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njm5876, May 16,  2019  9:26am EST

episodes of paroxysmal AFib getting longer

My  husband has been diagnosed with paroxysmal Afib last month. He has a normal low HR of 50-60 - he has slightly elevated BP  ( 126/69 average) he is taking Lisinopril 20 mg 1 x day.

The highest his HR has been during an episode is 168. He is scheduled for an ablation in just under 2 months. Lately when he has had an episode they appear to be lasting longer before reverting back. His episodes are almost always during the early afternoon to evening. Never in the am or at night.  He tried taking Multaq and it didn't do a thing for him, Dr has him taking aspirin instead of blood thinner for now.  He will start Eliquis 2 weeks before ablation.  Has anyone else had this issue?  

Almost everything I am finding descrubes  the episodes as pounding, he describes his as a flip flop, butterfly feeling.  He is having a hard time determining when he is having an episode.  We have a BP cuff that shows Irregular HR --lately when he thinks he is in Afib it shows normal and vice versa.  Is this normal with paroxysmal Afib?

Thank you for your help.

8 Replies
  • john1818
    john1818, May 16,  2019  11:33am EST

    I have been dealing with paroxysmal AFIB for three years. In fact I just returned from my 6 month doctor visit where he recommended an ablation because of the amount of episodes. I typically have several a month that could last a day or two. I told the doctor that I'm not ready for the ablation at this time siince I can deal with the AFIB. While I typically know when I'm experiencing an AFIB event, I take an AliveCor (Kardia) reading every morning for history that I present to my doctor. Today as well as in past visits he suggests having an ablation especially after reading the daily charts that additionally show heart rates. Heart rates for me are typically well under 150bpm..

    The flip flop butterfly feeling is what I experience when in AFIB. I'm on 50mg Metoprolol 2x/day and 20mg Xarelto 1x/day. If you have a smartphone You may want to look into purchasing this simple device. https://www.alivecor.com/


  • Spencer
    Spencer, May 16,  2019  11:39am EST

    It sounds he has a mild form of AFib.  That is great that mild and not causing him a lot of pain.   Each AFib is different, some have a lot of pain and is debilitating and others are much milder.  I have the former with a high heartbeat in the180's to 200's.  He is personally converting back to a normal rhythm. 

    The ablation is easy and involves little pain.  One day down and you are back to full speed.  I have a pix of what it looks like if you want.


    In the Sunlight

  • retiredlcsw
    retiredlcsw, May 16,  2019  3:03pm EST

    I had my first episode of paroxsymal a-fib in June 2106.  My symptoms were a rapid heartbeat and a sensation that a fish was flopping around in my chest.  No shortness of breath, dizziness or chest pains- just the rapid heart rate and flip flops.  Had 4 more episodes in a several month period (kept going to the ER in a state of panic each time) and my cardiologist who did all my cardiac workups after the episodes advised that I was a good candidate for an ablation- no other health conditions and what he called "relatively young age". He referred me to an EP and  I had my ablation in April 2107 and have been a-fib free since.  I am not on any blood thinners, only take Diltiazem XR 240 mg once a day.  I had a loop recorder inserted prior to my ablation and my EP monitors this monthly.  I see him once a year for follow-up.  He is wonderful.

    My EP explained that it is really important to do an ablation early on in the process, so there is less "damage" done by the a-fib- with more areas that need ablating and to avoid the paroxsymal a-fib getting more frequent and possibly persistent.  If your husband is a good candidate for ablation, I would highly recommend that he do it.  The down time was minimal- only discomfort for me was the night after- a backache from being on the table for 6 1/2 hours and then having to lie flat on my back in the hospital overnight.  I had no pain afterwards from the procedure and I did not experience any a-fib during the blanking period.  I feel really blessed to have had such a successful outcome..  Should the a-fib return in the future, I would follow the advise of my EP and do another ablation if he would recommend it.

  • njm5876
    njm5876, May 17,  2019  9:49am EST

    Thank you all for your comments.  This condition is totally out of the blue for us and scary for me!  The husband is old school where you don't acknowledge if you are scared. He remains stoic and I have to 'pry' information out of him. He feels that doctors are gods and are not to be questioned.    My husband is 61 - other than arthritis and the controlled BP he is in excellent condition.  His exercise consists of the work around our place. We have about 200 acres that we run cattle on.  There is always something that needs to be repaired or a new project.  He could lose 10 lbs but EP doc says it isn't that big an issue.

    He started with Afib the end of January 2019, 10 days later he had a relatively simple bicep tendon surgery, the week after the surgery the Afib got more frequent, the following week the episodes increased to almost every day and for longer periods of time (hours instead of just minutes).  He went to the ortho to check his incision sights, got the all clear even though there were obvious signs of infection in 2 of the sights :(  My husband doesn't question doctors so if Dr said no infection then he didn't push.  2 days after this my father passed away, a day later he was in Afib most of the day -chest pressure and flip-flopping, heart rate was fast for him ( 120 -140) .  The next day made an appt with PCP, he recommended a cardiologist. The cardiologist put him on a Holter monitor for 14 days. It showed 19 episodes of Afib in 14 days.  Referred to an EP who believes he is an excellent candidate for the ablation.  

    We tried cutting back on caffeine, alcohol and the other usual suspected triggers. Nothing made a difference.  I think the Multaq may have made his symptoms worse, the episodes would go from lasting a couple of hours to lasting 5-6 hrs. He has used up the samples and will not get the prescription renewed.  The cost is extremely high even with our insurance and we know it doesn't help.  With our lifestyle, my husband wants to avoid blood thinner and heart meds that are terribly expensive and the EP said about 60% of the time the meds wouldn't help him. Apparently, ablation is the best choice for him to regain some health.

      His AFib symptoms are extreme fatigue, flip-flopping feeling, and chest pressure.  He was also told he has PVC and PAC so I am wondering if part of the heartbeat he is feeling is from the PVC &PAC -not true Afib.  He has said in the last few weeks he can't really tell when the heart is acting up or if it is something else.  We do have a BP cuff that shows irregular HR.  He frustrates me because he doesn't check it. I have researched AFib and found a lot of ideas that might help with the symptoms, he 'forgets' to take the supplements, (magnesium and alpha lipoic acid are the 2 I have purchased) he does take CoQ10 as the EP doctor gave the green light to it.  

    From a spouses point, I am worried sick, the ablation scares me but it also gives me hope of getting my husband back. I am worried about the length of time it takes, he is very sensitive to anesthesia.  I know for him the time frame won't seem very long.  I am not good in hospitals, I worry about the worst and pray for the best.  We are in this together.  I just want my husband who is full of life and energy back!

     For us the thought of blood thinners and heart meds for the rest of his life is far more frightening.  With our lifestyle the chances of complications from both are enough we would have to forego our life. For better or worse, we refuse to give up the way of life we love for meds when there is a chance of a good outcome with the ablation.  I am sure there are those who will judge our choices but this is our course for now.  Thank you for the chance to 'vent' and get some concerns off my mind.

    Have an awesome Friday!

  • Spencer
    Spencer, May 18,  2019  6:05am EST

    A bit more to help with your nervousness.

    BP cuff, mine tells me everyday that I have an irrugler heartbeat. I have never seen the cuff to be correct. I’d get a Kardashian’s for about $100.  It uses an app on your cell to give you an FDA level EKG.  I have used mine a great.  Mine won me my third ablation.  Go by what he feels than the electronics.

    Ablation scars, after he heals up you will have a hard time seeing them.  He would enjoy you looking for it... It will be in his groin.  I've had three and I do not have scars and I am 50.

    Take care of hubby.


    In the sunlight

  • macaodha
    macaodha, May 19,  2019  8:07am EST

    Hey Spencer ... I didn't know the Kardashians are making heart monitors! 😂 you wrote: "I’d get a Kardashian’s for about $100.  It uses an app on your cell to give you an FDA level EKG."

    Looks like the spellcheck gremlin got you too, huh? It plagues me about once a day. BTW, enjoy your posts.


  • Spencer
    Spencer, May 19,  2019  8:49am EST

    Yeah, you are right.  Spell check.  Have you seen where you type the word you want and the spellcheck will correct up to three times.  I have had to cut and paste in the word that I want.

  • macaodha
    macaodha, May 19,  2019  8:58am EST

    Yes sir! Same thing happens to me. The old spellcheck system didn't fight with ya. Since the upgrade it's a pain in the arse.

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