Handling Ectopics: In recent times the... - AF Association

AF Association

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Handling Ectopics


In recent times the frequency of my ectopics has increased strangly particularly in the afternoons and more often that not after eating. I still get bad nausea at time that I associate with it. Because of the awareness that comes with years of AF I have been working very hard on the options to minimise the uneasy feelings that the Ectopics precipitate.

As I mentioned in a recent post I decided to try hypnotherapy and on Thursday saw a local Hypnotherapist.

Whilst waiting the couple of weeks for my appointment I felt that I should develop the techniques of controlled breathing and meditation. I found that using a YouTube posted by an Australian called Jason Stephenson who specialises in meditation was very helpful. It is not specifically for our problems but it does help to control the breathing with slow deep breaths.


There are numerous similar meditation videos available and some are better than others.

When I saw the Hypnotherapist she asked me what I had done so far and we discusssed the whole issue. She was used to working with those with non specific anxiety issues and therefore was not at all familiar with AF and Ectopics at all. The difference being between a perceived problem and an actual physical problem.

What happened was that the hypnotherapist agreed that the best course of action was to use slow breathing and the technique she recommended was to do a longer breath in and a slower breath out.

To aid this you can count in for 3, 4 or 5 depending on your lung capacity and then do 6, 7 or 8 out. An alternative is the use words such as " I BREATH IN CALM, I BREATH OUT ALL IS WELL". Apparently this is much more effective than even breaths in and out. In addition the IN BREATH should be through your nose and the OUT BREATH should be through your mouth.

We had a session of relaxation where she used her hypnotherapy skills to enable me to relax deeply which probably lasted about 10 - 15 minutes. She sent me a voice recording of the words used for me to use at my convenience. I don't think that I am particularly suseptable to hypnotherapy but it all helps to a degree.

I do find controlled breathing and meditation relaxation helps. I find that after 30 minutes of meditation my body invariably has calmed down. Best to then move about a bit slowly to start.

Quite frankly there is little out there in the medical profession to help us with Ectopics and even all the medical intervention for AF is not necessarily a cure but of course can improve QOL immensely.

The control of the anxiety is the key and as in my case for some there is little else left that the medical profession can do for us albeit it is always best to keep in touch with a good EP as the understanding of such things is continuing to evolve


28 Replies

Quite interesting. My only experience of eptopics was after one of my ablations and it took 3 months to settle.

All sounds very helpful Pete. Good luck and thanks for you tube piece.

Thank you for this interesting post, Pete. Controlled breathing is my calming device too. I really hope you find the meditation and breathing give you continued relief from the pesky things.

Slow controlled breathing is the technique I’ve used in the past. I discovered the technique through this forum and have found it to be very effective.

7/11 breathing or similar is recommended by many and I found it after seeing a Human Givens therapist. Very helpful and hope you reap the benefits.

I find deep breathing doesn't help me at all. In fact I feel worse, and yes I am doing it properly.

As with all these things we are all so different. What works for some doesn’t work for others.

I can’t say I get 100% relief but it helps some of the time.


I'm the same. In fact deep breathing increases my ectopics. I think it's because I have a hiatus hernia. It might be totally unrelated but I've tried many times and end up feeling worse.

I too have a hiatus hernia in my osophagus, which was diagnosed after my 2nd ablation as were other gastric issues. I think it must be related.

pottypete1 in reply to Gwersey

I too have a hiatus hernia. I also have problems with my oesophagus. I have also for some time had awful nausea on a daily basis. I think that in addition the vegus system is involved. The meditation and breathing help to give some relief but are by no means a total solution.


Gwersey in reply to pottypete1

I've often asked myself which came first, AF or hernia. Sort of chicken or egg situation.

ajaxaf in reply to Gwersey

Have you seen Sanjay Gupta's YouTube video about hiatus hernia and af?

Gwersey in reply to ajaxaf

There are lots of his videos on YouTube. I'll try to find that particular one. Incidentially, I saw an electrocardiologist today. He's adamant there's no correlation between the two. I believe there is to be honest.

ajaxaf in reply to Gwersey

Couldn't find the video again at the moment. But the gist was research had shown that some people had found their AF resolved after their hiatus hernia had been surgically treated.

ajaxaf in reply to ajaxaf

Yes. Found it youtu.be/ODdDxmbk5sA

Thank you for posting that. My younger daughter really suffers from anxiety and has had various (unsuccessful) treatments and therapies. Anything that might help is worth trying.

I have found the following website useful hardboiledbody.com on its Relaxation Techniques to Reduce Stress page. It's all about getting your parasympathetic nervous system activated into its repair and digest mode so that your heart slows down.

I have also recently realised that most of my AF episodes occur at times when my blood sugar is very low. I am hypoglycemic without being diabetic. This happens a lot in the middle of the night or early morning or after a lot of excercise. Has anyone else experienced this? I am now putting some crackers or a banana next to my bed at night.

Thanks I will look at that too it can't do any harm to widen our thoughts


Excellent video. I used it last night. Have saved it for future use. Thanks for posting it.

Seems more like a website that is selling suppliments.

If the page you mention is there it is very obscure.


Gosh yes. It is not a user friendly site and does seem to earn it's money advertising. I eventually got to the right page by googling in ' wellbeing in hardboiledbody.com relaxation techniques to reduce stress' and finally got there. I am not sure it worth all the bother.

I have followed the same practice for the last 2 months and it has helped control episodes. Thank you for posting. Best to you.

Thank you Pete was wondering how you had got on.Sounds good,ill.give it a go as

pottypete1 in reply to wilsond

Well the hypnotherapy is a 3 visit process. I have found that the video helps me to relax very well and I am using the 1:1 with the hypnotherapist to reinforce my ability to relax. I am struggling a lot with nausea at present and the relaxing does give some relief but I have to do it each day. I think that relaxation meditation and with help can be something to give some relief. It has got to be better than more pill popping.

I have now asked my GP to see of he can get my EP and the Gastroenterologist to talk to each other as I am pretty sure that ectopics and nausea are linked for me. I want to reduce the Flecainide as I think that may be at the bottom of it, however, I only want to do it with very close monitoring from my EP and that is not going to be easy to achieve.

I had a barium swallow recently and also a brain scan, they found nothing but the truth is that there is something going on otherwise I would not be feeling so awful. Crazy thing is that it all dies down in the evening.

Daft thing is my AF is pretty much under control with only 2 episodes in 1 ½ years after the 25 previous years with it coming and going every few weeks.


Gwersey in reply to pottypete1

Have you had an endoscopy?

pottypete1 in reply to Gwersey

Yes that was how they diagnosed a hiatus hernia.


wilsond in reply to pottypete1

There does seem a strong link for you here,definitely think gastro and cardio need to swop notes..gut has such an influence on our overall health we don't always realise the importance of it though.We are what we eat they say...!

flecanaide is certainly a fierce drug in some ways,a two wider sword,gives with one hand and slight s with the other it seems!

Take care and smooth riding....xxx

I too suffer from daily nausea and drive my husband mad with all the wretching.

The constant rounds of tests whether it be for AF, gastric issues and now arthritis in my neck and trapped nerve in my wrist is endless. The wait to see the GP, the referral and eventually treatment takes months. But we hopefully get what is needed in the end.

I'm still taking all my AF medication, the EP said I always will be, and now take medication for gastric and pain relieving injections for arthritis, but still feel positive because things could be a whole lot worse. I hope they get to the bottom of your gastric problems pottypete1. Keep us posted on any progress.

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