Can Afib happen only once and never again?

Had a bout of AFIB Well over 8 months ago and never again. I was diagnosed as severely dehydrated. Was in hospital for 2 days and put on Amiodorone. When they let me get up and walk I converted to Sinus Rythem. Have since had many tests and no underlying heart problems. Scored a 14.4 Met score on the treadmill test. I'm a 52 year old male that used to drink way to much, not sleep well and stressed about everything. Have since changed my life. My question is can this happen only once and never again and would it be ok to drink a beer or two every now and then? Thanks so much

16 Replies

  • Well, it actually can just happen once and never again. I have a friend who was hospitalized with A Fib about 18 years ago and he has never had another episode. It is most likely to be a one time incident if the A Fib is caused by something like an episode of binge drinking or even thyroid problems that are then addressed. I would caution you though at 8 months out, that it may reappear. IN the early years of my diagnosis I often went 1-2 years between episodes. Talk with your doctor about the amount of alcohol that you can tolerate because it can be a trigger for some people with A Fib but usually one drink every now and again is not a problem.

  • Thank you for your response. I'll probably never drink again. Always worried it will come back.

  • Agree with SRM,

    I have heard of those who had only 1 attack but I would say they are few and far between. Many start with only 1 a year or less and that increases as time goes by. I started out with 1 or 2 a year and after almost 13 years was having them 1 or 2 a week. To have an attack means that the heart has developed an additional electrical pathway and that pathway normally does not go away. Over time more pathways are made with additional attacks which makes it easier to enter Afib. AF does not require any underlying heart problems. I was about 9 years into my AF when I had a heart cath and just about every other heart test you could imagine and was told that my heart is in great shape but I still was having attacks every week. Studies have suggested that AF could be tied to both drinking and dehydration.

    Have you been taking the Amiodarone since then?

    Amiodarone is one of the best and strongest of the rhythm control meds but it carries some very bad side effects.


  • I have been off the Amiodorone for over 5 months. Doctors have me on Diovan for blood pressure. This has just caused such anxiety. I find myself constantly questioning different sensations.

  • The anxiety can get the best of you with this if you don't do something to try to relieve it. Yoga is proven to lower blood pressure (which can lessen your risks of A Fib) and it really reduces anxiety. I also use acupuncture to lessen anxiety and decrease blood pressure. Exercise, when cleared by your doc, releases those endorphins to bring on the calm and helps to keep your heart healthy. Being proactive is the key. Don't let this just happen to you. Do your best to be as healthy as you can and that includes whatever it takes to find your way to a calm place. You can do it!

  • Thanks so much for your reply. I feel better just talking to someone. I,

    i am trying everything to calm down. Have been a very high strung person my whole life. My primary doctor thinks the dehydration caused the AFIB. I remember drinking way to many diet cokes the day before this happened. I have read much about Aspartame being a trigger. Just want to stop thinking about it and live a normal life. Thanks again and God bless you and yours.


  • At this early stage of AF it is almost impossible to catch it. I have 2 pieces of advice that I would give in your situation.

    First... If it does start again head for the hospital to get an ECG while it is happening. Any Dr you see, especially an EP ( the specialists that handle heart rhythm problems) will need that to diagnose and treat it.

    I would speak to a dr and ask about the need for an anticoagulant. The number one concern with AF is the possibility of developing a clot due to pooling blood in the heart while having an attack and causing a stroke. Anyone who has AF should be educated on the dangers of stroke.

    I hope that you never have another attack but, do what you can to be ready in case it does.


  • I did see a very reputable EP after all of this. He seemed not very concerned and said we just have to see how this plays out. He gave me Flecanide? To take if I ever have another attack. I'm not on any anti coagulants. I have been feeling very good other than the anxiety. I was told by the GP that the dehydration and stress played a large role in it happening. In the hospital my magnesium and potasium were very low. What kind of diet should I pursue. I do eat a lot of fresh fruit. Thanks for all your help. I feel so much better knowing there are people to talk to. God bless you and yours.


  • First I'm swearing silently as I've just written a long reply and it's disappeared!!

    I have high levels of anxiety and try to practice "mindfulness" which you may like to google - have also messaged you with an exercise from the Yahoo AFA Group. I have paroxysmal AF of the lone ( as far as anyone can tell) variety and take regular Flecainde. Have recntly started warfarin as I am an old hag ( over 65 and female) so get a 2 on the chads2 vasc score thereby classing me as at risk.

    To cheer you, .my husband at the age of 51 or thereabouts ( 18 years ago) went into AF in circumstances I won't embarrass you with! This lasted 4 or 5 days and he was put on warfarin and was returning for his first blood test ( driving himself) when he went back into NSR. He has been hypertensive since his 30's. They in their wisdom stopped his warfarin and he had no further episodes till last May when he went in to AF on holiday ( not alcohol related,no trigger) and is now in permanent AF but with no symptoms other than occasionally being aware of his heart beat irregularity. We both feel well ( in spite of OH having a heart attack 8 years ago) and are now approaching 70!!!

    I would suggest you only avoid YOUR triggers not everyone elses as they are very idiosyncratic and you might end up standing in a corner chewing on a banana or drinking tomato juice ( both high in potassium I believe). You will still have your moments but AF of itself is not life threatening and if you've managed to see an EP after one episode you are in good hands.

  • Thanks so much foe caring to take time and talk to me. It really means a lot. I pray it doesn't happen again. EP says there are instances where it came once and that was it. Don't want to do anything to trigger it. Out of everything I quit. I really miss a beer. I know I used to drink way to much and I was severely dehydrated. GP says this is what triggered the AFIB. I know stress also played into it. EP seemed not very concerned. Gave me Flecanide to take if I ever feel it again

  • Hi just stumbled on to this and I know it's been a while,but I was in the same boat and did find a useful answer finally. Take your pulse regularly or even just download an app for your smartphone that will do it for you. Afib is linked to irregular pulse so l this will really empower you to have some data. I share your pain -- one afib episode when dehydrated during surgery and now I feel like I have a big scarlet AF pinned to me forever. When a doctor finally told me that the best way to check is to keep on eye on my pulse every few days and if I picked up it was irregular even at rest then to go see my cardiologist again. Hope this helps -- it's a very frustrating, scary journey into the world of Afib.

  • Hey Rick! I had the same thing happen to me last week. I was home after work…. I must not have been eating well or drinking enough water and I passed out in my bathroom while peeing and woke up on the floor. Thank god my Brother was up stairs in his apartment because he rushed me in the car to then ER.. where I promptly projectile vomitted in the parking lot of the ER. The Dr and nurses got my breathing under control but my heart went into AFib. My magnesium and potassium levels were really low… they pumped me full of saline and potassium chloride all night and gave me magnesium tablets. The next morning they gave me a little pill to slow down my heart (which scared me) and I could feel my heart catching the rhythm. That was last week. I have been walking around with my fingers on my wrist feeling my pulse all day every day since then. It was very scary and now I'm terrified that this will happen again. I'm a beer drinker but usually one per night with dinner. I have been under stress though. I'm getting married on Saturday. Im Happy for sure :) but the whole process is stressful. We're pretty insular people and this huge wedding has been planned and its' getting real and its just a lot to handle. my mind is elsewhere. That's what probably helped prevent me from paying attention to what I've been eating.

    I read your post and was like…. that's me! lol I'm a tad younger…39 but what ever. How are you feeling now and have you had any other attacks. Thanks


  • I just did a Google search saying 'atrial fibrillation just once' and was brought here. I was hoping to find something to cheer me up. My first episode had nearly all the main triggers at once! I was watching football in the freezing cold. I ate a chocolate bar and drank a cola. Then I got very drunk (now a recovering alcoholic) as usual and smoked 20 fags. In the morning I went to the fridge and drank nearly a pint of ice cold apple juice in one go- and then it started, for 8 hours. So I had-alcohol-nicotine, caffeine, excitement and an cold drink-all known triggers by themselves.

    So now-I've given up-alcohol, nicotine, caffeine and also MSG-its very boring!

    giving up these things may have helped-I really don't know-but I certainly wouldn't want to increase the risk of another attack.

    Which I'm bound to get, so I can tell from these blogs.

    Good luck!

  • I have had A-Fib only onetime , which was on my last birthday celebration evening ! I had a wonderful dinner with one glass of wine. Then later went dancing and had half a beer. Danced one dance and my heart was beating so hard and fast I knew it was something more than dancing. I came home , took my blood pressure pill, without any relief . I went to ER , all down hill from there. Long story short, they had the paddles ready after trying medications that weren't effecting my heart to slow it down, but finally I converted on my own. Worst night ever , wouldn't wish it on anyone. Since this episode I have been to ER 4 times thinking it was A-Fib only once, after that , I felt like something else was wrong because each time my blood pressure went sky high, here it is 8 months later , no A-Fib that can be proven yet, something is effecting my blood pressure to spike 1-2 times a day.... had so many tests and found nothing. Anyone have any ideas ? I am going to see a second heart Dr soon. My regular blood pressure medication is not controlling these spikes.

  • These are my symptoms to a T. Did you ever figure out what was wrong? I'm on BP medication, daily fleccanide, and a beta blocker and have had the BP spikes. I have had echo's, stress test, calcium scan, ekgs too many to count and all say healthy heart. Need to find out what is really going on.

  • Hi, I was just browsing and saw your post. I had a similar problem and it turned out to be caffeine. No caffeine at all for me and no problems. No tea, green tea, coffee, coca cola and less chocolate. I wont even have decaf anything.

    Just drink Rooibos tea and some herbal infusions occasionally.

    After googling it, I found out that some people lose their ability to metabolize caffeine and it becomes a problem. Before that I could drink anything without a problem.

    Good luck hope this is the reason. Makes it easy.


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