Wayne
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Wayne, June 19,  2017  8:51am EST

AFIB and Low Heart Rate?

I am a 78-year old male with persistent AFIB for about the last 20 years with only occasional instances of racing heart rate.  In 2010, I had open heart surgery to replace the aortic valve along with a triple by-pass and a cryo-maze procedure to correct the AFIB (the maze procedure only fixed the AFIB for about a month).  In my opinion, I have been doing very well and see my personal physician and cardiologist twice a year.  I keep a good record of my vitals on a weekly basis.  Every so often (2 to 3 times a year) I note that my heart rate (normally 68-70 BPM) while sleeping will dive to the 40's and 50's and stay at that lower rate for a week or two.  Neither of my doctors seem concerned about this.  During my discussion last week with my cardiologist, while discussing this issue, he stated that AFIB can result in low heart rates as well as high heart rates and talked about a pacemaker if and when the low heart rate situation warrants it.  I did not know that AFIB could cause low heart rates and would like to hear if others on this forum have expeienced low heart rates as a result of AFIB.  Thanks.
8 Replies
  • Rbrandt
    Rbrandt, June 19,  2017  6:34pm EST
    Wayne,Glad your here and posting.  As to your question, I know there are members of this forum that have pacemakers and I think some do have gotten them after being diagnosed with Afib.  Hopefuly they will chime in here and share their experiences with you.  Wishing you the best and take care. May we all have NSR. Roy
  • Jeanamo
    Jeanamo, June 20,  2017  11:57am EST
    Hello, Wayne and welcome to this group!  You did not mention what medicines you may be taking for A-fib.  Sometimes it may be the medicines (especially the beta blockers) that cause a slow heart rate rather than the a-fib.  I had to have a pacemaker because my medicine for a-fib was slowing my heart rate into the 40's (bradycardia).  Some people seem to tolerate this slow heart rate better than others.  It can lead to fainting for some.  Getting the pacemaker installed was a simple procedure and I did not have any complications.  Now I am not even aware that it is there!  My pacemaker is set to keep my heart rate no lower than 60 beats per minute.  When I have a pacemaker check, it shows everything that has been "going on" with my heart in the time since the previous check.  When I am in an a-fib episode, my heart rate will speed uo to over 200 beats per minute.  After 3 ablations, I am now free of a-fib and have been for almost 2 years.  However, ,I still take an anticoagulant as a precaution against stroke.  I imagine you are in the care of an experienced electrophysiologist who can address your questions and concern about the slow heart rate and other a-fib issues.Best wishes to you...Jean(MyA-FibExperience Community Leader).
  • fmctaggart
    fmctaggart, June 21,  2017  3:46am EST
    I have never had a high heart rate with my Afib and my heart rate tends to be fairly low--about 58 to 62 when I take my BP. I exercise regularly and my HR goes up normally during exercise and stays in the 80s and 90s for a couple of hours after I finish.My Fitbit tells me my 24-hour HR is now 54 when I am exercising regularly and fairly fit (higher during holidays when my exercise schedule is interrupted). My Kardia Mobile tells me I am in Afib virtually all the time; I haven't seen my cardiologist since I discovered that. Because my HR is low, I have never taken beta blockers and I don't take any antiarrhythmic medication. Only warfarin to protect against stroke. I have no symptoms and go about my business as I would if my heart were normal.
  • jgood
    jgood, March 29,  2020  12:54pm EST

    Hello,

            I am 59 year old male with Paroxymol A-Fib. I am also an RN,MSN with 40 years experience. I completed my MD in another country.

    My problem is stress induced. When i am overstimulated, it kicks in, i get nervous. I try to controll it. But need to change careers.

  • sandpoet
    sandpoet, May 20,  2020  11:51pm EST
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    I am a 65 year old man with persistent AFIB for the last 12 years, since I contracted Endocarditis and had an Aortic Valve Replacement. Following the surgery which involved a mechanical valve. I was prescribed an anticoagulant that I would need to use the rset of my life. Simultaneously to my heart valev replacement, I had a brain aneurysm. Because of the procedure which involved a craniotomy, clearing the intercranial compartments of blood and clipping the broken vessel, I was prescribed an anticonvulsant. This precluded the use of aspirin with Warfarin. During my cognitive rehabilitation, my heart valve failed and I had a redo. I recovered quickly and my electrophysiologist prescribed Tykosin as an antiarrhythmic medicatuon. Stanford attempted cardioversion twice without success. My sister, a Director of Cardiology with Doctors Medical Center conferred with cardiologists regarding my condition and medications. They advised her that Tykosyn was the brand name of the generic Dofetilide was, in their opinion a dangerosu medication for athletes who could suffer sudden cardiac arrest if they didn't cool down after intense physical activity, which I have done for all of my adult life. There are many other alternatives that are safer. After conferring with my electrophysiologist, he warned me of the risks of going to a less effective medication. I told him I was discontinuing the drug and if the Afib became an issue, I would ask that he try me on another medication. I have not had one event in 12 years that caused me discomfort or racing heart. I wear an Apple Watch and it tracks my heart rate and heart rate variability 24 hours a day. My heart rate after sleep dips as low as 40 bpm, but typically about 45 every night. When I hike or do strenuous biking, my heart will stay above 100 for 30-60 minutes, but recovers to my daily average of 60-65.

    I will be discussing this situation with my cardiologist next appointment. Unfortunately, I am on my 3rd cardioogist in 10 years as they are retiring. I don't have issues with a racing haert or any symptoms that many experience with AFIB. I don't want a pacemaker that will limit my intensive exercise. I can still see my normal maximum heart rate go as high as 165 when on 200 meter sprints. I have interval trained for 20 years and my heart rate recovery ahs always been excellant. I'm more xoncerned about heart arte variability which I read in healthy people ranges from 30-60ms, the higher, the better. Mine measures over 200ms often and the Apple Watch is considered first rate technology for measuring heart rate and variability. Should I be concerned about the high heart arte variability or is it related to the AFIB?

  • Larkspur
    Larkspur, May 21,  2020  1:29pm EST

    "I don't want a pacemaker that will limit my intensive exercise. I can still see my normal maximum heart rate go as high as 165 when on 200 meter sprints."

    The newest pacemakers are very versatile with many different choices of models--some designed for athletes. They can also be set in a myriad ways, so if you are recommended a pacemaker (I have one) just be clear with your EP on your lifestyle and what you would need from a pacemaker. Good luck with your next appointment.

  • sandpoet
    sandpoet, May 28,  2020  5:23pm EST

    The newest pacemakers are very versatile with many different choices of models--some designed for athletes. They can also be set in a myriad ways, so if you are recommended a pacemaker (I have one) just be clear with your EP on your lifestyle and what you would need from a pacemaker. Good luck with your next appointment.

     

    Larkspur-

    Thanks. My cardiologist initimated that she may want me to wear a Halter Moniter after a check on my blood pressure which was unusually high. Since this was my 1st visit with her, I asked her to examine my many years of low blood pressure and told her this current reading may be due to too much calleine on the exam day. She changed her mind on the monitor. This next visit I will discuss her halter monitor suggestion, so she can rely on records from a hospital approved technology versus the records off my AppleWatch. I was an elite athlete before the heart surgeries and the low heart rate may be due to conditioning over decades. Since I don't have issues like many, I will discuss leaving it be unless a poor prognosis without treatment is inevitable.

  • kocoach
    kocoach, September 30,  2020  8:18pm EST

    Hello all, I am a new member and I thought I'd share my afib experiences with you. I am a 74 year old male with way too much weight and I have had afib for about 25 years now and it's starting to bother me.  At first my heart rate was 260 bpm and I was put on an experimental drug (at the time) dofetelide and it worked great for about 20 years, so good so that I would run 7 miles a day, train at the gym (boxing coach) and spar with the fighters. All of a sudden I started getting afib episodes again just about four years ago and my doctor at the va hospital wanted me to start taking eliquis for stroke prevention, which I fought him for a few month's but finally gave in, Thank GOD. During an episode one evening I was taken to a hospital right around the corner from my house to the emergency room where I wound up staying for about 7 days. At that time a heart specialist switched me over to amiodarone which I am currently on and it has worked very well for about 8 months but now I'm going into afib it seems like every two to three days with heart rates from 40 t0 190 bpm. I also had a heart attack but the Dr. says it did no damage to my heart but these episodes are starting to bother me a lot. I know when I'm in afib and have very few side effects. My Dr. is talking about a pace maker or ablation but I'd rather not get either one. My research indicates that it takes two or three ablations to correct the problem of afib and sometimes it never does. My Dr. also tells me there is no other afib medicine he can put me on as amiodarone is kinda the last one I can safely take, he say the others would probably kill me. Any readers have any suggestions? By the way I was in fantastic shape until 56 years old but now I'm obese and disgusting looking at 5" 7" and 275 lbs. My afib triggers are lack of sleep and stress.  Thank you all and GOD Bless. 

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