Management of Atrial Fibrillation in Athletes - AF Association

AF Association

20,531 members25,133 posts

Management of Atrial Fibrillation in Athletes


Found this article which may be of interest,

I'm heading for a consultation with my surgeon this week with a view to ablating so found this and this one which I might have posted on a reply to another post recently of interest

Take Care Out There

13 Replies

Very interesting, although it will never be applicable to me, obviously a lot more study is required, especially for elite athletes.

I was particularly interested in the gender differences.

I suppose this is nothing new to most of us but the reminder that :-

Notably, although sustained endurance training is associated with an increased AF burden [11–14], moderate exercise is associated with a reduction in AF risk in prospective epidemiological

I also note the point about if you monitor more, you find more and isn’t that just what is happening right now. Trouble is we need more effective therapies.

Thanks for posting.

Hope your consultation goes well.

I agree. Most interesting. Thanks for sharing the link.

Very interesting articles. One thing that strikes me is the use of the terms "moderate" exercise vs "intense" exercise. Those are subjective descriptions that would be helpful to understand better in the context of the articles. As a runner, what I consider moderate could easily be deemed intense by the general population. Thanks for the read!

Hidden in reply to estrennen

Good point for personel reference I use phillip maffatones scale. 180- age equals a low steady base heart rate for endurance execise, and the more you go over that you are heading into more intensive training. It took me quite awile to go that slow to start with but with no AFib to speak of since I'm inclined to stick with it in principle.

estrennen in reply to Hidden

Wow, that would be low (for me at age 59)! When I run at slow, easy effort my HR is normally in low 130's. Would have to really take it down to keep it at 120. That's something to consider, I suppose. I had an ablation done 9 weeks ago and clear of AF so far. Just been alternating brisk walk/slow jog to this point, but planning to ease back into running in about a month. Will try to walk the fine line between moderate and "intense" training to see if I can still do some races while keeping AF at bay. Hopefully, I can figure out that balance.

Hidden in reply to estrennen

I agree it is LOW. Have found it tough to keep to while running. In fact it was more fast walking so like your self arond 130 seems to be my default at my cruising speed. However I use an indoor rower, bike and skierg to mix things up so on these I find the rate more suitable. I guess less movement and your weight is supported. I would think that the 180-age is my target for post ablation recovery and will stay indoors to better track the heart ,be able to stop if needed, turn the volume up on the music and avoid the crappy weather.

Faraday954 in reply to Hidden

I’ve never heard of this scale but it’s very interesting. That would put my target at 138, which is actually a bit higher than I can go and not get symptoms. I try to stay between 120-130 or else I get PVCs. Maybe being on a beta blocker makes a difference?

Hidden in reply to Faraday954

Well the numbers are not written in stone, if I remember correctly you can add or subtract 5 or 10 bpm depending. Fit and training regularly maybe add on, new to exercise or with health considerations take away, and I guess use the numbers as a guideline. I have found it very useful that way, as a confirmed fitness addict to have an idea of how to slow things down once I was diagnosed with AFib etc and still gain a benefit has been very beneficial. I recommend Dr Maffetones book which explains the numbers and the reasoning behind them much better. ISBN-13: 978-0-07-134331-2 “The Maffetone Method” a secondhand copy delivered for around a fiver in the UK on Amazon, a little dated maybe in places but an interesting read.

I dont know how beta blockers can effect the heart but I think they are generally banned in sanctioned sporting events so assuming they must do something! Take care out There.

Faraday954 in reply to Hidden

Thanks for the suggestion, cheers!

Interesting article. What exactly is moderate exercise? 180 - 74 gives me a score 106 which seems to be a bit on the low side. My days of running round mountains have long gone but there seems to be a lack of data regarding what is possible for older people who want to keep active.

How much, how often, how intense and for how long? Fascinating reading. Thanks for the post.

Hidden in reply to Ianc2

You raise an interesting point, I was with my surgeon today and we discussed my previous exercise levels among other things and she felt an average of no more than six hours per week would be considered moderate. Given that I used to knock that out in a day on occasions certainly gave me something to ponder on!! Regards your score, mine gives me 120 as a base ie 180- 21 = 120 :-) slow it is but having stuck to it fairly religously, I have seen an improvement in my ability to train and we are talking our hearts here, so I'm not looking for bragging rights, just very happy to be able to train, all be it at a lower intensity and feel good about me and the universe.

An interesting article. How is moderate exercise defined? I had many years of running, cycling and cardio in the gym, and I (and clinicians) thought my ability to sustain a high heart rate was due to my fitness. With proper diagnosis it turned out to be exercise induced atrial fibrillation flip flopping with atrial flutter. An EP said I didn't to take an anticoagulant but I ended up with a stroke.

Hidden in reply to john-boy-92

That must have been terrible for you, I hope that your recovery is going well, if you want to chat more please PM me. I was just doing my thing prior to diagnosis until most likely a combination of overtraining and a mitral valve issue combined, fortunately for me my doctor and then the cardiologist have both been very proactive in my treatment. I think those of us who get bitten by the fitness bug often think more is better and that can sometimes be detrimental to our long-term health.

You may also like...