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new to AFIB - how long to regulate?
I am 59 y-o female who was diagnosed with AFIB during routine gyno appt. (Probably had it for years but never diagnosed. Did go to dr one time and they said stress and anxiety. Other times I thought it was caffeine or stress. Regardless, here I am. Have been on BP meds for 10+ years.; basically healthy) Was taken to ER for monitoring; given Cardizem and Eloquis in ER. Saw cardiologist who added Solatol the next week. It made me very tired but i am adjusting. Noticed that AFIB episodes now are more pronounced that before the meds. I feel like everyone can see my heart beating! I go this week for holter monitor. I hope it catches an episode. How long does it take to find the right meds to keep this under control? Thanks
grandscheme, November 4, 2019 4:30pm EST
Sometimes one medication might work more effectively than another on someone, but this is very dependent on the medication, the individual, the dose and so on.
What does your prescribing doctor say about the episodes being more pronounced?
What works for one person may not for another. I was transitioned from one medication to another after I got a second opinion. The change was beneficial.
But this is only my experience.
I'm fairly new here but I imagine many people on this site have had to try different approaches to get afib under the best control possible.
Best wishes and may you find a solution that suits you!
MellanieSAF, November 5, 2019 10:35am EST
We're each different so there is no one answer to that question. And, as one of the top afib expert surgeons says, "Afib is a bunch of different conditions that all share the same name." So, your afib may be very different from someone else's afib.
You may be able to stabilize more quickly by seeing an electrophysiologist (a cardiologist that specializes in the heart's electrical system) as it is harder for general cardiologists (those specializing in the plumbing system) to keep up with the latest on afib.
Ramie60, December 3, 2019 5:29pm EST
Update - the monitor showed I was in AFIB 14% of the time as well as lots of heart pauses up to 4 seconds long. So they recommend a pacemaker. Thankfully I have not passed out or had fainting episodes. Did have some dizziness over past year but think those were due to dehydration. Will get the PM after holidays but am a little anxious about the process. If the PM prevents the pauses, will it also help the AFIB? At least I am doing better on the current meds but don't like feeling the palpatations so frequently. Still tired too much. Thanks all.
bfboca, December 4, 2019 5:21am EST
Hi Ramie. Good news on the choice of pills to help you with your Afib and that is that there are a lot to chose from that have good track records and have been around for quite a few years. You mentioned dehydration in your past and that can easily be a trigger initiating an Afib event so you're gonna want to stay hydrated throughout the day. Re: your pacemaker.
A pacemaker doesn't typically help with Afib. However in your case it may help if the heart pauses you had been experienced were causing an Afib event. Then the pacemaker would help lessen those events. So I would hope for you that could be the case. You may still have Afib events/attacks but hopefully less of them. Let us know and remember to stay hydrated. Bob
Thumper2, December 4, 2019 9:10am EST
Ramie, I'll echo Bob's comments about the need to stay hydrated (it also should help your energy level). Once you have the pacemaker, you might notice shortness of breath, but keeping up an exercise regimen should help with that, as well as your energy level. You might also begin a conversation with your EP about whether or not you need to take all of the meds you are on. As for prescription meds, I now only take coumadin (permanently), Altace, and spironolactone. The last two keep my blood pressure and mild edema down. Of course, I also take some OTC things by choice: daily vitamin, Mg, Vit. D. As Mellanie says, we are all different,but keep looking for the balance that works for you. All the best,
grandscheme, December 4, 2019 9:27am EST
Good morning Ramie.
Good for you for pursuing all information you can.
I had pauses two years ago but one nearly knocked me to the floor of the supermarket. Had no idea at the time what had happened, then it happened again in a coffeeshop, then at home. Then I called 911. This all resulted in an emergency pacemaker; while in the hospital before PM my heart paused for nine seconds.
With the PM in place, no problems in pauses.
It was a downer to get a PM because I've always watched diet and don't drink and regularly exercise, but we get what we get in this life.
That said, for the past four months I've been at the gym every day with the exception of 12 -- after I jumped off a low stonewall and hurt one knee. Dumb bunny me. Rest cured that, but I missed the rush of joy that exercise always provides me and, curiously, my afib episodes had been non-existent or very brief until I could not exercise for a while.
Now I've been in one for five days, which is highly unusual for me, and am facing a possible cardiovert.
As others have said, stay well hydrated -- make it a rule even if you don't like it. It does help. And as for exercise, it keeps me feeling on top of the world. Just follow your EP's guidance on what exercises might be best and which might be avoided or lessened. I no longer do a daily rowing machine because of the leads. Someone else's doctor might say it was OK.
Do what you must, be well, live well, be happy.... go for it! YAY!
Larkspur, December 4, 2019 1:26pm EST
Ramie60: Will get the PM after holidays but am a little anxious about the process. If the PM prevents the pauses, will it also help the AFIB?
I have a pacemaker and the relief from pauses is marvelous. People usually say that a pacemaker doesn't affect Afib, but I have one that has an algorithm to outpace PACs (the latest St. Jude's model) and by stopping PACs it does help prevent Afib as PACs often are the lead-in to Afib. Also, while they usually implant them just under the skin (which makes them visible and sometimes in the way) my EP "buried " mine in the pectoral muscle because I am thin and thus mine is not visible at all. I have been really pleased with mine. Note: you will probably need several adjustments to get the settings to match your lifestyle. This is done during device checks. Good luck with this!
Ramie60, February 7, 2020 4:51pm EST
Update post PM: I got the implant 3 wks ago (Boston Scientifc). Besides the soreness and getting used to my new bump, the surgery went well. I was in Afib immediately before the procedure and they tried the cardioversion while I was under. It was unsuccessful to reach NSR. After the implant, Dr. took me off the Sotalol and prescibed Amiodarone which is working great. At 2 wk device check, had zero AFIB episodes but one extended period of high heart rate ( I couldn't tell when). Then in 2 months, if interrogation reveals no AFIB, Dr. might take me off Eliquis.
So thrilled to not feel the palpatations and anxious feeling that I had before and also not so tired! Want to start exercising regularly to feel better and maybe help some extra pounds off. I could not detect the pauses before so no problem there. Will get the home monitoring box later.
I have lots to learn about this condition but am pleased so far. For someone who had never heard of sick sinus syndrome and little about AFIB a few months ago, I have lots to grasp.
Thank you all for your comments and support!