ABOUT 'BEAT YOUR A-FIB'...


"This book is incredibly complete and easy-to-understand for anybody. I certainly recommend it for patients who want to know more about atrial fibrillation than what they will learn from doctors...."

Pierre Jaïs, M.D. Professor of Cardiology, Haut-Lévêque Hospital, Bordeaux, France

"Dear Steve, I saw a patient this morning with your book [in hand] and highlights throughout. She loves it and finds it very useful to help her in dealing with atrial fibrillation."

Dr. Wilber Su Cavanaugh Heart Center, Phoenix, AZ

"Your book [Beat Your A-Fib] is the quintessential most important guide not only for the individual experiencing atrial fibrillation and his family, but also for primary physicians, and cardiologists."

Jane-Alexandra Krehbiel, nurse, blogger and author "Rational Preparedness: A Primer to Preparedness"



ABOUT A-FIB.COM...


"Steve Ryan's summaries of the Boston A-Fib Symposium are terrific. Steve has the ability to synthesize and communicate accurately in clear and simple terms the essence of complex subjects. This is an exceptional skill and a great service to patients with atrial fibrillation."

Dr. Jeremy Ruskin of Mass. General Hospital and Harvard Medical School

"I love your [A-fib.com] website, Patti and Steve! An excellent resource for anybody seeking credible science on atrial fibrillation plus compelling real-life stories from others living with A-Fib. Congratulations…"

Carolyn Thomas, blogger and heart attack survivor; MyHeartSisters.org

"Steve, your website was so helpful. Thank you! After two ablations I am now A-fib free. You are a great help to a lot of people, keep up the good work."

Terry Traver, former A-Fib patient

"If you want to do some research on AF go to A-Fib.com by Steve Ryan, this site was a big help to me, and helped me be free of AF."

Roy Salmon Patient, A-Fib Free; pacemakerclub.com, Sept. 2013


A-Fib Patient Stories

My Atrial Fibrillation Story: I was Told to “Just Live with It.”

Roger Finnern from Tempe, AZ, wrote to share his journey back to normal sinus rhythm (NSR) after 4 years in chronic asymptomatic Atrial Fibrillation. He writes about being on amiodarone, how he did a sleep apnea study (at home), and used acupuncture to help reduce his A-Fib symptoms:

Roger Finnern

Steve, I contacted you last in December 2015 as I was in chronic A-Fib without symptoms, age 67, and had a cardiologist who wanted me to do nothing but take a low dose aspirin and live with it.
After two years of being in Chronic A-Fib, I went out on my own. With your recommendation, I contacted Dr. Vijay Swarup, Arizona Heart Rhythm Center. I ended up getting a RF ablation in early February 2016.

After Ablation, Back in A-Fib after 2 days

After my ablation, I was in rhythm only 2 days before it reverted. They performed cardioversion twice before releasing me from the hospital, and each worked only for a minute before reverting back.
Dr. Swarup was a bit miffed as he had tested all ablated points and could not produce any response back to A-fib. He said something to the effect that my heart was highly irritated. They put me on the antiarrhythmic drug amiodarone to convert at home.

Amiodarone image

Amiodarone Works—finally A Normal EKG!

The amiodarone worked, and one week later I saw my doctor and had my first normal EKG since 2013! On August 2, six months post-ablation, I was taken off amiodarone. (I was kept on amiodarone longer than normal, due to the rough time we had getting into rhythm initially.) …Continue reading Roger’s story…

Finally in Sinus Rhythm After 4 Years in Chronic Asymptomatic Atrial Fibrillation

Roger Finnern, personal A-Fib story at A-Fib.com

Roger Finnern

A-Fib Patient Story #94

Finally in Sinus Rhythm After 4 Years in Chronic Asymptomatic Atrial Fibrillation

By Roger Finnern, Tempe, AZ, February 2017

Steve, I had to let you know how thankful I am for all your recommendations and help over the past year. Feel free to use the following on your website or whatever, to give hope to others going through the process.

My Atrial Fibrillation: I was Told to “Just Live with It.”

I contacted you last in December 2015 as I was in chronic A-Fib without symptoms, age 67, and  I had a cardiologist who wanted me to do nothing but take a low dose aspirin and live with it.

My cardiologist wanted me to do nothing [about my A-Fib] but take a low dose aspirin and live with it.

After two years of being in Chronic A-Fib, I went out on my own. With your recommendation, I contacted Dr. Vijay Swarup, Arizona Heart Rhythm Center. I ended up getting a RF ablation in early February 2016.

After Ablation, Back in A-Fib

After my ablation, I was in rhythm only 2 days before it reverted. They performed cardioversion twice before releasing me from the hospital, and each worked only for a minute before reverting back.

Dr. Swarup was a bit miffed as he had tested all ablated points and could not produce any response back to A-fib. He said something to the effect that my heart was highly irritated. They put me on the antiarrhythmic drug amiodarone to convert at home.

Amiodarone Works—Finally in Sinus After 4 Years!

The amiodarone worked, and one week later I saw my doctor and had my first normal EKG since 2013!

One week later I saw my doctor and had my first normal EKG since 2013!

On August 2, six months post-ablation, I was taken off amiodarone. (I was kept on amiodarone longer than normal, due to the rough time we had getting into rhythm initially.)

Being on amiodarone over a long period, I was fortunate that I seemed to not have bad side effects. But I did notice after being off it for a while, that I breathed easier.

Need a Blood Thinner If In Normal Sinus Rhythm?

I was maintaining normal rhythm, so during my October 25, 2016 appointment, I asked Dr. Swarup about getting off the blood thinner Eliquis. .

..he ordered a TEE to check the strength, shape, etc. of my left atrial appendage.

So he ordered a Transesophageal Echocardiogram (TEE) to check the strength, shape, etc. of my left atrial appendage (LAA). From that we could also determine if Eliquis or the Watchman occlusion device would otherwise be feasible. [If blood isn’t being pumped out properly from the LAA, there is more risk of clots forming and stroke, even if one is in sinus rhythm.]

My LAA pumping velocity was good. Dr. Swarup has taken me off Eliquis, so things have turned out exceptionally well for me.

I had been taking 1 gram of krill oil with the Eliquis. Now that I am off Eliquis, I have decided to double it for now just in case―strictly a personal choice.

Sleep Apnea Study―Philips DreamWear Mask

During the last nine months [post-ablation] I wore a heart monitor [e.g. halter or event monitor] for a 10 day period.

I also did a sleep study at home―required by Dr. Swarup. They furnish the equipment, and it is fairly easy to do. I turned out to have mild sleep apnea.

I did a sleep study at home and I turned out to have mild sleep apnea.

I have been on a CPAP [Continuous positive airway pressure] machine for the past two months. My episode numbers reduced considerably, so they are happy with the results.

Probably like everyone else, I did not think I could handle the mask, but it has turned out just fine. I highly recommend the DreamWear mask by Philips as it is very comfortable, only one strap, and a pillow type cushion under the nose. I barely know I am wearing a mask.

I have also travelled through airports with the machine in a provided carry-on case and have had no problems whatsoever. It also does not count toward your carry on limit as it is a medical device.

Acupuncture Helps

Throughout my process, I went to a highly experienced acupuncturist about once every week and I will probably continue to do this forever.

This opened up the field of eastern medicine to me, which I now have a healthy respect for.

Steve, she was well aware of the heart points you had in an article on the website way back and had a few others of her own. [See my article: Acupuncture Helps A-Fib: Specific Acupuncture Sites Identified.)

While those points were used by doctors to maintain rhythm after an ablation, I tried them before the ablation just to see if they might work anyway. This opened up the field of eastern medicine to me, which I now have a healthy respect for. I think there is definitely something to this, as it seems to have such a calming effect.

I Feel Fantastic!―But I know This is a Process

Who knows what the future brings, but I feel fantastic and wanted to let you know, Steve, how grateful I am to you for your guidance.

Dr. Swarup says this is a process…we got the rhythm back and now the job is to keep it.

Lessons Learned

Recognize that Tiredness May Be a Symptom of A-Fib: My A-Fib first showed up on a routine physical. Looking back, other than some tiredness, I hadn’t noticed any thing unusual up to that point. Since I stay in good shape, hiking, biking, golf, and some high intensity interval exercises, I had just attributed the tiredness to getting older and just kept on going.

I Waited Longer Than I Should Have: The EKG in April, 2014 which showed that I had A-Fib really shocked me. I did my research, found your website [A-Fib.com], and learned all about magnesium and acupuncture.

In hindsight, I waited longer than I should have. But I had to find out if these natural treatments would straighten out my A-Fib condition without going through an ablation procedure.

Doubted my Cardiologist’s Advice: Also, a cardiologist told me to do nothing since I had no symptoms, though in my mind I started doubting him almost from the beginning.

Get an Ablation Sooner Rather Than Later…But May Not be Easy: My lesson learned is to plan for an ablation sooner than later.

My experience with the ablation and the required cardioversions in a three-day period in the hospital really knocked me for a loop.

And don’t think that this will necessarily be an easy procedure. Everyone is different. My experience with the ablation and the required cardioversions in a three-day period in the hospital really knocked me for a loop. Despite my relatively good physical condition, I definitely had a case of the rubber legs.

I personally recommend to anyone getting an ablation, that you should plan on taking a week or even two off work to really recover before getting back to your normal routine.

Need for Second Ablation? If I ever have to do a second ablation, I will probably go ahead. But I will have to think long and hard about what kind of symptoms I have, as well as how much older I am.

The future is just speculation. As for now, having an ablation was definitely the right decision and turned out great.

Thanks again,
Roger Finnern, Tempe, AZ

Editor’s Comments:

Amiodarone Dangerous Drug: Amiodarone is the strongest and often the most effective antiarrhythmic drug, but it’s also the most toxic. (See my post Amiodarone Effective But Toxic)
Amiodarone is used in difficult cases like Roger’s after his ablation to get his heart in the habit of beating normally, but usually only for a short period of time.
It has to be carefully monitored for bad side effects. Some say amiodarone is so toxic that it shouldn’t be used at all, even in cases like Roger’s. It’s a difficult decision. It worked for Roger, but he did notice that amiodarone affected his lungs and breathing. “After being off of it…I breathed easier.”
“No Symptom” A-Fib May Not be Accurate: Some say that there really is no such thing as Asymptomatic A-Fib, that people just get used to how A-Fib affects them and put up with it. That seems to have been the case with Roger. He writes that now being in normal sinus rhythm feels “fantastic!” and very different than being in Chronic “asymptomatic” A-Fib.
Some would say that because Roger had few noticeable symptoms and was in Chronic A-Fib for some time, that it wasn’t justified to perform a catheter ablation on him. But A-Fib is a progressive disease. See my Editorial: Leaving the Patient in A-Fib—No! No! No! for a list of damage caused by A-Fib over time.
For Roger, being A-Fib free has radically improved his health and quality of life. Even if you are “asymptomatic,” you may still want to be A-Fib free. You have a right to do so.
Blood Thinners after an Ablation? Some would say that Roger should forever be on blood thinners (especially drug companies) for continued risk of stroke, even if he is A-Fib free.
But research indicates that a successful ablation reduces the risk of stroke to that of a normal person. (See my FAQs A-Fib Ablations: Blood Thinner Post-Ablation?) Blood thinners are not like taking vitamins. They have their own risks, like causing bleeding.
A Very Difficult Case: Someone is Chronic A-Fib for a long time is usually the hardest to ablate and make A-Fib free. In addition to the Pulmonary Veins (PVs), their hearts often have many non-PV triggers which have to be carefully mapped and ablated.
Not all EPs have this level of skill and experience. Roger was fortunate to go to Dr. Vijay Swarup who seems to have made Roger A-Fib-free after only one ablation.
O.R. Operating Room Report: Roger’s OR report showed how Dr. Swarup had to work very hard to find and ablate all of Roger’s non-PV triggers. After isolating Roger’s PVs, Roger was still in atypical atrial flutter, often one of the hardest arrhythmias to find and ablate. Dr. Swarup had to make a Mitral Isthmus ablation line and a Left Atrium roof line.
Then Dr. Swarup found right atrium flutter and made a caviotricuspid isthmus line to block it.
Afterwards, when Dr. Swarup administered isoproterenol to Roger to stimulate any remaining non-PV triggers, he found a tachycardia coming from an unusual spot―the posterior-septal aspect of the tricuspid annulus. (In all the O.R. reports I’ve read, I’ve never heard of an A-Fib signal coming from this spot.) When Dr. Swarup ablated this focal site, Roger terminated into sinus rhythm. That’s the best result an EP can hope for from an ablation. Further administering of Isoproterenol couldn’t produce any other non-PV trigger sites in Roger.
If his A-Fib Returns: Roger knows that he may not be completely out of the woods yet. A second ablation will usually take care of any gaps or hidden triggers and will often be a much easier, faster ablation than the first.
And each day Roger is in normal sinus rhythm and A-Fib free makes his heart healthier, stronger and more apt to beat normally. Not to mention how much better Roger feels both physically and emotionally.

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If you find any errors on this page, email us. Y Last updated: Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Resources for this article

 

Reader Tip: Ends Vagal A-Fib Attack with Short Intense Exercise

If your A-Fib occurs at night, after a meal, when resting after exercising, or when you have digestive problems, then you may have ‘Vagally-Mediated’ A-Fib. The Vagus Nerve controls the abdomen and is part of the Parasympathetic Nervous System that tends to slow the heart and dilate blood vessels. Vagal A-Fib is uncommon.

I received an email from ‘A-Fibber in California’ with Vagal A-Fib who’s otherwise healthy and active. He wrote to tell about his success getting out of an A-Fib attack. ‘A-Fibber in California’ writes:

“I have the classic presentation of vagal A-Fib. Good heart, younger age bracket, typically in shape; A-Fib starts at night when I am relaxed and the parasympathetic part of the nervous system is more prominent.

The A-Fibs go away sometime during the day, usually at work when the sympathetic aspect is more prominent. I am an avid cyclist, and in shape, as are many patients with vagal A-Fib. I have a stationary bicycle trainer at home.

Short Maximum Intensity Exercise Stops My A-Fib

The Vagal Nerve - A-Fib.com

Click image to enlarge: The Vagal Nerve

I usually have A-Fib episodes once a week for anywhere from 10 hours to 24 hours.

I wondered if after warming up, if my doing a short bout of maximum intensity exercise, 60 seconds all-out, on my stationary bike, if that would stop an A-Fib episode?

Could the short maximum intensity exercise drive a very strong, sympathetically-mediated, sinoatrial node signal to the atrium? And then would it override the chaotic cardiac Central Nervous System nuclei signals that kept the heart in A-Fib? 

Yes. It worked!

In the morning of each of my past 5 A-Fib episodes, which have taken place in the space of 6 weeks, I got back to sinus rhythm immediately after getting off the bike following the maximum-intensity exercise noted above.

I used a pulse oximeter and stethoscope to confirm. This signal-overriding approach to sinus rhythm has worked so far to end an A-Fib attack.

Theory Why it Didn’t Work One Evening

There was one instance, however, when it did not. That time the A-Fib had begun, as is typical for vagally-mediated A-Fib, in the early part of the night/late evening. The short intensity exercise did not stop the A-Fib at that time. However, when I waited until morning and did it again, I returned to sinus rhythm immediate after stopping.

I wonder. Could attempting to stop the A-Fib when the body’s circadian rhythm places greater emphasis on parasympathetic/vagal tone, make it be more difficult to bring the heart back to sinus rhythm through a sympathetic nervous system activation?

Technique More Effective in the Morning? Short intensity exercise may be more effective in the morning, when the body’s sympathetic system starts to be activated more.

Perhaps my experience may help others who have vagal A-Fibs and can exercise this way.” – A-Fibber in California

Our reader, ‘A-Fibber from California’, also writes that he has scheduled his PV CryoBalloon ablation. Perhaps after his three-month ‘blanking’ period, his vagal A-Fib will be a thing of the past. We’ll follow and report on this progress.

Do You Have a Tip to Share?

Share your tip at A-Fib.comHave some advice to pass on to others with A-Fib? Something that’s working to lessen your A-Fib symptoms, or reduce your frequency or duration of your episodes? Perhaps some ‘Lessons learned the hard way’?

Why not share it with others? Take a few minutes and send me an email about it. Short or long, your tip offers insights that can help others.

Sharing encourages others with A-Fib
to seek their cure!

New Story: Prayer + CryoAblation = A-Fib Free

We first heard from AGL this past summer (My A-Fib Story: The Healing Power of Prayer, #88) Here he shares the rest of the story…up-to-date and expanded.

“In early 2011, I had my first heart episode. I thought I’d sleep it off, so I went home and took a nap. It didn’t go away. I eventually went to the ER where they said my heart rate was 235. They used adenosine which broke the episode, and my heart rate fell to 130s–140s. At this point they thought I had SVT [Supraventricular tachycardia], I couldn’t be sure if it was simply a fluke or not.

After a few more episodes within a year or two, I knew this wasn’t a one-time fluke. I went to see a cardiologist who gave me three choices of proceeding: 1) do nothing 2) take medicine or 3) have an ablation. He didn’t recommend I go with an ablation due to the risks involved.

I began taking 120mg of Cardizem, but that did not help―it simply slowed my heart rate and lowered my blood pressure. I was also taking 81mg of aspirin daily [for risk of stoke].

A-Fib Confounded by Sleep Disturbance

I wasn’t making progress in my A-Fib battle―and I was sleeping terribly. For three months I woke up every night at 2:30 a.m. Then, the rest of the night’s “sleep” was sketchyContinue reading

The Hardest Lessons Learned About Atrial Fibrillaiton

A-Fib Patients' Best Advice Top Ten List - A-Fib.com

Click to see the full poster with Top Ten List.

If you read this blog regularly, you’ve read our 10-part series of posts based on ‘The Top 10 List of A-Fib Patients’ Best Advice’ from my book, Beat Your A-Fib.

The list is a consensus of valuable advice from fellow patients who are now free from the burden of Atrial Fibrillation. Click to see the full image.

The Series of Posts

If you missed a post, or simply want to re-read the original posts in this series, just click on the following links:

#1: What’s an EP?
#2: Dump Your Doctor?
#3: Don’t Believe Everything You’re Told About A-Fib
#4: Don’t Just Manage Your A-Fib with Meds. Seek your Cure.
#5: Don’t Let A-Fib Wreak its Havoc! Seek Your Cure ASAP
#6: Be Courageous. Be Aggressive.
#7: Persevere—More Than One Treatment May be Needed
#8: Get Emotional Support for the Stress and Anxiety
#9: Learn All Your Treatment Options Before Making Decisions
#10: Become Your Own Best Patient Advocate

From Chapter 10 of Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure, by Steve S. Ryan, PhD.

Reader With A-Flutter Advises Two Lifestyle Changes

Todd in Minneapolis wrote me that he developed intermittent A-Flutter at age 54. He’s had to learn to live with it as two EPs found too much scar tissue for a successful catheter ablation.

Since then he has arrived at the best outcome for himself by making two lifestyle changes. Today, his symptoms are MUCH reduced. He shares his story with us and some advice:

“I have intermittent A-Flutter (not A-Fib) which manifests in a couple of different patterns.

With catheter ablation ruled out due to too much scar tissue, I have been electronically cardioverted 6 times. (First charge always works). Chemical cardioversion (300mg flecainide) has worked 3 times. In the summer of 2015, I was needing one or the other about every 2-4 months.

I haven’t needed either for 14 months (as of Dec 2016). What has changed? A few things.

I started paying much more attention to staying hydrated. I stopped taking Multaq (I’m off all A-Fib medications). And now my alcohol consumption is only occasional; 1-2 beers or one glass of port. I stopped drinking bourbon a couple of years ago―that was definitely a trigger. 

Today I drink water all day and a little before bed.

My monthly A-Flutter episode. I go out of rhythm every 4 weeks or so. Each time I have not been sufficiently hydrated. I’ll usually drink some water and lie down. But, sometimes I can’t take a break and have to keep working. 

Either way, the episode goes away spontaneously within 1-6 hours. That was not happening before when I paid no attention to hydration

I take only Eliquis now as a precaution.

My best advice: I advise everyone with A-Flutter/A-Fib to stop all alcohol consumption and stay hydrated. At the least, it could have a positive influence on the number of episodes, their severity and length.

It worked for me. I’ve learned to live with A-Flutter and I’m fit and very active.”

Dehydration Can Trigger A-Fib Attack

As Todd has shared, there’s a link between A-Fib episodes and dehydration. To learn more, see our article, How Drinking Too Little Can Trigger Your A-Fib.

Share your tip at A-Fib.com

What’s working for you?

Thank you, Todd, for sharing what’s working for you. What about you and your A-Fib? Do you have something to share? Something that’s helping with your A-Fib symptoms? Email and share with me.


Prayer and CyroAblation: A-Fib Free! But Now Persistent PVCs

AGL's A-Fib Story continues at A-Fib.com

AGL’s A-Fib Story continues

A-Fib Patient Story #93

Prayer and CyroAblation: A-Fib Free! But Now Persistent PVCs

By AGL, December 2016

AGL first shared his story with A-Fib.com readers in August 2016 (My A-Fib Story: The Healing Power of Prayer, #88). Here, he shares the rest of the story…up-to-date and expanded.

In early 2011, I had my first heart episode. I sat down at my desk at work and my heart rate did not slow down. I was sitting there but my heart felt like I was jogging. I thought I’d sleep it off, so I went home and took a nap.

My First A-Fib Episode

It didn’t go away.

I eventually went to the ER where they said my heart rate was 235. They used adenosine which broke the episode, and my heart rate fell to 130s–140s.

They thought I had SVT [Supraventricular tachycardia] since my heart rate was so fast.

At this point they thought I had SVT [Supraventricular tachycardia], since my heart rate was so fast. If it was A-Fib ―it was difficult to determine due to the skewed heart rate graph. Since that was my first episode, I didn’t make any changes [to prevent future episodes]. I couldn’t be sure if it was simply a fluke or not.

Not a One-Time Fluke

But after a few more episodes within a year or two, I knew this wasn’t a one-time fluke.

I went to see a cardiologist who gave me three choices of proceeding: 1) do nothing 2) take medicine or 3) have an ablation. He didn’t recommend I go with an ablation due to risks involved.

I began taking 120mg of Cardizem, but that did not help―it simply slowed my heart rate and lowered by blood pressure. I was also taking 81mg of aspirin daily [for risk of stoke].

A-Fib Confounded by Sleep Disturbance

I wasn’t making progress in my A-Fib battle―and I was sleeping terribly. For three months I woke up every night at 2:30 a.m. Then, the rest of the night’s “sleep” was sketchy. (The sleep disturbance wasn’t caused by my A-Fib.)

After I came across an article online NSAIDs―The Unintended Consequences, 

I told my cardiologist I was finished with taking Cardizem and asked how I could safely stop it.

I learned that NSAIDs [Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirinibuprofen and naproxen] can suppress the release of melatonin―affecting one’s sleep. Once I stopped the baby aspirin, I began sleeping better.

Another decision is made, I told my cardiologist I was finished with taking Cardizem (120mg). I asked how I could safely stop it—did I need to wean off it or just stop cold turkey? He said, with a 120mg dose, cold turkey was fine. After I stopped taking the medicine, I was sleeping well.

A-Fib Episodes Every 4–6 Months

The A-Fib still hadn’t left. I had an episode every four to six months. My heart rate would go up to about 180 bpm and my heart felt like it was a fish trying to push through my chest.

I’d call 911 aach time and they’d come and either hook me up with Cardizem in my kitchen or in the ambulance to slow my heart rate. Then, while at the ER, my A-Fib would convert on its own.

The medicine they gave me never helped my heart rhythm―only heart rate. My heart rhythm would convert from A-Fib to sinus on its own.

My Pastors Pray for My Healing

As I shared before, being a Christian and believing what God says in the Bible about what He can do―I asked my pastors to anoint me with oil and pray over me for healing―as laid out in the book of James. They did that, and I did not have another A-Fib episode for 15 months.

I asked my pastors to anoint me with oil and pray over me for healing―as laid out in the book of James.

God touched me and stayed the A-Fib for that amount of time.

God’s Timing: Considers CryoAblation

After 15 months I had another A-Fib episode. This was around the beginning of 2013. At that point my cardiologist recommended I consider the CryoAblation.

Now that I look back on the timing of things, I think God chose to get me through the 15 months so more advancements could be made on the CryoAblation procedure for it to be safe for me to have it performed. He has His own reasons for sometimes miraculously and permanently healing some―and not permanently healing others.

I read about the CryoAblation procedure―mostly on StopA-Fib.org. The statistics proved good success rates and low risk―besides the obvious of it being invasive―and involving the heart.

Choosing an EP: High-Volume=Lower Complications

I had read that cardiologists/EPs who perform Cryoablations regularly [20 to 50 ablations/year] had increased safety statistically than compared to the ones who performed only a few. Well, it turned out my EP had performed 50 of them before mine. So, that made me feel a lot more comfortable! [See our article: Catheter Ablation: Complications Highest With Low-Volume Doctors]

So, in mid 2013 I had a CryoAblation for my A-Fib. And, I’m happy to say that the ablation was successful. I have not had an episode of A-Fib since!

I’m A-Fib Free! But Now Persistent PVCs

Life has been uneventful heart-wise until recently.

I have had persistent PVCs for a few months now. I basically have them 24/7…sometimes minutes apart sometimes seconds apart―but I don’t have any side effects except an occasional slight flush feeling in the face, but that’s it.

Testing for Magnesium Deficiency

Magnesium for Atrial Fibrllation patientsAfter some research online, it seems like magnesium deficiency would be something to investigate first. But the common blood serum test [Red Blood Cell Count (RBC)] to determine magnesium levels is unreliable (your body works to keep your blood serum levels consistent or your heart would stop).

What you want tested is your intracellular level of magnesium―which the Exatest [Energy Dispersive X-Ray Analysis] measures. That test is performed by a lab in California named Intracellular Diagnostics. I had that test done, and my intracellular Mg level was 34 while the lowest number within “normal” is 32. [See: Serum vs Intracellular Magnesium Levels]

But, according to an article on livingwithatrialfibrillation.com, Travis’ doctor says that “normal” can be different per person. So, although I’m within the defined “normal” range…maybe my personal normal is 36 or 38 or something.

Electrolytes in Normal Range—But Not Magnesium

Available at Amazon.com and other retailers.

For what it’s worth, the majority of my other electrolytes within the test were spot on in the middle of the “normal” range―while Mg was not. So, I’m taking that as meaning I may be Mg deficient.

So, I have been taking Natural Rhythm’s Triple Calm Magnesium with three types of chelated magnesium. I’ve read it takes a while to raise your intracellular levels of Mg, so it will take time to see if this works or not.

Also, for what it’s worth―my PVCs seem to be affected by the vagus nerve. Sometimes sitting down seems to magnify the PVCs. They also seem more pronounced after heavier meals sometimes. This is an interesting 2011 article about the vagus nerve and PVCs.

Asks God for Guidance

I’ll continue to try what I can, and ask God for guidance all the while. After all, He made the heart! Too bad that in this fallen world it’s susceptible to malfunctioning at times―partly due to it simply being a fallen world and partly because we don’t follow His ways that are designed to keep us from disease.

I’ll hold onto His promise that says:

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28, NKJV)

AGL, ayatingl@gmail.com

Editor’s Comments:
Magnesium Deficiency: Congratulations to AGL for investigating his magnesium level and going beyond the common blood serum test to measure his intracellular level of magnesium.
If you have A-Fib, it’s safe to assume you are magnesium deficient. Most everyone with A-Fib is. Magnesium has been depleted from the soil by industrial scale farming. It’s hard to get enough magnesium from today’s food.
Consider taking magnesium supplements. It takes about 6 months of taking magnesium supplements to build up healthy Mg levels. For more about A-Fib and Magnesium Deficiency, see our articles:
• Cardiovascular Benefits of Magnesium: Insights for Atrial Fibrillation Patients
• Mineral Deficiencies/Magnesium
• Low Serum Magnesium Linked with Atrial Fibrillation
PVCs and PACs (Extra Beats): PVCs (Premature Ventricular Contractions) and PACs (Premature Atrial Contractions) are often considered benign. Everybody gets them occasionally, not just people with A-Fib. But A-Fibbers seem to have more problems with extra beats than healthy people. After a successful A-Fib ablation, patients seem to have more extra beats. But, unlike in AGL’s case, they usually diminish over time as the heart heals and gets used to beating properly.
But the sources of PACs/PVCs signals can also be mapped and ablated just like A-Fib sginals. Also, beta blockers and antiarrhythmic drugs may help diminish those extra beats.
Catheter Ablation can make you A-Fib free: The options AGL’s cardiologist gave him in 2011 really weren’t equal.
• “Doing nothing”. This was impractical for AGL considering how badly A-Fib affected him, how often he had to call the paramedics and go to the ER.
• “Take Medications.” AGL tried Cardizem (a Calcium Channel blocker rate control drug), but it didn’t work for him. He might have tried various antiarrhythmic drugs, but their record isn’t good.
• “Ablation, but not recommended.” Though there is risk with any procedure, even AGL’s cardiologist eventually recommended he get an ablation in 2013.
An ablation is a low risk procedure with a high rate of success. Currently it’s the only option that offers hope of fixing one’s A-Fib and becoming A-Fib free.
A-Fib begets A-Fib: Atrial Fibrillation is a progressive disease. The longer you have it, the greater the risk of your A-Fib episodes becoming more frequent and longer. Over time this can lead to fibrosis making the heart stiff, less flexible and weak, reduce pumping efficiency and lead to other heart problems.
Don’t let your doctor leave you in A-Fib. Educate yourself. And always aim for a Cure! To learn more, read my editorial, Leaving the Patient in A-Fib—No! No! No!

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Resources for this article

New Personal Story: A-Fib Becomes Persistent After Infection

Jay first noticed a pronounced arrhythmia in January 2016. He had a stress test done and a sonogram of his heart. All were good, but doctors could see he was going in and out of Atrial Fibrillation. Read what happened next for Jay:

Jay from Virginia

In early March, I got very sick with a urinary tract infection and a 104° temperature. I could not eat and was in constant A-Fib. After I got well with antibiotics, I stayed in A-Fib.

We tried Cardioversions twice. Each one took me out of A-Fib for 3 days, but then right back into it. I was on blood thinners (Eliquis) then.

Experience of a Lifetime: Ablation at Fairfax Hospital

On May 18 I had an ablation. Wheeling me into the operating room was an experience of a lifetime. This was a brand new hospital building at Fairfax Hospital. The operating room was right out of Star Trek. Huge! …Continue reading Jay’s A-Fib story…

Patient Advice: You May Need to ‘Fire’ Your Current Doctor

Cloud graphic - Michele Straube, A-Fib-free after 30 years - A=Fib.com

A-Fib-free after 30 years, Michele Straube from Salt Lake City, Utah.

‘I Want to Cure My A-Fib, Not Just Manage It.’

Keep in Mind: For many A-Fib patients, their best outcome came about only when they told their doctor, ‘I want to cure my A-Fib, not just manage it.’ (And, if needed, they also changed doctors.)

How to Find the Best Doctor for You

To be cured of your A-Fib, you may need to ‘fire’ your current doctor.

An electrophysiologist (EP), is a cardiologist who specializes in the electrical functions of the heart.

Seek an electrophysiologist (EP), a cardiologist who specializes in heart rhythm problems (the electrical functions of the heart). Do your research.

Look for a doctor who will partner with you to create a treatment plan—a path to finding your cure or best outcome. To learn how to make this happen, read Finding the Right Doctor for You and Your A-Fib.

Personal A-Fib Story: To learn the importance of finding the right doctor, read Michele Straube’s personal A-Fib experience: Cured after 30 years in A-Fib.

Run―don’t walk―to the best EP you can afford.

New A-Fib Story: She’s 21, Living in A-Fib with Meager Treatment


It’s heart breaking to read about a young person with such a debilitating case of A-Fib, and who lives in a region with so little treatment to offer her. I am researching ways to send Ashley to the US for treatment. If you have any suggestions, Email me. We thank Ashley for sharing her story:

ashley-mogg-my-story

Ashley Mogg

“As child I always had a rapid beating heart. My parents were told that soda has that effect on children, and I was no longer to ingest it. Thinking it was the soda, it was further ignored.

I’m now 21 and living with atrial fibrillation. I live in the Caribbean. There is little expertise with such a rare condition. I have been diagnosed with tachycardia (fast rate) AND bradycardia (slow rate).

Currently I don’t have a specific adult cardiologist because my case is more complicated than what meets the eye. My parents can’t afford the procedure or more tests. PLUS in September, I had an appendectomy. Needless to say it was a risky but necessary move. According to my anesthesiologist, my heart rate had to be increased twice while on the operating table.”  …Continue reading Ashley’s story…

Jamaican Woman, 21, Living in A-Fib with Meager Treatment

A-Fib Patient Story #92

Jamaican Woman, 21, Living in A-Fib with Meager Treatment

It’s heart breaking to read about a young person with such a debilitating case of A-Fib, and who lives in a region with so little treatment to offer her. I am researching ways to send Ashley to the US for treatment. If you have any suggestions, Email me.
ashley-mogg-my-story

Can you help Ashley Mogg get treatment?

By Ashley Mogg, November 2016

I am age 21 and living with atrial fibrillation. I have been diagnosed with tachycardia (fast rate) AND bradycardia (slow rate). I live in the Caribbean. There is little expertise with such a rare condition. I’ve had consultations from many cardiologists both in Jamaica and overseas.

Currently I don’t have a specific adult cardiologist because my case is more complicated than what meets the eye. However, efforts are being made for me to get examined in the U.S. at little or no expense. WHY YOU MAY ASK?

My parents can’t afford the procedure or more tests. PLUS in September, I had an appendectomy. Needless to say it was a risky but necessary move. According to my anesthesiologist, my heart rate had to be increased twice while on the operating table. The biopsy then revealed a low grade NET (Neuroendocrine Tumor).

Thus motivating me to find this website [A-Fib.com] and share my story.

The Beginning…Fainting

As a child I always had a rapid beating heart. My parents were told that soda has that effect on children, and I was no longer to ingest it. Thinking it was the soda, it was further ignored. I was very active in primary school and danced competitively, but I can’t ever remember having the symptoms that I later felt in high school.

Final [senior] year at 17, I had to partake in a sport.  So I chose hockey. But after our first training, as we stood and listened to coach, I was feeling extremely unfit. My heart rate sped up and my chest got tight. My throat felt as if it was closing and I was starving for a breath.

Most Frightening…Losing Sight!

Then the most frightening thing happened—I started losing my sight!

Pitch black was all I saw. I could hear my friend talking to me through it but nothing else. I was in what the doctors called pre-faint or pre-syncope. It was so scary for me.

Testing by an Adult Cardiologist

I told my doctor, then she referred me to an adult cardiologist. The specialist did an echocardiogram and EKG and a stress test. The results of the stress test were a high 270 pulse, then lower the second visit. She prescribed a beta blocker, low dosage.

But my bradycardia was stimulated by it (in other words I don’t react well to beta blockers). I had pre-syncope as a side effect.

Then there were the holter tests that revealed occasional tachycardia some days (195 bpm highest) and bradycardia when asleep (35-49 bpm lowest). My last ejection fraction report was approx. 47%.

Choosing College or Health

At this point I am a veteran of these tests. I have been holding off on college. But if I am unable to get help, I will have to move onward. I had to choose between my health and my school and I chose school which was the wrong move.

I now understand health comes first. Therefore, the story continues. However, I would love to get more insight on cheaper solutions or other procedures.

The Emotions—Depression, Anxiety and Withdrawal

A few months after being told to cease sports because of my condition, my cousin passed away. And the emotional toll of A-Fib was great. I became extremely depressed yet anxious and regressed to feeling estranged from family and friends. I believe the medical term is clinical depression.

Being constantly told that my condition is bad by local doctors took its toll on my mind. Also, there was the fluctuating weight loss and loss of appetite. It is still so hard to keep the weight I had when I was 16. Sometimes I would get very thin.

My A-Fib is worse when I am active, i.e., fast paced activities, and when I sleep. I have yet to be in constant arrhythmia as it is occasional for me. It is most definitely tied to my stress/anxiety level as well.

Faith and a Purposeful Life

I am a woman of faith, but it takes prayers and positive thinking to keep living with peace of mind. I have to say though that I am in a better place of happiness and still believe in a complete purposeful life.

Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned graphic with hands 400 pix sq at 300 resEducate Yourself―Find the Best Doctors Available. If you live in a country like myself where there are very few Electrophysiologists or heart rhythm specialists, find a reliable cardiologist as well as a general doctor who know your history. Do maximum research on your own and with your doctor and health care professionals. Stay informed.

The moment you notice heart abnormalities of any sort, get them checked out.

But DO NOT SELF DIAGNOSE! However, make sure you are fully aware of the language your doctors use and what they are telling you, so you can follow through with your treatment or management plan. WHY? There are different types of arrhythmias and fibrillations. Yours might be different than others’.

Stay positive…You are NOT ALONE!

Ashley Mogg, Jamaica

Editor’s Comments:
Can you help Ashley? How can we arrange for her to travel to the U.S. for treatment? It’s such a shame that a wonderful 21-year-old woman like Ashley has A-Fib at such a young age. A-Fib is supposed to be an older person’s disease, isn’t it? I am currently researching ways we could finance Ashley to travel to the US to be treated. Do you have any suggestions? Email me.
Horrible A-Fib symptoms―but faith and hope. Ashley’s A-Fib not only speeds up her heart rate (270), makes her feel dizzy, tightens up her chest, causes her shortness of breath, reduces her ejection fraction to 47, but even makes her lose her sight like everything is going pitch black. She can’t play sports or go to college. Then her cousin died. It’s no wonder she went into A-Fib anxiety and clinical depression, and suffered weight loss.
Faith and a purposeful life. Through it all, Ashley became a woman of faith and a purposeful life. “It takes prayers and positive thinking to keep living with peace of mind.” Ashley knows she is not alone.
“You Are Not Alone!” Our volunteers offer you support! Do you need support from others who know what you are going through? Check out our A-Fib Support Volunteers and our A-Fib Positive Thought/Prayer group.

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New A-Fib Story: Frustrated, Crosses Canadian Border for Treatment

Rani and Moni Minhas

Rani and Moni Minhas

Our newest personal A-Fib story is told by a Canadian about his wife, Rani, who’s first symptom was feeling dizzy when checking in for a flight from Barbados. Over the next many months, she developed palpitations and A-Fib.

“Rani had fatigue and didn’t feel right. Before this, she was always healthy. She continued to exercise, as much as she could. But A-Fib really bothered her and made her feel both sick and anxious. Our whole family was worried about her.
Under the Canadian nationalized health care system, it took a lot of proactive action and aggressive approach to get proper help (which in the end wasn’t the proper treatment).
Almost every time we went to a doctor or a specialist, none of them had properly reviewed her file before they walked in to talk to her. It was pathetic. And we went to 4 cardiologists and 2 doctors.”

Frustrated for his wife, Moni turned to his friend, Google, and searched the web for information about Atrial Fibrillation. Read what Moni discovered and learn why they decided to cross the Canadian border to seek treatment in the U.S. …Continue reading…

Urinary Tract Infection Leads to Persistent A-Fib Followed by Two Failed Cardioversions

A-Fib Patient Story #91

Urinary Tract Infection Leads to Persistent A-Fib Followed by Two Failed Cardioversions

by Jay from VA, October 2016

My A-Fib Story at A-Fib.com

Jay from Virginia

I am 64 years old and live in Virginia. In January 2016, I was afflicted with a pronounced arrhythmia. I could feel it often. I had a stress test done and a sonogram of my heart. All were good, but they could see I was going in and out of A-Fib.

In early March, I got very sick with a urinary tract infection and a 104° temperature. I could not eat and was in constant A-Fib. After I got well with antibiotics, I stayed in A-Fib.

We tried Cardioversions twice. Each one took me out of A-Fib for 3 days, but then right back into it. I was on blood thinners (Eliquis) then.

Experience of a Lifetime: Ablation at Fairfax Hospital

On May 18 I had an ablation. Wheeling me into the operating room was an experience of a lifetime. This was a brand new hospital building at Fairfax Hospital. The operating room was right out of Star Trek. Huge! The operating table was skinny with 8 people standing around it as I climbed on. None of them were doctors.

This was a brand new hospital building at Fairfax Hospital. The operating room was right out of Star Trek. Huge!

I wasn’t nervous, but for some reason I was feeling VERY sick. I don’t know why. They all got very busy on me. There were 2 computer cubicles off to the side, stainless steel machines hanging from the ceiling, and a floating lap top. IT WAS AMAZING!

It all went well, out of A-Fib. My doctor was Dr. Haroon Rashid at Virginia Heart. He was very good.

Minor Bleeding Complication Post Ablation

During the ablation, they had inserted 2 catheters into veins in my left and right groins. But that night one hole started to bleed. That’s a big problem. They patched it up REAL QUICK. But I could not move for 8 hours total. <!–more.

There was no pain involved after the ablation. But my heart felt like it was bound up with rope, like it was a loose jellyfish before but now it felt tightened up with a rock sitting on the top of it, but not painful, just there. I was still able to go home the next morning.

Recovering Back Home

I had gone to the gym regularly, about 3 times a week for years. After a few weeks, I was able to try that again but really couldn’t do much and then was exhausted for the rest of the day. I was on Eliquis and Multaq. I got short of breath very quickly. This was true for 2½ months. I came off of Multaq, then felt somewhat better, and at 3 months came off Eliquis and felt much better.

I came off of Multaq, then felt somewhat better, and at 3 months came off Eliquis and felt much better.

I had A-Fib 2 weeks after the ablation for 2 days and then again after 6 weeks for a few hours. [This is common during the 3 month ‘blanking ‘period’.] I am at now 4 months post-ablation. I occasionally go into A-Fib for a few hours now, but feel good. Only taking aspirin now.

There is an App for your smartphone called Kardia by AliveCor that can tell you when you are in A-Fib. [See our review of the AliveCor Kardia by Travis Von Slooten]

Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned graphic with hands 400 pix sq at 300 resDon’t worry about having an ablation. The operating room is an amazing experience, and there is no pain. The ablation procedure is very successful.

It won’t feel like you had a serious operation, but you did. It may take months to get back to feeling like yourself. You may feel a large loss of energy and need to sleep a lot. Plan on resting a good deal. 5 months since the ablation, I have only about half the energy I had last year at this time. Do the ablation right away.

Life and your abilities can change overnight. Get done what you want to do. Finish that bucket list.

Jay from Virginia

Editor’s Comments:
Jay didn’t mess around. With persistent A-Fib he wanted results. When 2 cardioversions failed after a few days (most patients’ A-Fib returns in a week to a month), he didn’t waste time with six-months to a year of drug therapies. Just four months after his diagnosis, Jay opted for a catheter ablation. Good for you, J.!
Is J’s ablation a success? Even though Jay from VA still experiences occasional A-Fib episodes, he feels much better than when he was in Chronic A-Fib. His ablation was for him a success and greatly improved his quality of life.
Because of having been in persistent A-Fib and because he may have had paroxysmal (occasional) A-Fib for years, he was probably a more difficult case. If J. from VA wants to be completely A-Fib free, he may have to return for a second touch-up ablation which has a higher success rate. Rather than having to do a complete Pulmonary Vein Isolation procedure, the EP during a second ablation usually only has to isolate a few A-Fib producing spots or gaps to make Jay A-Fib free.
Why shortness of breath and loss of energy? It’s unusual to feel shortness of breath for as long as 2½ months after an ablation, as Jay did. It’s hard to speculate what may have caused that shortness of breath. Perhaps it was the medications. The bottom line is Jay feels OK now and is back exercising at the gym and living a normal life.
Most people after a successful ablation feel more energetic or at least as energetic than before they developed A-Fib, because their heart is pumping normally. We don’t know why Jay is experiencing a loss of energy. It may be because he still has occasional A-Fib episodes.
I am concerned about his low energy level. Jay should continue to discuss this with his doctor. Together they may find a solution to getting his pre-ablation energy back.

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Hard-Learned Lessons: A-Fib Patients’ Best Advice Top 10 List

Earlier this year we published a 10-part series of posts based on ‘The Top 10 List of A-Fib Patients’ Best Advice’ in Chapter 12 of my book, Beat Your A-Fib.ten-10-list-patients-advice-10-27-2016-600-x-2000-pixt-at-300-res

The ‘Top 10 List’ is a consensus of valuable advice from fellow patients who are now free from the burden of Atrial Fibrillation.

To read the orginial posts in this series, just click on the the following links:

#1: What’s an EP?
#2: Dump Your Doctor?
#3: Don’t Believe Everything You’re Told About A-Fib
#4: Don’t Just Manage Your A-Fib with Meds. Seek your Cure.
#5: Don’t Let A-Fib Wreak its Havoc! Seek Your Cure ASAP
#6: Be Courageous. Be Aggressive.
#7: Persevere—More Than One Treatment May be Needed
#8: Get Emotional Support for the Stress and Anxiety
#9: Learn All Your Treatments Options Before Making Decisions
#10: Become Your Own Best Patient Advocate

From Chapter 10 of Beat Your A-Fib: The Essentiall Guide to Finding Your Cure, by Steve S. Ryan, PhD.

Frustrated, Crosses Canadian Border for Ablation by Dr. Andrea Natale in Austin, TX

A-Fib Patient Story #90

Frustrated, Crosses Canadian Border for Ablation by Dr. Andrea Natale in Austin, TX

By Moni Minhas, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, October 2016

Rani and Moni Minhas

Rani and Moni Minhas

My wife, Rani Minhas, developed A-Fib in January 2015 when she was 61 years old. She felt dizzy when we were checking in for a flight from Barbados. She got better that day, and we took a later flight.

Over the next many months, she developed palpitations and A-Fib. We did not know it was A-Fib as we had never heard of the term.

“Get Used to It (A-Fib)…and It Will Get Worse.” NO! NO! NO!

Rani had fatigue and didn’t feel right. Before this, she was always healthy. She continued to exercise, as much as she could. But A-Fib really bothered her and made her feel both sick and anxious. Our whole family was worried about her.

Under the Canadian nationalized health care system, it took a lot of proactive action and aggressive approach to get proper help (which in the end wasn’t the proper treatment).

What is a normal BP reading? Less than 120/80 mm Hg (<120 systolic AND <80 diastolic).

The first cardiologist suggested Rani start taking a blood thinner and dismissed A-Fib as something that “happens when you get old, get used to it; and it will get worse.”

He did not even prescribe beta blockers. Instead, he suggested a Blood Pressure medicine. Her BP that day was 165/90.

After waiting for weeks, we went to cardiologist #2. He prescribed beta blockers and recommended Rani take a higher dosage when she felt palpitations [known as pill-in-the-pocket drug therapy].

Note: Almost every time we went to a doctor or a specialist, none of them had properly reviewed her file before they walked in to talk to her. It was pathetic. And we went to 4 cardiologists and 2 doctors.

Frustrated! Searches Web and Finds the A-Fib Coach Steve Ryan

Frustrated, one day, I turned to my friend “Google” and found The A-Fib Coach. I contacted Steve Ryan and paid the small fee he charges [for one-to-one coaching]. Then I ordered the Beat Your A-Fib book he has written. I never read the book as it seemed scary to read (not the book but the symptoms and consequences of A-Fib!).

Her first doctor: “A-Fib is something that happens when you get old, get used to it; and it will get worse.”

Steve was wonderful to talk to and told me about the Catheter Ablation procedure and gave me a lot of background on it and its benefits and risks, which were not many in my wife’s case.

Consultation with Dr. Thometz in Billings, Montana

I now went back to my friend “Google” and looked for an expert in Catheter Ablation close to our home in Calgary (Alberta Canada). Acrosss the U.S. border, I found someone in Billings, Montana. I made an appointment, and Rani and I drove 8 hours to Billings and stayed a night in the hotel.

The next morning, we spoke for 2 hours with Dr. Alan Thometz, the cardiac Electrophysiologist (EP) in Billings Clinic. He was very knowledgeable and helpful and answered every question we had. (We had a lot of help from Steve Ryan as to what questions to ask.)

We were comfortable with Dr. Thometz doing the procedure, but there was an 8 week wait. And Steve Ryan did not know him personally, which was not critical but was of some importance in deciding.

Let’s Find the Best EP in the USA

I asked Steve Ryan to suggest the best EP Cardiologist in the USA. He recommended Dr. Andrea Natale from Austin TX and Dr. Vivek Reddy in NY. We got an appointment with Dr. Natale quickly and in early June 2016 went for a catheter ablation procedure.

Ablation by Dr. Natale―No More Palpitations, No More A-Fib!

Dr Andrea Natale

Dr A. Natale

Dr. Natale did the procedure which took half a day. Rani stayed in the hospital overnight. Right after the procedure, we stayed in a hotel for another 10 days, even though it was not required. But I wanted Rani to be comfortable before coming home.

The procedure was great. No more A-Fib, no more palpitations. And no more beta blockers.

Recovery Period: 3 to 6 Months

We were told there is a 3 to 6 month recovery period [blanking period) for the heart to heal. Rani did have a few days of high BP and 1 day of low BP while her heart was healing. This is almost all gone, and she has 120 BP now on a regular basis which is perfect.

It has now been over 4 months, and Rani is now jogging and exercising every day. She does get some fatigue, but we feel pretty good that she will get over that by January 2017 based on trends. For now, she takes BP medicine and a blood thinner (Xarelto).

Gratitude to Steve Ryan

To say Steve Ryan was extremely helpful is an understatement. Without his guidance, we would not have known that Catheter Ablation is an option. Without him, we would not have found Dr. Natale. We haven’t met Steve Ryan in person, but the next time we’re in Los Angeles, we’ll take him out for dinner as a way of thanks.

Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned graphic with hands 400 pix sq at 300 resGood health is the best gift we can have. If you have A-Fib (or any health issues), be aggressive and proactive in seeking treatment and advice.

Do not assume every healthcare professional is doing their job, including doctors and cardiologists. Use your own judgement and ask a lot of questions. Challenge the medical staff.

Moni Minhas
minhas@minhasbrewery.com

Editor’s Comments:
Be Proactive! Moni and Rani’s story is an excellent example of being proactive rather than passively living with A-Fib for the rest of her life.
I’m astounded that any doctor today would tell Rani and Moni to just live in A-Fib, “get used to…and it will get worse.”
Moni knew something was wrong with this doctor’s advice. He educated himself about A-Fib. He got second (and third) opinions. He didn’t let his beloved wife, Rani, suffer from A-Fib. He found the best doctor he could and got her treated and cured before her A-Fib could get worse. Her quick treatment may have made her A-Fib much easier to cure.
Long-Term Effects of Living in A-Fib: Aside from feeling miserable, having a reduced quality of life, and suffering emotional stress and anxiety, over time A-Fib can have devastating effects on your heart, brain and other organs.
Don’t Live in A-Fib! Follow Moni and Rani’s example! Don’t listen to doctors and others who may tell you that A-Fib can’t be cured, that the only thing possible is to improve A-Fib symptoms; or that catheter ablation is experimental and not proven; or that you have to take these A-Fib drugs for the rest of your life and you should just learn to live with A-Fib.
Instead, RUN, don’t walk to get a second opinion (and even a third)!
Compared to other heart ailments, A-Fib is relatively easy to fix. You owe it to yourself to get the facts, to look at all your treatment options, not just drugs.

You don’t have to live in A-Fib!

2-bya-a-fib-cloud-quote-daniel-doane-600-x-300-pix-at-300-res

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Get Your Life Back: Don’t settle. Be courageous. Be aggressive.

Quote: Robert Dell, New York, New York, A-Fib free since 2002 - A-Fib.com

Robert Dell, New York, New York, A-Fib free since 2002

Other A-Fib Patients Have Been Where You Are Right Now

A-Fib Personal Story on A-Fib.com

Over 80 stories.

Many A-Fib.com readers have shared their personal experiences with A-Fib (starting with Steve Ryan’s story). Told in the first-person, many stories span years, even decades. Symptoms will vary, and treatments choices run the full gamut.

Each author tells their story to offer you hope, to encourage you and to bolster your determination to seek a life free of A-Fib. Learn more at: Personal A-Fib Stories of Hope.

Browse Over 80 Personal Stories of Hope and Encourage

Want to read stories by patients in your age group? Or from patients with your symptoms? Go to the page titled ‘Listed by Subject’.

We have a few major categories: by Cause, by Risk Factor, by Symptom, by Age group/Years with A-Fib, and by Treatment. Each category has several subcategories. Browse by subject.

Personal A-Fib Story: Read Robert Dell’s personal A-Fib story: “Daddy is always tired.” Daddy needed his life back.

Read how others found the courage
to seek their A-Fib cure.

From Steve’s Email Box: 3 A-Fib Patients in Need

Just like our ‘Personal A-Fib Stories of Hope‘, we can learn from each other, so I’m sharing a few of the emails I’ve received and my answers. One of the hardest emails to deal with often comes from outside the U.S.

Young A-Fib Patient: No EP Lab in Her Country

Had to give up college: One young person has such horrible A-Fib symptoms that she had to give up college. Upon investigation, I learned there’s no EP Lab in her country to treat her. My heart goes out to her, not only because she is so young to have A-Fib, but also because she’ll need to travel from her country for treatment, which her family can’t afford. (She’s too young to be on anti arrhythmic drugs for the rest of her life.)

How to help her? I’ve asked several EPs I know for ideas. Perhaps an EP will donate his services and a drug company or device manufacturer (with larger budgets) may offer a charitable donation to finance her travel and hospital stay. I hope someday that A-Fib.com can dedicate funds to help people like her. I’ll let you know what develops.

A-Fib Patients with Post-Ablation Challenges

I’ve received two emails I haven’t been able yet to address adequately.

HE STILL CAN’T EXERCISE
The first was from someone who had a successful catheter ablation a year ago, but still can’t exercise like he used to and suffers from lack of energy.

Steve S. Ryan - high jump at track meet

Steve, 76, masters meet

Post ablation: Usually after a successful catheter ablation, one feels better and has more energy or at least returns to the energy levels they had pre-A-Fib. I told him he should be feeling better, not worse. I shared my experience with being cured 18 years ago and participating in a Masters Track meet two days ago at age 76.

Get your O.R. report: I emailed back and asked him to get a copy of his O.R. (Operating Report) and send me a copy to review. It’s a very technical document not usually given to patients unless they ask for it (see How to Read Your Operating Room Report). When I get it, I’ll study it and email him my summary. It might explain why he is suffering from a lack of energy. I advised him, his doctor and EP may want tests to figure out what’s wrong.

SHE’S BEEN A-FIB FREE SINCE THE 90S
The second email was from someone who has been A-Fib free after surgery in the 90s. (She was probably one of the first!) Lately she has been experiencing bloating and intense pain in her legs. It’s possible that her A-Fib has returned, though her symptoms could come from other causes.

Steves Lists and Directory of Doctors I emailed back asking where she lives so I can use our Directory of Doctors to find a good EP to refer her to.

I wrote her how monitoring devices have greatly improved over the years, like the Band-aid looking Zio Patch. She’d wear it for 1-2 weeks then her EP can analyze for any arrhythmia. But that may not be enough. Her doctor and EP may want to do more testing for a condition like congestive heart failure, or how to improve her circulation and relieve the swelling.

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I get emails like these every day from patients needing independent, unbiased treatment information from a caring patient advocate. I’m proud that Patti and I continue to publish A-Fib.com to help meet this ongoing need.

YOU CAN HELP TOO! Donate toward the monthly publishing cost of this website (look for the orange PayPal button in the right column). Or, you can write an article, become an A-Fib Supporter Volunteer or share your A-Fib story. Read how to Participant at A-Fib.com.

 

In A-Fib for 15 Years, Eventually Unable to Work

Terry Traver' s story at A-Fib.com

Terry Traver’ s story

We’ve posted a new personal experience story. Terry Traver of Thousand Oaks, CA, shares his 15-year battle with A-Fib.

“For over 15 years I suffered with A-Fib. It was not so bad [at first]. I stopped using caffeine and chocolate and cut back on my [alcohol] drinking.

Every three months or so I would have an episode that would last about 15 hours and then I would be fine. Meds never really helped in my case.

A-Fib Progresses to Severe and Incapacitates

In 2011, my A-Fib became severe to the point where I was almost completely incapacitated [Persistent Atrial Fibrillation]. I was not even able to work. …Continue reading Terry’s story…

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In A-Fib for 15 Years, Eventually is Incapacitated, Unable to Work

Terry Traver' s story at A-Fib.com

Terry Traver’ s story

A-Fib Patient Story #89

In A-Fib for 15 Years, Eventually is Incapacitated, Unable to Work

By Terry Traver, Thousand Oaks, CA, September 2016

I’m a sixty-five year-old male and live in southern California. I am writing this because, as great as Steve’s site [A-Fib.com] is, there aren’t many stories from the west coast.

For over 15 years I suffered with A-Fib. It was not so bad. I stopped using caffeine and chocolate and cut back on my [alcohol] drinking.

Every three months or so I would have an episode that would last about 15 hours and then I would be fine.

Meds never really helped in my case.

A-Fib Progresses to the Point Where I Can’t Work

In 2011, my A-Fib became severe to the point where I was almost completely incapacitated [Persistent Atrial Fibrillation]. I was not even able to work.

Luckily, through a friend I was put in touch with Dr. Anil K. Bhandari, a clinical Electrophysiologist (EP)] at Los Angeles Cardiology Associates in downtown Los Angeles.

Ablation and a Touch-up at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles

In March 2012, I went in to Good Samaritan Hospital for a catheter ablation (wonderful Hospital and staff). I knew I was a difficult case, so I was not surprised when I had to return in July 2012 for a second touch up ablation (I think Dr. Bhandari was more disappointed than I was).

I knew I was a difficult case, so I was not surprised when I had to return in July 2012 for a second touch up ablation.

Afterwards, no sign of A-Fib. I felt great! At my 30 day return visit and I was told to use up the remainder of my meds and then discontinue them.

A-Fib Free for Five Years

I’ve been A-Fib free for five years. I still doesn’t drink coffee but enjoy chocolate and an occasional cocktail without worry.

Dr. Bhandari and the ablation was the best thing I could have done. I would like to add that the procedure is very easy. I was home the next day. I had no pain and had a short recovery time.

I have nothing but great things to say about my experience with Dr. Bhandari, his staff and Good Sam. Hospital, I live 40 miles north of L.A. and the drive was worth it.

Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned graphic with hands 400 pix sq at 300 resWhat I wish I knew then or did differently:

• I would have had the ablation much sooner. No G.P. [family doctor] ever mentioned ablation as an option. I only heard about it from a friend!
• I had never heard of an electrophysiologist (EP), and wish I had seen one sooner.
• I would learn more about what my insurance covered and what expenses I could negotiate.

I also want to thank Steve Ryan for this wonderful web site. Good luck

P.S. For the guys: For bladder control during the catheter ablation, instead of a urinary catheter, Dr. Bhandari uses a condom. No insertion. Just sayin’.

Terry Traver
terrytraver@gmail.com

Editorial comments:
I’m still amazed when an A-Fib patient tells me his family doctor didn’t refer them to a cardiologist, and more importantly, to an Electrophysiologist.
Atrial Fibrillation is a problem with the electrical function of your heart. Most cardiologists deal with the pumping functions of the heart (think ‘plumber’). It’s important for A-Fib patients to see a cardiac Electrophysiologist (EP)—a cardiologist who specializes in the electrical activity of the heart (think electrician) and in the diagnosis and treatment of heart rhythm disorders.
Terry writes that his GP did not refer him to an EP. Thank goodness a friend stepped in to help him.
It’s so important for patients to educate themselves to receive the best treatment. To learn how to find the right doctor, go to our page: Finding the Right Doctor for You and Your Treatment Goals.
The longer you wait, the worse A-Fib tends to get. Look at Terry’s story. His disease progressed to Persistent Atrial Fibrillation and was incapacitating.

A-Fib is a Progressive Disease—Seek your Cure ASAP!

Note: Dr. Bhandari is still with Los Angeles Cardiology Associates (213-977-0419), also now works at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles.

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Return to Patient A-Fib Stories

If you find any errors on this page, email us. Y Last updated: Tuesday, February 7, 2017

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New Personal Story: A-Fib, Prayer and Healing

We corresponded recently with Jon who’s been A-Fib free since 2011. He agreed to share his story with our A-Fib.com readers:

I struggled with A-Fib for almost eight months in the year of 2011.  It began in January, and I had episodes of it throughout the year. My episodes weren’t too bad—as in I never had any side effects of the A-Fib like fainting or clotting.

My A-Fib Story at A-Fib.com

Jon’s story of healing

The only real thing I had during the episodes was an irregular heartbeat and a fast heart rate. Being as young as I am and having a family of my own, it was a lot to have on my shoulders.

I wanted the A-Fib gone, and the medication I was taking did not make it go away.

The Power of Prayer

I knew of another way that the A-Fib could go away—by God supernaturally healing me.  Well, in August of 2011 I asked the pastors of my church to pray for me that God would heal me.  After the Sunday service...”.Continue reading Jon’s story…

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