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Dkbicjan, February 15,  2021  8:43am EST

New to Afib

Hi all! I recently had an arteriogram to clean out blockages from my left arm and when I awoke I could only take very shallow breaths and felt like I had a 50 pound weight on my chest. Sent to local hospital ER who, after running some imaging, sent me by ambulance to University of Maryland Medical Center Shock Trauma by ambulance as they thought I might have an aortic dissection. 

Shock Trauma has better resolution on their equipment and found nothing wrong with my aorta. However, they diagnosed me with paroxysmal afib, pericardial effusion and pericarditis. 5 days into my hospital stay they discovered a small pulmonary embolism which meant I had to stay in hospital longer. Embolism resolved but I am still fighting this pericarditis and pericardial effusion.

My afib seems to come on maybe once or twice a week at most and lasts for a short time, anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, and then I go back into regular sinus rhythm.

I am now on Eliquis to prevent blood clots. They tried me on Metoprolol only 12.5 mg because my BP normally runs low. Finally took me off that because I couldn't even move when on it.

Wondering if anyone here has any experience with systolic BP in the 90s to 110 and paroxysmal afib and wouldn't mind sharing what has and hasn't worked for them to help control heart rate.

4 Replies
  • AHAModerator
    AHAModerator, February 16,  2021  5:05pm EST

    Good afternoon,

    Thank you for sharing your story with the support network. I'm sorry that you're going through this, but I hope the new medication will help! As you hear from others on the forum about their experiences, I can also share some AFib resources with you to help you learn more. Please keep us updated on how you're doing!


    The AHA Team

  • DkinAA
    DkinAA, February 17,  2021  12:12pm EST

    Wow - what an experience! I am not a doctor, and have had only a "typical" case of paroxysmal afib for the last few years. Can you arrange to consult with a cardiac electrophysiologist (EP) ? They specialize in heart rhythm problems - the "wiring" vs. the "plumbing" of the heart. There are other drugs or dosages to try for the "rate control" function (the Metoprolol) and also for rhythm control. But I haven't had any experience with the low BP to share. I hope you can get some good advice for this. This site and has a lot of good information that might help, but getting some specialist input might really help. Let us know how it goes!


  • Dkbicjan
    Dkbicjan, February 21,  2021  10:27am EST


    thank you for your reply. As it has ended up the paroxysmal AFib is not my biggest issue. I had increasing fluid in my pericardium (pericardial effusion) and pericarditis. I had surgery two days ago. They also thought from imaging there might be an issue with my ascending aorta. So, they cut my breastbone to get a good look. Ended up my aorta looked fine but I had a portion of the outer layer of my pericardium removed so any future fluid could drain. They sent both the tissue and fluid off to the lab so we still are not sure what caused the effusion. Hopefully in a few days to a couple of weeks. 
    So I came out of the cardiac surgery ICU late yesterday and placed me in a cardiac surgery step-down unit where I will remain for about 5 days. Still have 4 drains coming out of me. 8 week recovery period to allow the now wired together breastbone to heal.

    hopefully will get AFib under control 

  • DkinAA
    DkinAA, February 22,  2021  12:57pm EST

    Wow. Yes, afib is not your biggest issue! I wish the best for you in your recovery, and let us know if the afib is still involved!


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