AF Association
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Atrial flutter

Hi I could really do with some advice. I was admitted to hospital over the weekend and told I probably have atrial flutter and now waiting for a referral. I am absolutely terrified as I have no idea what it is or how dangerous it is. Can anyone help? Thanks

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Hi Lotty - Atrial flutter is a regular irregularity of the electrics of right atria - the top right chamber of the Heart. In itself, it is not life threatening but sometimes it can feel as though it is. It can be treated.

May I suggest that you visit the AFA website and download information about AFl (AF = Atrial Fibrillation Which is an irregular, irregularity of the left atria) as AFl can sometimes trigger AF if not well controlled.

heartrhythmalliance.org/afa...

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Hi thank you for replying. So if it becomes af is that more serious?

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No, just an Arrythmia in a different place but having both together isn’t very nice I can assure you so if you can avoid it by successfully treating it, I would recommend it! Ablation therapy for AFl is a much easier procedure but some people are stabilised with medications. I have a mix of both and I actually feel worse with AFl, haven’t a clue why?

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Welcome to the forum. CDreamer hits the nail on the head, and the website has some good information.

Any diagnosis relating to the heart is scary, and people saying it's "not serious" doesn't really do much to relax you when it first happens. I think it's safe to say we've all been there "back in the day" with the fear and the downward moments..... but there is a lot to read into that is useful and it's not all doom and gloom.

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I just keep thinking if it happens again that I’m just going to collapse a die!! I’m trying to stay calm but at the moment it’s not working x

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That is a very normal reaction I can assure you. I think everyone on this forum will recognise that reaction! Anxiety is the travelling companion to arrythmias, especially when you are a newbie. I am sure you don’t want to have to get used to it - but we do tend to. Finding coping strategies for the anxiety is very, very important as being anxious will increase your HR (heart rate) and that will make you more symptomatic. Slow breathing techniques are the first line, self help method. Daily Mindfulness practice also helps as does any medetive type practice.

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Extremely unlikely you will die unless you are trying to do an iron man or marathon at the time. Over a million people in UK have AF or similar and yes diagnosis is scary but the highest risk is that of stroke so you should talk to your doctor about your risk assessment as you may need to take anticoagulants to reduce your risk. Do read all you can at AF Association as suggested as knowledge is the power to dispel fear.

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Hi Lotty...yes it is frightening particularly at the beginning. As Bob has suggested do read up all you can on the AF Association website.

I have had countless episodes of A/flutter in addition to A/fibrillation, in fact I am having clusters of flutter at night at the present time. When they persist for days on end unrelenting I find it often worse than A fib. I have had electrical cardioversion to stop these in the past when the rate was persistently high.

Do chase up your referral if you feel you are having to wait too long.

Sandra

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It sure if I’ve already posted this. When ambulance came my heart was at 150 and after two hours went back to normal on its own by the time I got to the hospital. Is that normal? Sorry for all the questions x

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!50 is not that high actually and many people have much higher rates in AF. I think my all time record was 225 many years ago. "Normal" is considered to be between 60 and 100 by the way. Paroxysmal conditions which come and go on their own are often hard to diagnose as they never seem to happen when a doctor is around. Maybe we should all marry doctors and be cured?

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Although I have atrial flutter so I will have to do some reading up. Just wish I wasn’t a constant nervous wreck x

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I have discovered that stress can be a trigger to a episode of AFIB. Also I have a great success with keeping episodes under control by keeping my digestive tract as healthy as possible. I also take liquid minerals in orange juice morning and evening. In my case, my heart is in good shape, it is my Vagus nerve being upset from digestive problems that trigger my episodes. I realized that an episode would after a meal, or when I had eaten too much of some food .. like garlic. I have eliminated caffeine, big amounts of chocolate, big amounts of sugars products and milk which I love. If I feel uncomfortable indigestion or gas, I immediately take something to relive the condition. Be aware of when an episode occurred and discover your triggers. This is my personal experience. I am not a physician. I Just remembered minerals keep my nerves healthy. I work on the theory to fix the trigger. Not my heart. My heart is fine.

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That actually makes sense as I’m very stressful person which doesn’t help x

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Plus I suffer with acid reflux and leading up to this attack I had been drinking quite heavily that week so maybe that caused the episode x

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I do lotty, I take lanzoprozole daily for it, and I stopped alcohol as its a major trigger for me, fast heartbeat instantly and afib follows, I stopped drinking because of it.

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And has that helped? X

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Totally, its a life Changer and Wake Up call Lotty, but watching not to overload on Food, spicy stuff, and acholol set me off, still can enjoy stuff, but, avoid things that trigger episodes, I have found that the bisoprolol really does lower my rate when it jumps exercising etc, so gives me much more confidence and so relaxes me. All This has a knock on effect making you feel better, please stop worrying I really feel for you, I've been in that lonely dark place when it started, but it really isn't so bad, and it's as Bob says very manageable and not a life threatening condition mostly just Bloody frustrating mostly. I started walking and cycling again its helped no end, I think mentally as well as strengthened my heart etc.

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Do you have atrial flutter? And that is controlled by meds? Thank you, you have been really helpful x

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Yes that's quite normal. You will learn how to cope with this with experience. There are ways which may help such as CDreamer has suggested. Myself , when this happens at night I prop myself up on extra pillows and practise slow deep breathing to help relaxation. During the day I just go about in slow motion!

PS...i can beat Bobs rate...have touched 250 last year!

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So you don’t have to go to hospital? Even if it lasts a couple of hours at constant 150? Xx

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I have been at GP s surgery and they have referred me to hospital in the past. I would wait longer than 2 hours but I realise when you are new to all this that 2 hours at 150 is frightening in spite of what anyone says.

My very fast rates usually flip into Atrial fibrillation and stay there so a visit to A&E eventually happens anyway.

Do read as much as you can on the subject which should help to allay some of your anxiety. Meanwhile if you want to ask any more questions then fire away !

Sandra x

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Thank you, I am still really panicing but the comments on here have definitely helped. Can they always get it back to normal when you go to hospital, hate going there x

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It really is a personal thing

. A and E stands for accident and emergency and these arrhythmias are neither. They are chronic conditions, Some people have to be hospitalised as they are so badly affected but as you get used to this condition and understand it more, and above all understand how it affects YOU I am sure you will cope much better. I went over to France to see my sister a few years ago with a rate of 140 (controlled by drugs) and nothing bad happened other than being more tired and failing to sleep too well. Two weeks after I returned I had a cardioversion which returned me to NSR which was welcome.

As you learn more you will feel more confident I am sure. We have all been there trust me!

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A cardio version absolutely terrifies me. Do they not use medication instead? X

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Lotty they will try medication before a cardioversion. There are several that they will try. If a cardioversion is necessary, and I realise how frightening they sound to the uninitiated (!), then that is not really anything to worry about, believe me. I had my 18th ( in 25 years) 2 months ago so am a bit of an expert in that respect ...

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Thank you so much xx

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Piece of cake. They put a canula in your arm and inject fairy juice and while you are away playing with the fairies your heart jumps back into rhythm. Then you wake up feeling fine.

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Hi Lotty,

I had an electrical cardioversion 2 years ago in the ED when my last clear bout of AF was going on a bit too long (9 hours). (I don't often go into AF or AFl since I've been on the anti-arrhythmic drug Flecainide. But sometimes my blood level of the drug drops (eg during gastro illness) or the stress in my life is extraordinary.) Anyway I asked my emergency department doctor, an absolute angel, whether she would choose nothing, or chemical cardioversion, or electrical cardioversion, if it was her body doing this? She said electrical, and that was my feeling too. So she and 2 other wonderful women nurses did it. I felt so loved, cared for, I just let go and relax. That doesn't sound like much, but I can tell you, I HATE being a patient, HATE being in hospital, HATE having things done to me, get PETRIFIED that something bad will happen, usually my blood pressure and heart rate go up just because of the stress I create for myself imagining what can happen just being there! So you can see that when I say I could relax it's pretty big for me! So off we went to do the electrical cardioversion and my doctor said I'd feel a bit wobbly after wards. But you know what? I felt FANTASTIC! Like my battery had been recharged. Loved it. Felt so good for ages, as if I'd never have problems again. I might have had a 5 minute bout during an illness this year... but I'm glad I had that cardioversion in 2016 and I'd have another if it was required. My mum had quite a few; she said they were no problem, and as long as it helped keep her condition under control she was fine with it. (BTW she died of cancer, not heart failure!)

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It depends how you feel. My GP told me if I have chest pain that shows I am not getting enough oxygen to the vital parts (heart and brain) so I must go to A&E immediately. Otherwise you are OK but as Bob says don't push yourself until you feel ill. I hate going to hospital especially as they don't actually do anything except monitor you (in my experience) so I try to avoid it.

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Do you have atrial flutter? X

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I had AF and Flutter, had an ablation for both. Unfortunately the AF came back but not, as far as I know, the flutter.

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Does your flutter normally stop on its own at home when you had it. Mine lasted for 2 hours then when I got to hospital it had already stopped on its own!! X

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I'm not sure how often I had flutter. My cardiologist only mentioned it when he was talking about having an ablation and he said it would be for both. I used to have episodes lasting for days but now it is only about four hours max. Flutter ablation is much easier than the AF procedure.

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Lotty, i have been diagnosed with flutter and fibrillation over the last few years. When it kicks in for me it usually stays until some medical intervention, so i have had occasions where i have been out of rhythm for months at a time

On only one occasion my heart went back into rhythm on its own but that was almost 9 months after going into flutter, so i am envious that you've reverted quickly without intervention

However during these periods i have still managed to get on with things and can even still exercise (with some limitations). Everyone experiences the symptoms differently

It's not the end of the world just the start of a new chapter

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But mine was beating at 150 constantly when in atrial flutter!! Was yours running constantly that fast for that long??

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When i had my first episode it was about the 150bpm mark for 4 days until i was sent to the hospital by my GP.

I was given bisoprolol which brought my rate down to a more acceptable level. I was then on bisoprolol and an anticoagulant during all my subsequent episodes.

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And that was atrial flutter? Sorry for all the questions x

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My initial diagnosis was fibrillation, but my most recent diagnosis was flutter

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When you are in atrial flutter to you always go to hospital or take meds at home? X

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No i just continue to take meds at home as usual.

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And the meds normally control your atrial flutter? X

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Anticoagulant is normally recommended. Bisoprolol kept the rate down.

Other than that i was able to carry on with most of my normal tasks.

I had an ablation in February and am currently on no meds

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Thank you for all your help and advice, it has definitely helped a little bit x

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That's what this forum is good for. I think majority of us had concerns when we encountered this condition, and therefore found this site to help & reassure

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Hello. If they got an ECG of you while symptomatic that is great news! A lot of people with paroxysmal symptoms never manage to get a firm diagnosis because by the time they get to hospital everything is normal. So while it may not feel like it right now you are actually very lucky! Once they have a diagnosis then different treatment options can be considered.

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They printed of the machine that they hooked me up to when the ambulance arrived but it had stopped by the time I got to hospital I’m guessing that the print out will be kept and passed on? X

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Hi Lotty - I’ve nothing to add to the above at this point, really. Obviously the diagnosis came as a shock to you; we’ve all been there. In my case, a year ago my GP called an ambulance to whisk me off to A&E when I thought all I had was a persistent cough. Sent home from there with a referral to a cardiologist who subsequently diagnosed “heart failure” 😱 ! Goodness knows why they can’t use a less emotive term !

No doubt you’ll be seeing some specialists shortly so I’m sure you will come back with other questions. There are plenty of knowledgeable people here who are more than willing to help you.

Take care and don’t worry.

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Hi,first of all welcome.Please don't be frightened.On this site you will find great advice and support,from members and support staff,also links to other sites and research .

I have Atrial Flutter and Atrial Fibrillation ( paroxysmal,just means it comes and goes)

Flutter affects the top right chamber of your heart,it is a fast regular arrhythmia if that makes sense! It goes round and round the chamber in a loop pattern.It is easier to , "fix" than AFib.It will not kill you,but is scary.U can be controlled reasonably well with medications,and will most likely have an ablation,which has a very good success rate.

A/Fib is in the top left chamber and is where the electric impulses fire off randomly,causing irregular beats.More tricky to manage,but in itself not life-threatening.Medication and ablation therapy offer the best management,and many people with AFib need to be projected against stroke risk with anti coagulation tablets.

Have a good look around the forum,hope you feel more settled soon.

Best wishes

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When you’re in atrial flutter and your heart is racing do you go to hospital each time or are you on medication to take at home? X

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Hi,was taken in first time I had Flutter,one week after starting a powerful drug to fix the Fibrillation,as it was very high,and had chest pain.Since t hen,just medications.Waiting for ablation for both sides now .Hope you're feeling better xx

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I’m getting there!! How did they treat your flutter in hospital? And if you have s very fast heart rate at home now in flutter you just take meds? X

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Hi,glad you feel bit better.When I'm in flutter,I can take an extra tablet if I need it.Also,rest and hydration help.I also find slow deep breath s,relaxing the diaphragm,help a lot.I use a mindfulness exercise and sometimes a relaxation CD with gentle music on helps.

anxiety makes us all worse of course!

Xx

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Sorry for all the questions but when your in flutter mine was racing at 150 for over 2 hours!! Is that what yours is like? X

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Ask away! My best effort was 180 bpm,for over ,4 hours which they took down with medications in A and E.Since then I have occasionally had 150 odd runs ,varying in length.Th more I worry the longer it takes to settle,vicious circle! Flecanaide helps me a lot xxxx

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Does anyone know if ectopic beats can cause the atrial flutter? X

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Hi Lotty - As everyone says try not to worry - I know it's hard but keep calm. I expect that you have already been told to avoid alcohol and caffine as this often triggers a AF event. Some folks seem to be able to drink small amounts but for me caffine ,alcohol and chocolate are no no's for me. Some people have other food triggers, if you read some of the posts on here you will find out more info. Also keeping hydrated is very important, plenty of water, not just in this very warm weather but everyday. When you do see your specialist take a list of questions you want answers to. I have been admitted 3 times to A & E once with fluid on my lungs and twice with chest infection which all caused breathing difficulties and high heart rate and had to stay in hospital for 4/5 days. So breathing difficulties and chest pain you should go to A & E.

Cassie

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Hi Lotty

Sorry you’ve been through this. I was admitted to hospital in April with Atrial Flutter. I went to the GP because my heart was racing for 2 days and they rang my cardiologist who said to go to the hospital. They tried chemical cardioversion unsuccessfully that afternoon and the next day did an electric cardioversion which did work. I had a general anaesthetic so it was fine. In June my heart went bang and my heart suddenly began racing again at 150, same as when I was in AFlutter previously. I didn’t panic but rang a health helpline to ask for advice - I thought I might have just been able to take extra medication. They called an ambulance to take me to hospital (I did get a little panicky at this stage). By the time I was in the ambulance in an ECG my heart rate was over the place and they believed it was atrial fibrillation which I hadn’t previously had. The ED doctor liaised with my cardiologist who asked for me to be admitted and given extra meds. Thankfully overnight I went back into normal sinus rhythm. My initial heart problem (and the reason I had seen a cardiologist in the first place was post operative SVT).

It is normal to be scared when diagnosed with a heart issue. I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t stress too much but if you are uncomfortable or in pain seek medical advice. Don’t think you need to tough it out. I’m hoping my AFlutter and AFib ablations scheduled next month will fix me up. Hopefully you’ll have a wonderful team who can look after you and get you feeling better.

Kaz

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Hi Lotty, firstly welcome to the forum. Echoing what all the helpful comments above have said I was admitted a couple of years ago with very similar outcome, and went back in sinus Rythm overnight in hospitial after flecanide IV. Its scary, you feel helpless and alone, its totally normal to feel that way. Since I joined this forum I've become much more informed, drugs now control any issues , awaiting an ablation and thanks mostly to the sound advice and people on here, who are so kind and take time out to try reasurre and give advice and help , I'm now mostly fine with it all . Staying calm is easier said than done I know , but lifestyle changes have helped dramatically for me, walking each day, and now gentle cycling, but importantly realising its not life threatening and relaxing is the biggest single factor in coping. Be kind to yourself, rest when tired, don't feel alone, your not, it's so much more common a condition than you realise, like Bob says anticoagulants if necessary, for me it gives me a little peace of mind, a clotting safety net , and as you read all the information from CD and jedi and Yatsura all of the advice off others, please absorb it, and relax, as the mind moves the heart I find. Importantly, Stay cool, keep hydrated with at least 2/3 litres a day. Wish I could send some confidence over I've gained coping with this, it's not as bad as it seems, trust me I'm no hero, it isn't such a big deal, just the initial shock is scary, I hope you feel better reading all the comments above, the people on here really do help and have a wealth of knowledge and great sense of humour. Hang in and relax x

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Hi we’re you admitted with atrial flutter? That they slowed down with meds x

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Afib and fast tachycardia, 190-210bpm for a good couple of hours, flecanide IV 200 stopped it first time. Its Developed over last 5 years or so, though I think I had the odd thing before just put it down to over exertion or a "feeling off . Now on bisoprolol 2.5mg to control rate and 100-200mg flecanide pill in pocket when required, still there if I need it. My experiences at the hospitial haven't been good here in the NE, they seem ill informed about AF and uninterested to be quite Frank mostly , and I have found that I can manage most of the symptoms at home now and calmness helps in abundance , not worth the trip to hospital for me personally, though if I did have bad chest, arm pain I'd get checked out and that's only my views . If your really worked up like I was a few Weeks ago after a 2 week run of Afib and fast tachy then I found the 5mg diazapam relaxed me enough over the 2-3 days I had it, to get back to being me, and I can't drink alcohol as its one of my triggers I found, so the slightly merry feeling from the diazapam was funnily enough like a nice Wine, only kidding, I think 😏. But honestly once you accept it, and get proactive with lifestyle changes and destress it makes it easier.

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I agree with all the above! I got diagnosed with paroxysmal AF a couple of years ago though I know I’ve had it for longer. I soon went into AF all the time. Been taken to hospital a few times with high heart rate but now am a bit more laid back about the whole thing. I only go to hospital when it’s a persistehigh rate with chest pain and difficulty with breathing. I have recently had an ablation so it’s fingers crossed it continues to work.

Read up as much as you can. I find that drs can be a bit blasé about it. Maybe it’s because they treat it so often.

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Hi Lotty321

Welcome to the crazy heart club. Open all hours, no subscription required, Your body has just served notice that it is not happy. If you have a dig around this site you will find all sorts of information regarding pills, procedures and possible lifestyle choices. There are quite a few videos from eminent medical people and stories of changes to diet and activity levels are much discussed.

However be careful. This site is addictive. Many contributors should be out looking for the holy grail but instead spend many a happy moment trying to find what causes this affliction. Even more roam restlessly through the digital data that is stored here looking for the true magic cure.

Some will even say that they have found the cure and departed back to full fitness and a normal heart rate and are out enjoying life, getting fit, losing weight, enjoying a healthy diet and being inspired by our wonderful countryside and national parks. Some take it to extremes and join the national trust.

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Love it lanc2! Made me laugh! Crazy Heart Club!!...

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I had paroximal AF for 2 years controlled by an light drugs regime. My resting HR could easily be 165 and much higher when exercising.

However I had no symptoms other than the high hr , no pain no breathlessness.

Unfortunately the disease progressed and I spent 8 days with my HR between 1r0 and 190 resting and I was shattered. I had to be cardioverted by flecainide infusion and was then put on a very intrusive drugs regime. Consequently I had a left pvi cryo ablation in January 29 this year. Stopped the AF. No problems back at work in a week

After 9 days I developed atrial flutter. Completely different story. Very tired and breathless with any movement even if just walking into the kitchen to make a cuppa. It was re-entrant flutter at 140 ish bpm. I was on flecainide for the AF and this actually can promote flutter and make it more irregular and more uncomfortable .( like a bag of ferrets in your chest!). I had to have another ablation on the 26th February to stop the flutter. However I was shattered after having it for 3 weeks and it took a bit to get fit again. However I am now off all drugs since May 15 and feeling quite good. I was advised by by EPs registrar that flutter ablation s are 95% succesful and they are less risky than AF ablations. If you are not in flutter now then you will be but I would not put up with a high hr if you can avoid it. I understand persistent flutter can cause AF ( I am not a doctor so you need to check this out). When you are in flutter your atria can be quivering much faster than your hr .I understand it can run at 1:1 2:1 or 3:1 ratios.

If i recall Dr John Mandrola has a good description of flutter on his website. Worth a read.

Incidently my local a&e have told me any persistent high hr above 130 ( that I cannot get rid of by meds I had access to) then go and see them. Contradicts what others have written but that's what I have done since I started with all this.

Regards

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Particularly agree with last para...ive had same advice. Must depend on what area we live in !

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Hi lotty welcome to the club haha.i had cardio version but went back in a f six weeks after.on the above meds but waiting for another cardio.this frightend the death out of me when it happened but the gud people on this forum helped me so much.take a deep breath and remember ti breathe and dont let your emotions get the better of u.you wont drop dead you will be fine.thinking of you x

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drjohnm.org/2013/08/atrial-...

Lotty321

If you did not find it this is the Dr John Mandrola link I mentioned earlier

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He makes it sound so simple, and nothing to worry about!! X

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Hi lotty sorry reply took so long have you got all your answers because I'll try to help if not

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Hi, yes mostly just wondering if when your in atrial flutter do you always need a cardioversion!! Or does medication work? My heart was beating at 150 for over two hours then when I got to hospital it had stopped on its own! X

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There's a medicine called amioderone that's not everybody's cup of tea but it can get you out of at and keep you out it's quite expensive so good luck getting it out of your gp

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I meant af sorry

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