Can Afib happen only once and never again? - AF Association

AF Association
19,915 members24,349 posts

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

35 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.

Ricklong in reply to SRMGrandma

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.


Ricklong in reply to TheStand

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.

SRMGrandmaVolunteer in reply to Ricklong

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!

Ricklong in reply to SRMGrandma

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.


Aprilbday in reply to Ricklong


Just checking in. Are you still posting on here? How are things now?

Oldiemoldy in reply to Ricklong

Fizzy water with a bit of cranberry juice has become my new best friend:).

Good luck!

Aprilbday in reply to SRMGrandma

Hi SRM, Hope you are still writing on here. Question for you: Do you have bleeding concerns with acupuncture? I am assuming that you are on Anticogulation meds. Thank


SRMGrandmaVolunteer in reply to Aprilbday

Hi April. Of all the acupuncture needles I've had inserted over the years, including years on an anticoagulant, I've had one tiny drop of blood, just one time :-)

Aprilbday in reply to Aprilbday

Thank you. I am grateful for your encouragement to do as much as possible. Your strength is strength for me.

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.

Ricklong in reply to Bagrat

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

scotcitz in reply to Ricklong

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.

Mdubbydub in reply to bbzlucille

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.

expences in reply to bbzlucille

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.


sandy1952 in reply to bbzlucille

Hi. I am just recently having the spikes. I was put on amlodipine 5 mgs shortly before my ablation a year ago. Everytime I had afib my blood pressure jumped. Later I started having blood pressure spikes about 6-8 hours after my morning dose so they added another 5 mgs to the already 5 to take in the evening then I still get somewhat jumps. But I get etoptic beats and skipped beats. Has this been taken care of for you? Thank You. Sandy

Hi, I'm jumping in the middle of the post I think. I never do chats so I wasn't sure where to reply. I'm a 49 year old female..non drinker, non smoker, no caffeine, chocolate or any drugs. I had an episode of a fib literally out of nowhere about a month ago while driving. I had to call 911 and was admitted to the hospital overnight and given cardizem and heparin blood thinners until I went back into a normal sinus rhythm .. I've had SVT's since I was around 14 years old and was told they were harmless, just a bother. The a fib scared the life out of me. I knew immediately that it was something entirely different than my usual tachycardia. so, I went to my cardiologist a week later and he told me that because I had bronchitis at the time of my episode that was the cause. I've had ekg's.. echo cardiograms,.. halter monitor tests,, blood gas tests and a bunch of other stuff.. all came back normal.. I'm praying so hard that this never happens again. I've had anxiety non stop and hate to go anywhere in case it happens. the hospital gave me a script for Cardizem but it gave me a rash and my cardiologist said I didn't need it anyway. Aside from having bronchitis I was taking chewy vitamin D gummies. I figured that bcoz I was deficient in Vitamin D I would take extra so i ate a bunch of the gummies. I read that too much Vitamin D can in fact induce A fib.. on top of everything else I do have MAJOR amounts of stress in my life.. my father passed away a year ago and my episode hit literally 5 days before the 1 year anniversary of his death. plus lots of other stuff.. I pray for everyone who has ever had this happen.. the heart rhythm didn't really scare me bcoz I've had my heart rate jump to 300 beats a minute while in SVT mode.. when they said blood clots and stroke that immediatly caused anxiety..

placidly in reply to mms128

Hello there...I just happened to read your post on this site about AFib. I had my first episode of Afib year ago next month. I am 47 year old female, overall in good health and this came from nowhere....I was dehydrated with low potassium as well as I was on too much thyroid medicine. This ordeal has pushed me into high anxiety mode that I am not able to shake. Just the fear of this happening again is so overwhelming to me that I am not sure how to deal with it. I have went to the ER 3 or 4 times within this past year convinced I was having another episode...only for the doc to pump me full of valium and send me on my way "relaxed". All heart tests are coming back normal so I should be happy camper and count my blessings...and I wish I could.

Have you, or anybody who might read this, found any specific way to manage the anxiety? I am just curious to see how others are dealing with the anxiety...I would love to be able to enjoy life again...too precious to waste worrying. I am withdrawing from social interaction, I am withdrawing from any travel and if I absolutely have to travel I literally map my routes according to hospital locations....

This is no way to live. Any advise, tips, suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thank you kindly.

Of course it can only happen once. Take a positive mental attitude otherwise you will always be waiting for ""the sword of Damocles". Life is for living and not for worrying about what may/may not happen. Good luck and enjoy your of AF.

Hi I'm philip im new to all of this and scared I'm just turned 34 and in good health( 12 n half stone, dont smoke) I love to socialise and have been drunk many times( had few palpatations when hungover before but ecgs been fine) but 2 weeks ago after a wedding where I drank alot(8 beer 2 glasses red wine few gin and 1 jagerbomb) and ate alot I came home to bed and awoke to my heart went nuts was 190 on ambulance then went to hospital they give me different meds including amiodarone to help but heart was out of rythym jumping between 110 and 150,, they told me if it didn't come back to normal they where going to do cardio version or shock next morning ,,, thank the Lord that night after sleeping for few hours (24 hours later) my heart came down to roughly 70 I had refurbed,, he said I was too young for blood thinners and strong beta blockers as they would make me tired I only take propanolol now,, like u I want to enjoy socialising again but will never be binge drunk again as I was in afib,, I'm hoping this will only happen once and getting encouragement from some of these replys ,,, I feel myself anxious nervous and depressed about all this and don't want it to ruin my life ,,,currently heart is good but praying it stays that way,,, have u any more knowledge after 5 years??? I mean is my heart now different than it was before( no family history of heart problems),,, im also a highly strung person but have a lot to live for!!!! ???

Hidden in reply to lip123

Hello Philip. It's not good, is it, when your heart goes bonkers and it's wonderful when it gets back to its usual self. Well, you know now what the penalty is for overstepping the mark, so pay some attention to your lifestyle and don't overdo things and you could go for many, many years without further problems. Common triggers are also too much caffeine and excessive exercise. It doesn't have to rule and ruin your life, so arm yourself with knowledge. AF can be keen to jump in and you need to be one step ahead. Good luck!

lip123 in reply to Hidden

Thank you for your reply yeah it scared the life outta me thought I was a goner,,, been 2 weeks heart is in good rythym but so anxious about it all cause all the stories I read. I will never overstep the mark again but I'm going to quit drinking for 6 months to a year and hopefully when I do it will jus be a few pints 4 or 5 at most,,, I won't mix drinks or anything,,, wondering if I should take magnesium tablets as a trigger seems to be if your low on that but il talk to my doctor who hopefully refers me to a ep,, thanks for your advice rellim 2 😊

Hidden in reply to lip123

You're welcome. I was ten years older than you are when I started to have minor problems. Nearly thirty years on, I don't feel I have become much worse. I had children in my late thirties and have made a point of keeping fit and eating well as it's not much fun in your childhood to have aged parents.

I got it one year then never got it again for 4 years then gone and been nearly 2 years now with out it then it came on for two hours then went again and hope it dosent come back but only on Apixaban as dident want to go Amiodorone so just have to stay on Apixaban

Hi everyone, I've had AFIB once in my life during my visit to Canada (I'm from Europe)

I've been under a lot of stress because I was working, writing my final thesis and working out with little sleep. During my visit i barley had any sleep because of the jet lag and had a few beers in a jacuzzi and my cousins. Thats when I went to Afib and was rushed to the ER. They were preparing to restore my normal rhythm with electricity but while waiting for it to happen (Had to wait because i ate not long ago) my heart rhythm came back to normal by itself (Horrible feeling which i never would like to expierience again)

I had all my tests done back home and everything came back good. But the constant anxiety after this expierience was horrible. I was afraid of doing the simplest things like walking up stairs because I was afraid of my own heartbeat being a bit too fast. Panic attacks and other things came out of this fear. Anyway It took almost a year for my to come back doing regular things in my life like sports and stuff and I never had one happen again, but it haunts me till today that this might happen and I do read alot about it. Hopefully it doesent and I hope it never happens to anyone of you guys, stay healthy!

P.s The scariest part of the story is that I was 23 at that time. The youngest person with this case for the doctor that treated me in Canada. Back home my doctor said they had a 19 year old, but he had heart problems.

Fighter_mj in reply to Lukas674

So may I ask how old are you now?

Lukas674 in reply to Fighter_mj

I'm 25 at the moment.


Good you have changed your lifestyle. Afib unfortunately can reoccur at any time. I was originally diagnosed with AF about 5 years ago and never had another episode. Then 2012, for no reason had another bout of AF, and then not again until this year. Even at ER, they could not get me back Into sinus Rhythm. So, they took me to hospital and they cut me loose two days later and was still in AFib. My doc prescribed me Diltiaziam ER 180mg caps along with my Metoprolol 200 mg daily and that combo did the trick. Back in sinus rhythm. You can live a happy long life with Afib but once you have it you can control it but to completely get rid of it is questionable.

You may also like...