I've had Permanent AF for the past 4 years. I'm relatively symptom free and rate controlled but, last Friday, I fainted (syncope). I had a couple more episodes while in A&E. My heart actually stopped for nearly 20 seconds - not good.
I had a temporary pacemaker fitted the next day and a permanent one installed on Tuesday (Thanks to Yeovil District Hospital!). It prevents my heart rate from dropping too much. The pacemaker only cuts in if my heart rate drops below 60 - so most of the time it is just monitoring things.
The cardiologist said that, over time, the AV node becomes less reliable. Normally (i.e. for people not in AF), this isn't noticeable but, when in AF it is a bit critical. I'm not quite clear whether the deterioration is solely due to age or is a result of being in AF.
I've never heard of this previously, has anyone else?