Twelve Years with Few Symptoms Then Successful PVA(I) But Still on Meds
by Bill, 2008, Update 2011
Thank you for jogging my memory that I had agreed to tell about my battle with A-Fib in hopes it would be helpful to others. Calling it a “battle” in my case may not be accurate in that the only symptom I experienced was tiredness which could be attributed to my age, and that I am about 20 lbs. overweight.
I am told that I will always have this type of heart disease; but it is under control and I live, for a 88 year old male, a fairly normal life.
The fact that I do tire when participating in rigorous physical activities could be due to conditioning which I am working on. For the last two months I participate four evenings each week for one hour high impact aerobics. Also, I ride my exercise bike for an hour each day. I am determined to loose that weight and improve my stamina.
Advice – Attack Aggressively
My advice to anyone who has been diagnosed with A-Fib is to attack it aggressively.
I lived with the symptoms over twelve years before considering PVA. The reason being that the only symptom I had was a recurring tired feeling. Finding A-Fib.com on the Internet and taking your [Steve Ryan] advice, I arranged to go to the Penn Presbyterian Medical Center. My attending physician was Dr. Edward P. Gerstenfeld of the Un. of Pennsylvania. I can say, without reservation, Penn is all about being the best.
My Pulmonary Vein Ablation (Isolation) was a painless procedure. I could hear Dr. Gerstenfeld talking with his associates while identifying and then mapping the areas that needed to be ablated.
After the procedure when I was returned to my room, Dr. Gerstenfeld came in and said he thought they had found and ablated the areas that were responsible for my symptoms. I said, “I could hear you discussing the procedure the entire time.” He smiled and said, “If that is so, why were you snoring at times?”
He did say it may be necessary for me to return for what he called “a touch-up,” but I left feeling good about the experience and the professionalism I experienced at Penn Medical Center.
Before leaving Penn, I was cardioverted and referred to Dr. Robert Brewer at the Lexington Clinic. He prescribed 225 MG of Rythmol three times daily, but I went back into A-Fib. Dr. Brewer then prescribed 250 MG of TIKOSYN twice daily, cardioverted me once again; and for the past six months I have been in sinus rhythm.
I over-exerted myself once with aerobics and I went into A-Fib. But within two days of taking it easy, I was once again back in sinus rhythm.
I discussed this with Dr. Brewer, and he advised me to ease into aerobics. “Don’t try to keep up with those 30 year old girls who have been doing aerobics for five to seven years.” I went into the class saying, “Okay girls you can kick, I’ll just kick higher and longer.” You know that man thing, “Anything you can do I can do better.” Dr. Brewer added that this indicates that TIKOSYN is doing what it should do—keep you in sinus rhythm.
I am going to a class reunion in Florida the second week in March. I will be riding my Honda Rebel. If all goes well, I may go to Sturgis, South Dakota this summer for a big bike rally.
I will be happy to answer any questions anyone has about my A-Fib history, and I thank you so very much for your good advice.
E-mail: Justbillone (at) aol.com
Update 3/2/11: Back in A-Fib
This past year I allowed myself to become de-conditioned (gained 30 lbs. and discontinued daily exercise) which most likely contributed to being back in A-Fib. My recent visit to a heart clinic in Asheville, NC, shed little light on this issue. Only that since I have been in and out of A-Fib for two years now, it is unlikely I will be able to get back in sinus rhythm. I am no longer taking Tikosyn which apparently did not contribute to keeping me in sinus rhythm. So I am no longer the “poster child” for the PVA procedure.