Pain in left chest after 3 hours in AF? - AF Association

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Pain in left chest after 3 hours in AF?

Graham194 profile image

I have done a quick search both on this forum and on Google and there doesn't seem to be many people who suffer both pain and the feeling of being completely worn out after an Afib attack.

I woke yesterday at 0500 feeling awful and realised l was in AF. I think the trigger to this attack was the exertion l put into raking all the dead grass out of my lawn the previous day. My cardiologist has decided l shouldn't take any medication until my ablation (l find l can't cope with any of the side effects of most of the heart related drugs). So, l sat this attack out (which was quite a severe one). At 0815 l went back into NSR. About an hour after that the pain in the left side of my chest started. I took a Lansoprazole capsule and a couple of co-codamols, both of which had no affect. I felt pretty awful and with the pain the es was just a waste. Luckily, tha pain subsided late evening. I have experienced this before after AF attacks but always put it down to flecainide (which l used to take as PlP). Obviously now l know it's not the flecainide. Each attack l get the pain and feeling unwell seem to get worse.

I am waiting for an ablation for PAF. I've been advised the waiting list is 'pretty horrific', which were the consultants words. I waited 11 months for my last and first one which l didn't have because it had been 4 months since my previous AF attack. So l reckon I'll be very lucky if l get it done before Christmas.

I did ask the cardiologist about having more tests on my heart before the ablation and he answered no. This does make me wonder as on a recent treadmill stress test l developed masses of ectopics about 10 minutes into the test. Put this fact together with the pain after AF and it does make me wonder if there maybe other problems with my heart.

Anyway, after all that, does anyone else suffer these left side chest pains and feeling ill after an AF attack.

Thanks for reading.

14 Replies

Have you had a scan of your heart since starting with AF (echocardiogram)? That was one of the first tests I had to check that it was functioning correctly.

I've never really had pain in my heart and I can assure you if I did and it made me feel ill I'd be on the phone seeking advice right away.

Are you taking an anticoagulant to prevent blood clots forming?


Hi Jean,

Thanks for your reply.

My last echo was about 2 years ago. This showed that my ejection fraction was slightly low (I can't remember the numbers). I had an angiogram about 5 years ago which showed slight furring in arteries. Obviously both of these tests were quite a while ago so it's probably time that I had more tests. I find trying to get anything done through the NHS is to sat the least frustrating. I first saw my 'new' cardiologist back in January. All I've had done was the stress test since then. Phoning his secretary is an absolute waste of time - she's either on annual leave or you have leave a message - which is completely ignored.

I'm on rivaroxaban as a blood thinner.

hywell profile image
hywell in reply to jeanjeannie50

HI jean did you have your echocardiogram on the NHS or private , if private was it expensive and does it interfere with NHS treatment ? ( just catching up with posts ,been away) thanks . hywell

jeanjeannie50 profile image
jeanjeannie50 in reply to hywell

Hi, when I was first diagnosed with AF it was quite a shock to know that something was wrong with my heart. I was booked for an NHS echocardiogram for about 5 weeks ahead, but was in headless chicken mode and paid to have it done privately about 2 weeks later. It wasn't just a case of having the echo, I also had to pay for someone to look at the results. I knew nothing at all about NHS procedures at that time.

I think the NHS appointment was made when I was in A&E and totally bewildered by what was happening. I asked the duty lady cardiologist what the problems with having atrial fibrillation were and she said the chance of a stroke or the heart finding it all too much and just stopping! That latter comment was what started my headless chicken mode. I can totally identify with people coming to this site who are afraid after being diagnosed with AF. It's all so new and scary at the time, when you know so little about the condition.

I think I paid about £200, but that was about 14 years ago and the results were that all was fine. I was silly, because with hindsight there was no need not to have waited to have it done on the NHS.


hywell profile image
hywell in reply to jeanjeannie50

Thank you for replying so promptly , l have paroxysmal A FIB and quite frankly just ignore it and get on as best l can which is normally very well. Just lately though the attacks have lasted 10 days + so am thinking of getting an echocardiogram to check for any damage . Keep you posted cheers H .

BobD profile image

This is unusual but I can think of at least one member who needs hospital treatment including morphine for chest pain if she has an AF event. ANY chest pain or shortness of breathneeds to be investigates so please see you doctor . If it happens again call emergency services so they can check you out.

I would mention that raking lawns put tremenous strain on intercostal muscles in your chest so it may be unconnected to yourheart but best be checked out.

I have had chest pain and felt awful for a day after AF episodes but the pain is not what you describe - it is more like a central internal too tight hug, or else a tight squeeze in my throat. I would certainly call 999 next time so you can get a diagnosis.

I think I may be the member Bobd mentions and yes I have awful intense chest pain with and post afib and svt. I have an excellent EP who is investigating why and has recently undertaken an angiography for me, I am currently wearing a seven day monitor and having an echo in the next few weeks before a further consultation with him. Always ask for medical support when you have chest pain better safe than sorry.

My EP is also working alongside a member of their gastro team to look at non cardiac chest pain and I am currently attached to a manometry monitor alongside my cardiac monitor. Wired up completely just now lol. Perhaps it may be wise to look into gastro issues alongside your heart too.

However my chest pain when in af and svt is definitely of cardiac origin. The other pain in between could be either cardiac or gastro. I have complete faith in my EP and hospital I hope you could feel the same with yours. Best wishes .

Graham194 profile image
Graham194 in reply to meadfoot

It sounds like you're being well looked after by your medical team. To be honest I think I may have something similar to what you are going through - a mixture of gastro and cardiac.

Like I mentioned earlier the last appointment I had with my consultant was January so I can't really see two consultants getting together to look at my problems.. I feel pretty let down by the NHS.

I felt the same locally hence my move. I so hope you can get something moving in your favour. Sadly these days we have to be a bit pushy or risk getting left behind. Not how it should be but sadly the way it seems to be.

I’m thinking from what you’ve written that you’re normal in the sense of your condition and how you feel. Your consultant will have told you if there was any other issues, apart from the afib. That alone can weaken the heart - as I found with my atrial flutter.

I’m in week two post flutter ablation. The flutter was very difficult for me and the recovery is proving far more symptomatic and difficult than many report here but I’m told by my doctor I’m doing okay.

Chest discomfort was a part of my life before the ablation. Often it felt like pressure, mild left sided pain, sternum pain, zinging in the shoulder blades, something stuck in my throat (lots of burping), or a balloon under my ribs.

Arrhythmias clearly affect people differently..

I don’t want to be alarmist but I was told that if you have AF *and* chest pains then you should immediately to A and E, no ifs or buts.

Sounds nasty. Depends on the type of pain. I used to get a Tightness, which could become very uncomfortable, radiating out into back and neck stiffness and pain. My understanding is that for a vagal nerve afibber as well as signals leaking into the heart from nervous system, when in afib signals can leak back OUT causing various symptoms including muscles in the area to contract and lock up. My cardiologist mentioned other people suffer form stomach symptoms for similar reasons.

However what your feels sounds perhaps more accure than that and therefore probably more directly related to the heart rather than secondary effect. So, I'd go to A+E be on safe side if its actute pain!

Hi. I have permanent AF, often in the guise of bigeminy beats and svt. I also have really bad chest pain, often feeling like I'm being punched in the chest. AF wipes me out and I now have heart failure too. But have congenital heart disease and I have already had one valve replaced and am waiting for the AV to now be replaced too and it all feeds into each other. No point stressing, try to work out some of your triggers, then ignore it as best you can!

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