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Vermont28, April 26,  2021  7:59am EST

Colonoscopy prep

In december 2020. I was waiting alone and very scared to go in for my colonoscopy. I went into afib and fast heart rate and high blood pressure. The doc aborted the test. I was monitered for 3 hours and on the way to the cardiac floor .as I talked to the anbulance driver pleasantly.  All went back to normal and  i got to go it is 5 months later and I am going to try another colonoscopy.I am so afrid it will happen again. ANY advice on how to avoid a repeat experience.I will drink more water for sure.

5 Replies
  • AHAModerator
    AHAModerator, April 26,  2021  8:53am EST

    Hello there,

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience with the MyAFibExperience community. I am so sorry to hear about the nerves and AFib you experienced before your colonoscopy. I completely understand why you feel nervous ahead of your upcoming colonoscopy. Unfortunately, I am not a medical professional, but I can share some resources with you like this one on Stress Management, or this one on Meditation for Anxiety

    I encourage you to continue interacting with others in this community, and to keep us updated on how you are feeling.

    Best wishes,

    AHA Moderator

  • Thumper2
    Thumper2, April 26,  2021  10:16am EST

    Vermont2, good for you, for being willing to get a colonoscopy.  They are a good thing.  Can you find someone to go with you and chat about other things beforehand?  Do you like to read, or listen to portable music, or watch programs on a Kindle?  That kind of thing, plus drinking lots of water, should help.  My colonoscopies were not bothersome, except for the "cleaning out" preparation (yuk!).  The anasthetic worked like a charm, and coming out of it was no problem.  I always urge people to get colonoscopies because I lost a brother-in-law who failed to notice modest symptoms and never saw a doctor about them.  Please figure out how to relax and get this done, and let us know how things went!

    Thumper2 (Judy)

  • TR
    TR, April 27,  2021  10:52am EST


    Anxiety is a most definite trigger for AFIB, and it is also natural to have prior to a procedure like a coloscopy. Music and meditation are great, but if your mind is already in an anxious state, it becomes more difficult to achieve the desired results with an active and anxious mind. One way to get around that is to pick something simple that requires your minds total involvement. An example would be: Constant math problems in your head. 2x2x2x4x6 divided by 4x3 divided by 2....... and so on. It doesn't have to be this, but anything you can keep doing that occupies your mind and gets it off the anxiety. I love meditation to relax, but if I am in an anxious state, it's difficult for me to achieve the focus required to calm the mind.For what it's worth, I had to cancel a procedure due to anxiety causing AFIB, just like you. I went back weeks later and did the math thing and had no problem at all. Good luck, and don't give up.



  • Larkspur
    Larkspur, April 27,  2021  1:33pm EST

    Hi Vermont,

    I had nearly the same thing happen--electrolyte imbalance was the problem from the purging of the prep. After I had been hooked up to IV saline for a bit, my rhythm normalized and they went ahead with the colonoscopy. I was in touch with my EP by email and she green-lighted me to go ahead. Take-away: talk to the gastro about your rhythm problem and ask for the prep that is best for electrolyte balance, then drink even more supplemental electrolyte solutions than prescribed during the prep. I have a Kardia monitor which is a big help when monitoring rhythm problems. IV saline can really help and I've asked my gastro to always give me a bag before the procedure.

  • DkinAA
    DkinAA, April 27,  2021  1:37pm EST

    If you hadn't experienced an afib episode before, it can be pretty frightening -- many of us with paroxysmal afib (it comes and goes) find that being anxious can bring on an episode, and then feeling anxious because of the afib can make it worse.  

    Also, there has been some discussion in this group about how the colonoscopy prep can mess up your electrolyte balance (like getting dehydrated can), and that can sometimes bring on an episode. I've had enough colonscopies that except for the prep part, it's not a big deal, and once they get the IV in, I'm good to go - my father died from advanced colon cancer, so I'm a big fan of colonoscopies. If I recall correctly, I was having an afib episode during my last colonscopy a few years ago, but since I was under treatment for afib, they went ahead - a good deal to avoid having to repeat the prep! 

    Anyway, if you haven't had afib before, there's a good chance that you won't next time, with good hydration (maybe a fluid with electrolytes in it - I prefer yellow light gatorade - check with the doc), and some of the suggestions about relaxing; it might really help if you can bring somebody with you into the preparation and recovery rooms - my wife and I do that for each other, so we can advocate with the providers if needed. 


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