. But I do have anxiety with riding in cars or water because of vibration. The bad news is it can take up to six months to complete heal from this surgery. But I'm getting along the best I can and don't plan to stop unless it's out of my control.😊

  • There isn't much left to do to me. I still have AF but it's not as bad as it was. I have an ICD because it was so bad. This last surgery I had I got told could take up to six months to heal from. I see my doctor next Thursday about the rest of the symptoms. Hopefully I will be back up really soon. I'm so tired of feeling useless or if I do work on my home just a little I'm down for two days because in exhausted.. but we will see as time goes on if this works or I have one last surgery they can do. The sympatectomy I had do was done on the left the last one they can do will be on the right.

  • What an interesting read. I am now thinking that what I thought was an ectopic is actually a missed beat. It feels like my heart does a somersault in my chest and makes me feel sick........any thoughts, is it an extra beat or a missed one? Ectopics were picked up on my first holter test and AF on my 5 day holter test.

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