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tdaley6150, August 27,  2020  7:27am EST

Looking for Patient or EP dealing with Low Heart Rate Afib

I am a 71 year old male and I had my first bought with Afib in 1989 that started with flutter.  I was 40 years old and was treated with drugs for a couple of years and then was in NSR for over 14 years before afib started again.  I had an ablation at University of Pennsylvania in 2012 and was good for a couple of years and moved to Florida to retire in 2016.

I had a second ablation in December 2018 in Ocala, Florida by Dr. Acevedo, a very busy EP and with a good resume.  Since the second ablation I have gone into afib over 5 times in the last year and my EP is now leaning towards a pacemaker due to my low heart rate.

I am currently in afib and my heart rate is 60 and BP is 123/66. I feel fine and can only tell I am in afib when I take my pulse.  I am taking a blood thinner and 80 mg of Stotalol twice a day.  I am in good physical condition and play golf 3 days a week and do spin class 3 days a week.  I have cut out all processed food and eat many salads and only drink a glass or two of red wine at dinner.

I am skeptical of puttiing in a pacemaker to increase my heart rate as the answer to my afib problem and wanted to ask the forum if anyone has experienced similar simptoms or an EP out there that has had similar cases.

I will probably get cardioverted after 30 days on the blood thinner and when I do my EP will want to put in the pacemaker due to my low heart rate.  If I can get some input from a similar experience it would greatly aid  in my decision making.


6 Replies
  • gretske
    gretske, August 27,  2020  9:51am EST

    I have a similar resume. I am 73 and had my first incidence of afib in 2012, and a cardioversion worked for awhile. I tended to go into afib at irregular intervals, also about 4-5 times a year. My afib only lasted a few hours, and I was put on Eliquis to prevent blood clots. In 2016, I had an ablation, and after a short period of adjusting my Sotalol and Cartia and adding Losartan, I was afib free until earlier this year, when I was found to be in afib when in preparation for a knee surgery. The meds were then adjusted again, and I have had 3 short (a few hours) occurances of afib since. My heart rate and BP is about the same as yours. The reason for the low heart rate is probably due to the heart meds. Once I fully recover from the knee replacement, I am going to spend some time working on the heart meds. I may have a second ablation, but that is not decided yet. I wish you the best and hope you will keep us informed of your progress, and I will keep you informed of mine. 

  • ginahmk
    ginahmk, August 27,  2020  10:47am EST

    Hi.  Depends on how low your heart rate is.  I developed tachy-Brady syndrome with rates to below 10 bpm and felt lightheaded.  This occurred when my a fib episodes were ending.  You need to know how low your heart rate is.  I had second ablation and started Tikosyn.  With no more a fib episodes I did not need pacemaker.  Good luck and ask questions.

  • Thumper2
    Thumper2, August 28,  2020  8:29am EST

    tdaley, my husband has a pacemaker, and his is set at 60bpm, so offhand I'd say you don't need a pacemaker to get where you already are!  He also takes Tikosyn, which works for him. It may be worthwhile for you to try Tikosyn -- it involves a 3-day hospital stay to see if it's working for you (not difficult except that they keep waking you up at night to take various readings).  Tikosyn doesn't work for everybody (it didn't for me), but it may be a good thing for you, to keep you in NSR.  Keep us posted!

    Thumper2 (Judy)

  • NewPacer73
    NewPacer73, August 28,  2020  8:52am EST

    I have a low heart rate and Afib and actually arrested in an ambulance last June so pacemaker time. I love my pacemaker. But, like all things in cardiac land, each person has a litany of personal specific medical readings, histories, and conditions, I write as my personal experience and certainly not as any kind of expert. I've had ablation at Mayo and it was successful for years. Bradycardia came next. The pacemaker is set for 60. I have had a great experience with it. Each person has to consult with their doctors, do some homework and then decide what is best for their case. I think this blog is great for sharing ideas. I love reading the posts of similar experiences and do get some ideas from this site. I do believe that this is a seriously difficult and stressful time for all Americans. For us in the heart problem club, that doesn't help decrease stress. smile  But, even with the pandemic and all of the other stresses, I remain super positive, with only occasional visits into sadness that my life is so different than I worked so hard for over the decades. I  was living the Golden Years. Sometimes I feel like these are Stolen Years. But not for long because I feel so lucky to live in an era of such advances in cardiac care. Cyber hugs to all. 

  • ewNY1
    ewNY1, September 1,  2020  11:12pm EST

    I'm a 50+ male on metoprolol succinate with heart rate in the 50 - 60 bpm range, depends on the time of the day. My EP says I'm fine and never mentioned about installing a pacemaker.

    I had 2 amazing ablations in the past 2 years and I experience afib episodes randomly, but each time I learn something so hopefully I can live afib free in the future.

    By the way I'm not sure if a pacemker can regulate your heart beat, but maintaining the blood thickness and healthy diet can prevent you from having a stroke. Regarding medications, they vary upon patients. I can only take coumadin and have to keep track of my INR level every 2 weeks.




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