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British Heart Foundation
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Atrial Fibrillation

I'm new here but have been a member of HU for some years on the BLF forum so I hope I may ask a question. My son, 49, has been off-colour after a virus infection for some weeks; he was persuaded to see his GP today and was diagnosed with A-fib. He has always thought his heart was not 100% so was tested 6 years ago and all was well, his symptoms (palpitations etc). are episodic. He has been prescribed Bisoprolol 2.5mg and fast-tracked for an echo cg and has to have check-up with GP next week. My problem is that he has already written himself off so to speak; tonight he said that he had always hoped to live to a ripe old age. Can anyone reassure him that this is not necessarily a death sentence?

20 Replies

Hi Dragonmum

I have had AF for nearly 4 years and take 10 mg of Bisoprolol. When first diagnosed I was going to have the heart shocked back into normal rythum. I believe this is quite common, but the cause of my af meant that the shocking treatment wouldn’t have worked. I was told that af was common and most people live normal lives with af. It is best to wait for the results of the echo scan and the doctors diagnosis before forming your own conclusions.

Good luck



Thank you for the information Howard - I have told him the echo will show far more than the ecg he had at the GP's, and to carry on as normal until he gets it.


Hi dragonmum

I was diagnosed with AF and cardiomyopathy leading to heart failure at the end of may. I’m 47. I had a echocardiogram done the day after admission to hospital. The results came as a shock. After 8 days I was discharged. A cardiac MRI was done at the end of June. Things had improved. I was off work for 6 weeks before returning to work a half day. I was out walking, driving and went on holiday. Life carried on. I didn’t set any speed records while walking. I’m on 5 different drugs to control it. Everything was ok until Wednesday when I was back in A&E for a few hours.

It’s easy to say everything is over, but the world carries on. Sure there are a few changes that need to be made. The BHF has a leaflet on AF.

I’ve found friends, family and work are more concerned about me than I am. When the doctors send you home they aren’t concerned or you’d still be in hospital. So if you are out of hospital carry on. It’s early in his diagnosis so taking things easy and slowly is good advice. Any pains, shortness of breath or difficulties then stop what you’re doing.

Hope things work out for you both.


Thank you Richard. A very interesting post, I am most grateful.


Hi Richard762

Your condition sound nearly identical to mine and I was wondering if you are still working. I have signed on for work after 4 years, part time and doing something very light. I was working when I was diagnosed but my contract ended while on sick, I never bothered to look again until now. I have ten years left until I collect a pension, but of course ten years is a long time with heart failure. How do you cope with your off days? Do you have an understanding employer?


Hi Howardl

I was off work for 6 weeks. Then returned working a half day for a further 6 weeks. After that I extended my working day by 1 hour every 2 weeks. I had a meeting with HR every 2 weeks. Eventually I was back to working an 8 hour day. I do no overtime yet. Company policy is full pay for 3 months then 3 months at 3/4 pay. After that I would be on 3/4 pay from the company insurance policy. I have had full pay the entire time I’ve been unwell.

I was off work Thursday due to being in resus on Wednesday night and another check up Thursday in A&E. My work is a bench based manufacturing so it’s fairly easy physically. The drugs make concentrating difficult some days but some of my work load has been spread out to others. I’ve been really well looked after from the company point. Between us we are writing the plan as we go. I’m the first person they have had with this condition so we are slowly feeling our way through it.

I do get down days. They suck. There is a little voice telling you it’ll be ok. But the little voice has a big brother that shouts “the end in nigh” Getting the big voice to shut up can be hard.

Breathing slowly and deeply while listening to music helps. Check your pulse and see it’s ok. Also if the hospital are happy for you to be at home then it’s a good sign.

I’ve 20 years til I can retire.

I’m not ready to hang up my tools yet. 6 weeks off in the summer drive me mad.

I’ve read others comments here and I think I’m lucky with my symptoms.

Take each day as it comes and enjoy it.


Hi Richard

Thanks for your reply, I will do part-time if I can get it. I don't think I could manage full time as I get too tired. It's amazing how quick I get tired these days.

Best of luck



Hi, I've had AF for 11 years now following an aortic valve replacement, and it hasn't really affected my lifestyle in the way of physical activities at all, for instance, I have just completed the 1000 miles of walking since January with the Country Walking magazine challenge. The only problem I do have is to restrict the amount of alcohol I drink owing to the combination of AF and warfarin. I've recently been taken off Bisoprolol because of a too low heartbeat.


I think my son will be very reassured by your post David. Thank you.

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I have AF and COPD i take 7mg bisoprolol twice a day and i also had cardio-version (electric shock to correct the heart rhythm ) 6 months ago and i am doing fine so will he be if he does what the Dr tells him to

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Thank you balsaplayer - I think seeing his Dad shocked back into sinus rhythm has had a lasting effect and he has been concerned about his heart for a long time. He has a fairly erratic lifestyle as a musician (which he will never give up) and as carer for me, I have COPD asthma, arthritis etc. Your reply and all the others have been so helpful. On the BLF forum we get people newly diagnosed with COPD who are convinced they are at death's door and the reassurance we give them is worth the world - I am so grateful that the same applies here.

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AF is not necessarily a death sentence. There are many people on here who have lived with AF for many many years and I'm sure they'll reply shortly. There are many options available, both medication and procedure-wise. Which is best will be dictated by the AF itself. The most important thing is that the AF has been identified and will be treated. Sure, there may be some lifestyle adjustments, but these are mostly just sensible healthy living choices. It's important to ensure that there isn't anything else going on that is leading to the AF. The echo will hopefully be reassuring in this regard.

I was diagnosed with AF when I was 36. I'm still very much at the start of my journey (I'm only 38 now) and, while the initial shock was hard, I've got to a place where it doesn't really affect me too much. An ablation (a procedure to scar the heart to block the aberrant electrical pathways that cause AF) is not on the cards for me yet as my AF is well controlled by medication (Bisoprolol and Ramipril - at first they made me a little tired but I don't really notice it now). It's not a great situation, and of course, one I would rather I wasn't in, but I've made a few changes and most days it doesn't affect me at all. Indeed, it's actually helped me focus on what's important and I think I'm far healthier and 'in the moment' than I was before. It's a life-changing diagnosis for sure, but I see it now as more of a warning sign to make sure I look after myself, follow doctors' orders and generally be more sensible about life.


Thank you for that Pikala - a very full and up-beat post; I so agree with you that he should take it as a warning sign; I think the deaths of some of his friends at a young age have not helped his outlook but a few of them were alcohol or drug related and he has no history of either.


I suggest you also look at the Atrial Fibrillation forum on here as well - lots of good advice (search for 'AF association).


Thank you, will do.


Hello there,

This is definately not a deaf sentence.

I have had AF on and off for years, at least 14 if not longer.

Addmittedly it got worse and more regular after my bypass.

Finally it was diagnosed two weeks following the opp. After all those years of not knowing, it was so reassuring to be told exactly what was going on.

The consultant desided to put me back on Bisoprsol 2.5, as I had been off them for a year.

I think on memory it took a couple of weeks for it to really settle down. I do exspireance AF here and there, but not to the extent of last year. No where near in fact.

However days like yesterday and today it has come back with arrvengance. This happened once last month.

I know what it is, I realised the following day I had forgotten to take my breakfast meds. Which includes; Asprin, Ramerpril, bisoprsol and Vitamin D.

I had taken my early morning meds however, Lethyroxing & lasoprosol.

Don't know how any of that is spelt, haven't got percription on me and spelling is poor lol.

Well it turns out yesterday I forgot those same breakfast meds. I have had issues from about teatime last night.

I must be someone for some odd reason can't really miss my meds. As the lack of meds evan for just one day obviously has an effect on me.

I know from my past exspireance last month, it should start to settle in a few hours. I am just resting now so that I give the Bisoprsol & Ramerpril time to work.

But yes, depending on the severity of his AF. There is so much they can do to treat this. So if he behaves himself and does as advised by the cardiac team and his Gp. There is pretty much no limitations to what he can do.

His quality of life will be good and as long and forefilling as anyone else of the human race can exspect.

So bless him, it's all a bit of a shock for him and you guys. But with the right possitive support for him and yourselves. He will eventually discover it's not doom & gloom and life is for living.

Always approach your surgery if you have concerns and worries. For the most part all staff including Gps and nurses are exstremly helpful and supportive.

Talk to the guys from the BHF on here. Ask to speak to one of the BHF nurses if you feel you need more acurate information.

Last but not least, talk to us, all the guys on this forum, the lovely BHF club you've just joined.

So I say welcome to you, don't worry, they don't all go on like me, lol!!!

Please keep us updated on how your son is doing. He is on the radar now, so please stop worrying.

Take care now, sending cuddles,

Jo 😊xx

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One way I make sure to take my meds is to set an alarm on my mobile that rings every morning and night to remind me that it’s med-time. The darn alarm won’t go off unless I turn it off!

It’s kept me on track with my meds - especially my warfarin and my amiodarone!


Many thanks Sina - BHF has now been added to my HU list and I will certainly keep you updated on progress. You take care too, and please stop missing your meds. - maybe put them out the night before, next to your breakfast plate or whatever? I should talk - have had a note on the table, to myself in big print "RING FOR SCRIP" for past 2 days - will go and do it now! Cuddles back


I am 63 and am going strong living with AF your son just needs to pace himself and look after himself but most of all enjoy life x


Thank you for your reply - he has had all the usual tests and seems to be going along very well on low dose Bisoprolol, no more palpitations. He eats a healthy diet to keep weight off and walks the dog an hour every day so, fingers crossed all seems to be going well and he is enjoying life to the full. Thank you and all on here for your comments which have been very reassuring.


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