I was told a couple of weeks ago that the 3 day monitor I'd had fitted picked up AF, the consultant suggested I start warfarin but I didn't really want this. I have had palpitations for a very long time and it was only recently that an echocardiogram showed a slight leak in one of my valves and the fluid was hanging around my heart a bit longer than it should. I have had a few episodes of ? TIA's and am waiting to see the stroke doctor again.

I have chronically sick lungs with multiple problems with them so the last thing I need is a stroke.

Do most people with AF take warfarin?

Thank you

18 Replies

  • Hi, I was diagnosed with AF 4 months ago and have been on warfarin since. I am waiting for a cardioversion, and because of the increased risk of a clot forming due to blood pooling in my heart, have been taking warfarin (4mg )daily. I have a weekly blood test to monitor my INR (a measure of how your blood clots) and to be honest I have had no side effects.

    If you live in the UK you receive a little yellow book to keep a record of your blood tests and a card that I carry in case I have an accident. It took a couple of weeks to set the correct dose, and I avoid all alcohol. I speak with the coag nurse @ the hospital if I have any issues or questions. It doesnt "thin" the blood as most people think, it reduces the ability for blood to clot, and is very effective if used wisely.I did some reading as I am not a medical professional, and talked to my GP. A really good site is atrialfibrillationassociati...

    Hope this helps


  • Thank you Ian your post is very helpful!


  • Hi, not everyone takes Warfarin, who has AF. I do, but I do know others who haven't. I have been on 10mg for 3 years now. Next blood test next week, I have Asthma/COPD as well as AF, but I think I am on it because I had family members who died of heart problems in their 40s, so I guess they want to be safe with me, My next cardio review is in 2 weeks, so I will know more then, Being on it is safer I would think, even though then are still risks.

  • I am only 44 my doctor has me on atenanol to stop the palpitations. No mention of pooling in the heart guess I'm one of the lucky one. Also no mention of ablation or anything else.

  • Crevierr, Is your Dr. a cardiologist or an EP? When I was diagnosed 11 years ago the cardiologist put me on Toprolol and nothing else. In the next 8 years the attacks got worse and more often so I went to an EP and everything changed. I was put on wafarin right away and told that I should have been taking it from the beginning and started taking rate control drugs (Rythmol). I was 45 when mine started.

  • I was diagnosed with A-Fib 11 years ago. I am on Warfarin (5mg a day) and would not want to stop taking it. Don't get me wrong, I don't like it at all but the benefits out weigh the problems. A-Fib is primarily not a life threatening problem. But with that being said the chances of stroke due to a blood clot is greatly increased. Every attack (even a short one) allows blood to pool in the heart and increases the chance of developing a blood clot, then the attack is over and the heart beats normally and off goes the clot to cause a stroke. I have heard many state " I only have 1 or 2 attacks a year, so I really don't need it". Well it only takes 1 time for a stroke to happen and the bummer is that it doesn't matter how healthy you are. A really fit person with A-Fib can develope a clot just as easily as anyone else. There are many evils that come along with any blood thinner, diet, interactions with herbals, accidents that cause bleeding, blood testing and many other things but as I said I think the benifits are worth it.

    "It may be a real pain... But I'm alive and stroke free to have that pain"

    After they have your dosage set (could take from a few weeks to a few months to stabilize) you could ask your doctor for a perscription for the Home INR Machine. I just poke my finger and 1 drop of blood will give me my INR without the constant blood draws and bruises. I just call the number in and they will call me back to adjust my dosage if necessary.

    I am going for an Ablation in Feb or March so I may only have to take them for another 6 to 8 months.

    So, to answer your question I would say "YES". Most who have been diagnosed with A-Fib are taking some type of blood thinner.

    God Bless and I'll keep you in my prayers.


  • I just saw a new cardiologist. His exact words were don't see anything unusual in your Eco or EKG. I take atenanol daily sometimes twice a day depending on what I have had to eat or drink. He told me to avoid all stimulatants. Asked if I took aspirin which i have not done since having the hole in my heart repaired 5 years ago. If not medicated I am in AF all the time. I am a smoker and yes I know I should quit. I am very frustrated that no one seems to think there is anything really wrong with me. I have had only one doctor tell me that wow you have a few things going on here not just AF. I am almost tempted to stop all medication and when I go into AF visit my local emerg trust me I would be there a lot. By the way I'm not going to do that. Lol thanks for all the info I am defiantly not going to give up I will find someone to help me. I am in canada and this group is great.

  • P.s. what is a ep

  • They are Cardiologists that are specially trained in electrophysiology. They specialize in the electrical functions of the heart. Since AF is primarily a electrical problem they are normally the goto Drs. There are many Cardiologists with a lot of experience in treatment of AF But I saw a Cardiologist for 9 years and the only thing that he did was give me a beta blocker (to slow down HR not control the rate) and schedule me for a stress test every other year. When the attacks increased to 1 or 2 a week and he told me I was fine just take more Meteprolol I found a new Dr. I went to the ER with 175bpm and my blood pressure bottomed out. The EP threw a fit because I was not on a rate control drug or a blood thinner and no one had ever even told me about an ablation. She said that with my first attack (almost 12 years ago) and the EKG that was done I should have been sent to an EP and some form of treatment started.

  • Mocarey, the sentence that speaks to me in your question is the one where you mention that you've had some TIA's. That says you are already at increased risk of stroke so that is why your MD put you on the warfarin. It depends how frequently one has episodes of AF as to whether or not they are on an anticoagulant, whether or not that is warfarin or one of the new ones.

    Crevierr, an EP is an electrophysiologist. That would be the person who guides the ablation if you have one. They are cardiologists with additional training.

  • Wow everyone I will be requesting to see a ep. Unless medicated I am in AF most of the time. All of you input has really helped me to know I'm not crazy and attention seeking. Which is how the cardiologist made me feel. I only take atenanol and nothing else. I have been going through this for 7 years and appreciated you all. Thanks so much I will keep in touch. Merry Christmas to you all

  • Thanks everyone for your input!

  • I have AF, flutter, AV Nodal Re-entrant Tachycardia along with two leaky valves and a heart murmur (diagnosed in 1998). I've been on Warfarin for two years. Prior to that Aspirin therapy. I've had no side effects at all. I guess I'm one of the lucky ones. I take 2.5mg on certain days and 5mg on the other days. I see a cardiologist who is a specialist in the Electrophysiology of the heart. I have AF and flutter frequently. I was in the ER this past Thursday with Flutter. Thankfully I converted back on my own. I take Atenolol, Coumadin (Warfarin) and Amlodipine. I was on Amiodarone but was taken off due to the possible side effects. Most people I know of take some form of Warfarin. I was so worried about all the side effects of Warfarin but after a while that worry and fear subsided. Now I wouldn't think of living without it. I've missed one dose in the past six months and it showed in my INR check. Good luck and I hope you feel better soon.

  • I was hospitalized a year ago in continuous afib and really fought going on a blood thinner. It was part of my refusal to accept that I was having a serious problem. Several doctors from the group came in to reason with me, and I finally agreed, because I did not want a stroke. Warfarin has really not been that bad. I haven't had any side effects. My doctor and the monitoring nurse have been willing to work with me, so I still eat lots of vitamin K vegies and take some supplements that are blood thinners. They just ask me to be consistent and have adjusted the warfarin to what I do. My afib however never stopped except for about 2 days following cardioversions. In September I had an ablation and the afib stopped. I hope to stop the warfarin soon, as I still don't like to be on pharmaceuticals.

  • my mum has been diagnosed with AF and will not take warfarin, firstly because she loves leafy vegetables and secondly she does not like taking any medicine, she has high blood pressure which she is taking something for not sure what the name is, sounds like you have a good doctor and nurse and was wondering what the supplements that you are taking are? (the blood thinning ones). My mum has been having AF for the last 2 days I have not seen her before when she has had previous episodes and am quite worried about her particularly if she is at risk of having a stroke.

  • I felt the same as your mum about warfarin. I do not have high blood pressure, so I don't know much about any additional effects of that. Sorry to hear she is having AF now. It is exhausting.

    You hear about drug interactions but if the supplement has the same thinning effect as the warfarin, that just means you have to take less warfarin, which is not a bad thing in my mind. What you don't want are unpredictable swings in your INR, so that's why the doctor says I have to be consistent. If I'm going to eat greens or take supplements, do it every day, so the warfarin dose ends up adjusted for what I am doing.

    When I was diagnosed, it was suggested that I at least take aspirin if I wasn't going to take warfarin, Herbs that have some of this aspirin-like blood thinning effect include curry powder, cayenne pepper, ginger, paprika, cinnamon, turmeric, licorice and peppermint. I take tumeric capsules to lessen inflammation and also consume some of all the other herbs in that list. I take magnesium, which can thin blood. I eat lots of green leafy vegetables, which have the opposite effect, but it all works out. My INR stays between 2 and 3 where they want it, but we went through a period of frequent blood tests to get to this point.

  • thanks for getting back, have been doing a fair bit of reading up on this, mum far better today, she started taking her asprin the day this came on and has agreed with me to take it everyday as of now. I can completely understand where she is coming from on the warfrin point, she has refused point blank that she will not take it so we are looking at alternative food, herbs etc that will thin the blood. many thanks it is good to talk to others with the same thing going on and to get all points of view

  • Ian's reply was helpful., as indeed are all the comments.

    Why do medics not just advise the use of curry powder, cayenne pepper, ginger, paprika, cinnamon, turmeric, licorice and peppermint etc etc if they will raise the INR. ?

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