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


Beat Your A-Fib Book

Don’t Take Any Medication Without Asking These 10 Questions

Before taking any prescription drug to treat your Atrial Fibrillation, you should educate yourself about the drug. We’ve prepared the top 10 questions you should ask your doctor. As a service to our readers, we offer the questions as a free PDF worksheet you can Download. It has convenient spaces to write down your doctor’s replies for later review.

Print as many as you need and take a copy to every doctor appointment (you never know when you’ll need one). Download our worksheet (and don’t forget to save to your hard drive).

Before Starting a Prescription Drug, Ask These Questions

Use our worksheet as a guide as you ask these questions of your doctor or healthcare professional, and note their responses:

Download our Free Worksheet

1. Why am I being prescribed this medication?
2. What are the side effects of this drug?
3. Are there any precautions or special dietary instructions I should follow?
4. Can it interfere with my other medications?
5. What should I do if I forget a dose?
6. How long before I know if this drug is working?
7. How will I be monitored on this drug? How often?
8. What happens if this drug doesn’t work?
9. What if my A-Fib symptoms become worse?
10. If I don’t respond to medications, will you consider non-pharmaceutical treatments (such as a Pulmonary Vein Isolation procedure)?

Keep your medical records in a binder or folder. at A-Fib.com

Keep your medical records in a binder or folder.

Your A-Fib Binder or Folder

When completed, file the worksheet in your A-Fib binder or file folder to use for future reference and follow-up.

Your A-Fib binder is where you should file and organize all your A-Fib-related treatment information: printouts of information from the internet and your local public library or medical center library, notes from phone calls with doctors’ offices, and answers to “interview” questions during doctor consultations.

Research Any Prescription Drug 

To determine if the prescription is the right one for you, do your research. An excellent prescription database is the U.S. National Library of Medicine Drug Information Portal. (For an example, see the page on Warfarin [Coumadin].)

Also see the free worksheet: Keep an Inventory List of Your Medications


Worksheet from Chapter 6 of Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure, by Steve S. Ryan, PhD

My Top 7 Picks: Books for A-Fib Patients and Their Families

By Steve S. Ryan, PhD

Knowledge is power. Educate yourself about Atrial Fibrillation. Empower yourself as a patient. Learn to see through the hype of healthcare websites!
My top 7 A-Fib reference books and guides at A-Fib.com

My Top 7 Recommendations for A-Fib Patients and Their Families

For patients and their families, these are our favorite books about A-Fib as well as patient empowerment, unmasking the facts behind health statistics, the importance of Magnesium supplements and insights into the pharmaceutical industry. And a Bonus: the best medical dictionary for A-Fib patients.

These books and guides are available from many online sources, but to make it easy for you (and to read my other recommendations), see my ‘Wish List’ on Amazon.com. (Note: Use our Amazon portal link, and your purchases help support A-Fib.com.) 

Beat Your A-Fib book cover at A-Fib.com1. Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure: Written in everyday language for patients with Atrial Fibrillation

A-Fib can be cured! That’s the theme of this book written by a former A-Fib patient and publisher of the patient education website, A-Fib.com. Empowers patients to seek their cure. Written in plain language for A-Fib patients and their families.

Practice Guide to Heart Rhythm Problems at A-Fib.com2. A Patient’s Guide to Heart Rhythm Problems (A Johns Hopkins Press Health Book)

Up-to-date resource on heart arrhythmias. Good overview of the heart and its functions. Several good chapters on Atrial Flutter and Atrial Fibrillation. Also a very good chapter entitled ‘Defensive Patienting’.

Medifocus Guide to Atrial Fibrillation report cover at A-Fib.com3. Medifocus Guidebook on: Atrial Fibrillation

Updated annually. Categories of research studies, drug therapies and non-drug therapies. Synopis only. Must find full-length documents online or at a library. For current issue go to: http://tinyurl.com/MedifocusGuide-AFIB

The Magnesium Miracle book cover at A-Fib.com4. The Magnesium Miracle (Revised and Updated Edition)

Comprehensive book on the importance and helpful benefits of magnesium as well as just what a magnesium deficiency causes. Easy-to-read with organized sections and easy-to-use dosing recommendations. Best seller on Amazon.com

Know Your Chances book cover at A-Fib.com5. Know Your Chances: Understanding Health Statistics

Do you question the facts behind today’s barrage of health risk messages? Unmask the truth. Learn to see through the hype in medical news, TV drug ads and pitches from advocacy groups.

The Empowered Patient book cover at A-Fib.com6. The Empowered Patient: How to Get the Right Diagnosis, Buy the Cheapest Drugs, Beat Your Insurance Company, and Get the Best Medical Care Every Time

Excellent resource. Learn about the times when we need to be a ‘bad patient’. It’s okay to ‘rock the boat’ or be a ‘nuisance’. When it comes to medicine, trust no one completely. Everyone should read this book.

Bad Pharma book cover at A-Fib.com7. Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients

A real eye-opener to the decades-long goals and tactics of the pharmaceutical industry to create and maintain demand for their products. A must read for anyone taking prescription meds for the long-term (i.e. hypertension, high cholesterol, etc.).

Oxford Concise Medical Dictionary book cover at A-Fib.comBONUS: Concise Medical Dictionary (Oxford Quick Reference)

An  excellent medical dictionary, the best I’ve found for patients with Atrial Fibrillation who are conducting research into their best treatment options. Includes occasional illustrations (for fun check p. 276 for the types of fingerprint patterns).

Read More, Learn More

Knowledge is power. Educate yourself and become your own best patient advocate!

To see my complete list of all items I recommend for A-Fib patients and their families, see my list on Amazon.com: By a Former A-Fib Patient: My Recommended Products.

What's working for you? Share your tips at A-Fib.com

Email us what’s working for you.

Share Your Tip

Do you have a favorite book that has helped you with your Atrial Fibrillation? Email me about it.

Is a specific treatment working for you? Have lifestyle changes helped? Or, perhaps, an alternative or homeopathic remedy?

Won’t you email us and share your tip?

Cardiologists Offer Little A-Fib Advice, Even to a Fellow Doctor!

John Bennett MD personal A-Fib story at A-Fib.com

John Bennett MD

By John Bennett, MD, July 2016

John Bennett, MD, practices emergency medicine in Miami, Florida. Dr. Bennett is known for his series of Google Hangouts live videos featuring experts in a variety of medical fields. To learn more, visit his website, Internetmedicine.com, “Where the Internet Meet Medicine.”

I had the good fortune to run into Steve Ryan, find his website, and get his book. Ultimately I got fine care and returned to having a healthy heart. My story being at age 57 when I suddenly went into Atrial Fibrillation.

I Trusted My Cardiologist

As a physician, I had the usual knowledge most physicians have about A Fib—which is not much, especially the care of chronic Atrial Fibrillation. Like most people, I trusted my cardiologist to do the best thing for me.

My first cardiologist did not even mention cardioversion to get me back in sinus rhythm.

First Cardiologist No Options But Drugs—I Hated Coumadin

My first cardiologist did the usual workup, and prescribed Coumadin. I hated that medicine. Made me feel tired, no energy, but I accepted it.

Finally, I got tired of being tired, so I started to do some online research.

I found out that you could elect to be cardioverted, which my first cardiologist did not even mention (since, of course, he would lose me as a patient, if I returned to normal sinus rhythm).

Electrocardioversion Works for 7 Years

Well, he did. I then went straight to an Electrophysiologist (EP), who converted me, and it lasted 7 years. I was cardioverted again but this time it only lasted 5 months.

Still, no talk of catheter ablation. I had to chase my doctor down the hall to say, “What’s the plan?”

Research and reading  ‘Beat Your A-Fib’, I found I might be a candidate for catheter ablation.

Ablation and A-Fib Free—“Beat Your A-Fib” Book

Next, I went back to the internet where I ran across Steve’s book, ‘Beat Your A-Fib’ and found I might be a candidate for catheter ablation.

July 2015 I had an ablation by Dr. Todd Florin at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach (highly recommended, good listener, super team) and returned to normal sinus rhythm.  It’s been one year and I am still in normal sinus rhythm. If you’ve had A-Fib, I don’t have to tell you the difference between A-Fib and sinus rhythm.

I am truly appreciative about Steve’s work [A-Fib.com] and his book. I feel like a real human being again, with normal energy levels.

Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned graphic at A-Fib.com

Take an active role in your care.

Like Steve says, catheter ablation may not be the answer for every patient with A Fib.

But you need to be aware of it! Read. Be aggressive with your cardiologist. Ask about catheter ablation [and other options]. Take an active role in the care of your pump!

Steve’s book, “Beat Your A-Fib,” motivated me to get active and investigate my treatment options.

Isn’t it sad that TWO of my Cardiologists did not care enough to even mention ablation to me? And I am a friggin’ doctor―and they treated me that way!

John Bennet, MD
Miami, Florida

Editor’s comments
Electrocardioversion best for recent-onset A-Fib: Dr. Bennett was very fortunate to have a cardioversion keep him in sinus rhythm for seven years.
Unfortunately for most patients, a cardioversion seldom lasts that long. It works best in cases of recent onset A-Fib. It’s a very safe procedure and is certainly worth a try, but cardioversion is seldom a permanent cure for A-Fib. Don’t be surprised if you’re back in A-Fib within a week to a month.

Amazing! Dr. Bennett’s fellow physicians didn’t tell him about options like electrocardioversion and catheter ablation.

You can’t always trust cardiologists (or the media): What’s most amazing about Dr. Bennett’s story is that his fellow physicians and colleagues (whom he trusted) didn’t tell him about options like Electrocardioversion and catheter ablation.
Today’s media and web sites talk about “Living with A-Fib”.  But living in A-Fib is detrimental to your long-term health.
In contrast, the message at A-Fib.com is: You don’t have to live in A-Fib. Seek your Cure.

Top 10 List #10 Be your own best patient advocate 600 x 530 pix at 300 res

 

Patients’ Best Advice #10: Become Your Own Best Patient Advocate

THE TOP 10 LIST #10

Become Your Own Best Patient Advocate.

A-FIB PATIENTS’ BEST ADVICE

From Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure, Chapter 12: Your Journey to a Cure, and personal stories from A-Fib.com. Advice from patients now free from the burden of Atrial Fibrillation:

Joan Schneider at A-Fib.com

Joan S.,

Joan Schneider, Ann Arbor, MI, tells of her astonishment how little her doctors told her about A-Fib:

“I was so desperate for answers I started searching on-line. My jaw hit the table. [She said to herself…] ‘How could my physicians not explain these things to me?’ Once I was able to really comprehend my future, I was able to make things happen.
Best advice: Don’t be afraid to fire your physician, and be your own advocate.” (pp. 119-124)
Michele Straube

Michele S.

Michele Straub, Salt Lake City, Utah, encourages you to be more active in your own treatment plan:

“Do not take ‘this is as good as it gets’ as an answer—do your own research about what’s possible. Take a co-leadership role with your doctor.” (pp. 88-90)

John Thorton from Sioux Falls, SD, wrote about his PVCs and ignoring the bad advice from his doctors:

John and Marcia Thornton

John & Marcia T.

“The local MDs (about a half dozen different ones), cardiologists, EPs, and other local specialists, all told me stuff like: “Everyone has PVCs” and “PVCs are benign,” and “It is just anxiety,” and “You just need to learn to live with it”. Which was completely WRONG.
Be Assertive, Even Aggressive: I had to set up my own appointment at Mayo Clinic to get evaluated there. It was a lot of work, by me alone, to get in to see the doctors at Mayo, but it was worth it.
I honestly believe that had I not gone to Mayo I would have suffered some major heart event, or possibly death.”

Our A-Fib Support Volunteers: Just an Email Away

A-Fib.com supporters

To become your own best patient advocate, it helps to have someone who has ‘been there’ and is there for you now—someone you can turn to for advice, emotional support, and a sense of hope that you can be cured. Someone who can share their own story or just ‘listen’ to yours.

Our A-Fib Support Volunteers are just an email message away. Note: Not all Support Volunteers are ‘cured’ of their A-Fib, but have found the best outcome for their situation.

Our volunteers are listed by U.S. state and worldwide by geographical region. Learn more at: Our A-Fib Support Volunteers

Make Things Happen:
Become Your Own Best Patient Advocate!

♥ ♥ ♥


‘The Top 10 List of A-Fib Patients’ Best Advice’ is a a consensus of valuable advice from fellow patients who are now free from the burden of Atrial Fibrillation. From Chapter 12, Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure by Steve S. Ryan, PhD (beatyoura-fib.com)

Coming soon: a .PDF of the
Top 10 List of A-Fib Patients’ Best Advice
Please, share the advice ♥ 

Patients’ Best Advice #8: Get Emotional Support for the Stress and Anxiety

Top 10 List #8 Get Emotional Support 600 x 530 pix at 300 Rev2

THE TOP 10 LIST #8

Get emotional support for the stress and anxiety
and to keep up your spirits.

A-FIB PATIENTS’ BEST ADVICE

From Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure, Chapter 12: Your Journey to a Cure. Advice from patients (and a spouse) now free from the burden of Atrial Fibrillations:

Jay Teresi

Jay T.

Jay Teresi, Atlanta, GA, USA. cured after having A-Fib for over ten years:

“Of the entire experience, anxiety has been the greatest challenge. Don’t beat yourself up if you deal with this. Be honest with the doctors about it and get help. And help your family to understand as they are your greatest support system.” (pp. 98-100)
Kelley T.

Kelley T.

Kelly Teresi, wife of Jay Teresi, about coping with her husband’s A-Fib:
“This disease is so far beyond what a non-A-Fib person can comprehend—many times I found myself frustrated, not understanding what was going on with Jay’s thoughts and heart.
Jay’s A-Fib and the associated anxiety has left its imprint on our lives. I’m told that couple’s counseling can help when one spouse feels burdened with the patience, understanding and emotional support required on behalf of the other spouse.” (pp. 101-105)
Max Jussila, A-Fib Support Volunteer at A-Fib.com

Max J.

Max Jussila, Shanghai, China, about the emotional impact of his A-Fib:

“I have never been mentally so incapable…even the simplest work-related problems seemed impossible for me to handle, let alone solve. I had become totally obnoxious towards my wife and colleagues.
I was only 52 years old…but mentally I was reduced to a six–year-old child with constant tantrums.” (pp. 92-97)
Joy G.

Joy G.

Joy Gray, Manchester, New Hampshire, encourages you find a support group:

“Realize that there are others who have been through this, find them, and use them as part of your support system.” (pp 132-137)

A-Fib Wreaks Havoc with Your Head as Well as Your Heart.

Seven ways to cope with feat and anxiety of a-fib at A-Fib.com

Article: Seven Ways to Cope

Anxiety, fear, worry, confusion, frustration and depression, and at times, anger. The psychological and emotional effects of A-Fib can be debilitating. Recent research indicates that “psychological distress” worsens the severity of A-Fib symptoms.

Don’t be ashamed to admit how A-Fib makes you feel (especially if you’re a guy). Your psyche is just as important as your physical heart. Just acknowledging you have some or all of these symptoms is a step in the right direction.

For a step-by-step guide, see our article: Seven Ways to Cope with Your A-Fib Fear and Anxiety.

Acknowledge the Stress and Anxiety.
Seek Emotional Support. 

Learn more: Seven Ways to Cope with Your A-Fib Fear and Anxiety.


‘The Top 10 List of A-Fib Patients’ Best Advice’ is a a consensus of valuable advice from fellow patients who are now free from the burden of Atrial Fibrillation. From Chapter 12, Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure by Steve S. Ryan, PhD (beatyoura-fib.com)

Next, look for #9 on the
Top 10 List of A-Fib Patients’ Best Advice
Please, share the advice ♥ 

Patients’ Best Advice #7: Persevere—More Than One Treatment May be Needed

THE TOP 10 LIST #7

Persevere-Try More Than One Treatment if Necessary

A-FIB PATIENTS’ BEST ADVICE

From Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure, Chapter 12: Your Journey to a Cure. These patients needed more than one type of treatment to become free from the burden of Atrial Fibrillation:

Joan S.

Joan Schneider, Ann Arbor, MI, USA, tells about starting with drug therapy:

“The Pill-in-the-Pocket (PIP) [drug therapy] served me well prior to my [catheter ablation] procedure.” (pp. 119-124)

Jay Teresi, Atlanta, GA, describes his second ablation after being A-Fib free for three-years:

Jay T.

Jay T.

“[My EP] explained that my first procedure was a success. However, during the healing process a tiny spot did not scar and this allowed the A-Fib to trip again. He ablated that portion and touched up all the other areas. I have now been free of A-Fib for over four years (as of September, 2011).” (pp. 98-100)

Harry Emmett Finch, Malibu, CA. With 40-years of A-Fib, Emmett’s treatment evolved beyond drug therapy to his PV catheter ablation, then AV Node ablation with Pacemaker and, most recently, installation of the Watchman device:

Emmett F.

Emmett F.

“There is more help available today than when I first developed my A-Fib [in 1972], and I’m sure more treatment options (like the Watchman device) will be available in the future.” (pp 181-189)

A-Fib is Not a One-size-fits-all Disease

Your Atrial Fibrillation is unique to you. Along with various treatments, you may need to address concurrent medical conditions (i.e, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, sleep apnea). Likewise, you may need to make lifestyle changes (e.g., diet, exercise, caffeine, alcohol, smoking).

In addition, your heart is a resilient muscle that tends to heal itself, so you may need repeated procedures.

Try More Than One Treatment if Necessary.

Learn more at: Treatments for A-Fib


‘The Top 10 List of A-Fib Patients’ Best Advice’ is a a consensus of valuable advice from fellow patients who are now free from the burden of Atrial Fibrillation. From Chapter 12, Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure by Steve S. Ryan, PhD (beatyoura-fib.com)

Next, look for #8 on the
Top 10 List of A-Fib Patients’ Best Advice
Please, share the advice ♥ 

Patients’ Best Advice #6: Be Courageous. Be Aggressive.

THE TOP 10 LIST #6

Don’t settle. Be courageous. Be aggressive.

A-FIB PATIENTS’ BEST ADVICE

From Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure, Chapter 12: Your Journey to a Cure. Advice to be proactive from patients now free from the burden of Atrial Fibrillation:

Joy G.

Joy G.

Joy Gray, Manchester, New Hampshire

“A-Fib tends to be a progressive disease, so taking an aggressive approach to treatment early on may be your best option. (pp.132-137)

Sheri Weber, Boyce, Virginia

Sheri Weber on A-fib.com

Sheri W.

“A-Fib hardly ever gets better. Be aggressive. Anger and determination led me to researching options. Find the solution that fits you best.  Every case is different.
You can learn from others’ experiences, but you cannot determine what is best for your case unless you have all the facts, tests and personal goals in line.” (pp. 106-109)
Michele Straube

Michele S.

Michele Straub, Salt Lake City, Utah

“Do not take “this is as good as it gets” as an answer— do your own research about what’s possible and take a co-leadership role with your doctor.” (pp. 88-90)

Read A-Fib Patient Stories of Hope and Courage

A-Fib Personal Story on A-Fib.comOther A-Fib patients have been where you are right now. Dozens have shared their personal experience here at A-Fib.com (starting with Steve Ryan’s story in 1998). 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. Go to: Personal A-Fib Stories of Hope and Encouragement.

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

Learn more at: Personal A-Fib Stories


‘The Top 10 List of A-Fib Patients’ Best Advice’ is a a consensus of valuable advice from fellow patients who are now free from the burden of Atrial Fibrillation. From Chapter 12, Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure by Steve S. Ryan, PhD (beatyoura-fib.com)

Next, look for #7 on the
Top 10 List of A-Fib Patients’ Best Advice
Please, share the advice ♥ 

Inspiration: Get Your A-Fib Fixed Advises Ex-A-Fib Patient Daniel Doane

DANIEL DOANE cloud quote 600 x 750 pix at 300 resBe inspired by Daniel Doane and his first-person account of his journey to a life free of A-Fib. Read his story and many others in our book, Beat Your A-Fib. Or visit A-Fib.com’s Personal A-Fib Stories of Hope for over 80 narratives by patients dealing with the burden of Atrial Fibrillation.

Patients’ Best Advice #5: Don’t Let A-Fib Wreak its Havoc! Seek Your Cure ASAP

Top 10 List #5 Dont Delay 600 x 350 pix at 300 res

THE TOP 10 LIST #5

Don’t Delay-Get Treatment as Soon as Practical.

A-FIB PATIENTS’ BEST ADVICE

From Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure, Chapter 12: Your Journey to a Cure. Advice from patients now free from the burden of Atrial Fibrillation:

Daniel D.

Daniel D.

Daniel Doane, Sonora, California, USA, A-Fib free after Totally Thoracoscopic (TT) Mini-Maze surgery:

“I didn’t realize how continued A-Fib so drastically remodels your heart. ‘A-FIB BEGETS A-FIB’ was the phrase that brought it home to me.
Every instance of A-Fib changed my heart, remodeled the substrate, and made it more likely to happen again. Get your A-Fib taken care of. It won’t go away. It may seem to get better, but it will return. (pp. 152-162)
Roger M.

Roger M.

Roger Meyer, Columbus, Ohio, from three generations of A-Fib, had the Cox-Maze surgery:

“I can now say, first hand, that there ARE bad effects from A-Fib and especially from A-Fib that is not treated early. I now wish I had had some of the today’s more aggressive A-Fib treatment options which weren’t available to me in my younger years.
My best advice: Don’t let A-Fib wreak its havoc untreated!” (pp. 110-115)
Joan S.

Joan S.

Joan Schneider, Ann Arbor, MI, from Pill-in-the-Pocket therapy to A-Fib free after catheter ablation:

“My advice to other AF patients: Know that paroxysmal AF becomes chronic. Drugs only work for so long. Heart modification will occur, and options will become few. Get with a great EP  and/or AF clinic and find your cure.” (pp. 119-124)

Leaving Patients in A-Fib Overworks the Heart, Leads to Remodeling and Fibrosis

Don’t just manage your A-Fib with medication. Seek your Cure.

Controlling symptoms with drugs, but leaving patients in A-Fib, overworks the heart, leads to fibrosis and and increases the risk of stroke. Fibrosis makes the heart stiff, less flexible and weak, reduces pumping efficiency and leads to other heart problems. The abnormal rhythm in your atria causes electrical changes and enlarges your atria (called remodeling).

A-Fib begets A-Fib. Your A-Fib episodes become more frequent and longer, often leading to continuous (Chronic) A-Fib. (However, some people never progress to more serious A-Fib stages.)

Don’t Delay—Seek Your A-Fib Cure.

Learn more at: Overview of Atrial Fibrillation


‘The Top 10 List of A-Fib Patients’ Best Advice’ is a a consensus of valuable advice from fellow patients who are now free from the burden of Atrial Fibrillation. From Chapter 12, Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure by Steve S. Ryan, PhD (beatyoura-fib.com)

Next, look for #6 on the
Top 10 List of A-Fib Patients’ Best Advice
Please, share the advice ♥ 

Steve’s A-Fib Alerts: April 2016 Issue is Out

Check your email boxes! Our A-Fib Alerts: April 2016 issue is out and being read around the world.

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Patients’ Best Advice #3: Don’t Believe Everything You’re Told About A-Fib

Top 10 List #3

‘Don’t let anyone tell you A-Fib isn’t that serious,
or just learn to live with it’.

 THE A-FIB PATIENTS’ BEST ADVICE

From Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure, Chapter 12: Your Journey to a Cure. Advice from patients now free from the burden of Atrial Fibrillation:

ken hungerford on A-Fib.com

Ken H.

Ken Hungerford from New South Wales, Australia, shared:

During this period I asked three cardiologists about these episodes, and they all basically told me to simply put up with them. (pp.125-128)

Sheri Weber from Boyce, Virginia, was dissatisfied with the answers from her doctor:

Sheri Weber on A-fib.com

Sheri W.

“I questioned the cardio doctor about my future with A-Fib thinking there must be a cure and knowing absolutely nothing about the disease. His response was to tell me many people live with A-Fib and did not suggest any treatment aside from medication. (pp. 106-109)

Warren Welsh, Melbourne, Australia, talks about the years he needlessly endured A-Fib, in part, based on one doctor’s advice:

Warren Welsh on A-Fib.com

Warren W.

I would urge any A-Fib sufferers not to make the same mistakes I did by not researching their treatment options. …I experienced several years of unnecessary suffering by accepting an opinion of one specialist who said I would have to live in A-Fib.
I believe that unless there are special circumstances…any advice on treatment that is not directed towards a possible cure should be questioned.”  (pp.116-118)

VIDEO: Buyer Beware: Misleading or Inaccurate A-Fib Info Abounds

Steve Ryan video Freeze frame400 x 360 at 300 resAlways Question the Source

In a short video, Steve S. Ryan, PhD, warns to beware of misleading and incorrect A-Fib information published by reputable sources on the internet and in print media.

Talking with host Skip E. Lowe, Steve gives three specific examples of why you need to be on the lookout for inaccurate statements about Atrial Fibrillation. 3:59 min. Watch video now.


‘The Top 10 List of A-Fib Patients’ Best Advice’ is a a consensus of valuable advice from fellow patients who are now free from the burden of Atrial Fibrillation. From Chapter 12, Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure by Steve S. Ryan, PhD (beatyoura-fib.com)

Next, look for #4 on the
Top 10 List of A-Fib Patients’ Best Advice
Please, share the advice ♥ 

Patients’ Best Advice #2: Dump Your Doctor?

Top 10 List #2 Don't be afraid to fire your doctor at A-Fib.com

Top 10 List #2

‘Don’t be afraid to fire your doctor’.

 THE A-FIB PATIENTS’ BEST ADVICE

Sheri Weber

Sheri Weber

From Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure, Chapter 12: Your Journey to a Cure:

Sheri Weber, from Boyce, VA, shared this advice about finding the right doctor for your treatment goals:

“I wish I had realized that the first doctor you see is not necessarily the right one for you. I fooled around way too long, believing what my cardio doctor said. I should have been thinking outside the box. 

Run―don’t walk―to the best specialist you can find in your area.” (pp. 106-109) 

Michele Straube

Michele Straube

Michele Straube, Salt Lake City, UT, chimed in with similar advice about changing doctors. She wrote:

“My experiences with cardiologists were hit and miss.

Early on I was told that they had never seen someone so young with A-Fib (at the time, I was in my mid 20s), and some told me the best they could do was medicate me so I could walk from the bed to the window and back. …I changed doctors.” (pp. 88-91)

How to Find the Best Doctor for You

To be cured of your A-Fib, you may need to ‘fire’ your current doctor. Seek a heart rhythm specialist, an electrophysiologist (EP), who will partner with you to create a treatment plan—a path to finding your cure or best outcome. To make this happen, see Finding the Right Doctor for You and Your A-Fib.

The first doctor you see is not necessarily
the right one for you.


‘The Top 10 List of A-Fib Patients’ Best Advice’ is a a consensus of valuable advice from fellow patients who are now free from the burden of Atrial Fibrillation. From Chapter 12, Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure by Steve S. Ryan, PhD (beatyoura-fib.com)

Next, look for #3 on the
Top 10 List of A-Fib Patients’ Best Advice
Please, share the advice ♥ 

Top 10 List of A-Fib Patients’ Best Advice: #1

Top 10 List #1 Find the best EP your can afford - A-Fib.com

THE TOP 10 LIST #1

‘Find the best heart rhythm specialist (EP) you can afford.’

A-FIB PATIENTS’ BEST ADVICE

From Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure, Chapter 12: Your Journey to a Cure:

Michele Straube

Michele S.

Michele Straube, cured after 30 years in A-Fib, wrote in her personal A-Fib story:

Go to an electrophysiologist, an A-Fib expert, right away, one with a high success rate at getting patients back into normal rhythm—you deserve nothing less.” (pp. 88-90)

Terry DeWitt, cured in 2007 from a clinical trial for CryoBalloon ablation, offered his best advice:

Terry Dewitt at A-Fib.com

Terry D.

“Spend the time to find the best Electrophysiologist (arrhythmia specialist) you can find. It makes a big difference in treatment and in the success of the ablation procedure.” (pp. 138-143)

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.)” (p. 171)

How to Find the Best Doctor for You

To be cured of your A-Fib, you may need to ‘fire’ your current doctor. Seek a heart rhythm specialist, an electrophysiologist (EP), who will partner with you to create a treatment plan—a path to finding your cure or best outcome. To make this happen, see Finding the Right Doctor for You and Your A-Fib.

Run―don’t walk―to the best specialist
you can find in your area.


‘The Top 10 List of A-Fib Patients’ Best Advice’ is a a consensus of valuable advice from fellow patients who are now free from the burden of Atrial Fibrillation. From Chapter 12, Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure by Steve S. Ryan, PhD (beatyoura-fib.com)

Next, look for #2 on the
Top 10 List of A-Fib Patients’ Best Advice
Please, share the advice ♥ 

Be Cautious: Some A-Fib-related Sites are Biased

Be cautious when surfing the net. Some A-Fib-related resources may be biased toward a particular treatment technique, pharmaceutical, or medical device (often for financial gain). Always ask yourself: Who is paying for this website? And what is their agenda?

Caution - when searching A-Fib websites always ask: who is paying for this site and what is their agenda?

Always consult your healthcare professional before acting on any information you find on the internet.

PLEASE SHARE THIS MESSAGE!

Tony Hall A-Fib Patient Story

A-Fib Patient Story #80

Tony Hall - PE Story photo 150 px sq at 300 res

Tony Hall, Evansville, IN

Very Active 54-Year Old Became His Own Patient Advocate; Chose Ablation as First Line Treatment

By Tony Hall, Evansville, IN, May 2015

If you are reading this story, then it is likely you have A-Fib or have a loved one or friend that does. Know that you are not alone thanks to resources like this, and thanks to the pioneers of our journey, and for the ongoing, dedicated and passionate work being done by Steve and Patti Ryan.

54 and Very Active

I am now a 55-year-old male and was 54 when I received my diagnosis. Up until the time I was diagnosed, I was very physically active. Primarily a runner, I also enjoy backpacking, moderate weight lifting, and a mix of other things that come my way.

I have run a few marathons and many shorter races. On August 7th, 2012, I set a goal to run the Leadville 100 Ultra Marathon trail run in Leadville, Colorado. The race was in August of 2013. I finished the race in over 29 hours, which was within the required 30 hour cut-off to qualify as a finisher of this grueling mountain trail run.

I was in the best shape of my life and had just conquered a feat that still seems daunting today.

January 2014: My A-Fib Appears

I now suspect I was in A-Fib when the pounding started and then converted back to normal sinus rhythm.

My first awareness that I may have some sort of heart related issue occurred while I was running at the local YMCA in January of 2014. I was running on the track at a fairly quick pace when I felt a pounding heart rate. I stopped running and started walking until the heart rate calmed down. Looking back, I now suspect I was in A-Fib when the pounding started and then converted back to normal sinus rhythm.

But at the time, I attributed this rapid heart rate to simply being somewhat out of shape. I had not a clue what A-Fib was or any knowledge of heart rhythm disorders.

These occurrences continued sporadically. And while I did find it a bit concerning, I simply did not want to take my mind to the place of it being a potential heart issue. I had never used a heart monitor and still did not think to purchase one as I always considered the use of a heart rate monitor for those that were very methodical and precise about their running, which I was not.

I downplayed the significance and explained it away as simply being a bit out of shape.

After a few of these episodes, I nonchalantly informed my wife, Jill, of the issue. I downplayed the significance and explained it away just as simply being a bit out of shape.

Then in June of 2014, my father-in-law had triple by-pass heart surgery (which by the way, was a great success). During his time in the hospital, my wife insisted that I get a physical in the event I had any issue with my heart relative to the exercise induced rapid heartbeat I had been experiencing. So I did.

June 2014: After My Father’s Triple By-Pass, I Finally Get a Physical Exam

On June 19th, at 8am, I reported to a local heart care facility to have a nuclear stress test that was ordered by my GP. I was a little nervous as I tend to be in such hospital or doctor’s office settings. However, I was eager to receive a good report, and fully expected to get right back to my busy work schedule.

The mood changed in the room….I could see in their faces this was not a mere hiccup in the testing, but something far different.

All went well for the preliminary testing up until I was approaching maximum heart rate on the treadmill. That is when my A-Fib kicked in full speed, and they backed the treadmill down and had me sit in a chair. During the later stages of this testing the technician was verbalizing what she was seeing on the monitor, and she mentioned I was in A-Fib. The mood changed in the room.

I went from joking with the techs to disbelief and immense concern on my part.  I could see in their faces this was not a mere hiccup in the testing, but something far different. I sat there for probably 40 minutes waiting for my A-Fib to convert back to normal sinus rhythm, but it would not. They indicated that I might have to be admitted, and I pleaded in earnest for that not to happen.

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Sitting Alone in the Echocardiogram Room: What the HELL!

Things were kind of a blur at that point, and it was very emotional to grapple with as I sat alone in the Echocardiogram testing room. “Why was I here in this room, what about my afternoon proposal, what the HELL!!!”

After talking to the technician and answering questions about any previous symptoms, I disclosed a couple of dizzy spells that had occurred while driving. The EP consulted by phone with the tech. He agreed to release me with prescriptions for Xarelto and Metoprolol, and a non-driving restriction.  While getting the discharge instructions, the tech mentioned something to my wife and I about a procedure called an ablation.

I kind of dismissed it as I was somewhat numb with all that had just occurred, but my wife remembered that piece of the conversation. My follow-up appointment with the EP was set for July 3rd.

In a Bit of Shock As We Drive Away

I sit in the passenger seat feeling like a pet heading to a kennel. Suddenly things are different. I no longer have that “healthy as a horse” attitude.

So we leave the hospital, and I ask my wife for the keys to the car. She reminds me that I have been told not to drive, even though I drove to the appointment and felt fine to drive. I am still in a bit of shock as we drive away and I sit in the passenger seat feeling like a pet heading to a kennel.

Suddenly things are different. I no longer have that “healthy as a horse” attitude. This visit was in the way of my busy work schedule, and I needed to get back to the office to prepare for my meeting!  Instead, the afternoon appointment now seemed insignificant.

Instead I was on my way to the pharmacy, being chauffeured by my wife, to pick up meds for my heart disorder. I took the afternoon off to digest where this was all going.

My wife drove me to and from work for a few days until I could no longer bear my self-imposed embarrassment of getting dropped off and picked up from work. I had not had any sort of dizzy spells for many weeks, and the drive to work was short. So, I decided to disobey the doctor’s order. This is not recommended by the way.

The Internet Is a Good Thing and a Bad Thing

My wife happened upon the “Beat Your A-Fib” book site. That book became my new best friend.

Anyway, I took the meds for a few days and read as much as I can on the internet about this condition I have now called Atrial Fibrillation. “Who gets this and why?”  “What are your treatment options?” “What are the potential side effects of the meds I am taking?” As you may know, the internet is a good thing and a bad thing. Plenty of information. But what is true and what is simply opinion, or false???

My wife spent at least as much time as I doing her own research. We are soon better informed but in many scattered directions. This thing called an ablation seemed to be the only chance to avoid the drug therapy that does not look like a good option to me, as I was not taking well to the Metoprolol. I was hoping to find an option that did not include drug therapy.BYA Book cover 3D face Left 150 x 200 pix 96 res

My wife happened upon the “Beat Your A-Fib” site and quickly ordered Steve Ryan’s book for me. That book became my new best friend as my wife firmly pushed me towards taking personal ownership of this condition.

My Wife Knew I Needed To Became My Own Advocate

While she was very concerned and extremely supportive, she knew that until I became my own advocate, that I would not pursue the most effective path to addressing and dealing with this condition. She was right there.

I started doing more research through the help of Steve’s book, and found comfort in the education about the variety of heart rhythm conditions, treatment options, testimonials, personal stories, etc. It was great, and I decided to enlist Steve as my A-Fib Coach.

Steve as my ‘A-Fib Coach’

A-FibCoach logo 112 x 75 pix at 96 resThat was another excellent move. We had a few phone consults, and Steve helped me clarify points in his book about A-Fib, treatment options, and also helped me identify options for medical facilities and experienced EPs.  Steve offers great advice and is quick to realize that any decision you make is a personal decision, and that it must be right for you based on your health condition, heart rhythm issue, age, tolerance for medications, etc.

Finding a cure is the best possible outcome, but many patients will rely on medications as their choice of treatment, for a variety of reasons. No matter what your situation is, you will find Steve’s knowledge very helpful if you desire to learn more about your condition, and are looking for information on how others have dealt with their condition, and what kind out outcomes they have experienced.

Steve asked, “So, Jill, how are you doing?” That was a light bulb moment for me.

How A-Fib Affects Your Loved Ones

One thing that struck me with Steve was a question he asked of my wife who always joined me on the conference coaching sessions. He asked, “So, Jill, how are you doing?” That was a light bulb moment for me. Steve was very interested in knowing how Jill was doing in dealing with me having A-Fib.

I consider myself to be a very supportive husband in many ways; but until Steve asked that question of Jill, it really did not occur to me how dealing with A-Fib affects the lives of those close to us.

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July 2014: First Visit with the EP

I reported back to the heart clinic on 7-3-2014 to meet my EP for the first time. Oddly enough, I was not able at that early stage to identify when I was in A-Fib. Actually, I thought I was not in A-Fib when I showed up for that visit, but not sure. I met my doctor, and he asked many questions while reviewing my file. I had discontinued taking the Xarelto and Metoprolol as I was concerned about side effects and wanted to discuss them with him.

He was not thrilled about that but understood, since I had concerns about the meds and had not seen him until that visit. His nurse did an EKG before he entered the room, so he knew I was in A-Fib during that visit. He thought for certain that I would have converted after leaving the stress test on June 19 and was surprised to see that I was still in A-Fib on July 3rd.

Cardiologist Insisted on Cardioversion Before Considering Ablation

By this time, I was aware of what an ablation was but still had much to learn. We talked about having an ablation as I knew that he performed them, but it was too early to get any sort of buy-in from him. He first wanted to do a cardioversion, but only after I resumed the blood thinner for the suggested period of time to minimize any chance for blood clots.

I did realize that it is very likely my A-Fib would return [even with a successful cardioversion].

So on to 7-22-14, I was very excited to have my TEE and Cardioversion. I did realize that it is very likely my A-Fib would return if the cardioversion was successful. Well, I converted on the first attempt into normal sinus rhythm. It was at that time that I first recognized the difference in the normal heartbeat sensation and that of being in A-Fib. Important to note is that my A-Fib heart rate would hold fairly steady at about 80-85 beats per minute. While exercising, it would shoot to over 200 pretty quick. So, I suppose it was hard for me to notice my A-Fib in the early going, since my heart was not going crazy and would have a consistent pattern.

In and Out of Sinus Rhythm

After that, I stayed in sinus rhythm until July 28. Then back into A-Fib.  I converted back to normal rhythm on July 31, and back into A-Fib August 7. I was then in and out until August 21. It was on August 21 that I kicked back into A-Fib and did not convert again. I now knew enough to know that my A-Fib was persistent.

Now what to do??? I consulted with my local EP once I knew my pattern of converting was gone. By now I had researched a good deal, had read a great deal of Steve’s book, and felt as though I was a candidate for an ablation due to my age, good physical condition, desire to remain extremely active, and intolerance for the Metoprolol.

September 2014: My EP Wanted to Try Drug Therapy First. Instead, I Tried the Mayo Clinic

Many doctors do not view an ablation as a front line treatment for A-Fib. [Today’s guidelines say you can move right to an ablation and bypass drug therapy.] 

I approached my doctor about this procedure, and he advised that he would only consider it if drug therapy was not successful.

Many doctors do not view an ablation as a front line treatment for A-Fib. [Today’s guidelines say you can move right to an ablation and bypass drug therapy.]

I also knew by this time that I ought to be looking for alternate providers outside my city who may have more experience with heart rhythm issues. After researching a few facilities, I elected to contact the Mayo clinic in Rochester, MN.

Douglas Packer MD

Dr. Douglas Packer

I was able to get an appointment with Dr. Douglas Packer at Mayo on 9-22-14. What a great man he is. After our consult, he had me immediately resume my Xarelto prescription due to the fact that I was still in A-Fib, and there is a chance of a potential stroke when one converts from A-Fib to normal sinus rhythm.

I Learned to Not Rely On CHADS2 Scores Without Medical Consultation

You see, I had decided to quit taking the Xarelto after my cardioversion due to what I had read about CHADS2 scores and knowing I had a good score. Folks, do not rely on CHADS2 scores without medical consultation from a physician who clearly understands A-Fib. One needs to keep internet information in perspective.

Official Diagnosis: Persistent A-Fib. Decision to have an Ablation

The consult resulted in Dr. Packer giving me the official diagnosis of being in persistent A-Fib. That certainly provided an additional challenge for a successful ablation. He walked me through all treatments options and explained everything in great detail. He drew a picture of the heart and showed me how the electrical signals in persistent A-Fib differ from paroxysmal A-Fib, and why catheter ablation can be more challenging with persistent A-Fib.  I was still hopeful about the prospect of having a successful outcome and avoiding drug therapy if it were a successful ablation. The decision was mine.

After reading his report a couple of weeks later, I was anxious to see if I could get an ablation scheduled with him before the end of the year. I talked to his scheduling nurse who is also a very wonderful person, and we put a date on the calendar. I was to report to Mayo Clinic for testing on December 10th and have my ablation with Dr. Packer the next morning on December 11th.

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December 2014: Preliminary Testing at the Mayo Clinic

I reported as scheduled to the Mayo Clinic on December 10th at 8 am and completed all of my preliminary testing.  By the way, Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN is a great campus with a very friendly and helpful staff. It is large as you would expect, but they really work hard to make you feel comfortable and at ease.

This happened to be my wife, Jill’s, birthday, so I scheduled her a massage at a nearby spa. After all the testing was over, we walked over together. Then I returned to the room to relax for a bit.

It was then that I received a call from the scheduling nurse indicating that Doctor Packer was very ill and would not be able to do the procedure. My heart sank. She was very apologetic, as was Dr. Packer through her communication.

Dr. Packer Ill: Reschedule or Go With Another EP?

I was over five hundred miles from home, had been through a full day of testing, and another day of travel was waiting on the backend of this visit. The nurse went on to mention that another EP was available to do the procedure but that he had a procedure before mine, and I would be his second case of the day. This was not comforting as I had researched Doctor Packer extensively, had consulted with him, and had a level of comfort that was very good.

The nurse was very quick to say that I could reschedule and that they would completely understand my decision to do so.  The problem was that I was still in A-Fib, and had blocked this time out from work and around a busy holiday schedule. Not to mention the insurance implications of going to another calendar year and starting over with deductibles, co-insurance and other out-of-pocket expenses.  I told her I would consider and quickly did my research on the other EP to see if I could come to a point of acceptance.  I did, and decided to have the procedure done with the other and very capable EP.

Ablation Day Arrives

I showed up the next morning at the St. Mary’s Campus of Mayo and reported to admission. I was processed and was in my room when a nurse comes in and asks if I am ready to go. I knew my wait was going to be pretty lengthy as I was going to be the second case for my replacement doctor.

I asked if the first case had been canceled as it was still early in the morning, and I expected to wait at least a couple more hours. I was then told that another doctor was available, but that I would need to decide fairly quickly if I would like him to do the procedure. The other Doctor was available because his case had been cancelled for whatever reason.

Choosing a Third EP

Can this possibly be……I am now exhausted with analysis and unsure what to do.  But this would be this EP’s first case of the day, and I was told he is VERY good.  I asked if I could talk to the nurse who had scheduled my case originally and who had proposed the second EP the day before.

She insisted on coming to my room, and we had a very good and lengthy conversation about this third doctor. His credentials were impeccable, and he was given many of their tougher cases. After her explanation and empathy for the difficult position I was placed in, she again said the decision was completely up to me. They were fine with whatever decision I made. I could still have doctor number two do the surgery.

Dr Saraj Kapa Asked―Was I Totally Comfortable With My Decision

Dr Suraj Kapa

Dr Suraj Kapa

I decided on doctor number three and was quickly wheeled to surgery prep. Again, the nurses and technicians were very friendly, helpful and compassionate.  As I was getting prepped for surgery, in walked Doctor Saraj Kapa. He pulled back the curtain and addressed me. He is a very young man relative to my age and he wanted to introduce himself. He wanted to make absolutely certain I was comfortable with him doing the procedure, based on the change of plans I had experienced. He wanted to make sure I did not feel pressured. I was totally comfortable with my decision and told him just that.

I was moved over to surgery and greeted by a talented team that were very friendly. We chatted a bit as they were preparing me for the procedure, and then it was time for anesthesia. The next thing I remember is that I am being wheeled through the hallway on the transport bed and I see a clock indicating about 1:30 pm.  Wow, it is over !!!! I felt fine at that moment and relieved.

Wow, It’s Over―I Was Elated and Very Joyful

My wife was in my room, and I was told that my ablation was successful. YAY! I was elated and very joyful at this positive outcome. All further testing indicated normal sinus rhythm, and I was released the following day once the catheter areas were cleared for initial healing. I met with doctor Kapa the next day after my Echocardiogram, and he explained how things went. I was free to go!!!

We stayed in Rochester one more night just in case of complications and then drove home the next afternoon (Saturday).

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The Long Drive Home

Within just a few short minutes, Dr. Kapa called back; what I was feeling was completely normal.

The drive was long, and I started to feel some discomfort around 9 pm. I called Mayo to explain what I was feeling. And within just a few short minutes, Dr. Kapa called back and explained that the abdominal pressure I was feeling was completely normal.

We arrived home, and I took it easy for the remainder of the weekend.

Back to Work On Monday

I reported back to work on Monday to simply work in the office and take care of email and other items that would not require much effort. I followed the typical instructions for lifting, exercise and remained pretty sedentary for the first week. Slowly things got back to normal.

I would remain on the blood thinner and metoprolol during the ninety day blanking period. That is typical. I resumed my exercise regimen and wore a heart monitor to make sure I stayed in sinus rhythm. Things went very well for my recovery.

March 2015: Three Month Follow-up

My testing and follow-up with Dr. Kapa in March of this year showed that he was very pleased with my progress thus far. All signs were positive. I had been instructed to discontinue the metoprolol about one week before this testing. I was now off of all medication including the Xarelto. Mission accomplished up to this point, but the journey will continue.

Advice About the Blanking Period

Dr. Kapa explained that the real measure of success will be when you successfully get through the blanking period and go out another year. Before that time, the A-Fib could come back due to the electrical pathways reconnecting over the ablated areas, etc. So, I appreciate every day I am out of A-Fib and am hoping for the best.

I do feel sporadic fluttering and did have a couple brief A-Fib episodes during the early part of the ninety day blanking period. But overall, I am very pleased with my result and that I am not dependent on any medication.

Tony Hall and Jill at Race.200 sq at 300 res

Jill and Tony Hall after they ran a 10K race (5-month post-ablation for Tony)

May 2015: No Meds and a 10K Run

This past Saturday, I completed a 10K run. My wife also finished the race, so it was a special day indeed.  I beat my time from last year by a fraction. That was my first race since the ablation.

That was a milestone for sure.

However, I am quick to say that this is a journey. There is not a day that goes by that I do not grab my pulse when I feel a fluttering or something out of the ordinary.  I have remained in sinus rhythm. I tend to notice this more while resting at night, but during the day I will have the occasional missed beat.

Lessons Learned: My Advice to You

Blood Thinners. Make sure that you follow the advice of your doctor relative to blood thinners. You do not want to take any chance of having a stroke that could have been avoided. This was impressed upon me at the Mayo Clinic. While you may have a low CHADS2 score, you are still at significant risk if you convert from A-Fib into normal sinus rhythm. Don’t chance it.

Ask questions and none are stupid. This is YOUR heart. This is YOUR life.

Ablation as Front Line Treatment. Make sure, if you desire to have an ablation, that your reasoning is sound and that you have a good argument as to why drug therapy is not the way you want to go. Having an ablation as front line treatment for A-Fib is not embraced by every EP, and many are reluctant to ablate until drug therapy has failed.

Be persistent and move on [to another doctor] if you are met with resistance.

Insurance Coverage. There is a very good chance this procedure will be covered by insurance if your EP indicates you are a good candidate for ablation. I was extremely concerned that ablation procedures may not be covered.

My entire procedure and all related testing were covered, and the Mayo Clinic was in my Anthem network. There were no extra out-of-pocket except for travel costs.

Tony Hall River Run sky added.250 x 400 at 300res

Tony Hall (5-months post-ablation) crossing the 10K finish line.

Be Your Own Advocate. Take personal ownership of Your A-Fib. Get Steve’s Book. My advice is to get Steve’s book and be your own advocate and coach.

The book “Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure was given to me by my wife a week or so after my diagnosis. What a tremendous gift this book has been to me and can be to others, including family members, who are starting their A-Fib journey, and even for those who have had A-Fib for many years.

Ask Questions: None are stupid. This is YOUR heart. This is YOUR life.  Learn as much as you can about your specific condition. Get a second opinion if you have doubts about the advice you are given. Make sure you find a facility that has good experience with ablation procedures and a doctor you trust.

Be Patient. This takes time. If you feel overwhelmed, that is normal. If you feel like it is not fair, so did I. Hang in there!!! Do not get obsessed with the internet. There is much misinformation on the internet, so do not get too caught up in that information.  Good luck to you and God Bless you!

I have enjoyed sharing my story with you. Please feel free to email if I can help in any way at tony.hall(at)oldnationalins.com. I will respond as I am available to do so. Good luck with your journey.

Tony Hall
tony.hall(at)oldnationalins.com

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Editor’s Comments:
Anticoagulation Necessary if in Persistent A-Fib: Dr. Douglas Packer recommended that Tony resume taking the anticoagulant Xarelto because there was a chance of a potential stroke when one converts from A-Fib to normal sinus rhythm. This recommendation is somewhat innovative and may be of great importance to all A-Fib patients. Tony was in persistent A-Fib. Because of this, he was more prone to develop a clot in his Left Atrial Appendage (LAA) where most A-Fib clots come from. Should he have gone back into normal sinus rhythm, the increased blood flow could have dislodged any clot from the LAA and sent it on to the brain or other organs.Current guidelines don’t address this particular situation.
Ablation as First Choice or First-Line Treatment: If you have A-Fib, you do not have to spend months or years trying different drugs to control or stop your A-Fib. Doctors recognize in today’s guidelines that current meds often don’t work, have bad side effects, or lose their effectiveness over time. That’s why catheter ablation is a first-choice option. Doctors may insist that you try drugs first before getting an ablation. But you don’t have to. Today’s guidelines say you can move right to an ablation and bypass having to take drugs. Tony is to be commended for knowing his rights and choosing to have an ablation first. Tony’s former EP who insisted that he wouldn’t do an ablation unless he tried drug therapy first was not following today’s guidelines (and common sense).
Tony as His Own Best Patient Advocate: Tony is a great example for all A-Fibbers of becoming his own best patient advocate. He didn’t passively accept everything he was hearing from doctors and others. He and his wife, Jill, read as much as they could and waded through the information they found. We’re grateful that our book “Beat Your A-Fib” gave them the foundation they needed to make the right decisions. (We are continually amazed at how much mis-information there is about A-Fib on the internet and in the media.)
It’s not everyone who develops the knowledge, confidence and courage to reject meds and go directly to an ablation. Then they took the initiative to drive five hours in order to go to one of the best A-Fib centers in the US, the Mayo Clinic. Kudos Tony and Jill! We know that decision wasn’t easy.

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A-FibCoach logoTony mentions our book, Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure; learn more at BeatYourA-Fib.com or the book page at Amazon.com.

He also recalls using my “A-Fib Coach” one-to-one consulting service; Learn more here or A-FibCoach.com.

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If you find any errors on this page, email us. Y Last updated: Sunday, July 17, 2016

 

Steve Ryan is ‘The A-Fib Coach’

‘Beating A-Fib One Heart at a Time’

Steve Ryan is ‘The A-Fib Coach’

‘Beating A-Fib One Heart at a Time’

Do you need to talk one-to-one with a well-informed patient advocate who can discuss all your available treatment options? Who will offer you unbiased, up-to-date, research-based advice?

Steve S. Ryan, PhD

Someone who will encourage you to seek your cure, not just ‘manage’ your A-Fib with meds? Someone who knows how A-Fib makes you feel?

If you answered ‘Yes’ to any of these questions, consider contacting Steve S. Ryan, ‘The A-Fib Coach‘ for a one-to-one telephone consultation. Steve is a former A-Fib patient who found his cure. He can help you find your cure too!

Steve S. Ryan, PhD, is the award-winning author of the book, Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure, an Amazon.com Top 100 Best Seller, and publisher of patient education website, Atrial Fibrillation: Resources for Patients, A-Fib.com.

Learn about rates and scheduling at the ‘The A-Fib Coach website or call toll-free 1-855-457-7146 and leave a voice-mail message (we’ll call you back on our dime). Note: No one is turned away for lack of funds.

Praise for ‘The A-Fib’ Coach

KATHARINE, VANCOUVER, B.C., CANADA, wrote: “Steve has the rare combination of in-depth knowledge and genuine kindness. He has been an invaluable and consistent support to me as I have navigated my way through various treatment options. I can wholeheartedly recommend him as an A-Fib coach; you will be most grateful to have him on your side.”

DAVID HOLZMEN, LEXINGTON, ME, wrote: “I have used the A-Fib Coach service on a number of occasions. It is extremely reassuring to have someone who knows the field inside-out take the time to really listen to you and then give helpful advice. It is also reassuring to have this service easily available.”

Paul V. O’Connell, Baltimore, MD

PAUL. V. O’CONNELL, BALTIMORE, MD, wrote: “Steve’s probably the world’s best informed patient advocate when it comes to understanding atrial fibrillation and its treatment.) Most important, Steve is not owned by the AMA or Big Pharma so he is not beholden to anyone except his client—you. After my session, I was more prepared to ask the right questions of my doctors and take charge by making more informed decisions. “

JOE REITMEYER, ELMHURT, IL wrote; “My consultation with Steve Ryan was extremely helpful. I received excellent advice for my A-Fib condition along with names of reputable doctors to use for my treatment.”

VIDEO: Steve Talks about A-Fib and Why to Seek Your Cure

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Short video: Length: 3:31 min

In this short video, Atrial Fibrillation: A-Fib Can be Cured! Steve Ryan and host Skip E. Lowe talk about the heart in Atrial Fibrillation: how the quivering heart muscle leads to reduced blood flow to the brain and other organs, how the heart enlarges and changes (remodeling) over time, and the importance of seeking a cure and not just ‘manage’ your A-Fib with medication.

Dr. Ryan describes how his A-Fib was cured by catheter ablation in 1998. Length: 3:31 min. Click to Watch video.

See more Videos Featuring Steve S. Ryan, PhD.
Return to A-Fib.com home page
Last updated: Sunday, February 21, 2016

Amazon.com review of Beat Your A-Fib book at A-Fib.com

 

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Sign-up for my A-Fib Alerts and once a month I’ll send you a short email with:

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For over 10 years, I’ve been researching and reporting about Atrial Fibrillation—offering A-Fib patients unbiased information on current and emerging treatments, resources and medical research―all written in plain language for the non-medical reader. Now you can get this info in your email box. And just like the A-Fib.com website, A-Fib Alerts are Free.

I hope you will join us. It’s Risk Free―you can unsubscribe at any time!

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Sign-up for my A-Fib Alerts and SAVE up to 50% off my book, Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure. Get the eBook for just $12 ($24.95 retail). Or get the softcover book for only $24 ($32.95 retail). Sign-up and you’ll get your special discount codes by return email. Don’t delay―Sign-up Today! .

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Last updated: Monday, July 25, 2016
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