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New here, new to AF
I'm new to this group. By way of introduction, in January I was diagnosed with intermittent AFib with fast pulse (up to 160). I'd had fluttering and fast clusters for decades but it would always resolve on its own. Last December when it didn't I went to the ER and subsequently, the diagnosis. Since then, my episodes have been every other month on average and they seem to be getting worse. Shortness of breath is becoming an increasing problem as well. I take Propafenone at onset but I still have to stay in bed and very quiet while the Propafenone takes effect (2 hours on Sunday). I avoided the debilitating shortness of breath by staying in bed (I'm too weak and unsteady to walk on my own) but the next night I was awakened with shorteness of breath several times. I have read AF gets worse over time. At this point, I am hesitate to travel and it's difficult to make plans. I never know when it's going to happen. My cardiologist has suggested an ablation but that I will have to convince that doctor to do it.
I guess with all this background, does anyone else relate? Especially to the shortness of breath? My cardio says 1/5 ablations are not successful. Ideas anyone?
Thank you, Canada
Thumper2, October 17, 2019 7:42am EST
Canada, I'm sorry to hear of your AFib difficulties. We're glad you're here. Learning more about your condition is a good thing. Several things: are you seeing an electrophysiologist (EP)? These are the cardiologists who specialize in treating AFib. Offhand, I'd guess you probably would benefit from an ablation -- just make sure that whoever does it has a record of doing many of them, successfully. True, not all ablations are successful, but several folks here have had 2 or 3 before getting back into normal sinus rhythm (NSR).
Also, have you been tested for sleep apnea? Having untreated sleep apnea decreases the odds that your ablation would be successful.
With regard to shortness of breath (SOB), for me, regular exercise has been helping to reduce my SOB. I hope you have friends and/or family who will help you exercise. Yes, AFib tends to get worse with time -- your heart begins to re-model itself in negative ways. I hope you'll keep reading about AFib, and please keep us posted as to how you are doing.
All the best, Thumper2 (Judy)
skk1949, October 17, 2019 11:58am EST
Canda I can relate I have had Paroxsymal afib for 19 years this year I went into constant afib and havent left i had a rate up to 160 my meds were changedwith increased lopressor, added cororone, off propafenone which i took for years. I had 1 cardioversion without success . I am suppose to repeat cardioversion if that doesnt help then to EP for possible ablations. The med changes did help with the rate I am usually below 100 but still in afib. The shortness of breath isnt too bad worse at times but generally can do minimal activtiy perhaps try a cardioversion before ablation . Good luck on you journey
Jeanamo815, October 17, 2019 1:13pm EST
Canada, I would suggest that you see an electrophysiologist who can determine if you are a good candidate for ablation. See one who has done many ablations and in a facility with a lot of experience with ablations. It is true that all ablations are not succesfull the first time. It has taken 3 for me to stay in normal sinus rhythm for 5 years. I do not regret having the ablations....the proceudre and recoveries were not difficult. There is some indication that the sooner you have the procedure, the better the chances of sucess. I hope you will see the electrophyiologist soon and determine what is the best course for you. Are you taking an anticoagulant for stroke prevention? If I were you, I would consider having an ablation if your electropnysiologist recommends it.
Wishing you the best,
(My A-Fb Experience Community Leader)
Spencer, October 17, 2019 6:07pm EST
Well, welcome to the board. I can relate to the shortness of breath. When I was in my AFib time, the drugs caused me to stop and catch my breath several times and even led to my passing out a few times. The ablation rate is about right but look at it as 4/5 are successful. You need to see first if you can be treated via drugs and then by electricity (cardioversion, which is just the reset button for us humans, and often it resets the rhythm of the heart very well). So you have options, and on this board, you have others that have gone through this. No panicking yet. We will tell you when to freak out. Talk with your EP about the drugs, and what is the next step.
So, Welcome. You are among others like yourself.
In the Sunlight
Canada, October 22, 2019 2:54pm EST
Thank you so much for your quick and helpful replies. I'm sorry for my late reply. It took me a little while to become familiar with the site.
I am on Eliquis, was started on that at diagnosis. I had a sleep study about 8 years ago (for insomnia). So no history of sleep apnea. Three of my aunts had AF so it is in the family.
I haven't seen an EP yet. I've been referred and am waiting to hear about an appointment. I haven't had a cardioversion but wonder if the EP will think I should try that first. Maybe something to keep in mind if I have another event. However, this is definitely stress related and no hope of it resolving. Our son's wife is losing her battle with a brain tumor, young children, live at a distance in the US, no support from her family. Although we have good insurance I can't travel there - I don't want to be the one needing help. So I am hopeful about an ablation for longterm help. I like the suggestion to think of it as 4/5 being successful.
Love name "Thumper." Brings a smile. Thanks so much for your input, so helpful. I hope I'm properly enrolled now to get notifications of posts.
Waynebethard, November 1, 2019 3:47pm EST
I am new to all this. 76 yo male. Was diagnosed with Paroxismal Afib several months ago, shortly after having a stent put in. Everyone here seems to have a slightly different story and symptoms. My first event with Afib took me to ER. Am on Atenolol, Eliquis, Plavix and Cardizem which seems for now to barely hold the flutters at bay. Tried Flecanide but it caused some serious PVC’s. My HR jumps from over 200 and drops to 30 within minutes and this goes on for several hours at a time. Like Canada, I have serious SOB problems, plus my BP bottoms out to 100/50 on occasion. My cardiologist hooked me up with an EP and he has me scheduled for an ablation on the 18th on this month. I have been using a CPAP for six years now but at times I wake up now smothering. It is hard to explain to someone how deathly sick you feel when you go into Afib with serious SOB. It is comforting to be on line with others who understand just how sick these events make you feel. I have always been an active person, jogger, backpacker, who enjoyed physical activity. Now it is all I can do to walk around the block without pausing to catch my breath.
Canada, November 2, 2019 12:41pm EST
We share our age and SOB troubles, but you have a lot more going on than I do. My sympathies!