AF Association
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Long episode of AFib

I am 13 hours into an AFib episode having taken verapamil at the start which hasn’t helped. I am on the NHS waiting list for ablation & cant tolerate beta blockers. I’m very concerned as I haven’t had an episode this long before and was wondering if I go to A & E is there something they could give me to stop it? I would be so grateful for any advice.

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If you have any chest pain or are passing out then go. Otherwise all they will do is observe and discharge later. This time of year they have enough to do but caveat pain etc. . It is unlikely they would do anything else mindful of your planned future.

Many people are in AF ALL the time.

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Hi Maura - What symptoms are you having?

If your heart rate is high, say over 130 and you are feeling ill then I would say go to A&E. Hospitals vary in what they offer, most as Bob has said just keep you in for a few hours or so until it reverts to normal and after a few times of doing this you soon learn not to bother going. Others will offer a cardioversion, depending on just what your heart is doing.

Are you on your own?

Jean

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No my husband is here. Thanks for your reply Jean. The verapamil slowed the rate down but the rhythm hasn’t changed, and I’m feeling very light headed the most I’ve had an episode for is four hours this has been the same overnight and the rhythm seems different

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If you're feeling very light headed I would go to A&E.

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I agree with Jean. They can convert you with meds or cadioinversion.

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Sorry for stupid question but what is cardioversion?

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That's where they deliver a shock to your heart to get it back into normal rhythm. Usually done under a general anaesthetic, but I was once offered one without. The shock of being told that soon put me back into normal rhythm so it wasn't needed.

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Oh my goodness! How long do your episodes last? That’s the last question I promise

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My episodes can last from hours to months.

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The ones that last months are normally cured eventually by a cardioversion.

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Thank you so much I really appreciate it

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Never worry about asking questions regarding AF and there's no such thing as a daft one.

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Thank you

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Hello Maura5 :-) long episodes of AF are scary aren't they particularly if you have lots of symptoms. You think' Am I going to stay like this forever' and worrying about it can actually make things worse.

As Bob says...''If you have any chest pain or are passing out then go to A&E'' and I would always do that otherwise I tell myself ...this won't kill you, stay calm, relax and breath slowly and deeply and soon I will be back to normal.

I hope you are back to normal soon ...

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Hi Maura5, Like you I get concerned when in AF for what seems like a ‘long time’. Last Sunday I went into it at 2.30pm and went back to normal at 9.30am on Monday a total of 19 hours. I kept in mind what other say on this forum unless I have pain or very dizzy then I stay at home. I tried breathing exercises don’t know if they would help you but worth a try. Hope you are out of your episode soon, regards Heather

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Thank you. How often do you get them and are they always that long?!

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Hi, I seem to get them two or three times a year, last one was in October the night before I was due to go to Portugal. That one lasted about 29 hours and with the help of the people on this forum I actually travelled to Portugal whilst in AF, glad I did as it went the morning after I arrived. I used to get really worried and sometimes I still have to get the help of this forum to cope. I use Bisoprolol as a PIP, sorry for late reply and hope you are now ok, Heather

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Hi Heather, still not quite there yet but better thank you. I’m so worried because we are due to go to the Far East in a few weeks and I’m thinking how can I go like this! What happens if it doesn’t stop? All this anxiety obviously making it worse, I’ve just got to learn to live with it I suppose. I am so grateful for this forum, I don’t feel so alone!

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Hi Maura. People here have given you good advice. Other things that might be useful are:

I have had loads of episodes over 11 yrs that have all (except the first) ended without any treatment, and every one felt like it wouldn't end at the time. Try to stay optimistic if you can.

There is a chemical form of cardioversion, which I was given on my first episode. This is basically a big dose of an anti-arrhythmia drug given slowly and intravenously by a doctor. I imagine this would be tried first before they crank up any shock paddles.

I have been told to stay at home for up to 48 hrs unless there are other symptoms. It can be scary but try to relax at home. Go in if you're worried by other symptoms.

It is usually fine to travel. I had my first ever skiing holiday in the Alps when I was 63. Just avoid remote stuff like trekking over the Antarctic. I always take any health documents (doctors letters, etc.) that would help a local doctor understand my history. Make sure your insurer knows what's going on. Go, and have a good time.

Hope this helps. Al

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Hi Al, thank you very much for your help, I appreciate it very much. Yes will contact my insurance company to advise them, good advice.

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I have been an AF patient for about 10 years and my cardiologists and my readings have emphasized the need to go into the hospital whenever an episode lasts for 10-12 hours. Most recently a different cardiologist urged that I wait only and hour or 2. The risks for a massively severe stroke are significant when you go back into sinus rhythm. I live in the US with medicare insurance along with medicare supplemental insurance and maybe that has something to do with my instructions but I doubt it

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