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AF Association
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AF Without Symptoms

Hello, I have just joined and this is my first post.

I was a high level competitive athlete till about 15 years ago, I am now in my early 70's. Last November I visited my GP for something unrelated, while there, he took my pulse and said it was all over the place and suspected AF, an ECG and blood test confirmed this.

I don't have any symptoms, only, for me a raised resting pulse, not high, around 85 bpm, my pulse as athlete was about 30. Im on Rivaroxoban and Amiodarone, the Amiodarone has brought my pulse down to 50 - 55 bpm

I walk 6 to 10 miles most days over hilly terrain, never out of breath, only breathing slightly more on the steep hills.

Is it common to have AF and feel fairly normal?

16 Replies

Yes it is possible to have Afib without symptoms and feel normal. This is generally refered to as permanent Afib. I have had Afib for many years and am quite normal in relation to heart activity. But my echo.shows Afib.,tricuspid regurgitation and some enlargement of my heart.I can walk very well for my advanced age,exercise well at a class etc,etc. Pulse,though, all over the place like yours .I am sure others will add their experiences


Thank you for your reply


This sadly is typcial for athletes. Professionals who retire around 40 don't seem to suffer so much as those like yourself who continue into older ages..

Firstly for lots of info go to AF Association website and read till you drop.

Secondly I would ask why the Amiodarone.? This should be the drug of last resort as it can cause so many bad things if take long term. As one doctor put it. Amiodarone doesn't have side effects it has effects!

Obviously I am sure you were told that the Rivaroxaban was for stroke prevention as AF makes us five times more at risk of stroke. Since your AF is apparently permanent and asymptomatic I can see of no reason on earth for you to be on it amiodarone! A simple beta blocker would suffice if 85bpm bothers you but since "normal "is beteen 60 and 100 again I question why. Maybe you should ask to see and expert on arrhythmia?


The cardiologist put me on Amiodarone for four weeks prior to a cardioversion that is scheduled for this Thursday. it's not meant to be permanent, beta blockers may be introduced after the cardioversion.


I would say common to feel normal in permanent AF, but not to be able to undertake sustained heavy exertion without significant symptoms. Maybe athletes are different.

Are you sure you are still in atrial fibrillation?


I can't tell if I'm in atrial fibrillation at any time. I've had about five ECGs in the last few weeks and I'm told that I am still in AF.


Hi was diagnosed in 2013 .I am also permanent AF but I am far from normal . I'm out of breath just getting dresses I was fitted with a pace maker In 2014 .they don't seem to be doing any more just pace checks.it could be combination of Meds. But how I would love to breathe normally. And walk every where.nice chatting to you Poppy Storey


Hi! I never was a competitive sportsman but have in my youth enjoyed very intense training. The consequence was well trained heart and low HR of about 48 during the whole life (now 66 of age). When in AF, my HR also goes up to only 80-85. If in AF, I have no symptoms apart of erratic pulse and some shivering in my chest. I can also perform all tasks without being short of breath. Strangely, my AF bouts happen mostly at night, as soon as I get asleep. In the morning, when I get active again, AF goes away. I consider myself to be lucky one, compared to the problems the others have when in AF. My opinion is that the people who are without symptoms are those ones, with well preserved heart structure and with a moderate body wight. In such cases, even when in AF, the heart still delivers sufficiently large flow rate of blood to cover all the body needs, so no problems to function correctly. Have you tried Valsalva maneuver? It works for me in most cases.


Hi Selwoc,

I was diagnosed with paroxysmal AF in Jan 2010, aged 65. I am 75 in Sept 2019. At the time of diagnosis my Cardio man stated in writing to my GP that at times I could be in AF and not know it or have symptoms of it even. At the time of diagnosis at A & E I was kept in hospital for 6 days whilst all manner of tests were carried out. Apart from AF I have no other cardiac issues. It was as a result of these 6 days this feature of my AF was identified. The mainstay of my treatment is medication and change to diet. I have now only had one AF event (that I know of) since April 2015 ( and that was when I'd been sleeping on my left side one night) - it lasted some 5 hours with a maximum HR of 149 and some pretty chaotic electrical activity which I picked up on my handheld ECG device and was also confirmed by my blood pressure monitor. My BP however took another 21 hours to slowly return to normal. AF has not returned since that I know of.

I still work, driving a bus in the tourist and age care industry at least 3 days a week and remain pretty active - but not to your level. I hold a PCV licence and manage to pass my physical and eyesight medical exam each year.

I might say that when first diagnosed my average BP and HR was 136/90 and around 90 bpm. Nowadays, having a nice party bag of drugs, including Bisoprolol and Warfarin my averages are 126/70 and 65, however, occasionally my HR drops to 46 bpm and I feel crap. This is when I think the Bisoprolol gets a bit carried away with itself. :-)



I would just add that even though AF is quite common in atheletes, especially endurance atheletes, always nought that group are still more likely to be generally well and live longer.

Drugs other than anticoagulants are mostly for symptom control. I do hope the cardioversion works for you however, as you are asymptomatic, I would caution about taking any of the other drugs as they can often cause quite limiting symptoms such as breathlessness and fatigue. I haven’t taken any rate or rythm drugs since 2014, despite many symptomatic episodes and I have to say I feel much better without them.

Best wishes CS


Thank you CD. I do have several friends, who were international athletes, who also have AF, most of us trained and raced hard. I also have an enlarged left ventricle, which I think goes with this group.


Initially I also did not k ow I had AF - I only knew I was in AF as my Garmin hr monitor told me in I was at 165 resting. It's how I was diagnosed.

I have been running at 243 bpm and again only knew because of the Garmin.


Thank you all for taking the time to answer. You have all been very helpful.


Hi Selwoc

I also have permanent AF and have been told that a further ablation is tricky and risky. So I plod along with regular exercise and treat myself to regular trips to the Alps. I find that trudging around a ski lift (in summer) is very good exercise and can have amazing climbing abilities and superb views.

More practically - are you taking any anti coagulants?


I am on Rivaroxoban.

Glad you are able to enjoy the Alps


Well I am 73 and I have places to go and things to see, It is amazing what value you can get on last minute offers off people like Inghams, Good luck with the cardioversion, they are usually quite straightforward.

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