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AF Association
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My AF history

I'm new here (and to any such web exposure!) so I'll do my best at brevity on my AF history and current state.

I'm 68 and ran for 50 years (inc. the very first London Marathon) until my ninth cardioversion three years ago only maintained sinus rhythm for a month. I first went in to AF around 17 years ago following three days in bed with "I want to die" flu. Each cardioversion had a progressively longer positive effect until the penultimate one was successful for four years. After the short-lived last one, I was told that at my age any further cardioversion wouldn't be successful.

I was able to discuss possible ablation and read all I could on that subject, including the Dr John website. I was devastated at the notion of not being able to run again and initially felt sure I'd opt for ablation, however invasive and scary it sounded. But a section in the Dr John pages made a real impact. Paraphrasing, it said that doing nothing is a perfectly logical strategy: that whilst you wouldn't be as good as you once were, at least you would continue to be. I went back to the hospital and said that was what I intended to try. The person overseeing my care there was an occasional contributor to Dr John and felt my decision was sensible, not least because it was mine.

So since then, I've not run, taken my daily Warfarin, cycled a bit and walked a lot. I used to do ultralight backpacking and last year did half the Anglesey Coast Path to see if I could. I was slow but that made it better somehow. If I overexert myself, I feel my pulse rise and I slow down or stop. I was advised to consider 140 bpm as my ceiling but though I was once an avid pulse checker, since having persistent AF, I've not taken it at all...makes me anxious! I was also advised to get a blood pressure monitor. I did immediately...but I've never used it, again because I know that the anxiety of hospital used to elevate my readings and I think I'd feel the same at home. My response was to move from 35 years as a teetotal, non smoking vegetarian, to a vegan at home and a veggie elsewhere.

So, to summarise (having failed my own brevity aim), I've been through the process (with two cancer ops in the middle of it and had two failed attempts at chemical cardioversion), decided against any further medical interventions and settled into life at a slower pace. I wouldn't go for ablation as the success rate, the resultant need for repeat treatments and the invasiveness didn't, and don't, appeal to me. Maybe if I'd been younger when it started, I'd look at that option differently...but now...not for me.

4 Replies

Hi Phlyn,

I read your post with interest being a long distance runner myself. Now 65, and l had to stop due to my knees.

In my eyes you have made the right decision in respect of not having an Ablation.

I've had three, bad decision, l wish l could turn the clock back.

Best Wishes



I'm sorry to read that Barry. I know you were trying to change your diet and perhaps to try probiotics. I downloaded a booklet from Amazon on CD's recommendation - Heal your Vagus Nerve which I found it interesting and helpful. Best wishes.


Dear Finvola,

That is very kind of you. I will order it asap.

I have nothing to lose, however my homework suggests that this is a long-term condition, damage to the vagus nerve is rare, but l found that an American lady suffered vagus nerve damage during her ablation and the condition is permanent.

Once again thank you.



1 like

Interesting story and never worry about brevity.

Obviously your running history most likely has a hand in your AF as I am sure you will know. Endurance athletes are prime candidates for AF and well done by the way on realising where your priorities should be.

The thing about AF is how mongrel it is and how what is right for me (three ablations and no AF these last nine years) wouldn't always suit others so I think the only important thing is that you are happy with what you chose and continue to live a long and happy life. You are anticoagulated which is good so stroke prevention is taken care of so live to the full and enjoy this wonderful life.


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