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Afib after Mitral Valve Repair
I'm not sure if this belongs in the Afib or heart valve section. Please bear with me for the long intro before the questions.
I had MVP repair surgery about year and half ago. A few days after surgery while in the hospital, I had some "impressive" episodes of AFib such that they had to use strong medication to control and it slowed down my already slow heart rate, causing my O2 levels to drop dangerously low. While they were able to stabilize things, the electrocardiologist asked me how I felt about getting a permanent pacemaker? I replied that I want to exhaust other alternatives first. The world class surgeon predicted the Afib would go away on its own. It did gradually give way to tachycardia but the electrocardiologist ordered a loop recorder implanted in my chest to monitor and report on a daily basis. This was 10 weeks after surgery and by that time, all signs of arrythma were gone. Just had one reportable afib event, during an exercise class in humid conditions, half way through the last 16 months.
Nonetheless the EC wants to keep monitoring me for until the battery dies. and stay on metropolo medication forever. The monitoring company's billing practices are a pain. Why do they think I'm at such a risk of getting afib? From what I've read up to 70% of patients get temporary afib after surgery. Why are they so concerned about me? Seems like the EC has a history of overreacting Does anyone else have similar experience?
Yes I'll ask the EC, but I'm not sure that he'll give me much insight. Seems like this appears to be a low probability, yet high risk event that he wants to prevent.
AmbassadorMR, June 8, 2021 2:37pm EST
Hi Burton and welcome to the heart valve support site. It makes total sense for you to post your comments here as well as on the A-fib site.
My own situation involved a replacement of my aortic valve back in 2012. I, too, had significant A-fib following my surgery and Amiodarone was used to get it to settle down. I was scheduled to have a cardioversion the next day, but luckily my heart converted to normal rhythm on medication alone. Long story short, I dealt with PVC's, PAC's and intermittent tachycardia (IVT) for about 9 months following my surgery. I tell you all of this as background because my experience taught me a lot about arrhythmia and how it affects most of us who have these valve procedures.
Chronic episodes of A-fib have serious long-term implications. Any persistent arrhythmia needs to be taken seriously because of the clots that they can encourage forming. Only you can decide how you want to interact with your physicians, but I welcome the doctor who shows a real interest in my well-being and goes the extra mile in monitoring and treating my condition. I encourage you to continue to educate yourself on the various forms of arrhythmias here on the AHA site and elsewhere so that you can ask the right questions of your doctors and have them explain the reasons for the treatment plans that they prescribe for you. I hope this helps a bit and I wish you the very best as you continue in your quest for a heart healthy life.