I’ve been confirmed as having AF a month ago. This is only after having to change health centres in Dundee. More than a year ago I presented with symptoms yet doctors at my previous surgery failed to think of the condition let alone investigate it. I now have several complications related to the condition and feel that the errant “professionals “ had more considerations for their budget spend than their patients health status. Is this a reflection of an endemic culture of medics who disregard medical evidence for as long as possible in order to score brownie points for praise cost and spend limitations?
Cost damage limitations: I’ve been confirmed... - AF Association
Ian you are even more of a cynic that I am!
The truth is that few GPs have much knowledge of Atrial Fibrillation unless they have a special interest in it . Add in how difficult it can be to catch symptoms as they happen and your story is all too familiar. I don't think it is incompetence or anything to which blame can be attached , just the reality of life these days. GPs are expected to know a bit about a lot of things. I would counter your view by saying that doctors as parts of their QOF should have a list a patients with AF so it is not in their interest to ignore it.
This mongrel condition presents to us all in different ways and there is no "classic" presentation which immediately triggers an " oh yes AF" response so again unless you present in front of the doctor and an ECG shows AF AT THAT PRECISE MOMENT diagnosis can be difficult.
In my own case ten years of lost opportunities came to an end when I moved house and GP to one who's mother had AF and who actually understood something about it and who guessed right and sent me for more tests. Sadly not too many of those about.
Bob, I’m open to all arguments as I’m I’m just getting to know about the condition myself. Therefore I accept your point that professional knowledge is not sufficiently widespread under consideration. I have to say though, if symptoms persist and are discounted by the GP for whatever reason, that is a failure in the face of good practice. In my case, I was obliged to change my GP to get the correct diagnosis. My cynicism is justified because of it.
I have to thank my present GP for recommending I buy Kardia software and touch pad that allows me to record each AF attack as it happens. The app is now on my iPhone and allows me to email the ECG trace to him in real time. This is documentary evidence of the events and has allowed speedy diagnosis of AF.
I reiterate that this app was recommended by my GP and in my view, worth the £100 invested in it.
I had one of the first Kardias on test years ago and agree they are great when trying to get a diagnosis. What does worry me is that many people do become obsessed with using them rather than getting on with life. I was one! Managing this OCD can be problematic with any such device so best be aware not to use willy nilly but only when needed. I realised that I already knew when things were out of kilter and since I had already been diagnosed the whole thing became a self perpetuating cycle of stress. Getting on with life in a positive way is SO important.
It may be different for me because I live in the States and in Boston, which is known as a medical center. I had no idea I had afib. None. I went to a new doctor for an initial exam and he found it while taking my pulse and confirmed right away with an EKG. He then sent me directly to a cardiologist and she sent me to an EP. Everyone seemed pretty concerned and I had a cardioversion within weeks and an ablation within a few months.
Ian, your current GP sounds like a first class practitioner that you obviously trust. A keeper, as they say.
My diagnosis of PAF took six years - even with an excellent GP. My description of ‘the symptoms which I had a couple of weeks ago’ were always about my problems with breathing. I hadn’t noticed anything about my heart rate or rhythm. I had ECG’s (useless as the PAF had gone), blood tests (all clear) and a lung function test (embarrassingly normal). If the AF can manage to hide from a thorough GP, how much worse if the GP is not clued in?
The best advice I got was from my husband who said that I needed to get to my GP during these strange attacks. Unfortunately, I didn’t take it.
I agree with you about the Kardia - my GP, cardiologist and EP all accept printouts and trust my use of it.
I agree with what has already been said but I should add that my understanding is that it takes quite a while for 'complications' related to AF to develop so if you have only had AF for about a year the 'complications' whatever they are may be the cause, not the result, or else, like us, you had it long before.