Doctors & patients are saying about 'A-Fib.com'...


"A-Fib.com is a great web site for patients, that is unequaled by anything else out there."

Dr. Douglas L. Packer, MD, FHRS, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

"Jill and I put you and your work in our prayers every night. What you do to help people through this [A-Fib] process is really incredible."

Jill and Steve Douglas, East Troy, WI 

“I really appreciate all the information on your website as it allows me to be a better informed patient and to know what questions to ask my EP. 

Faye Spencer, Boise, ID, April 2017

“I think your site has helped a lot of patients.”

Dr. Hugh G. Calkins, MD  Johns Hopkins,
Baltimore, MD


Doctors & patients are saying about 'Beat Your A-Fib'...


"If I had [your book] 10 years ago, it would have saved me 8 years of hell.”

Roy Salmon, Patient, A-Fib Free,
Adelaide, Australia

"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

"...masterful. You managed to combine an encyclopedic compilation of information with the simplicity of presentation that enhances the delivery of the information to the reader. This is not an easy thing to do, but you have been very, very successful at it."

Ira David Levin, heart patient, 
Rome, Italy

"Within the pages of Beat Your A-Fib, Dr. Steve Ryan, PhD, provides a comprehensive guide for persons seeking to find a cure for their Atrial Fibrillation."

Walter Kerwin, MD, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA


General

Podcast: The Double Whammy? Sleep Apnea and Atrial Fibrillation

Open in a new window: Podcast The Double Whammy? Sleep Apnea and Atrial Fibrillation

Note: If you prefer to read instead of listen, click the transcript graphic bar below for the printed version.

Podcast: The Double Whammy? Sleep Apnea and Atrial Fibrillation

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), aside from causing or triggering A-Fib, if untreated it can cause many other serious health threats. That’s the topic of this podcast between Steve and our friend, Travis Van Slooten, publisher of LivingWithAtrialFibrillation.com. We discuss the strong connection between sleep apnea and A-Fib, and why it’s so important to have a sleep study if you have atrial fibrillation. (21:33 min)

Highlights from this Podcast

 Over 40% of A-Fib patients also have sleep apnea
Sleep apnea can cause atrial fibrillation
 Anyone can have Sleep Apnea (thin, average or overweight)
If you have A-Fib, you should definitely have a sleep study
Sleep studies: in-lab test vs. in-home test

To Learn More

See our posts: Sleep Apnea: When Snoring Can Be Lethal and Sleep Apnea: Home Testing with WatchPAT Device and the Philips Respironics.

On Livingwithatrialfibrillation.com, see Travis’ post: My In-Lab Sleep Study Experience.

Transcript of this podcast
Travis Van Slooten: Now, I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts on my site and in previous podcasts, about the strong connection between sleep apnea and A-Fib.

And, Steve, before we really dive into that topic specifically, and again, the connection between sleep apnea and A-Fib, I just want to take a step back, and first talk about sleep apnea in general, for those listening to this that aren’t familiar with it.

Because I’m sure everyone’s heard of sleep apnea, but I think, at the end of the day, a lot of people don’t really know what it is. So, with that, Steve, let’s talk about, what is sleep apnea?

Steve Ryan: Yeah, Travis, the technical name is obstructive sleep apnea. Now, what that means is, basically, somehow, the airways are being blocked, when you’re trying to sleep. Your sleep starts, and starts, and you gasp, and… The other one, which we’ll just mention, and then skip over, is central sleep apnea, where the brain is simply not sending signals, the proper signals, for the muscles to control breathing. That’s something we don’t get into very much. Usually, what we have to worry about is obstructive sleep apnea.

Travis Van Slooten: Okay.

Steve Ryan: Now, let me give you an example of what it’s like. My wife has sleep apnea, Patti.

Travis Van Slooten: Oh, she does?

Steve Ryan: Yes. Before she was treated, I’d be sleeping with her, and I’d listen, and she would actually stop breathing. I mean, actually stopped breathing for what seemed like a long time. Then, all of a sudden she’d gasp and start breathing again. And this would go on and on, and this would happen over and over again. And, obviously, she wasn’t sleeping well, and she’d be very sleepy the next day. And, of course, I wasn’t sleeping either, listening to this.

But once she got a CPAP machine, which is simply a medical device, like a breathing apparatus that keeps the airways open, once she started using that, she sleeps like a baby now, and has no more problems. But that’s an example of how sleep apnea can affect you. It disrupts your breathing and your sleeping patterns.

Travis Van Slooten: And for a lot of people that have it, they don’t even probably know they have it, unless they have a sleep partner that is witnessing it. [chuckle] And the other thing is, it’s not just… I think a lot of people have the misconception that it’s all about snoring… It might not be snoring. Like in your case, it sounds like Patty wasn’t snoring. She was literally…

Steve Ryan: Oh, yes, she was.

Travis Van Slooten: Oh, okay, she was snoring too. But the primary symptoms are snoring, and just, like you said, gasping for air. It’s very obvious, if you are sleeping with someone with sleep apnea, and you’re awake, and you witness it, right? It’s pretty obvious.

Steve Ryan: Yes, yes. 43% of patients with A-Fib have sleep apnea. And I’ll tell you, let’s say you’re a guy, and you’re sleeping with your wife, and you get up in the morning, and you’ve got all these bruises on your side. That’s probably because your wife is elbowing you, trying to keep you from snoring. That’s a pretty good sign that you have sleep apnea.

Travis Van Slooten: Yeah.

Steve Ryan: And the good thing about sleep apnea is it’s easily fixed. There’s a number… You can have this mask or you can have these dental devices that can help keep those airways open. It’s relatively easy to fix. Thank God.

Travis Van Slooten: Yeah, absolutely. And you mentioned that the connection, as perfect transition now, into the actual connection here between sleep apnea and A-Fib. Now, you said, what, 43% of people with A-Fib have some form of sleep apnea?

Steve Ryan: Yeah. It’s so prevalent, that I went to a A-Fib center in Louisville, Kentucky, and I was talking with the doctors there. And then I noticed that when a patient comes in, and they have A-Fib, they send ’em down to the next door, and they get a sleep apnea study then and there.

Travis Van Slooten: Oh, wow. Now, that’s…

Steve Ryan: They are so attuned to everyone coming in with A-Fib. Most, well, many people who come in with A-Fib have sleep apnea, that they make it part of their center. They won’t treat a patient, unless they go to the center, and have a sleep apnea study done then and there. And a lot of centers will not do a catheter ablation on you, if you have sleep apnea that you don’t take care of.

Why? Because it recurs. It tends to…you tend to have recurrence because you have the same condition that created the atrial fibrillation in the first place is still there. Because basically any time you’re gasping for breath like that, and any time you’re not breathing properly, that’s a tremendous strain on your heart, and on your lungs, and that irritates the pulmonary veins. And that’s what probably brought on the A-Fib in the first place, so you really need to take care… If you have sleep apnea, you really need to take care of it.

Travis Van Slooten: So sleep apnea… Are you saying then, that sleep apnea can cause A-Fib?

Steve Ryan: Yes. Yes, indeed.

Travis Van Slooten: Okay.

Steve Ryan: There’s been a study done, where they studied 1,000 patients, so seven different studies. And all these patients were treated with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, that’s CPAP, which is a mask worn. And CPAP cut the risk of A-Fib episodes in half.

Travis Van Slooten: Oh, wow.

Steve Ryan: And people using CPAP were 42% less likely to experience an abnormal heart rhythm, than those not receiving such treatment. Now, we’re not saying that you got to use a CPAP machine. You can maybe change your lifestyle. You could, if you’re overweight, losing that weight would help, quitting smoking. Sometimes, lifestyle choices can get rid of A-Fib, but it’s not necessarily…

Unfortunately, once A-Fib starts, it’s usually pretty hard to stop without something more radical. But some people, just from eliminating A-Fib, are lucky enough that that also gets rid of their… Just by getting rid of their sleep apnea, they also get rid of their A-Fib. But don’t bank the farm on that. It’s something that could happen. And it does happen to some people, but more often than not, you need more radical treatments to get rid of the A-Fib.

Travis Van Slooten: Absolutely. And so I think the key takeaway here, as far as this connection is, if you have A-Fib now, just because you’re a skinny guy or gal doesn’t mean you don’t have sleep apnea. And I made that assumption. I assumed, ’cause I’m not really skinny, and I’m not really obese, or anything either, I’m a normal, average guy weight-wise, but I was like, “There’s no way I have sleep apnea.” And my doctor told me that anybody can get sleep apnea. It’s not necessarily overweight people. Although, that is definitely one of the risk factors, but skinny people can get it as well, right?

Steve Ryan: Yes.

Travis Van Slooten: So, if you’re a skinny guy or gal, and you have A-Fib, don’t just assume, if you’re listening to this, that, “Oh, that’s not me. I can’t possibly have sleep apnea.” Yeah, you definitely could, especially if you have A-Fib.

Steve Ryan: Yeah. We have a story on our website by Kevin Sullivan, age 46, and he describes what happened to him: “My A-Fib seemed to start at night, while I was sleeping. One night, when I woke up, my heart was racing and I felt sweaty. When I asked my doctor about it, he told me that it was unlikely, because I was not overweight and I did not feel tired during the day.” That’s him saying, that’s why he didn’t think he had sleep apnea. “But I went to a sleep lab anyway and it turned out I did have sleep apnea.” And that’s, unfortunately, what happens to a lot of people. Just because you’re thin doesn’t necessarily mean you may not have sleep apnea, or you may not snore, and you may still have sleep apnea.

Travis Van Slooten: Or like you said, that this gentleman wasn’t tired either, which is another common symptom of sleep apnea. Okay, and it’s not common, is it, Steve, for A-Fib centers or clinics to automatically have A-Fib people have a sleep study? I mean, we’re not at that point yet, where it’s part of the protocol.

Steve Ryan: We’re getting there, to the point, where most A-Fib centers now, will not even consider you for a catheter ablation, if you don’t have a sleep study, sleep apnea study. Why? Because A-Fib tends to recur after an ablation, if you still have sleep apnea. Yeah, a lot of centers still don’t have sleep apnea studies connected with them, but they all are referring people for sleep apnea studies to other centers. So it’s becoming much more… Doctors are much more aware of how important sleep apnea is in A-Fib… And they’re making sure that people get treated for it.

Travis Van Slooten: So, if you have A-Fib, and your doctor hasn’t suggested or recommended a sleep study, are you saying it’s probably a good idea to demand one?

Steve Ryan: Yes, indeed. And I know there’s an expense involved. If you go to the overnight sleep study, yeah, that’s… We’re talking $1,100 to $2,000. But they have home testing kits now, that do almost as well. For $200, you can get one of these home things and do a sleep study to, at least, get you in the right ball park, where people can figure out whether you actually have something that needs more work.

Travis Van Slooten: Yeah. And with the sleep, or with the home sleep tests, or the in-home sleep tests, are those… And you may not know this, Steve, but are they as reliable as the in-lab sleep studies?

Here’s why I ask, because I had a sleep study a couple of years ago. And my doctor said, “You can have one or the other. You can do the in-lab or you can do the at-home.” And he told me that the unfortunate thing with the in-home studies or tests, is that you get a lot of false positives with them, particularly if you have mild to moderate sleep apnea. He said, “They’re most accurate or they’re most useful, if you have moderate to severe sleep apnea.”

He looked at me, and like I mentioned, I was not overweight. I don’t have a thick neck. These are common things that doctors look at, when they’re assessing if someone may have sleep apnea. So he said, “I don’t think you have sleep apnea. If you do, it’s probably a mild, maybe a moderate form of it.” So he said, “I wouldn’t recommend for you the in-home sleep study because there’s a chance it’ll say you have it, and then we have to do a in-lab to confirm it anyway.” So he said, “You might as well skip it and do the in-lab,” and that’s what I did. Do you know anything about this? Have you heard any other kinds of thoughts on the in-home versus the in-lab, or not?

Steve Ryan: I haven’t read any definitive studies saying one is worse than the other or one doesn’t work. I know there’s a number of different devices out there. And let’s say you get a false positive, big deal, that means that you get it checked out more thoroughly from your doctor, or maybe from going for a home study test.

Travis Van Slooten: Yes.

Steve Ryan: That’s a good thing. There’s two that I know of. One is Itamar Medical’s WatchPAT, P-A-T. This looks like a watch you put on your wrist, and then there’s also something that goes over your index finger, to measure like pulse oximetry, and it detects sleep apnea by measuring volume changes in peripheral arteries. Now, you’re gonna say, “Well, is that the same thing?” No, it isn’t, but it’s an indication.

Another one is the Philips Alice NightOne. And this also is FDA-cleared. You put a belt around your chest, and it has a nasal cannula that you put… It’s a two pronged thing that you put into your nose, and you put it in your nostrils. And you also have a pulse oximeter, which you wear on your finger. There’s many other different HSTs: ARES by Watermark, ResMed, and others. There’s a lot of different things, and the main thing is, $200, you can get a test. Heck, $200 is not that big a deal for most people to determine whether they have sleep apnea.

Travis Van Slooten: Now, do you know what the…sorry, I don’t mean to interrupt you, but with these HSTs, again, we’re talking home sleep tests. Do you have to… You can’t just get those direct, right? Do you still need to get a prescription form? Do you know how it actually logistically works? Do you know?

Steve Ryan: You got me on that. I’d have to…

Travis Van Slooten: Because, well, just the only reason I point it out is because I think, and I could be wrong, I do think you need to have it prescribed, because I was going to do…because remember, when I talked to my doctor, and he said, “You could do the home sleep test?” And I had looked into it at home, because I was looking at some of these devices. And I think on one of the websites, it might’ve been the WatchPAT website, they had mentioned, “You have to have your doctor call it in.”

Steve Ryan: They have a doctor who specializes in this, Dr Joseph Krainin, and he founded singularsleep.com, and he’s like one of the experts on HST. And if you call him, or get in touch with him, I’m certain he can work out whatever you need, to get you hooked up to a HST. Travis Van Slooten: Oh, perfect.

Travis Van Slooten: Yeah, and the only reason I bring it up, Steve, is just if someone’s listening to this, you may not… It might not be as easy as just going to their website and ordering the device.

Steve Ryan: Right. Exactly.

Travis Van Slooten: And I think you still need to get your doctor involved. But I think, again, this was a couple of years ago, when I was looking into it. I could’ve just called my family doctor and said to him, “Hey, I wanna do this home sleep test, but I need you to call it in.” So it’s not that big of a deal, but it isn’t… You don’t just… It’s not like buying something on Amazon.com. There’s some steps involved.

Steve Ryan: Yeah, right.

Travis Van Slooten: But you’re right, though. For $200 and $300, at the most, you can have the initial test done at home, in the comfort of your home. I went through an in-lab sleep study and it was not fun at all. You’ve got wires all over the place. And I’ll link to my sleep study experience. It’s not painful or anything, but it’s very uncomfortable. So you might actually have a hard time sleeping, which was the case for me. You might actually get a more accurate result, in the sense that, when you’re at your… In the comfort of your own home, in your own bed, you might actually be yourself and sleep better. And so to get a more accurate look, at exactly what goes on when you’re sleeping. So the sleep…

Steve Ryan: It’s more comfortable at home, but even with all those wires and those technicians, they still can get a pretty good reading of whether or not you have sleep apnea. It may sound very… It may feel very uncomfortable, but they still do get good readings…

Travis Van Slooten: Oh, absolutely.

Steve Ryan: In spite of it.

Travis Van Slooten: Yeah, which was the case for me, because I didn’t sleep very well, and I was actually surprised, because when he woke me up, I felt like I didn’t even really sleep. That was the first question I had to him was, “Did I sleep enough for you to get what you needed?” And he said, “Oh, yeah. Yup, we got what we needed.” So yeah, you’re right. The in-lab, it’s like NASA. They’ve got…the technology they have in these labs, they can pick up anything. And so, if you don’t mind going that route, and you have the money, it might be better just to skip the home test, and go right to the in-lab. But, yeah, if you’re tight on money, or you just don’t want to go through that complex of a situation, start with the home sleep test, for sure.

Steve Ryan: Yeah.

Travis Van Slooten: Now, you had mentioned, Steve, earlier, there are some easy ways to treat apnea. What are some of the common treatments, again, for sleep apnea?

Steve Ryan: Well, they have dental appliances that dentists can make for you, to make sure your airways stay open. I’m not saying that that’s gonna be…work for everybody. But it is an option, and it’s certainly a little bit less cumbersome than wearing a CPAP device. And also, there are various CPAP configurations. My wife uses a half one; it just goes over her nostrils. Some people use a full mask that goes over both the nose and the mouth. There’s lots of different variations, and most centers will work with you to find something that’s comfortable for you, that will help you sleep well without being bothered by it.

Travis Van Slooten: And there’s also a third option, and I’ve heard that it’s not a very good option, but there is surgery as well. If you have a real…

Steve Ryan: Oh, yes.

Travis Van Slooten: If you have a really bad form of it, or you just can’t tolerate the CPAP machines, or the dental devices don’t work, surgery is an option, but again, based on my admittedly limited research on it, the success rates of that surgery aren’t that great. But that is also a possibility, because I also… I hear from a lot of people that have sleep apnea, and they just say, “I can’t do the CPAP machines.” And then, I’ll just mention to them, surgery is an option. It’s not something I probably would go for, but that is always an option as well.

Steve Ryan: Yeah. It’s usually considered an option of last resort because they actually go in there, and cut out the muscle or tissue that is blocking the airway.

Travis Van Slooten: Yup.

Steve Ryan: And like you said, it’s major surgery. There’s no doubt about it, it’s major surgery. And it isn’t always as successful as they’d like it to be, but it is an option.

Travis Van Slooten: Yup, yup. Now, and I think you touched on this as well, Steve, but can treating sleep apnea cure A-Fib?

Steve Ryan: In some instances, some lucky people can get rid of their A-Fib and have no more… Can get rid of their sleep apnea and be cured of A-Fib.

Travis Van Slooten: Wow.

Steve Ryan: But those people are few and far between, unfortunately. But for some people, getting rid of sleep apnea does cure A-Fib. But, unfortunately, for most people, once A-Fib starts, it takes a more radical… Something more radical to get it cured. However, you still need to… Even after you’ve… Let’s say you’ve had a catheter ablation and your A-Fib is cured, you still can’t ignore sleep apnea. You still have to keep treating it, keep using the CPAP machine, or whatever device you use. Because if you don’t, that A-Fib can recur.

Travis Van Slooten: Well, and not to mention, just the other health issues that might come, as a result of your untreated sleep apnea.

Steve Ryan: Oh, yes.

Travis Van Slooten: Absolutely. Perfect. Any other wrapping thoughts here on this topic?

Steve Ryan: No, I can’t think of anything. Thank you, Travis.

Travis Van Slooten: Alright, Steve, as always, it’s a pleasure and thanks for joining me today.

Steve Ryan: Glad to be here.

 

AF 2018: New Report on the CASTLE AF Clinical Trial—Most Important Study for Patients

Most people who’ve had a successful catheter ablation can tell you how wonderful it feels to have a heart that beats normally again. Thanks to Dr. Marrouche and his colleagues, we now have hard data that a catheter ablation doesn’t just feel good but lets us live a healthier, longer life.

CASTLE-AF stands for Catheter Ablation versus Standard conventional Treatment in patients with LEft ventricular dysfunction and Atrial Fibrillation.

Dr. Nassir Marrouche & CASTLE AF Clinical Trial

At the 2018 AF Symposium, Dr. Nassir Marrouche presented results of the full CASTLE-AF study. (I reported briefly on initial findings last October (see CASTLE AF Study: Live Longer―Have a Catheter Ablation).

The 9-year, multicenter CASTLE-AF trial started in 2008 and focused on patients with A-Fib and systolic heart failure. The 398 participants were at 31 sites in 9 countries across Europe, Australia and the U.S.

Study participants had A-Fib and advanced heart failure (i.e., low ejection fraction less than 35%) and were randomized to receive either radiofrequency catheter ablation or conventional drug treatment. The median follow-up period was 37.8 months.

Results―Ablation Improves Quantity and Quality of Life

Dr. Marrouche listed key results of the CASTLE-AF Clinical Trial:

▪ Catheter ablation lowered the death rate by 47% vs conventional drug therapy..
▪ Even though 94% of the patients were taking Coumadin, the catheter ablation group’s stroke rate was ½ of the conventional drug treatment group.
▪ Heart failure hospital admissions improved immediatelycontinue reading Dr. Marrouche’s findings

2018: A-Fib.com Again Earns HON Certificate for Quality and Trustworthiness of Health Information

A-Fib.com has again earned the Health On the Net Foundation (HON) Certification for quality and trustworthiness of medical and health online information. (We were first certified in 2009.)

The voluntary HONcode accreditation program sets out a standardized criterion of eight principles of good practice for health information websites. Each applicant is checked for compliance by a review committee including medical professionals.

The Health On the Net Foundation (HON) Code of Conduct helps protect citizens from misleading health information.

Our 2018-2019 Active Certification & Dynamic Seal

Our HON seal is displayed in the footer of our web page and is directly linked to the A-Fib.com HONcode certificate located on the HON website.

Read more about the A-Fib.com HON Certificate on our website. Or learn about the criterion of eight principles of good practice at Health On the Net Foundation (HON) Certification.

When visiting other health-related websites, look for the HON Code of Conduct badge to be assured of the site’s quality and trustworthiness of medical and health online information.

Update 2018: Print a free Medical Alert I.D. Wallet Card

Websites change every day. So it’s no surprise when reader Debbie L. emailed us about a non-working link. Thanks to her alert, I’ve updated my links to print your own emergency medical ID wallet cards.

To help you make your medical ID, we have Free online sources for printing your own wallet cards (updated 1-14-18). Here are three sources:

Free printable Med. ID Card from AllenLawrence.com at A-Fib.com

Free printable Med. ID Card from AllenLawrence.com

Printable Emergency Medical ID Card (online form) by AllFreePrintable.com
• Print Your Own Emergency Medical I.D. Card (online form) by AllenLawrence.com
• American Red Cross Emergency Contact Card link on PDFfiller.com site or go directly to PDF form.

Use the PDF form to enter your information. Then, print, trim, fold and add to your wallet or purse. Or print the blank form and fill-in by hand.

Tips to Consider

• Laminate your wallet card to prolong its use (an office supply store can help you)
• Print a card for each member of your family
• If you choose a medic alert bracelet with limited space, add the message “See wallet card,” and carry a wallet card with all your medical details.

Beyond Wallet Cards: Medic Alert IDs

Shoe pocket by Vital ID

Shoe pocket by Vital ID

There are many styles of Medic Alert ID bracelets, necklace pendants, USB-based devices and sports equipment using different materials like waterproof foam, leather and stainless steel. (see Your Portable Medical Information Kit.)

Whichever method(s) you use to carry your emergency medical information, don’t forget to review and update the contents regularly especially when you change doctors, or start (or stop) medications or have a medical procedure. Knowing you have up-to-date medical information gives you a little bit more peace of mind.

For more about how to carry all your medical information in case of emergency, see our article: Your Portable Medical Information Kit.

On Pinterest: Browse Pics of Over 50 Celebs with A-Fib

Mario Lemieux

Atrial Fibrillation doesn’t discriminate. It hits sport professionals (from the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL), track & field competitors and Olympic champions; politicians and public officials to actors, performers and musicians.

Browse our Pinterest board of over 50 celebs who have dealt with A-Fib. You’ll be amazed at the many personalities and celebrities with A-Fib. For example:

Billie Jean King

MARIO LEMIEUX, Canadian American NHL/AHL Hockey Hall of Fame. Retired from hockey in 2006 because of Atrial Fibrillation.

Gene Simmons

BILLIE JEAN KING, Tennis legend (Wimbledon champ 20 times) and advocate for gender equality. A-Fib came after playing tennis with a friend. “My heart was beating, I thought it was going to come out of my chest.” 

GENE SIMMONS, Musician, bass player for KISS, was cardioverted on an episode of his reality show, “Family Jewels.” 

Ellen Degeneres

ELLEN DEGENERES, Talk show host, comedian. Ellen acknowledged her A-Fib in an episode of her show with Howie Mandel (who also has A-Fib).

Browse our Pinterest board of over 50 celebs who have dealt with A-Fib. Go to “Celebs With A-Fib“.  Or visit all our A-Fib-related Pinterest boards. #afib.

September A-Fib Awareness Month: Silent A-Fib is a Public Health Issue

GIF: 'That Demon A-FIB ZEBUB' at A-Fib.com

‘That Demon A-FIB ZEBUB’

‘Silent A-Fib’ is a serious public health problem; 30%-50% of those with ‘silent’ Atrial Fibrillation don’t know it.

They may get used to their symptoms or they write off the tiredness, dizziness or mental slowness to growing older, but their heart health may be deteriorating; Untreated, about 35% will suffer a stroke (half of all A-Fib-related strokes are major and disabling).

How You Can Help

To inform the public about this healthcare issue, A-Fib.com offers an educational infographic and awareness posters. See the full infographic.Infographic - September is Atrial Fibrillation Month at A-Fib.com

To help spread awareness, Share it, Pin it, Download it. See the posters here.

Atrial Fibrillation Resources for Writers and Jounalists

For more about Silent A-Fib, go to The Threat to Patients with “Silent A-Fib” How to Reach Them

Visit the A-Fib.com Press Room to learn more about Atrial Fibrillation, videos, get free graphics and other resources.

Lifestyle Changes or Alternative Treatments Working for You? Contribute to 2nd Edition of ‘Beat Your A-Fib’

Amazon.com review of Beat Your A-Fib book at A-Fib.comAll Atrial Fibrillation patients! We need your input!

Share with us! Help us write a new chapter for our book!

We are planning the 2nd edition of our book, Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure.

New chapter: Non-Surgical/Non-Drug Treatments: We need five or six anecdotes or stories for a new chapter to focus on non-drug and non-surgical treatment options.

Have lifestyle changes or alternative methods reduced or eliminated your symptoms? Email us! 

Is exercising or stress-reduction techniques working? Weight-loss or dietary changes? Use of minerals or supplements? Chiropractic treatment or Yoga? Other means of improvement? We’re interested in anything that’s helping you.

You don’t have to be ‘cured’ to share your story. Just actively pursuing your best outcome.

Email us. If something is working for you, we’d love to hear from you! Just email us with your contribution: pattijryan@a-fib.com or ssryan@a-fib.com.

♥ ♥ ♥

Beat Your A-Fib: Continues as a Bestseller on Amazon.com

A-Fib.com Exclusive: Free Offers and Downloads for Our Readers

As a service to A-Fib.com readers, we offer FREE downloads of our own worksheets and reports. In addition, we have also collected useful FREE services or downloads from other organizations or websites serving the atrial fibrillation community. (See the tab on the left subject menu.)

Go to our ‘Free Offers and Links‘ page. You’ll find a short description of each offer including links to related articles.

items on our "Free Offers and Links" page at A-Fib.com

items on our “Free Offers and Links” page

Take Advantage of Our Free Offers

Some links take you from our site to a free online service. Other links generate a .PDF of a free document or worksheet. (Remember to save it to your hard-drive.) Go to ourFree Offers and Linkspage.

Summertime Fun! Shop Amazon.com & Support A-Fib.com Too!

It’s the time of year for vacations and family activities with your kids or grand-kids. When you shop for your summer events, did you know your purchases can support A-Fib.com?

How? Just shop online at Amazon.com using the A-Fib.com Amazon portal link (this link automatically credits us, you don’t have to do anything else).

Help Keep A-Fib.com Independent and Ad-Free

Bookmark this Link—Use it every time!

Your purchases generate a small commission for A-Fib.com—at no extra cost to you. We apply those proceeds toward the monthly costs of publishing this website.

Your Support is Needed and Appreciated

A-Fib.com is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Our goal is to make A-Fib.com a financially self-sustaining site AND maintain our “no advertising” policy.

Many sites are funded through third-party advertising like Google ads. You’ll find none of those ads breaking up our articles or crowding our webpages. So help support A-Fib.com—use the A-Fib.com Amazon portal link every time you shop online. We appreciate your support.

Bookmark this Link—Use it every time!
Amazon.com portal llink from A-Fib.com

Inherited (Familial) A-Fib: My Top 5 Articles

Some individuals are clearly more susceptible to developing Atrial Fibrillation than others (likely due to genetic variations in cell functions).

Recent studies suggest that up to 30 percent of all people with atrial fibrillation may have a history of the condition in their family. Researchers are working to determine which genetic changes may influence the risk of atrial fibrillation.

If you suspect inherited A-Fib, read the following to learn more:

1- Understanding A-Fib: Genetics, Will my children get A-Fib too?
2- Inherited A-Fib? Is it More Risky for Family Members?
3- FAQs: Can I Prevent Familial A-Fib with Diet? Supplements?
4- World-Wide Studies on Genetic A-Fib
5- Genetics of A-Fib—40% Increased Risk of Developing A-Fib If Relative Has It

A-Fib Personal Story on A-Fib.comPersonal A-Fib Stories

Read about others with A-Fib that runs in their family. Go to A-Fib Patient Stories: Listed by Subject, and look for Causes, then Genetics/Heredity. Click on the number of any story and that page will open for you to read.

A-Fib.com 2017 Top-Rated by Healthline.com For Fourth Year

We are proud to announce, for the fourth year, Atrial Fibrillation: Resources for Patients (A-Fib.com) has been named to Healthline.com’s short list of 2017 Best A-Fib Blogs. (We proudly display our 2017 Best Blogs badge in our website’s right column.)

From the Healthline.com article: “We’ve carefully selected these blogs because they are actively working to educate, inspire, and empower their readers with frequent updates and high-quality information.”

We also extend our congratulates to our friends who also made the list: Travis Van Slooten (Living with Atrial Fibrillation) Dr. John Mandrola (Dr. John M) and Mellanie True Hills (StopAFib.org).

Healthline.com Best A-Fib Blogs of 2017

Best A-Fib Blogs of 2017

About Healthline: Over 40 million people turn to Healthline every month. From their website: “Healthline’s mission is to be your most trusted ally in your pursuit of health and well-being.”

Visit the Healthline The 2017 Best A-Fib Blogs to review all the winners.

OUR MISSION: A-Fib.com offers hope and guidance to empower patients to find their A-Fib cure or best outcome. We are your unbiased source of well-researched information on current and emerging Atrial Fibrillation treatments.

Updated: Steve’s Shopping Guides to A-Fib-Related Products

We’ve updated and expanded our page of Steve’s recommendations for A-Fib-related products. Steve’s shopping guides help you sort through the vast array of products of interest to A-Fib patients and their families. These brands and products are available from many online and other retailers.

We invite you to read more about the following shopping guides: Go to Steve’s Steve’s Shopping Guides to Recommended A-Fib-Related Products.

A-Fib Survival Kit for the Newly Diagnosed
A-Fib Reference Books and Guides
Magnesium & Potassium Supplements for A-Fib patients
Seven ‘Natural’ Supplements for a Healthy Heart
DIY Heart Rate Monitors (HRMs)

Steve’s Shopping Guides to Recommended A-Fib-Related Products at A-Fib.com

Steve’s Shopping Guides to Recommended A-Fib-Related Products

Support A-Fib.com When You Shop Online

Use our Amazon.com portal link and support A-Fib.com at the same time (at no extra cost to you). Shop for anything, and your purchases generate a small commission which we apply to the maintenance costs of this website. Bookmark this link.

A-Fib.com portal link to Amazon.com

Bookmark our A-Fib.com portal link to Amazon.com

How to Buy Cheap Prescription Drugs Online by Travis Van Slooten

Our friend, Travis Van Slooten, over at Livingwithatrialfibrillation.com has written a comprehensive post about saving money on your prescription medications and why U.S. readers should consider buying online from Canada. Why? He sums it up in one word, cheap!

Best online price for Eliquis in U.S.

The same prescription drugs that you buy in the U.S. can be ordered for a fraction of the cost online from a Canadian pharmacy.

Follow Along: Step-by-Step Shopping Trip

As an example, Travis comparison shops the price of a 30-day supply of the anticoagulant Eliquis which retails for $484.40 in the U.S. The best U.S. price he found online was $404.87.

Read along as he shops at Canadian pharmacies (Canada Drugs, CanadaDrugPharmacy.com and YouDrugStore.com).

Best online price for Eliquis in Canada

VIDEO: The post culminates with a 12 min. video as Travis places his Eliquis order at YouDrugStore. com for $129.99.

Is It Legit & Legal to Buy Prescriptions Online from Canada?

Well, the answer is yes! It is legit and it is legal. It is perfectly legal for a U.S. citizen to purchase prescription drugs from Canada. And it’s perfectly legal for Canadian pharmacies to sell U.S. citizens prescription drugs. Watch the video and you’ll see that everything is on the “up and up” and how seamless and painless the process is.

For all the details on how this works, read Travis’ detailed review at How To Buy Cheap Prescription Drugs Online.

A-Fib, Inc. Earns GuideStar Platinum Seal for Transparency and Accountability in the Non-Profit World

A-Fib.com earns GuideStar Platinum Seal

A-Fib.com earns GuideStar Platinum Seal

A-Fib Inc. has earned GuideStar’s highest rating, the GuideStar Exchange Platinum Seal, a leading symbol of transparency and accountability in the non-profit world.

In order for A-Fib, Inc. to earn the GuideStar Exchange Platinum Seal, we filled in all required and optional sections of the report pages for Bronze, Silver and Gold levels and uploaded requested and additional documents to our profile on www.guidestar.org, including our annual financial report, 990 IRS filings, corporate officers, incorporation documents, etc.

A-Fib.com was first rated by GuideStar in 2014.

Our GuideStar seal is displayed at the bottom of every A-Fib.com page. To learn more about us, visit our A-Fib, Inc.’s GuideStar Profile.

About GuideStar USA, Inc.: GuideStar is the world’s largest source of information on nonprofit organizations and allows nonprofits to supplement the public information that is available from the IRS.

Caution: 1 in 10 Take Aspirin When They Shouldn’t (Warn your Family and Friends)

I have written about how aspirin is no longer recommended as first-line therapy to prevent A-Fib stroke. (See my Update: Aspirin No Longer Recommended as First-Line Therapy for Stroke Prevention.).

But it’s not just A-Fib patients who shouldn’t be on aspirin therapy for stroke prevention.

Data indicates more than 1 in 10 adults take aspirin when they shouldn’t.

Warn your family and friends who are taking daily aspirin: Maybe they shouldn’t be.

Aspirin, acetylsalicylic acid, is a pharmaceutical drug

50 Million in the US Take Aspirin for Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease

The problem with routinely taking aspirin, acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), is an increased risk of bleeding complications. More than one-third of all adults in the U.S. are now taking aspirin for primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

“Primary” means preventing a first event like a heart attack. “Secondary” means preventing a reoccurrence of an event, like a second stroke.

When Aspirin Therapy Is Appropriate

As a “primary” prevention, only patients with a moderate to high 10-year risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke should be on aspirin therapy (estimated using the ACC/AHA risk-prediction calculator or similar calculator).

Aspirin is recommended for “secondary” prevention.

If you’ve had a stroke, aspirin IS appropriate as a means of preventing a re-occurrence or ‘secondary’ event.

When Aspirin Therapy Is Not Appropriate

Aspirin is not appropriate for adults who are at low risk of cardiovascular disease—defined by their 10-year stroke risk score. For these adults, the risks of gastrointestinal bleeding and hemorrhagic strokes outweigh any potential benefit.

“Among the more than 16,000 deaths each year linked to bleeding… about one-third of these deaths occur in those who take low-dose (81-mg) aspirin.” The 2014 an FDA statement warned against widespread use of aspirin in adults of average risk.

Aspirin is a Drug, Just Like Other Blood Thinners

It’s all too easy to take an aspirin―we don’t need a prescription to get it. But taking an aspirin isn’t like taking a vitamin. Aspirin, acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), is a pharmaceutical drug.

Warn Loved Ones Taking Daily Aspirin

Maybe they shouldn’t be! Instead of routinely taking aspirin, adults should discuss aspirin therapy with their doctor just as they’d do for any ‘by prescription’ blood thinner. (Hint: Take along a copy of this post.)

Caution: Suddenly stopping daily aspirin therapy could have a rebound effect that may trigger a blood clot. It’s important to talk to your doctor before making any changes.

References for this article
ACC/AHA Risk Calculator: http://www.cvriskcalculator.com/

O’Riordan, M. Another Study Shows ACC/AHA Risk Calculator Overestimates CVD Events. February 18, 2015. Heartwire from Medscape. Last accessed Aug 8, 2015. URL: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/839912

Hira RS et al. Frequency and practice-level variation in inappropriate aspirin use for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease: Insights from the National Cardiovascular Disease Registry’s Practice Innovation and Clinical Excellence registry. JACC, Volume 85, Issue 2, January 2015:111-121.doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2014.10.035

Daily aspirin therapy: Understand the benefits and risks. March 21, 2015. MayoClinic.org. Last accessed Aug 12, 2015. URL: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/daily-aspirin-therapy/art-20046797

Stafford, Randall S., The Aspirin Question. Bottom Line/Health. Volume 29, Number 10, October 2015.

Image credit: Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 

 

A-Fib.com Glossary of Terms and Phrases: Recent Additions

Recent additions to our A-Fib.com Glossary of Medical Terms and Phrases:A-Fib.com Glossary of Terms on notepad

Heart Failure:
A “failed” heart is NOT one that has suddenly stopped. Instead, it occurs when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to the other organs to satisfy their need for oxygen and nutrients. It usually manifests as tiredness and weakness, breathlessness and swelling of the legs and abdomen.

Atrial Kick:
The force or strength of the atrial contraction (which forces blood into the ventricles).

Fibrosis:
Fiber-like characteristics that develop in place of the normal smooth walls of the heart making you more vulnerable to A‑Fib…Over time it makes the heart stiff, less flexible and weak, overworks the heart, reduces pumping efficiency and leads to other heart problems…read the entire definition

Check it out. Bookmark it! Refer to it often!

The A-Fib.com Glossary of Medical Terms and Phrases is the most complete online glossary devoted exclusively to Atrial Fibrillation. Each definition is written in everyday language—a great resource for patients and their families.

(See Glossary of Terms in the left menu.) If you don’t find the term you are looking for—email us and we’ll add it to our Glossary.

A-Fib.com HON Certified for 8th Year: ‘Health Information You Can Trust’

Once again, A-Fib.com has earned the Health On the Net Foundation (HON) Certification for quality and trustworthiness of medical and health online information. The Health On the Net Foundation (HON) Code of Conduct helps protect citizens from misleading health information.

The voluntary HONcode accreditation program sets out a standardized criterion of eight principles of good practice for health information web sites. Each applicant is checked for compliance by a review committee including medical professionals.

Our 2017-2018 Active Certification & Dynamic Seal

The A-Fib.com HON seal is displayed in the footer of our web page and is directly linked to the A-Fib.com HONcode certificate located on the HON website.

HON Certified: Websites You Can Trust

When browsing healthcare sites on the web, look for the HON Code certificate. Learn more at Health On the Net Foundation (HON) Certification.

High-Quality Illustration of the Heart’s Electrical System

The Heart's Electrical System Illustration

The Heart’s Electrical System: Click image to download

Update March 24: The Cleveland Clinic has given us permission to host this graphic on A-Fib.com for the viewing and printing by our readers.

Print and keep this illustration handy for the next time you talk with your doctor about the workings of your heart. You can make notes directly on the picture.

Download the PDF file and store on your hard-drive. To have one handy when you need it, print and store copies in your “A-Fib Binder or folder“.
A-Fib.com Library of videos and animations

Video: You may also want to watch the video, How Your Heart Works and Understanding Arrhythmias, or one of several heart animations from our A-Fib.com Video & Animations Library.

Also see our Free Offers and Downloads page.

New FAQ: Do Ablations Only Treat A-Fib Symptoms and Not a “Cure”?

We’ve posted a new FAQ and answer about curing Atrial Fibrillation with catheter ablation versus successful drug therapy:

Q: “I’ve read that an ablation only treats A-Fib symptoms, that it isn’t a “cure.” If I take meds like flecainide which stop all A-Fib symptoms and have no significant side effects, isn’t that a ‘cure?’”

My answer: A successful catheter ablation doesn’t just treat A-Fib symptoms, it physically changes your heart.

Isolates PVs: An ablation closes off the openings around your pulmonary veins (PVs) so A-Fib signals from the Pulmonary Veins (PVs) can no longer get into your heart.

It electrically ‘isolates’ your PVs, and if successful and permanent, you should be protected from developing A-Fib that originates from your PVs (where most A-Fib originates).

Recurrence Rates: Older research showed that recurrence of A-Fib after an ablation occurred at a 7% rate out to five years. But this was before the use of the newer techniques of Contact Force Sensing catheters and CryoBalloon ablation which make more permanent lesion lines around your Pulmonary Veins.

Also, people with comorbidities, like sleep apnea…continue reading my answer…

Attending the 2017 AF Symposium in Orlando, FL

I’m in Orlando, FL, for several days attending the AF Symposium 2017.

The annual AF Symposium (formerly called the Boston AF Symposium) is an intensive and highly focused three-day scientific forum that brings together the world’s leading medical scientists, researchers and cardiologists to share the most recent advances in the treatment of atrial fibrillation.

I attend in order to offer A-Fib.com readers the most up-to-date A-Fib research findings and developments that may impact the treatment choices of patients who are seeking their A-Fib cure (or best outcome).

Look for my reports and brief summaries in the coming weeks and months.

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