Sep 9
danielp , Posted on SUPPORT NETWORK Blog

Too much basketball?

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I am now 67, a white male living in Virginia.   I am athletic and in pretty good shape although until last fall I was a bit overweight (220 lbs at 6 ft height).  I have had high blood pressure controlled my meds for several years and minor sleep apnea.  I played hifgh sshool football and rowed in college and have been playing basketball several times a week for the past 30 years.   I have a chalenging job in engineeering and had a very long commute the past 10 years (100 miles each way).    Last fall I had dental surgery and later that day had a stoke at home.   Was hospitalized for three days and diagnosed with acute stoke to right side of the brain.  Initially I thought it was related to the dental surgery as I was in pretty good cardiac shape, non smoker and not drinking anymore.   A few days after coming home my Halter monitor detected A fib and was put on Eliquis.   A few weeks later the a fib returned so I was put on metaprolol.    Reading about Larry Bird and other older basketball players it seemeed like my contunued playing hoops in hot humid Virginia summers could have been a contibuting cause of the a-fib.  But being in good shape helped my stoke recovery.    I still feel weakness on my left side and my jump shot is not the same ( I am left handed).   But my recognitive skills are pretty well returned and I have been working full time from home since January.  Then when COVID 19 hit, my entire office went to full time telework so I continue at home.    My wife does not want me to drive yet although I think I am ready.  maybe next year after COVID ?  

I feel pretty good now and shoot hoops in the driveway and walk the neighborhood and lift weights.  I lost 40 pounds with exersice and a good diet.   Also sleep better without the commute.  The past few months I have had a few minor a fib events lasting for a few days and I up my metaprolol to 50 mg from 25 mg until it subsides.  I htink it is afib but it is not consitent, more of random peaks that come down quickly.   My fitbit does not indicate afib just rapid hearbeat.  My resting hearbeat has always been low (less than 60) and gets to the 40s on the metaprolol so I try to keep the dosage down.    I am thinkng about possible catheter ablation next year. to get off th emetaprolol which gives me dry mouth, muscle soreness and rashes.      

  • AHAASAKatie

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! You have been through a great deal and congratulations on the weight loss and healthy living. I can share the resources we have regarding AFib and non-surgical procedures like an ablation with you. 
    Please know that we are here to support you, now and in the future. 

    Best Katie

  • axnr911

    Hi- I'm Jeanne.  I had a stroke that paralyzed my left side 2 years ago. With a lot of therapy and hard work I can now walk a mile a day and play the ukelele.  I am very blessed to have had all the help and to have come so far.  By wearing a halter. the cardiologist found that it was afib that caused the ischemic stroke.  I was put on Eliquis and soltolol at first.  The sotolol made me feel awful.  Then he tried metropolol.  Still felt overall yucky.  I did not tolerate beta blockers well.Then he tried a different class of drugs, calcium channel blockers> dilitiazem ex.r. 180 mg(Cardia) (I weigh 125 lbs).  That I can tolerate and have not had any afib since being on it.  However, all those meds that stop the afib slowed my heart rate to the low 40's.  I could barely function.  So then the doc installed a pacemaker (Biotronic) so that my heart rate wouldn't drop below 60.  Having the pacemaker put in was not a big deal-went home within a few hours.  That seemed to be the right combination for me---dilitiazem to stop the afib(also lowered my blood pressure, which I needed, so could stop the blood pressure med.), a pacemaker to keep h. rate from going to 40, and Eliquis and aspirin as an extra precaution. Anyway, that's my experience. I don't know much about ablation, but I have noticed many people writing that their afib came back over time.  Others say it worked well for them.  I asked  my cardiologist about it when I was on the yucky meds. and he didn't want to consider it. He said that people my age  (73 at the time) it usually didn't last and they ended up on meds. anyway.  So that was that.  P.S. I had my stroke after 2 weekends of putting in a sprinkler system at 107 degrees.  Real smart, right? But maybe that wasn't the trigger. Who knows? Anyway,  good luck. Hope all goes well for you.  Love, Jeanne

  • Thumper2

    DanielP, glad to hear that your recovery from a stroke is going well and that you're keeping fit!  As to where AFib comes from, nobody seems sure about that--several folks on this forum have been big-time physical fitness buffs and that seemed to have led to their AFib!  As to where to go from your present situation, I'm glad to read that you are considering a catheter ablation --IMHO, ablations are the closest thing to a "cure" for AFib that one can get.  I hope that you are seeing an electrophysiologist (EP)-- they are cardiologists who specialize in AFIB.  And for an ablation, please make sure that your EP has done hundreds of them successfully!  In addition, are you being treated for your sleep apnea?  In general, such treatment would add to the likelihood that your ablation(s) would be successful.  We wish you well -- please keep us posted!

    Thumper2 (Judy)

  • ginahmk

    Hi Daniel,

    Sorry to hear this has happened to you, but glad that you are recovering and that you are taking such good care of yourself.   I would agree that being in shape, dropping weight will help you overall.  For me, I also exercised, but not at the level like super athletes who trained and developed a fib.  I feel life and job stress was more a factor.

     It may be useful to alert your cardiologist about these bouts of rapid heart beat episodes to consider whether it is worth documenting what is going on.  I have been in similar situation and my Fitbit did not always detect a fib.  At any rate, I hope that you have a electrophysiologist.  I too had heart rates in the 40's on metoprolol and eventually developed tachy-Brady syndrome where my heart would pause for 7 seconds when coming out of a fib.  I failed the anti-arrhythmics I was able to take, so went on to ablation.  It has been over 2 years now, a fib free, still on Tikosyn, and plan on coming off the Tikosyn when COVID is over.  Ablation working kept me away from needing a pacemaker for the time being.  Getting a good, experienced electrophysiologist in a practice where there is a high volume with good outcomes may help with success in ablation.  I was treated at Hopkins in Baltimore and U Penn, Philadelphia.  
    Hope you up your good lifestyle habits.  Let us know what happens.  Good luck!  - Gina

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