Lucky with my Atrial Fibrillation - Arrhythmia Alliance

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Lucky with my Atrial Fibrillation

About 20 years ago I had palpitations (in my case heart rate up to about 220 for a minute or two) - a few episodes with no obvious trigger - I felt otherwise fine, just like a strange, out-of-place rush of adrenaline with no cause for it.

Over the years I became more aware of two things - my pulse (HR) was often irregular, at first seeming to miss beats every 6-10 normal beats, then more often and finally, about 3 or 4 years ago just an irregular beat-to-beat rhythm at the pulse (wrist). These beat patterns were at first occasional, then for a period most days and for the last 3 years or so continual (ie literally all the time) - my heart rate over the years has dropped from 55-70 down to about 35-45 some 4 years ago, levelling out now up a bit at about 45-55 resting average (but irregular all the time and sometimes drops lower).

It took a long time for the arrhythmia to be picked up by medics (I had ECGs and BP/HR machine measurements regularly but the clinicians (and myself) didn't worry as I had no bad episodes). I finally (5 years ago) told a heart nurse to take my pulse manually - she immediately said 'oh yes' and I was then given a 24 hour ECG holter - later also a 7 day holter and 24 hour BP/HR holter and, on review by an EP (electro-physiology consultant specialist) told that I had atrial flutter, and on follow up, persisting atrial fibrillation which continues.

Ablation was considered, but considering my age and how long since the A Fib probably started, we decided not to proceed. I am however, pleased to take an anti-coagulant (apixaban).

In what way am I lucky? ---- apart from awareness of strange heart rate - I HAVE NO SYMPTOMS to report.

I'm in my 70s now; I garden, chop wood, do 'DIY'. I eat a good diet (veg, fish, dairy, very little red meat, some coffee, a little alcohol), but nothing unusual. I also swim - open water for fun but quite far - 3 K no problem if feeling good and compete in Masters sprints in the pool - again for fun.

Why write this post?

I read this community chat, and attend a very good arrhythmia support group, so I do read and hear how tough heart rhythm problems are for many of you, but I also wish to give the message that not all arrhythmia is so bad - it's difficult not to be afraid when symptoms first appear, but some of you will be lucky as I have been so far.

We're all different but I do wish you well, and GOOD LUCK.

Danny (UK and grateful to our NHS)

1 Reply
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That is so good to hear that you are doing so well Danny. Thank you for explaining how AF can be symptom free for some, it's a refreshing side that we don't often hear about.

Wishing you Good Luck too.

Jean

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