AF Association
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After eating!

I have been taking 150mg x 2 of Propafenone daily, for the last 3 weeks, along with Xarelto and 2.5 mg of bisoprolol. The first five days were fantastic, my heart didn’t miss a beat, or race, but then it all started again. Ever since I get prolonged episodes of missed beats, racing and quivering sensations.

I am noticing that this usually starts within three quarters of an hour to an hour after eating, no matter if it is a sandwich, dinner or even one biscuit! I have watched the video that Sanjay Gupta made in conjunction with a gastroenterologist - explaining that there can be a connection between the oesophagus and heart stimulation. However because this happens quite a bit after eating, surely the food must be in my stomach by then, so the AF can’t be triggered by the swallowing action in theory? 😟

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Jeanette,

If you 'click' on my name ( carneuny) it should take you to an area where you can find my posts most of which will cover this topic. What Sanjay Gupta et al are alluding to is the Vagal nerve. Suggest - if you haven't already done so - is to Google it and in particular find schematic diagrams on it. It is in effect an information super highway between the brain and different organs BUT in particular the brain, heart and digestive system. I would regard the oseophagus as an area affected by a dysfunctional Vagal nerve.

I have resorted to diet ( as well as medication) to control this and for me I have been successful, now not having an AF event since April 2015. Basically, calm the Vagal nerve = calm the heart.

John

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Thanks for the reply John. I eat a healthy diet, and have kept a food diary to see any correlation re triggers etc, but nothing leaps out at me. The meds worked well for a few days, but then it all went horribly wrong! I have tried some suggestions to strengthen the fatal nerve, but no luck so far!

Jeanette

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Hi John.

I'm very interested in your comments regarding diet control. I seem to have developed the same trigger as you and wondered what actions you actually take to help digestion.

Like Jeanette, I have a reasonably healthy diet, I exercise etc. and have a good BMI, you know all the right things, but I do not have adequate control of my digestion.

At one time I thought it was stodgy foods but now realise it can be almost anything associated with the oesophagus so I include, hiccups, upward wind, eating too much or too fast and the list goes on.

So what's your magic recipe for good digestion?

Alan

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Hi Alan,

Yes, well ...... I always thought my lifestyle and diet was 'healthy' too prior to AF.

I was very slow to connect food as a trigger for AF but my symptoms persisted and worsened in some respects. Massive, massive, painful bloating - burping - loud and antisocial intestinal gurgling and diahorrea. Not all at the same time - all and any at random but by far and away the most destructive was the bloating. I got tested for IBS and Coeliac Disease but all clear.

I then consulted a Nutritionist who carried out some tests and found my gut flora was crap.

She then prescribed a course of probiotics and recommended some diet changes.

So out went anything with gluten, wheat and oats - but - she also taught me how to monitor my diet and overtime a whole range of 'don't haves' were added to this. Yoghurt, raspberries, runner beans, peas, MSG, pork with crackling, thick gravy, onions - just to start with. But it all took time, a few years of 'playing around with food'.

bloating can start within 2 hours of eating or as late as 8 hours. I now try and eat 'small' and early in the evening.

Alcohol and tea and coffee for me at least are NOT a trigger. Nor is ice cream (which I know in some people is a trigger).

I have only just scratched the surface in describing my diet but have to get off to work - hope this helps - anything else, just ask away.

John

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Yes John. I think I'm on a similar track but way behind your efforts. Maybe I should try to get a nutritionist...never thought of that one.

Thanks for the tips.

Alan

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Hi jeanette :-) you say....

quote [''so the AF can’t be triggered by the swallowing action in theory? '']

I have a problem which started last November when I suddenly experienced problems when swallowing food. My heart started beating faster/pulse irregular and feeling faint and dizzy. It happened with every swallow but only lasted while I ate so not a full AF episode with symptoms lasting hours . This went on for about two weeks then stopped.

It has started happening again recently . I explained all this during my appointment with the arrhythmia nurse who saw me on behalf of a cardiologist and not a word of it was mentioned in my notes. I also told my GP about it and she dismissed it. No one seems to take any notice of these odd symptoms.

I know quite conclusively that sometimes swallowing food can make my heart beat irregularly and make me dizzy. I am assuming it is related to the vagus nerve.

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Do u have hiatal hernia? Just a thought.

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Hi Carol :-) not sure if you are asking Jeanette or me , no I don't or reflux or a problem swallowing most of the time, occasionally I get spells of the swallowing food/instant irregular heartbeat and dizziness.

This is slightly similar in a way ....

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articl...

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Hi, I only meant that personally the action of swallowing/food travelling down my oesophagus can’t be the trigger, because my heart only starts acting up about 3/4 to 1 hour after eating, by which time I would assume that the food would be in my stomach 😟

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There is a complaint called 'dumping syndrome' which happens to people who have had surgery to reduce the size of their stomach. One of the symptoms is palpitations though most of them are variations on upset stomach caused by food passing out of stomach too quickly. I wonder if irritation of the vagus nerve could cause this?

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I also have a heart that plays up as soon as I eat but this only started after my ablation in Feb this year and has never went away! Food is also a trigger with sugar salt caffine additives and heavy meals being the main culprits, I also want to see a nutritionist to see if this will throw a light on anything I haved missed I tried the Fodmap diet but found it too hard! Good luck and kerp posting your updates.

Regards Ingrid

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Hi Ingrid, how disappointing! Do you still take medication?

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Sanjay Gupta I saw his video too, as a anaesthetic nurse and icu we are very aware of this powerful nerve, I sometimes get my palpitations back one or two after a meal, so why don’t you ask him, he has a Facebook page , I think I asked him on his end of video speech, about my brov and magnesium, he answered not right away nut he did,

I have my evening light meal between 3 - 5 no later, and if I’m working just healthy snacks at that time, and no food once home, warm drink maybe

Jeannie

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Do people with hiatal hernia seem to have more palpitations than others I wonder?

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It’s an interesting point, assuming they have af in the first place, and HH aggravates it? as I haven’t seen Hiatal hernia actually cause it, in my experience, someone out there may know differently.

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And just spotted this

Whether AF is caused by the compression of the hiatal hernia on the left atrium or the presence of GERD that is found in most cases of hiatal hernia is unclear. ... Schilling et al. reported that repair of a large paraesophageal hiatal hernia resulted in termination of atrial flutter.

Gastroesophageal Reflux

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Hi Jeanette.

I've got lots of triggers but most are not certainties - just strong hunches. However, the one I am certain about is too much food in my stomach. I could guarantee an af episode straight after eating when I ate a fairly big meal when I was slumped on a comfy sofa!. Sounds weird, but I can overeat sitting straight and usually I'm ok...

My theory is that the (very) poor posture pushed the full stomach against my oesophagus / vagal nerve and immediately triggered an af episode. Solution for me - only eat sitting straight until it's had chance to 'go down'. Not casting aspertions on your posture.... - just confirming that food in your stomach can be a trigger?

(It started me thinking about posture generally and am now working to improve it. I have a theory about posture and the vagal nerve which I'll save for a different post...).

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Hi, I totally agree with you about posture, I try and sit up when eating, I have made myself more aware of this recently as a possible trigger.

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Hi I am off all meds now i was on ppi's for 4 years and came off verapamil also as ectopics were just as bad on it unfortunately the 2 ablations I had this year have not been successful so down for a third!

Regards Ingrid

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Good luck, hope it works for you now...third time lucky 😊

My cardiologist has suggested an ablation for me, it does concern me though when I discover how many people are on their second or third one because of lack of success!

Regards Jeanette

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Remember that the people for whom one ablation is enough, often don't come back to post on here - They move on with their lives. So don't take too much notice of the number of people here talking about having repeats.

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I am on different meds but I have noticed a strong correlation between eating and episodes of afib. Have come up with a couple of simple rules which seem to help. Only eat small meals. Be careful what you eat i.e. no processed food. Bread for me is a no no, similarly cakes and biscuits. I now eat a very simple diet vegetables, fruit, fish, meat (but not processed !) And nuts.

My wife made me scrambled eggs which included mushrooms, I did wonder about them at the time anyway the meal was followed by an af episode which I think was triggered by the mushrooms.

So it's a learning process.

The more I can control this with lifestyle changes the better.

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