AF Association
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Is it possible my afib going away?

Maybe this is not realistic? I was diagnosed 5 months ago. Had four episodes in the first three months. All happened during i was sleeping. Then I realized metoprolol shouldn’t be prescribed to vagal afib and weaned off it. Also I added a cocktail of supplements and exercise daily. I also do some stretches before bedtime. Since then I haven’t had an episode knocking on wood. It’s now on 82nd day from last episode. Should I be positive and wish it not to happen again? Or is it even possible or realistic?

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Hi Li :-) I hope you are right . I know from experience AF can go away for a long time (I didn't have a name for it at the time) only to return so I would say celebrate the absence but stay on you guard.

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I've lost count of the number of times over the past 25+ years that I 've thought I had said goodbye to AF . However must keep optimistic .

Keep on doing what you are doing and hope for the best. I have in the past been AF free for a 4/5 year stretch....supported by drug Disopyramide which incidentally is very effective drug for vagally mediated AF

Sandra

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Hi Sandra, may I know at what age you afib started? I’m the past 25 years, have you ever got the peace of mind and not thinking about afib for most of the time? Did you have ablation?

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Hi li17

My afib started at age 59. I had an ablation at 60 and was fine for 5 years, then slowly but surely it returned and I had several attacks of afib where my heart was close or over the 300 bpm...and I would have to be converted....and, of course, at that point I was put on stronger and stronger meds until I got to a point where I couldn't even bend down or go for a short walk without it rearing its ugly head. As I said in my update since I quit taking all the heavy duty meds (and I have been on several) I have been feeling so very much better. I am now 72 and am hoping to stave off another ablation and things seem to be working out very well.

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AF started at age 48....2 children still at junior school. Now 73. Certainly to begin with...for some years even....it was all consuming. Very difficult to get any info on the subject. I would scour local library and pounce upon anything relevant. No AFA then !!

As years go by you learn to live with it. AF may be in your life , just don't let it be your life.

I've had 3 ablations and 17 dc cardioversions. At present I am 9+ months post my last DCCV and feeling quite optimistic.

For me the drug Disopyramide was the only one which had any great effect.

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My first episode in 2001 lasted eight days during which time i was hospitalised. I was discharged without any medication except i was advised to pop a daily aspirin. My next ‘attack’ came nine years later! Subsequent events have been a little more regular but still infrequent.

As, i think it is, Bob D says ‘if you have AF you have AF.

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Nine years without an episode, that's amazing. When the second episode hit, did you notice anything special?

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It makes me picture you having a whiteboard which says

82 days since AF.

that you update the number every day :)

I've had similar thoughts. My AF remains infrequent, I had a spell where I had a few episodes within a few weeks, but since then I have gaps of 2 or 3 months. Have my lifestyle changes, modest though they are, made a crucial difference? Possibly.. But I suspect it's delaying the inevitable; the typical story is that over time AF will progress.

But enjoy the pause. Try not to get too consumed with waiting for it to happen again!

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Yeah, kind of, haha. Every morning I wake up at 4am and felt relief that I didn't have afib for another day. But this is also kind of a suffer to live in fear. I'm working on my fear, but it's been six months and I still can't get to the peace of mind yet. I know the best way to live with this thing is to live every day without afib as normal as possible. Easy to say though.

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Thanks everyone that replied. I know it might be not realistic to hope it just go away forever. Being 37, and with three very young kids, I just hope I can really enjoy the days with them and grow with them. But his thing just keeps running in my mind. But I’m trying hard to get the peace of mind, really hope one day I can achieve it.

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You've done well to sort out the meds for vagal AF- that's what I had to do!!

I found my potassium level when in A and E was below range so upped potassium rich food and had no more AF for 3 years. Then one short episode last April and one short this december- but I'd had a very bad chest infection and a soup only week ( so low potassium I think). Life style changes can help - your AF may return but it won't necessarily be a major problem- just take things as they come...

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It's sad that I have to sort it out by myself. I've seen four cardiologist and two EP and had mentioned all my episodes happened during I was sleeping. Both EP acknowledged this is vagal type but both of them said the treatment is the same. After tons of research, I insisted to wean off metoprolol and finally got 'approval' from EP. I feel so much better physically after weaning off metoprolol.

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On one study 19 per cent of the people put on the wrong drugs for vagal F ( beta blockers and digoxin) were in permanent AF by the end of the year and none Who were on the correct medication- so very important that you, like me. Found this out. I took it up with those organising the pathway locally and they accepted the studies and it’s now in the guidance not to prescribe these for vagal AF patients. Be good if you let them know where you live as saves others harm

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Are you in the UK? I'm in the US. Seems not many EP know that. Or maybe they're just not up to date. After my first episode, the EP doctor and cardiologist on site prescribed metoprolol. I had been taken them for the next three months and felt super tired at daytime and HR was down to 42 at night. Thank God I found out and wean it off. I actually doubt if metoprolol caused the three episodes following the first one.

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In the Uk. Agree a lot don’t know - vagal AF only patients are small number and it gets overlooked I think

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How long have you had afib and how often? I read somewhere (can't remember) says vagal lone afib is less progressive, is that true? And again, somewhere (can't remember either) says vagal afib might not response to traditional ablation. Any insight?

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Do you have that study handy? I was put on 25 mg metoprolol for atrial flutter which made my condition worse for I had the symptoms of vagal AF. I stayed on it for two months whereby I told my GP I wasn't going to take it anymore. Nevertheless, I went into persistent AF barely a year later, and went to Bordeaux, France for two ablations just to avoid going into permanent AF (our British Columbia, Canada system is very slow).

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This is the one stating vagal afib should take beta blocker.

afibbers.org/atrial_fibrill...

There’s another official article talks about this, but I can’t find it.

My own experience, I was put on metoprolol right after the first episode, and I took it for three months. This these three months I had another three episodes. After lot of research, I decided to wean off metoprolol, and since then I haven’t had any episode. And I hope I won’t have another one.

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Hi Li17 - I am 71 and have permanent AF. Looking back over the years I am sure that my AF started in my very early 40's, I am sure I was having AF bouts not panic attacks but it was put down to stress. From that time to when I was eventually diagnosed in 2014 with heart failure and AF, I have had long periods of no AF.

Stress is a big factor of AF so learn to keep as stress free as possible, diet is also important no caffine, alcohol is a trigger for most of us, spicy foods, MSG in chinnese food, processed foods,even chocolate is a trigger for me, so a good diet is essential, there are lots of post on the forums about this. Keep up your exercise. Have a look as some of the post re vagal AF some good information om about them as well. Best of luck with your journey, are you not on any meds now, perhaps a pill in pocket might be something for you to consider, ask your consultant.

Cassie

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Hi Cassie, thanks for demonstration long life with afib. I don't look forward to live in the fear of afib for years, but it's definitely a good thing for me as I have three very young kids. I want to be around for them.

When you say triggers, did you get an episode right after you take them? Especially stress, how do you know it's a trigger? Did you get an episode while you had huge stress onset? Don't take me wrong, I'm in no way challenging your words. I just wonder how to know stress is the trigger. As when my first episode happened that woke me up at 2am, I've been under huge stress for two months. But EP and cardiologists denied stress caused my afib. I've tried all possible triggers including the ones you listed, but none of them did a thing to me. The only thing I suspect was reading in bed before sleep, which I guess might have too much pressure on my neck and upper back so the nerve might have been affected.

Thanks.

Ken

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Stress is a well known cause of AF episodes, panic attacks are caused by stress i.e the heart starts to go into overdrive so if you have AF this will trigger it. It could be stress built over a period of time, or it can be stress of something actually happening at the time. I can sometimes get stressed at the silliest of things, for instance packing to go away, have to be ready at such such a time and panic I wonn't get it all done. My heart rate goes up and start to feel crap - so I calm my self down, sit down, do a bit of deep breathing and tell my self it's not the end of the world if I am a bit late. I just try nowadays to not let stress build up. Regarding food triggers ect I do not now drink, I did early on in 2014 have half a glass of red wine and within an hour my heart rate was up and I felt unwell. Chocolate, coffee any thing with caffine in it I get a reaction within a couple of hours.

I gave up coffee many years ago as I accidently found out it made me hyper. I am sure if when I was a child if I had been given a lot of fizzy drinks, coke ect I would have been one of those kids you hear about that are over hyper. We had few fizzy drinks as kids mainly orange squash.

You must try and not to dwell on your AF, I know it is difficult but your life can still be all that you want holidays included and if AF appears be prepared and it will not be as bad as you think.

Cassie

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Hi Cassie. I am puzzled. I have Permanent AF (PerAF) and my pulse rate is always uneven. I never have Paroxysms (PAF) and am never in NSR. How can you have PerAF combined with periods of no AF? How can Permanent not be permanent? Do you mean Persistent?

Handy

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Hi Handy - The years before 2014 when I was diagnosed with AF I was not in permanent AF, even when I was first diagnosed I was not in permanent AF - it was 6 months later that I was told that I was now in permanent AF. So over the years it had progressed from PAF to permanent.

Cassie

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I am puzzled by your time-line. You were diagnosed while PAF. Persistent occurs when AF lasts for longer than 7 days, and long-standing persistent at the one year mark. After that when you and the doctors agree not to get you back to sinus rhythm, then the condition is termed permanent. Granted we are talking semantics here, and some of the older texts had not arrived at the time-line "persistent." Thus, to be TOLD rather than AGREE to be "permanent" appears to be a semantic stumbling block.

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Think of it this way, you could have had migraine, IBS attack, common cold, in fact anything temporarily debilitating that is likely to repeat, and you would not be talking like that though in fact the effect would be much the same. Believe that AF is a nuisance you may have to put up with from time to time and enjoy your life 😊

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Thanks! This is a great attitude and pretty much the way I'm trying to approach to it. I once thought about it as a flu or cold. When treating these, we take medicine, and the docs never said the meds are for permanent cure, because it's almost guaranteed we'll get flu or cold again, and flu and cold could be fetal sometimes. And by thinking this, I feel a bit relief by seeing the medical field classify afib as incurable. Well, but the positive thought only lasted for a few seconds.

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Oh dear.......has anyone explained that AF is not fatal? What makes you afraid?

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I know that you mean well with your answer! Unfortunately it is not strictly accurate.

Afib can/will/does kill.....that is why you/I have medication - without treatment it could/would be bye bye. It is as many are testifying to liveable. ... that is if you look after yourself. The biggest fear from what I can see with many including myself; is a dilabating stroke/heart attack - death to many might be a blessing. Doctors also have a misguided, sometimes dismissive manner in saying similar to yourself, imo totally wrong. As already mentioned by myself in a another post, they might just as well be saying that it is safe to play on a motorway, and then adding - mind you if a truck comes along..........

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That was a perfect reply to someone suffering from high anxiety 😱 I'm speechless - no, scrub that, I'm not, but as my dear father-in-law used to say, God forgive me what I'm thinking!!!!!

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Yeah, I’m not only scared but desperate:(

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I am sensitive to others, but why sugar coat the truth. It is said that you can live with it - the proof of that is there to see! Having said that "If you do not look after yourself", it can see you off. Imo you do no "Adult" a favour by not telling the truth.

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The truth is much more complicated than your melodramatic presentation and needs to be presented in a careful and caring way to someone who is ready for it. We are all adults, parents and children at different times and in different circumstances and a truly helpful person should try to judge their audience accordingly.

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Buffafly or should that be snowflake? Having dealt with people/the general public for the best part of 40 + years, I feel that whilst some need to be treated with kid gloves - others do not. li17 displays a natural younger persons worries, having said that, she as I thought/he as I now know, is a very fit and active person who if I am any judge will still be trying to do stuff that they were doing as a 18/19 year old. Whilst I am not trying to scare or be hard (unintended pun) hearted, I am not going to sugar coat this condition, so that they think that it is alright to keep on pushing themselves hard.

We were all no doubt worried when we were first diagnosed with this condition, to then carry on as if nothing was wrong would be crazy. If someone goes on to live due to my so called "Melodramatic" illustration.......then I am more than happy.

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How comforting you are. I feel for your spouse should you have one, which l doubt.

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A silly reply - married 50 years this August 3rd - you obviously know nothing about me.

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I know one thing about you ... and that is that l feel entirely sorry for you and yours. Adieu.

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Nice to know that you have done something today 😂

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Great answer!

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After my heart bypass I kept getting infrequent short bouts of AF which seemed to be triggered by eatting salmon of all things. But when they fitted a Holter monitor of course my heart behaved and nothing was found. However after four years it became far more regular and I had a very successful ablation.

Thus whilst your AF probably hasn't gone away, it is in abeyance so you may as well not worry about it until it does come back big time. This could be a month, a year, or ten years, but until it does your EP will have little idea where to ablate anyway.

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You say that you are 37 years of age with 3 young children + you are/have been stressed, you are up at 4.00am every morning and you exercise every day! The question is; are you really looking after yourself as much as you think you are? In reality you would have to be going to bed at something like 8.00pm to get your proper rest - as a mum that you are.....I don't think that is going to happen. You may be trying to cram too much into your day every day - something has got to give!

I can remember going to bed shattered (work,work,work), knowing on many occasions (far too many) that I would have to be up 3 to 4 hours later. I swear that when the alarm went off......my heart felt it before I heard it, ie waking up with a jerk/startled. I did it for years - it is now that I am paying the price. Just my thoughts and a bit of food for thought -so to speak.

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Thanks for your reply. Im the daddy, not mom. I slept with the kids at around 9pm, so waking up at 4am is not too bad.

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I don't know where I got the mum bit from, perhaps it was the mention of the children that threw me - my apologies. Having said that, you still have a full day ahead being up that early.

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Exactly. I don’t know what to do after waking up at 4am. B fore afib, I used to be very active and passionate, and had lots of things to do whenever I have time. But now I’m so drained by afib and can’t really do much without thinking about afib. I’m so scared that my kids are so young. It’s a long and bumpy road ahead for me.

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It is natural to be scared/worried. At 21 years of age I had a massive thump in my chest - that was 49 years ago and the start of my palpitations, today I have (like many others) Afib and still kicking . You will be around for a long time if you look after yourself and treat everything in moderation. It is early days, with anxiety probably causing much of it as it is on your mind. You will see your children grow up - you will adjust - you will be alright.

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Thanks for the comforting words. I’ve felt a bit better after 5 months of diagnosis. But am still thinking about it 24/7. Yesterday I went to my kids school as a ‘watchdog’ and spent the day in a few classes with the kids. I have to say it was a good time and good memories for the kids. But I kept thinking if I didn’t have afib, what a wonderful life I could have, and I had it before. I feel the fear of not be able to take the kids to vacation or doing fun stuffs like before afib. And my personality has changed from creative, passionate, calm and positive to something I don’t feel like myself anymore.

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I'm 52, and the father of 3 young kids (8, 6, and 3) and I am in the same spot right now, constantly worrying about dying and leaving them in this cruel world, etc., I also live in the States but am English.

I was diagnosed a few weeks ago and must admit that though I've been exercising and trying to do the right thing, I keep having these "F&%$ it!" moments, and I eat crappy food, drink a few beers. It is the stress and I'm still battling to come back to myself. I know it's not easy, but please know others are on the same road. The biggest trigger for me is when I'm looking after the 3 kids alone and they're playing up, and being aggressive and loud towards me.

Just focus on the calm, and try to keep it there. Forgive yourself any transgressions and have a long-term aim to do the right thing, temperament, food, drink and relationship-wise.

How do you know you have vagal afib, by the way? I ask because I am on metoprolol and it seems to be working for me but I just wondered what the difference is between vagal and regular afib?

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Our kids are very close too, at age. 8, 5 and 3. Vagal afib normally happens when you rest, after exercise, after meals, at night or when you’re sleeping. Mine all happened when I was sleeping.

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Interesting, thanks. Eating is definitely a trigger for me. I also had an episode last October before I was diagnosed, where I had to go to the emergency room and they said it was a vasovagal response. Makes me wonder...Stress is now my main trigger as the beta blocker (Metoprolol) is definitely keeping things in line.

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How do you know stress is your trigger? Did you get an episode right away when you got stressed? I’ve been wondering how people would know.

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Yes, if my kids are doing the usual kid stuff (3 yr old standing on the arm of the sofa looking like he's going to fall, older kids screaming and arguing, etc.) I feel the response. It usually calms down with the Metoprolol, but sometimes can go for a while.

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The one thing that has made a very big difference to my Afib is....... try going to bed on a near empty stomach, by that I mean exclude all food, and any drinks that have any stimulant within them ie caffeine/alcohol/anything performance enhancing etc. It gives the heart less work to do in terms of trying to break the food down or the handling of any energy boosters digested. It might be difficult for you as you go to bed pretty early. In my case I am a bit of a night owl, so my last bite is a good 4/5 hours before my bedtime..........Just a thought.

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