Skipped beats, or AF?: Feeling good, four... - AF Association

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Skipped beats, or AF?

ijan profile image

Feeling good, four months after my ablation, stacking a ton of logs, changing, then dragging my kayak up a steep incline, after a brisk 50 minute paddle on the sea, seemed like a good idea. I felt better than fine throughout. After the kayak trip we went for a meal where I tucked into a large portion of delicious goats cheese rissotto and ate more than usual.

In bed, couple of hours later, I noticed my heart beat: this isn't uncommon for me but I was concerned by lots of skipped beats. bu-bm,bu-bm,bu-bm, ------,bu-bm,bu-bm,bu-bm,bu-bm,------, bu-bm,bu-bm,bu-bm, ------,bu-bm,bu-bm,bu-bm,bu-bm,------, bu-bm, etc., My BP monitor showed the irregular HB symbol although my heart rate never went above 77 and mostly remained around 60, which is normal for me.

After an hour of reading failed to settle things I took 100mg of flecainide followed by another tablet an hour later as my heart was still regularly missing beats.

Half an hour later the skipped beats had stopped and my BP machine showed normal rhythm. This morning I'm still in what seems to be NSR.

Does this sound like AFib, or will I never know?

I thought about ringing my arrhythmia nurse but don't want to bother her, or stress myself, if I simply became aware of something harmless which people experience all the time.

:-) Any thoughts?

22 Replies

I work on the basis of wanting to know! Some prefer not to - and then worry. You are worried/concerned enough to post seeking an answer (not meant to be a criticism). Personally I would get it checked out, your medics would also want to know in case (as I suspect) you are over doing it.

ijan profile image
ijan in reply to john6

Thanks, John.

I may ring later, but thought it worth posting to see if others had experienced anything similar.

What you have written looks too regular for AF and is more like ectopics to me. AF produces a totally chaotic pulse. Cheese late at night - especially after a lot of exertion - would be a no-no for many people.

Have you tried slow, deep breathing for ectopics? Works well for many of us and if you use the search box in the top right, you'll find many threads referring to the breathing technique.

ijan profile image
ijan in reply to Finvola

Thanks Finvola. It did not feel like AF but did continue for a long time. I tried slow breathing and also listened to a regular heart beat, but probably didn't give the slow breathing as much time as I should. I think fear of AF returning, along with my unsuitable late supper, caused me to focus unduly on the ectopics.


BobD profile image

I agree that these sound far more like ectopics which are very common to us post ablation people. Quite a natural thing but they can be annoying and worrying. Next time try the slow deep breathing exercise rather than pill popping first as this usually works to stop them. ( Use the search box to find ectopic breathing.) You learned a good lesson not to over do things. Still early days yet!

ijan profile image
ijan in reply to BobD

Thanks Bobd,

I'll give the deep breathing a try. In fact, I'm going to practise now, while things are calm.

ironically, I felt so good on my kayak trip I was thinking I might be ready for some more testing conditions..........I've built up my kayaking to the point where I paddle most days, if conditions allow; ny mistake, yesterday, was to go out immediately after three hours of heavy manual work. I can relax today, its pouring with rain and the logs are stacked in the dry :-)

Hidden profile image

I can't believe it's 4 months already, time fly's

I agree with the others, sounds like ectopics, PVC's or PAC's . I was convinced that I had gone back in to AF, but managed to get the symptoms captured by a very patient nurse taking my ECG (left me wired up for 20 minutes waiting for me to say I was feeling the palps)

They confirmed that it was "only" ectopics. Horrible to feel them , but nothing to worry about

ijan profile image
ijan in reply to Hidden

Thanks for sharing Mike69, your replies are always reassuring!


Hi, am amazed at your level of activity after only 4 months. I had migraine aura, a side effect of ablation up to 6 months, which indicated that my body and specifically my heart was not fully healed. I built up an exercise regime gradually over a year, and in spite of exercising caution had a few ectopic beat episodes around 4 to 5 months, which I am glad to say have long disappeared. I personally think give it time and patience, which I gleaned from fellow A Fib contributors on this site. It took me at least 9 months to feel well again. So take care.

ijan profile image
ijan in reply to F-M-C-MM

Thanks for sharing your experience; it puts mine into perspective.

My partner is less well than me, having survived a stroke, stomach cancer, liver cirrhosis, and a bleed on the brain, during the last 10 years. This leaves me responsible for pretty much everthing,; so there never seems time to convalesce if I have been unwell or had surgery.

Sea kayaking is my great release; a time when I can truly be myself. Sometimes I just sit and scan the horizon for sea eagles or dolphins. Mindful of the advice from others on this forum, I haven't yet done more than the equivalent of an afternoon walk in the park. Stacking the logs was rash. I should have asked a friend to help.

I took it easy yesterday and, so far, the ectopics are staying away.


Hi Jan, I would get a Kardia Mobile or Kardia Band. No sense guessing, and no sense taking Flecanide or any other drug if you're not sure.


Good point, Jim,

I've been hovering over buying a Kardia device; if it can detect the difference between ectopic beats and AF, the investment in money, and time spent learning how to use it, will be worhtwhile.


I had a similar experience after kayaking on my river. Sounded like ectopic to me, but this kind of confirms it. I’m 3 months post ablation, feeling successful!


Pleased to hear from a fellow kayaker who is doing well post ablation.

Always keep your paddles wet!

I don't do much river kayaking nowadays; my "swim and you'll die", days are definitely done. I do enjoy long leisurely, mostly. sea trips where I feel at one with the wild world. Of course there are always times whern conditions change and there's no choice but to go up a gear, or two!

:-) I took it esay yesterday but will probably be out tonight.

I’ve been taking it easy. My partner keeps me honest. I think she gets worried that I’ll keel over and she will have to haul my dead body onto shore. Or could be she cares about me. The other day we were out for about five or six hours, pretty leisurely paddling. First time since a heart attack in October followed by afib and flutter with the ablation mid-May. The worst part was at the takeout point where the dismount was into calf deep mud; just about lost my water shoes! Got some heart rate going with that little wrinkle dragging the kayaks to stable ground....

Been there! dragging the kayak through thick mud after my paddling companion, a keen photographer, has dallied to catch the light without giving thought to the tide!

I have a steep pull out up a rocky shore. I'm thinking of putting in a winch post to take the sting out of the "get out".

Hi , I have the same thing, but mine has been every day. It is when I put my heart under load, when I exercise it becomes steady. Until like you I stop and sit.

It's annoying as I can hear my heart constantly in my ear.

Mary-miles profile image
Mary-miles in reply to RexH

How long since your ablation?I am 6 weeks post ablation and feel the ectopics most days some for only short periods.I am back golfing,going to the gym,swimming and yoga.I rarely get it during exercise.

RexH profile image
RexH in reply to Mary-miles

I am now 2 years post ablation. And have noticed the ectopics have become much more frequent. Like you with exercising, putting some load on the Heart it stops doing it.

Although my heart can sit on 100 beats sometimes, and can go to 110-119 with same exercise at other times.

But still nothing like crazy AF before ablation where my heart would beat so fast and hard that my back would even shake

ijan profile image
ijan in reply to Mary-miles

Hi, I'm 17 weeks post ablation. Like you, I don't have, or notice, the ectopic beats during exercise; but after, when I'm quietly relaxing they occasionally kick in. Apart from six weeks of regular flutter, for which I was cardioverted, my heart has maintained a steady 60 BPM, at rest, rising during exercise, since the ablation. All feeling very regular untill the ectopics kicked in, causing me to panic on Monday night.

Bu bum Just like you.Never had this pre ablation but only after.It is easier to deal with than the A Fib.I am going to do the ectopic breathing

ijan profile image
ijan in reply to Mary-miles

Let me know how you get on with the breathing. I'm trying it too.

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