Just me with permanent Afib and no symptoms?

54 year old male. I went in for a physical checkup last month, and after the EKG test, my doctor sent me to a cardiologist. Turned out I have permanent Afib. They did a cardio-version, but it did not work. They informed me that my right atrium is severely enlarged, and the rest looks normal. Besides having cold hands, I have no symptoms. My average heart rate is around 70. When I run, my average heart rate is about 152. I'm very active and eat very healthy. I workout and run about 25 miles per week. Matter of fact, I just ran a half marathon couple weeks ago. I do not know when I got it, I guess I must have it for three years now. Since I know I have Afib, I'm taking magnesium taurate, baby aspirin and stopped drinking coffee. I feel great and have more energy. I can jump on the treadmill and run 10K without being tired. Is there anyone out there feeling the same? Any recommendations for me? I just don't want to take meds for the rest of my life.

23 Replies

  • Did they say that the RIGHT atrium was severely enlarged as apposed to the LEFT one?

    If I were you I would be radically cutting down on the physical activity whilst, at the same time, trying to maintain my fitness. Straining your heart cannot be wise.

  • It's the right atrium. The left atrium is just a little dilated. I don't know whether the right atrium severely enlarged because from the running or because from the Afib? During marathon training season, I ran around 35 miles per week.

  • I agree with Jenny- also, baby aspirin is not an anticoagulant so won't prevent stroke. If you feel you need an AC then discuss with your doctor. XAt an AF conference recently, one doctor said they had found micro emboli in brain scans of AF patients and he raised the question of whether younger people with AF should also be anti coagulated. This is an area being discussed so you would need to consult someone who is uo to date with the latest findings. You are very lucky that you don't have symptoms - but do take AC seriously

  • This is a bit of a puzzle. I would expect a cardiologist to advise permanent anticoagulation rather than aspirin.

    I am not clear why you have permanent rather than persistent AF. If the latter, you might be a candidate for ablation.

    Have you been referred to an electrophysiologist?

  • My cardiologist put me on Eliquis before and after TEE and cardioversion. Four weeks after the cardioversion, he wanted me to switch to baby aspirin. My electrophysiologist provides me 2 options: 1) rhythm control meds and 2) Ablation procedure. I have not considered because I have no symptoms. My is permanent because everytime I use my portable EKG device, it indicates afib. My doctor also confirmed!

  • Hi Glen

    I'm no expert but I can't understand why your cardio says you have permanent AF and then takes you off the anticoagulant.

    As far as I know, persistent and permanent AF is a matter of terminology. Ablation success rates are better with persistent AF.

    I resisted having an ablation sooner, and now regret that. I too had no symptoms of note.

    Forgive me If my opinion is not welcome when you did not ask for advice.

  • Persistent is when continuous and permanent is used when dr and patient have agreed no more treatment such as ablation cardio version etc. Still have meds needed of course

  • I have permanent AF. In a the letter about a consultation with a locum cardiologist he said persistent. I questioned him on that at the next appointment (English is not his first language) and said they are both the same thing. I did not ague about it.

  • they are the same but definition changes with decision re future treatment

  • I would be asking why my atriums are enlarged guess you had an echo,?

    Surprised as the others by the baby aspirin considering your in permanent afib

    My brov seeingEP tomorrow to discuss ablation

    Your too young not to discuss those issues

    Dr Gupta Yorkshire cardiologist has a great web site and he answers your concerns,

    Quote,,,,Just love Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Wonderful caring person. He has certainly helped me and I appreciate him al lot.

  • This sounds pretty bizarre. I would seek a second opinion and see an EP pretty soon. Good luck

  • I can identify with your situation......I have ongoing AF and thankfully, like you, I have no symptoms. Its quite shocking to feel like a million bucks and out of the blue someone turns you into a "heart patient"......at least that's how I felt..... that was nearly ten years ago and I still can't believe my heart isn't working right (unless I put my fingers on my carotid artery!) Also like you, I cringed at the idea of taking meds for the rest of my life, especially with the "risks" of stroke associated with taking the pills and not taking them....so, I get where you're coming from. All that said, I have been consistently told that AF is not something to worry about, but that it does need some management, I.e. taking an anti coagulant, and not riding a bike without a helmet or joining a knife-throwing act......

    Take some deep breaths and enjoy the holiday season.


    in California.

  • Your potential serious problem is pulmanary hypertension. Untreated this could be debilitating. You need complete workuo to determine risks and treatment

  • There is a good blog out there which will be of interest to you - this guy is in permanent AF and runs marathons etc. afibrunner.com

  • I am also in persistant AF I can be cardoverted to NSR but only for a short time, that determines the diagnoses of "persistant" AF if I didn't cardioconvert it would be diagnosed as "Permanent" I am pretty much symptom free and therefore the risk of an Ablation" although small doesn't make sense. The Ablation route is mostly based on benefit verses risk. In terms of medication i take Apixiban and 2.5 bisoprolol. The taking of aspirin for AF as long been discredited. No one "likes" taking pills but sometimes its necessary...the alternative is much worse.

  • Just thinking aloud really, but I wonder if the risk vs benefit equation for any treatment can be focused down on the individual rather than large population groups.

    That would make it easier for patients to make these difficult decisions.

    I wonder also if we are influenced by the words used. If we talked about the RISK of NOT taking Warfarin rather than the BENEFIT of TAKING it , we might make a different decision.

    Sorry just rambling now.....

  • No not rambling Badger - very pertinent question. All stats are collected from quantity and normally referred to as ‘herd’ statistics which calculate the % per population and reduce risk factor accordingly.

    Individual medicine is near, but not quite not here so gathering information and making a judgement is not at all clear and one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do,

    Having recently suffered a TIA - with Paroxymal AF - A/Cs definitely but I have dropped all the rest.

  • Glenpointe - please drop the baby aspirin unless specifically advised by a cardiologist for reason other than AF - the risk of GI bleed from daily baby aspirin is high and it will do nothing to reduce your risk of stroke from AF.

    Please visit the AFA website and read up about AF, knowledge is power!

    And keep on running if you feel well but wear a monitor and watch your heart rate.

    Best wishes.

  • HEY GLENPOINTE, sorry to have to say this but, welcome to the club, im a 57 year old male and in my 40's i use to run daily 5 miles a day plus weights when one day running i just knew something was not right with me, kind of felt my heart racing irractically and when i stopped running, an hour later my heart was still beating rapidly. sure enough went to the doctors and found out i had atrial flutter and after my first ablation that was sussesful, only lasted about 6 months then i became afib, and now after 3 ablations númerous cardio versions that never worked until this last one and only because they kept me on a meditación called flecanaide that contains the heart rythym, am i in normal rythym now for the past year. i work out gradually, but i don't over do it, it is a change of life... goodluck, cut back on the hard workouts, at least thats what i was told from my cardiologist a few, and also my arrythmia specialist. wish you the best and you will be alright, so many of us live with it...

  • Couldn't agree more in relation to the herd statistic comment. Sadly, its all thats available just now. Personally, i take the view the more we learn about this AF condition the more our judgement and decision making become more "self" focussed. We will never become "experts" but we certainly become expert patients so we can discuss our condition with our Drs and between us make decisons based on OUR Individual needs rather than needs based on the premise of herd statistics although they will always be the starting point...just my humble opinion.

  • Hi all, I am wondering which part of the heart does the rhythm medication control? I wear the Garmin heart rate monitor all the time, and it shows my heart rate is in normal range, should I need to take medication? I feel normal but EKG test results show my atria quivering. If I take medication, does it stop the quivering?

  • Rhythm control meds like Flecainide , Propafenone, Sotalol are used to stop the atria quivering as you put it. To prevent the AF

    Rate control meds to slow the AF.

    Does your Garmin record the same rate as taking your pulse ? My HRM doesn't.

    Hertbeat321 and Etheral are right of course. Your enlarged right atrium needs to be explained and perhaps investigated further.

  • With no symptoms, aFib is an afterthought. The indiscriminate use of anti-coagulants has its own risks which outweigh their benefits (i.e. bleeding). aFib is a risk factor, but not the risk factor to necessitate anti-coagulant therapy. Magnesium can't hurt. Look holistically at your situation before adding drugs or supplements.

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