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Vagus nerve the latest culprit?

So I went for another short ride this morning, about 30 minutes of light to moderate intensity (as advised by my cardiologist). My heart has been in good rhythm for a while, just a few ectopics but no AF.

Felt absolutely fine on the bike.

30 minutes later, I start to feel a little unwell, light nausea and the familiar numbness and tingling down the arms and into the little fingers.

It seems that when my heart gets revved up for a period of time, my body has this reaction.

I thought it might be anxiety but I have this under better control lately - beta blockers, diazepam,

Meditation, therapy. I'm certainly not cured, but I'm feeling much better than I was. Certainly no panic attacks.

So now I can only point the finger at the heart putting pressure on the vagus nerve (?) when it gets revved up. I know others have suggested this before.

Just wondering again, if anyone can corroborate my theory?

Thank you.

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I am far from being an expert, so someone is bound to correct me, but I thought that vagally induced AF comes during rest time, not exertion?


Depends on Vagal tone UScore - either can trigger an episode or both. Mine tends to be e exercise - especially after food but I used to wake in the night with heart thumping away so ???

Heart responds to either Sympathetic or Parasympathetic ANS reaction.

What I do know is that if you can improve Vagal tone and get your HRV up, it helps.

Mejul - I have just found that my tolerance for exercise has just decreased as I age (& onset of other conditions) so pacing and reducing the time without rest is crucial. AF certainly lets me know when I do too much!

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Hi Guys,

I've been interested in the Vagal nerve for a while but particularly since I saw one of Dr.Gupta's youtube video on this part of the body. I've had PAF for over 20 years and been diagnosed as a 'Lone' fiba. Recently the gap between episodes dropped to a 7 day average so I had a big re-think on how could I help myself. Of the last 20 episodes 3/4 were related to digestion, during eating or just after, and I include in this bending over activities. Some of the other 1/4 were exercise related particularly cycling. This suggests that the vagal nerve is acting both sympathetically and para-sympathetically.

As part of my status review I decided to work out 3 times weekly on our treadmill and surprise surprise I coped really well, not a blip. Yesterday I went back out on the bike and soon realised my back was bent to be more aerodynamic, ie bent over. Now I'm thinking those recent AF episodes were from the bending and not from the exercise.

Out of interest I've also changed my breathing exercises to 5 mins, 4 times daily. I particularly like belly breathing were you try to deeply exhale and in the process you sort of massage those organs located in the stomach area including the Vagal nerve. I also removed stodgie food (anything that might swell during digestion and slow up the process) from my diet.

I've now gone 21 days (and counting) since changing regimes.

I would be interested hearing if others have had similar experience or advice.


Understanding what triggers your vagal nerve really helps.

There is a book called Heal Your Vagal Nerve - available on Kindle for a few pound with good explanations and suggestions.

I have taken the breathing exercises to another notch up and use a power breather a which really helps.

If in episode triggered by vagal (not all mine are) I can often stop the episode by using vasovagal manoeuvres. My EP says this is often indicative of AF triggered by tachycardia - and have just managed to capture ECG trace showing this.

The only difficulty is - vagal is very mercurial - just as you think you have it taped it shifts and something else happens!

Regular practice of Mindfulness and managing manxiety are essential.


Ah, thanks for that tip. I'll get it organised.

PS: Incidentally, my run without AF ended during the night. I'm pleased I did 22 days, such a change from 7 days, but disapointed just the same. Does the Vagal nerve have any effect when asleep as I don't think I suffer from sleep apnea which I understand is the usual reason?


Yes it can do, many people find they can't lie supine or on one side or the other or even just resting will trigger things of - as I say - very mercurial.

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