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SinusRhythm, March 10,  2018  8:18am EST

Shortness of breath


I've been recently diagnosed with A Fib.  I was diagnosed in December 2017.  Went to the ER and ended up being admitted for 2 nights.  I'm now taking Cardizem 270mg 1 capsule daily.  Also Metoprolol 25mg twice a day and Eliquis 5mg twice a day.  What I've noticed in the past few weeks is that I'm now having shortness of breath along with the flutter.  Actually the shortness of breath seems to be the main symptom now.  I don't feel the flutter as much anymore only the shortness of breath feeling.  My cardiologist told me that my Echo shows no signs of Congestive Heart Failure.  He said that the blood flow looked good and my heart was strong.  I have a sleep study appt coming up.  I've been told about the antirhythmic meds and will consider that after I have the sleep study.  I'm also overweight and in the process of diet and exercise.  56 years old.  The doctor told me that I apparently have the gene that was passed down to me from my dad that gave me A Fib.  My question is with my shortness of breath.  I'm wondering why I now have shortness of breath at least once a day which lasts maybe 1-2 hours.  Could this be the meds? (I'm thinking it's not the meds since I've been on them since December and no shortness of breath until recently).  Could it be that blood is now backing up into my pulmonary vein causes it?  If so would a chest xray determine that?  I also can lay down at any time of day and fall sound asleep for 2-3 hours.   I'm feeling some anxiety wondering about it.  I have an upcoming appt with my doctor but thought I would put this out to the community in the meantime.  Also let me say this... When there is no shortness of breath and no flutter happening I wouldn't even know I have this disease since at those times I feel fine.

Thank you      
  • SinusRhythm
    SinusRhythm, May 16,  2018  6:29pm EST

    Hello and thanks again for the replies.  Well I'm now in the hospital having Sotalol loading.  After 4 doses (120mg every 12 hours) they attempted a cardioversion, (my first time getting one).  The cardioversion was not successful.  They shocked my heart 3 times during the procedure and did not go back into normal rhythm.  Anyone that hasn't had this procedure, now that I've had it, it's no big deal.  I was afraid of the unknown.  I was asleep with a sedative for only around 5 minutes.  The procedure is very quick.  I did feel like someone had punched me in the chest and a little sunburn feeling with it right afterwards just for a short time.  I had the procedure 8 hours ago.  I can't even tell I had it now except for a tiny bit of sunburn feeling.  Anyway my next step is to have the Sotalol dosage increased and another cardioversion attempted in a few days.  If it fails again they suggested Tikosyn loading and then an ablation.  I've read about A Fib and it seems like it's going to be challenging having it treated.  Keeps doctors guessing.  Fearful of having an ablation but I'm betting that sooner or later I will have to have one.  I was also told that the longer you have A Fib the harder it is to treat.  It will also cause scar tissue in your heart I was told if it goes uncontrolled.  Joining this forum has provided some comfort for me knowing I'm not alone.  I read 2.7-6.1 people have A Fib.  200,000 new cases a year.

  • Myrna
    Myrna, May 8,  2018  1:36pm EST

    You have complicated medical and it sounds  like good doctors. I have shortness of breathe and have the following medical conditions that cause it in my case; parox afib, high blood pressure, no wheeze asthma( drs missed that one for years), low iron anemia(dieting), overweight. Mostly it's the first three that cause it. Not sure if this helps but sometimes with multiple health problems , things can get confusing.Hope you find the cause as it's hard to do anything when one can't breathe well.Also have sleep apnea and have had low oxygen, problems with electrolytes in past, not sure if dehydration affects it.

  • SinusRhythm
    SinusRhythm, May 8,  2018  8:39am EST

    Thank you to all that replied back to me!  Here's my current situation - Shortness of breath most of the day.  Do not feel the flutter anymore only shortness of breath.  Had another EKG and it showed I was in A Fib. (The meds lost their effectiveness i.e., Cardizem, Metoprolol).  The cadiologist suggested an antiarrhythmic med called Rhythmol.  I took it and after 5 doses (1 every 8 hours) I felt the shortness of breath disappear, (only for 2 days).  Back to having shortness of breath.  So Rhythmol only worked for 2 days.  After working with 2 different cadiologists I now have a couple of choices, (it's up to me).  I can be given Sotalol where I will stay in the hospital for 3 nights while they adjust the dosage and see if that brings me out of A Fib.  If it does then I will continue to take Sotalol going forward.  If it does not work they will give me a Cadioversion at the end of my stay and then send me home.  My other choice is to just have the Cardioversion without the Sotalol.  Outpatient.  So what do I do?  I'm leaning towards having the Cadioversion without the Sotalol just to move on and get out of this!  This way I won't be on another med.  Very tired of the shortness of breath feeling.  I've been afraid of the Cardioversion procedure but after doing some reading I feel a little more comfortable.    

  • Mellanie at
    Mellanie at, March 19,  2018  5:30am EST
    @Tropp, When they do the bypass surgery, will they also be doing the Maze procedure for your afib?Mellanie
  • Wiggles
    Wiggles, March 19,  2018  4:09am EST
    Yes, I had a stress echo and it was normal.  It was suggested (by the EP's PA) that maybe I should see a lung specialist but haven't done that yet.  They have also "suggested" maybe it was COPD even though I have not smoked at all in 25 years and even then it was very limited - maybe 3-4 cigarettes in a day.  I also smoked in the same limited way in my 20s (50 years ago!) but I never really liked it because it made my heart rate go up and/or feel "sick."  Consequently my smoking was limted to one after dinner or if I had a drink when out.  Drs seem to imply that even that long ago and that limited could now cause COPD which seems unlikely to me.
  • Tropp
    Tropp, March 18,  2018  7:18am EST
    Wiggles - you say "tests" and an ECG have led your doctors to conclude there is "nothing else wrong with your heart."  So what I'm about to say may be pointless or it may cause you to challenge that conclusion.I, too, have shortness of breath.  My first cardiologist essentially said, "Come see me in year."  I chose to see a second cardiologist who took a more proactive approach.  To help diagnose the cause of the shortness of breath, he administered a "stress echocardiogram."  This involved taking a resting echocardiogram, then walking on a treadmill for about six minutes, then doing another echo of the heart under stress.  This revealed that a part of my heart was not working properly.  To figure out why, the next step was to do a heart catheterization. That revealed that two of my coronary arteries are 70-75% blocked.  Next week I will undergo coronary bypass surgery.My reason for sharing this is to encourage you to challenge your doctors to do whatever tests are necessary to determine the root cause of your shortness of breath.
  • Wakeling
    Wakeling, March 17,  2018  5:27pm EST
    Roy. I remember too when I got off metoprolol I had so much more energy and no weezing.
  • Wiggles
    Wiggles, March 17,  2018  5:37am EST
    I was prescribed Metropolol by the cardiologist I saw first, took it for about 3 weeks until I saw the EP who started me on Sotalol.  Just stopped one and started the other - I don't know if that was a good idea or not!  The EP also started me on Sotalol without the 3 day hospital stay, saying it wasn't necessary for me.  I just went in after 3 days for an ECG and again a week later.  I know other people have been told they HAVE to have the 3 day hospital stay.  I don't get it (not that I wanted to sit in a hospital for 3 days).  I continue to have shortness of breath which is what sent me to the the heart dr. in the first place last summer.  Had been having that symptom for a couple years, getting more noticable.  After tests was diagnosed with AFib and told nothing else wrong with my heart.  They have "hinted" that I am "out of condition" when I question about why I still have this issue, but it's difficult to get in better shape when you can't walk up a hill, or more than one flight of stairs, without stopping to catch your breath.  So I can't say that the shortness of breath is caused by a side effect of Sotalol or Xarelto since I had it previous to starting those medications.  I keep thinking where do I go next to try to figure out why I am short of breath?  I have had diagnosed sleep apnea for 6 years and use a machine and am over weight by about 30 lbs.  I feel like the dr.s look at me and see a 74 year old overweight woman and conclude it's being "out of shape".  I do water aerobics twice a week with no problem - it's the stairs and hills that get me.
  • Morwenna
    Morwenna, March 16,  2018  2:07am EST
    Mellanie,               This was my experience on abruptly discontinuing Metoprolol, because of occasional pulse rate in the 40s. My blood pressure increased . Definitely better to withdraw slowly .
  • Mellanie at
    Mellanie at, March 15,  2018  6:37am EST
    CAUTION: DO NOT STOP BETA BLOCKERS WITHOUT WORKING WITH YOUR DOCTOR!You must taper off beta blockers slowly. Stopping them cold turkey can result in a rebound effect!! (
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