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flatchgordon, January 23,  2020  10:48am EST

First cardiologist appointment friday - what do I ask?

Hey all...

I'm a 44yr old male, spent 4 hours in the ER last weekend getting treatment for AFib...eventually shocked twice back to sinus pattern.  Cardiologist appointment is Friday morning.  Other than "What now?", what kind of questions should I be expecting him to answer?  My biggest fear (other than repeat episodes, stroke, death, etc.) is wanting to not go on blood thinners.  This is based only on the minor internet research I've done since the event.  Any and all input is welcome.  Thanks!

4 Replies
  • DkinAA
    DkinAA, January 24,  2020  7:12am EST

    Blood thinners (anticoagulants) are serious drugs withsome  bleeding risks, but they are much better than a stroke, which is the major risk from afib. There is a scoring system for figuring your stroke risk - maybe you will be OK. The newer drugs are easier to deal with than the old standby warfarin. I had some GI bleeding issues (from previous heavy use of ibuprofen for back pain) with Xarelto but then changed to Eliquis a couple of years ago with no problems. But no more ibuprofen - which I miss. 
    Good luck and let us know how it goes.  

  • Thumper2
    Thumper2, January 24,  2020  8:58am EST

    Flatchgordon, I've been on warfarin (coumadin) for several years now and have no trouble staying in the appropriate range, with my monthly finger-prick tests.  Since I already eat a pretty healthy diet, I have not made any changes to what I eat.  I also have never had any excessive bleeding.  In addition, warfarin is also reallly affordable, compared to the other options.  OTOH there are some folks who do not do well on warfarin.  I do like knowing how much is in my blood, which is a number you can't get for Eliquis.

    I hope you are seeing an EP (electrophysiologist) for your AFib.  They are cardiologists who specialize in treating AFib.

    All the best!  Let us know how you are doing.

    Thumper2 (Judy)

  • flatchgordon
    flatchgordon, January 24,  2020  7:17pm EST

    Thank you all for your input.

    Update:  Cardiologist had a MUCH more pressing attitude for urgent action to get this condition treatment going.  He put me on Elequis immediately.  Only a month's worth to start, but stated I should have had that going from the moment they did the cardioversion 5 days ago.  I guess I was risking a higher chance of a clot the whole week without knowing it.  Then, he recommended ablation be performed as soon as possible (6-8 weeks) so that I could possibly quit the anticoagulants for good...and not see a recurrence of AFib.  Before that happens, I'll do a heart EKG, sleep study (to check for Sleep Apnea), and hopefully work to lose weight.  His thought is getting weight down and major reduction of alcohol use (if not completely) would make hypertension and AFib issues go away...but still thinks the ablation is warranted.  The argument seems a bit circular to me, but I'm working to do all of it for now...at least until I see the Electrophysiologist in a few weeks and have the EKG. 

    This is all a shock...My BMI has always been high (6' and 220ish lbs puts me around a 30) since high school and I've loved craft beer since forever...losing 35 more pounds and no more Northwest IPAs seems like a helluva penalty for me...I've never smoked, I run half marathons, work out regularly...sheesh.  Turning 40 has seen me deal with one thing after another.  There.  End Rant. Feel a little better now.  A little.

  • Thumper2
    Thumper2, January 25,  2020  9:21am EST

    Count yourself blessed that you got a cardiologist who shows a sense of urgency on treating AFib!  Many of us got advice to just "live with it."  As I have said here often, even if you have few symptoms in AFib, your heart is very  likely changing quietly for the worse.  Ablations are not difficult, and if you are dealing with sleep apnea, it makes the likelihood of a successfull ablation higher.  

    Glad you felt free to rant here!  Congratulations on trying to make life-style changes -- it's not easy.  Please keep us posted and feel free to ask more questions.

    Thumper2 (Judy)

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