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


Resources

Get Support: A-Fib Wreaks Havoc with Your Head as Well as Your Heart

Anxiety, fear, worry, confusion, frustration and depression, and at times, anger. Most A-Fib patients deal with one or more of these feelings. Beware: research indicates that “psychological distress” worsens the severity of A-Fib symptoms.

Advice About Stress from Patients (and a Spouse) Now Free from the Burden of A-Fib

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

Jay T.

“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.”
Kelly Teresi, wife of Jay Teresi, about coping with her husband’s A-Fib:

Kelley T.

“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.”

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

Max J.

“I have never been mentally so incapable…even the simplest work-related problems seemed impossible for me to handle, let alone solve.
I was only 52 years old…but mentally I was reduced to a six–year-old child with constant tantrums.”

Joe Mirretti, Gurnee, IL, a 62-Year old cyclist, about the personal A-Fib stories on A-Fib.com:

Joe M.

“Like everyone has said in their A-Fib stories, A-Fib does such a job on your head. Every time you feel something, it scares you like you’re going back into A-Fib. That’s been a mental battle.
That’s why reading those patient stories [on A-Fib.com] help.”

A-Fib Doesn’t Have to be in Your Head as Well

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.

PODCAST: 15 Ways to Manage the Fear & Anxiety of Atrial FibrillationTune in to learn ways to cope. Listen as Steve Ryan and Travis Van Slooten, publisher of LivingWithAtrialFibrillation.com discuss ways to help you with the emotional component of A-Fib. (See show notes for the list of 15 tips.)

Acknowledge the Stress and Anxiety.
Seek Emotional Support. 


From The Top 10 List of A-Fib Patients’ Best Advice’ , a consensus of valuable advice from fellow Atrial Fibrillation patients; Chapter 12, Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure by Steve S. Ryan, PhD.

Go to Top 10 List of A-Fib Patients’ Best Advice
Please, share the advice ♥ 

Learning About A-Fib: “A True Experience of Input, Input, Input!”

Advice from patients now free from the burden of A-Fib: Learn all you can about Atrial Fibrillation before making decisions.

Joan Schneider, Ann Arbor, MI, writes how she found online information and support:

Joan S.

“Upon questioning [my new EP]…I didn’t have a warm fuzzy feeling.
However, I found everything I needed to know (and even what I didn’t want to know) when I came across A-Fib.com, Stopafib.org, and the best support from the A-Fib support group.
It was a true experience of input, input, input!”

Charn Deol, Richmond, BC, Canada, now A-Fib Free after a 23-Year ordeal with Atrial Fibrillation writes:

Personal A-Fib story by Charn Deol, BC, Canada at A-Fib.com

Charn D.

“I am relying on his [EP’s] extensive knowledge to help me in a field where I am no expert. My gut said to ‘no longer trust’ this supposed best electrophysiologist at the hospital and search for an alternative path. 

From this experience I’ve learned to obtain as much knowledge as possible of your condition.”

Another A-Fib patient, Sheri Weber, from Boyce, VA, tells what led her to learn more about Atrial Fibrillation on her own:

Sheri W.

“While in the hospital, I questioned my cardio doctor about treatment options other than medication; He told me there were surgical procedures, but they had very low success rates (WRONG!).

Anger and determination led me to research my options [right then] on my laptop.”

Where to Start Learning About A-Fib

Here at A-Fib.com we offer you a plethera of experiences to learn about Atrial Fibrillation. Check out our “Where to Start” page to begin.

If you are newly diagnosed or new to our website, you can start with our Overview of Atrial Fibrillation. It introduces you to all the main topics of this website.

Then visit our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section. We answer common patients’ questions. Also, visit our A-Fib Video Library with short clips at the Introductory Level. Along the way, refer to our Glossary of medical terms as needed.

Go to our “Where to Start” page.

Learn All You Can About A-Fib
Before Making Treatment Decisions.

Aim to Stop Your A-Fib Episodes Not Just Control Them

You don’t have to live with Atrial Fibrillation. You don’t have to settle for a lifetime of “controlling” your Atrial Fibrillation. Don’t accept being on drugs for the rest of your life. Instead, aim for an A-Fib cure.

The Heart Rhythm Specialist

A-Fib Patients- The Goal should be to End your episodes not Control them-A-Fib.comEveryone with A-Fib should see a heart rhythm specialist, an cardiac Electrophysiologist (EP). An EP is a cardiologist who specializes in the electrical activity of the heart and in the diagnosis and treatment of heart rhythm disorders.

You want to carefully select a doctor who will partner with you to create a treatment plan—a path to finding your cure or the best outcome for you.

Finding the Right Doctor

To find the right doctor for you, start by reading our page: Finding the Right Doctor for You and Your A-FibWe offer you what you need to know and how to do it.

To help you in your search, we’ve also prepared a list of Questions You’ve Got to Ask for each prospective doctor. The list is designed to solicit information to help you select the best doctor for you and your type of A-Fib.

In addition, we help you interpret a doctor’s possible answers. After each question, we’ve included typical doctor responses and an analysis of what those responses may mean to you.

Questions to Ask Doctors Worksheet

We’ve prepared a print version of this list of questions with our handy Questions to Ask Doctors Worksheet. Print and use for each doctor interview to collect the doctor’s answers. There’s space for your own questions, too. (Read more about our worksheet.)

Download our free PDF worksheet (separate browser window will open). You can send it directly to your printer or download and save to your computer to print copies any time.

A-Fib.com’s Directory of Doctors Treating A-Fib: Medical Centers and Practices

Not all EPs treat A-Fib patients. To help you find EPs who do, we offer you our own Directory of physicians and medical centers treating Atrial Fibrillation patients. This evolving list is offered as a service and convenience to A-Fib patients. The Directory is divided into three categories.

• US Doctors and Medical Centers (by state/city)
• International: Doctors and Medical Centers (by country or region)

No Pay-to-Play Listings Here!

Note: Unlike other physician directories, A-Fib.com offers no preferential listings to be included in our Directory of Doctors and Medical Centers. A-Fib.com is not affiliated with any practice, medical center or physician. We accept no fee, benefit or value of any kind for listing a specific doctor or medical center. See our article: Don’t be Fooled by Pay-to-Play Online Doctor Referral Sites.

Seek Your Cure at A-Fib.comLeaving the Patient in A-Fib—No! No! No!

The goal of today’s A-Fib treatment guidelines is to get A-Fib patients back into normal sinus rhythm (NSR). Don’t let your doctor leave you in A-Fib. Unless too feeble, there’s no good reason to just leave someone in A-Fib. (Read more.)

Start with finding the right doctor for you. Then, learn your treatment options. And always Aim for a Cure!

Health-Related Websites: How Do You Find Sources You Can Trust?

Everyday there are more and more websites offering consumer health-related information. While many online health resources are credible and valid, others may present inaccurate, biased or misleading information.

How do you find sources you can trust? How do you evaluate the content on websites?

Key Facts to Ask About Health Websites

Anyone can put up a website. Not all online health information is accurate, legitimate and authoritative. Be cautious when you evaluate health-information on the Internet.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health advises to be suspicious, especially if the site…

… Is selling something
… Includes outdated information
… Makes excessive claims for what a product can do
… Is sponsored by an organization whose goals differ from yours.

Checking Out a Health Website: Five Quick Questions

If you’re visiting a health-related website for the first time, these five quick questions can help you decide whether the site is a helpful and legitimate resource.

Always ask yourself: ‘Who is paying for this website? What is their agenda?’

Who? Who runs the website? Can you trust them? Beware of bias, who is paying for or funding the site?

What? What does the site say? Do its claims seem too good to be true? Be a cyber-skeptic.

When? When was the information posted or reviewed? Is it up-to-date?  Who verifies the information before it is put on the web page?

Where? Where did the information come from? Is it supported by scientific research? Look for recognized authorities and know who is responsible for the content.

Why? Why does the site exist? Is it selling something?

Don’t Rely Exclusively on Online Resources

If you are researching a health-related topic online, review several high-quality websites to see if similar information appears in a number of places. Looking at many good sites will also give you a wider view of a health issue.

When making decisions about your health, don’t rely exclusively on online resources. Online information is not a substitute for medical advice. Before taking any of the advice that you have found online, confer with your doctors and health care providers, get referrals and recommendations from other patients, and ask opinions from family and friends.

You must do your due diligence to find the right treatment(s) for you. I know it’s a lot of effort. To make the best decisions, educate yourself on all your treatment options.

Resources for this Article
• Guide to Healthy Web Surfing Ways to Evaluate the Quality of Health Information on Web. NIH: National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health Sites. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/webresources

• MedlinePlus Guide to Healthy Web Surfing. NIH: U.S. National Library of Medicine. https://medlineplus.gov/healthywebsurfing.html

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

From ‘Beat Your A-Fib”

Learn to Read Your ECG: My Brief Overview or a Healio.com Training Course

When I developed Atrial Fibrillation, one of my first courses of study was to learn how to read my own Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG). If this interests you, too, consider my brief overview of the ECG waveform signal and how to “read” an ECG tracing. Go to my report, Understanding the EKG Signal.

FREE ECG Training Course

For the reader wanting a more extensive understanding of the Electrocardiogram and A-Fib, we offer you a link to LearnTheHeart.com – a FREE online cardiology resource for those seeking to increase their knowledge of ECG tracings.

Start with ECG Basics: I suggest you start with the ECG Basics to analyze each part of the ECG tracing; included are detailed explanations and ECG images of the heart in A-Fib. The tutorial is concise and focused on only what you need to know, yet very thorough — from waves to segments to complexes. Go to LearnTheHeart.com ECG Basics.

VIDEO: Graphic Display of Actual Heart in Atrial Fibrillation

Click to go to video

See an ECG waveform of an actual heart in Atrial Fibrillation–how it could look to your doctor. Your ECG may look different, but it will be fast and erratic. (You’ll see the changing heartbeat rate in the lower left.)

Go to video: ECG of Heart in Atrial Fibrillation on Monitor.

 

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.

New FAQ: Will EECP Heart Therapy Help my Circulation?

 FAQs: Coping with A-Fib: EECP Therapy

“I’ve heard about an out-patient heart therapy that improves circulation called EECP (Enhanced External Counterpulsation). Would it help me with my A-Fib?”

The goal of Enhanced External Counterpulsation (EECP) therapy is to improve the flow of healthy, oxygenated blood to the heart. It works by opening or forming small blood vessels called collaterals which create natural bypasses around blocked arteries.

It’s FDA cleared, non-invasive, requires no medication and has no recovery period. It improves circulation and decreases inflammation.

Ischemic means a restriction in blood supply to tissues caused by constriction or obstruction of the blood vessels.

Improve Blood Pressure and Circulation

EECP has been used with patients suffering from ischemic heart diseases (i.e. angina and heart failure).

In addition, if you have high blood pressure, EECP can decrease arterial stiffness and hardening of the arteries. It also pumps blood into bone marrow and pushes stem cells to secrete into the circulatory system.

My Experience with EECP

I recently had an EECP session at Global Cardio Care–West Los Angeles, CA. I can testify that EECP therapy is very powerful and invigorating.

During and after my session. I spoke with Sara Soulati, the CEO of Global Cardio Care, Inc. who is a pioneer in EECP since 1996. (She also helped with research for this article.)

In my case, they found that my arteries were very flexible, so I didn’t get as much benefit as someone with clogged arteries. I can testify from personal experience that EECP feels very effective. It seems like a naturally occurring bypass.

(Global Cardio Care, Inc. has two locations in Los Angeles and offers a free session, see their website).

What Happens During EECP Therapy

EECP therapy session: patient with compression cuffs on lower limbs at A-Fib.com

EECP therapy session: patient with compression cuffs on lower limbs

During an EECP therapy session, you lay on an EECP bed with a pulse-oximetry device on your finger and hooked up to a 12-lead ECG. Heavy-duty air compression pressure cuffs (similar to blood pressure cuffs) are wrapped around each calf, thigh, and the buttocks. The ECG signal synchronizes the sequential squeezing of the cuffs to the rhythm of the patient’s heartbeat.

When the heart is at rest, the blood pressure cuffs squeeze the blood from the lower legs and circulate it throughout the entire arterial system. When the heart pumps, the cuffs deflate rapidly.

EECP therapy increases the blood flow and oxygen back to the heart, reducing the work that the heart has to do. It also improves circulation and strengthens the cardiopulmonary system. A typical session lasts around 1 hour; one course of EECP is usually 35 hours.

EECP: How It Effects Your Body

Effect of EECP therapy at A-Fib.com

Effect of course of EECP therapy: new arteries for blood to flow through

This increased and powerful circulation to the arteries helps develop “collaterals”―new arteries for blood to flow through. Hormones and vasodilators (nerves that cause widening of blood vessels) are released.

Within the arteries, nitric oxide and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF stimulates the formation of blood vessels) are secreted which help the process of collateralization (forming a side branch of a blood vessel). This improves arterial stiffness, increases circulation, and decreases inflammation.

EECP and A-Fib Patients

When I interviewed Sara Soulati of Global Cardio Care, Inc. she shared her experiences with Atrial Fibrillation patients seeking EECP.  (Global Cardio is where I had my EECP session.)  She recalled how her first A-Fib client came from a referral from Dr. Julian Whitaker (Whitaker Wellness Institute in Newport Beach, CA). Her insights and advice come after conducting EECP on more than 60 A-Fib patients.

“About 20% of our clients have had their A-Fib converted back into normal sinus rhythm.” Sara Soulati of Global Cardio Care, Inc.

Criteria for Best Results: She learned that in order to conduct EECP on someone with A-Fib, one of the criteria for a successful outcome is to have controlled A-Fib as opposed to unstable A-Fib.

Uncontrolled A-Fib has a wider range of heart rates, for example 40 to 150 beats per minute which makes the heart rate very irregular. Whereas controlled A-Fib has a narrower range of heartbeat (50-70 beats/minute).

This allows EECP to work properly, since EECP is triggered by the resting phase of the heartbeat.

EECP Results for A-Fib Patients: Sara Soulati hypothesizes that EECP stimulates electrical conduction of the SA Node to start to conduct and to normalize electrical conduction.

Sara Soulati, Global Cardio Care, Inc

Sara Soulati

EECP works for those with A-Fib as though it were passive exercise. It lowers heart rate and blood pressure while increasing circulation. About results with A-Fib patients, she writes:

 “Since the earliest days when I started doing EECP, we have treated more than 60 A-Fib clients. Not every single person has returned to normal sinus rhythm. I have seen the conversion from A-Fib to normal sinus rhythm first-hand while watching the EKG heart monitor during EECP therapy. About 20% of our clients have had their A-Fib converted back into normal sinus rhythm.”

For those who don’t return to sinus, their heart rate often becomes more controlled and medications can be decreased.

Still frame from Renew Group Private Limited EECP video

Still frame from Renew Group Private Limited EECP video

More About EECP Therapy

Is EECP Therapy Safe?

EECP is FDA cleared for the following conditions: angina pectoris, congestive heart failure, cardiogenic shock, and acute myocardial infarction.

Medicare (and many private insurers) will reimburse for several courses of EECP if you meet the criteria.

Other diseases or conditions mentioned have been studied in clinical trials. Clinical research shows there is, in fact, improvement in these disease types with EECP treatment.

Medicare will reimburse for several courses of EECP if you meet the criteria. Most private insurance companies have coverage policies similar to Medicare.

We advise you to talk to your cardiologist or EP before proceeding.

Where can I Find Centers Offering EECP Therapy?

There are nearly 1,000 academic medical facilities, physician practices and stand-alone centers offering EECP throughout the world and in the U.S. See “Locate EECP®Therapy Centers” at the VasoMedical EECP Therapy website.

Read More About EECP Therapy

The Bottom Line for A-Fib Patients

A course of EECP therapy may offer a way to improve the flow of healthy, oxygenated blood to your heart. As Sara Soulati of Global Cardio Care, Inc. reports, with EECP therapy, about 20% of her A-Fib clients have converted back into normal sinus rhythm.

The criteria: if your A-Fib is controlled within a narrower range of heartbeat (50-70 beats/minute), or if you have paroxysmal (occasional) A-Fib, you may want to look into a course of EECP therapy. It can improve cardiac function and possibly decrease the need for A-Fib meds.

(If you do try EECP therapy, let me know about your experience! Email me.)

Resources for this Article
Sara Soulati, Global Cardio Care, Inc.,. https://globalcardiocare.com/sara-soulati-health-for-life-program.

Bihm, Jennifer. Global Cardio Care in Inglewood Focuses on Changing, Saving Lives. Los Angeles Sentinel. November 9, 2016. https://lasentinel.net/global-cardio-care-in-inglewood-focuses-on-changing-saving-lives.html

VasoMedical EECP Therapy website: http://www.eecp.com/what-is-eecp.php

Sharma,U. et al. The Role of Enhanced External Counter Pulsation Therapy in Clinical Practice. Clin Med Res. 2013 Dec; 11(4): 226–232. doi:  10.3121/cmr.2013.1169. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3917995/

Enhanced External Counterpulsation (EECP). The Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/eecp

Whitaker, J. Get Pumped Up With EECP. Whitaker Wellness Institute, Medical Center. http://whitakerwellness.com/therapies/eecp/eecp-treatment-centers/

Braverman, Debra. Heal Your Heart with EECP: The Only Noninvasive Way to Overcome Heart Disease

Graphic of EECP Animation: from Renew Group Private Limited YouTube video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPJwAIXfP1E. Published Jul 24, 2016. www.renewgroupecp.com

Back to FAQs: Coping with Your A-Fib 
Last updated: Thursday, July 26, 2018

Does Your Family Know How to Help You During an A-Fib Episode?

Keep Calm and Follow Your A-Ffib Action Plan poster at A-Fib.com


“Keep calm and follow your A-Fib Action Plan.”

Steve S. Ryan, PhD, A-Fib.com.


For your family’s peace of mind, you need to create an ‘A-Fib Action Plan’.

During an A-Fib attack, an A-Fib Action Plan with specific steps is reassuring and helps everyone stay calm. Your family will be confident they’re supporting you in taking the right action at the right time.

To learn how to create your action plan, see: Why & How to Create Your ‘A-Fib Episode Action Plan’.

 

Carrying Your Medical ID: A Free Wallet Card or Wearable Technology

Print free wallet card from allfreeprintable.com

(Updated 1-4-18) When you have A-Fib and you’re taking a blood thinner or other medications, you may want to carry your medical information. There are many ways to carry your info these days, on a printed card, or  with an array of accessories with USB storage, etc.

Print Your Free Online Medical ID Wallet Card

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

• Printable Emergency Medical ID Card (in PDF format) from AllFreePrintable.com
• Print Your Own Emergency Medical I.D. Card from AllenLawrence.com
• Emergency Contact Card (in PDF format) from American Red Cross

Use the PDF form online 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).

A Few Tips

• Laminate your wallet card to prolong its use (an office supply store can help you).
• Why not print a card for each member of your family?
• If you also wear a medic alert bracelet, inscribe it with the message “See wallet card”.

Additional Ways to Carry Your Emergency Medical Alert ID Information

Wearable technology: There are many new styles of Medic Alert IDs bracelets (latex-free) and necklace pendants both with preloaded software and made with different materials like waterproof foam, leather and stainless steel.

Care USB Medical History Bracelet – latex free

USB key from Stat Alert

USB key from Stat Alert

USB credit card-size by ER Card

Credit card-size USB by ER Card

Money clip from Universal Medical Data

Money clip from Universal Medical Data

You can also carry your emergency medical ID information on USB-equipped personal devices like a key chain fob and credit-card size data wallet card (above).

Paper-based? Don’t carry a wallet? Consider a Money clip with a compartment to slide in your emergency contact info (right).

Or, if you carry a paper-based day planner or calendar, add the same information to your address book.

What Emergency Medical Info Should You Carry?

For much more information about what and how to carry your emergency medical information, see our article, Your Portable Medical Information Kit.

Prepare for Your Doctor Visits: Two FREE Appointment Worksheets

AHA “A-Fib: Partnering in Your Treatment” worksheet at A-Fib.com

AHA “A-Fib: Partnering in Your Treatment” worksheet

After your initial Atrial Fibrillation diagnosis, use these free appointment worksheets to help you prepare when visiting a cardiologist for the first time and to record your doctor’s answers.

AHA FREE Worksheet: Partnerning in Your Treatment

Review the worksheet “A-Fib: Partnering in Your Treatment” on the American Heart Association website. These are the most common questions A-Fib patients ask a doctor after first being diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation. Take with you to your appointment and make notes in the spaces provided.

Download the PDF worksheet: “A-Fib: Partnering in Your Treatment”. Once the PDF download is complete, SAVE to your hard drive. Click and open it. You can then print, or make copies later when needed.

A-Fib.com’s FREE Worksheet: 10 Questions to Ask Your New Doctor

A-Fib.com Questions for Doctors Worksheet at A-Fib.com

A-Fib.com Questions for Doctors Worksheet

Looking for a new cardiologist or electrophysiologist? Here’s a worksheet with a list of ten interview questions to ask each doctor and an area to note their responses. Download and print a copy of this worksheet for each doctor you talk to (separate browser window will open).

AFTER your interviews: learn what their answers indicate. Go to the our page, Choosing the Right Doctor: Questions You’ve Got to Ask (And What the Answers Mean), and compare each doctor’s answers to the list of interpretation of answers.

Which Doctor is Right For You?

Choosing your doctor at A-Fib.com

Choosing your doctor

Don’t rely on a single online source when researching and selecting doctors. Be cautious of all doctor informational listings you find on web sites (yes, including this one).

To help you find and choose the right doctor, see our page: Finding the Right Doctor for You and Your Treatment Goals.

Missing Anything? We Make it Easy to Request Your Medical Records

When it comes time to see a new doctor or specialist, you’ll want to supply them with a copy of all your relevant A-Fib related medical records. If you are missing copies of some of your files, you may need to request files from current and former physicians and medical centers. 

HIPAA stands for the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.

Submit a Written Request

In the US, you have a right to copies of your records, under the HIPAA legislation. For those outside the U.S., learn how to request your records in CanadaUK, Australia or Europe (EU).

Three Ways to Request Your Records

To start the process, you need to submit a written request to each doctor or medical practice. For those in the U.S., here are three ways to do it.

Your Personal Medical Summary

How to request your medical records

1. You’ll find the instructions for requesting records for each provider in their Notice of Privacy Practices’—you signed and received a copy of this notice on your first visit.

It’s also posted, by law, in the waiting room where patients may see it. It should provide instructions for requesting records as well as contact information for asking questions or filing complaints. Follow the instructions to request your records.

2. Or, if visiting the medical office, ask for an ‘Authorization for Release of Health Information’ form. You can complete and submit the authorization form in person or take it home.

Many medical practices post the ‘Authorization for Release of Health Information’ form on their website for download.

3. You can also write your own ‘Request Your Medical Records’ letter (see more below). The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse offers a sample letter template.

‘Request Your Medical Records’ Sample Letter

To help you compose your own letter asking for your medical records, use the sample letter provided by the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a non-profit patients advocacy group.

Download the free PDF file (hosted on our website) and print or save the PDF file to your hard drive.

Using their sample letter as a template, replace the sample patient information with your own and create a letter for each doctor or practice. Then print and hand-deliver your request to your doctor’s office or mail or fax it. The doctor’s office is required to respond in a specific number of days.

To learn how long they have to respond and what they are allowed to charge you for copies, see our article, Your Right to Your Medical Records”.

Where Do You Organize Your A-Fib Records?

Keep your medical records in a binder or folder. at A-Fib.comWe strongly encourage you to get in the habit of storing all your A-Fib-related research and documents in one place. Don’t leave your doctor’s office, medical center or hospital without a copy of every test or procedure they perform. If the test result isn’t immediately available, have them mail it to you.

As you search for your Atrial Fibrillation cure, organize the information you are collecting. Start with a notebook and a three-ring binder or a file folder. To learn more, see my article, Why You Need an A-Fib Notebook and 3-Ring Binder

Don’t let anyone tell you that A-Fib isn’t that serious


“Don’t let anyone—especially your doctor—tell you that A-Fib isn’t that serious…or you should just learn to live with it…or to  just take your meds.”

From Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure


The longer you have Atrial Fibrillation, the harder it can be to cure it. A-Fib patient Daniel Doane, Sonora, CA, shares:

“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.”

To be cured of your A-Fib, you may need to ‘fire’ your current doctor, see Finding the Right Doctor for You and Your A-Fib.

Caution: Some A-Fib-Related Resources are Biased


“Caution: Some A-Fib-related resources may be biased toward a particular treatment techniques, pharmaceutical, or medical device (often for financial gain).

A-Fib Websites: When searching sites on the web, always ask yourself: “Who is paying for this website” And what is their agenda?”.

From Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure.


Our Recommended Resources and Links: We evaluated hundreds of online sites to narrow down our choices for these lists.

We value the information these sites offer or share and they may be useful as you continue your education and expand your knowledge of Atrial Fibrillation. Go to our A-Fib.com Resources and Links.

 

It Takes a Team: Build a Support System

Realize there are others who have been through A-Fib. Find them, use them as part of your A-Fib support system. at A-Fib.com


“Realize that there are others who have been through A-Fib. Find them. Use them as part of your A-Fib support system.”

Joy Gray, Manchester, NH, USA from Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure


You are not alone. Many, many others are dealing with Atrial Fibrillation.

A-Fib Online Discussion Groups: One-to-one support and online support groups can be very helpful to patients and others interested in Atrial Fibrillation.

Reading the discussion can offer information, recommendations and perhaps a new perspective. But don’t stay on the sideline, participate! Join in. You’ll feel better.

To learn more, go to our list of Online Discussion Groups.

 

A-Fib Reference: The Best Online Medical Dictionary

Best online medical dictionary - A-Fib.com

Best online medical dictionary

Our favorite!

We still love our softcover Concise Medical Dictionary (Oxford Quick Reference). But what about when you’re reading online and don’t have your medical dictionary handy?

The best online medical dictionary we’ve found is on the MedlinePlus website. It’s powered by Merriam-Webster. Check out MedlinePlus/Merriam-Webster Online Medical Dictionary and bookmark the website: https://medlineplus.gov/mplusdictionary.html

More Recommended Online Links

To create our list of over 30 online recommendations, we’ve personally reviewed hundreds of websites in search of the best links for you. For our selected A-Fib online resources, go to our Recommended Online Links.

For more recommendations, see all our Resources & Links for Atrial Fibrillation Patients.

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.

Selecting a New Doctor? 10 Questions You’ve Got to Ask

A-Fib.com Questions for Doctors Worksheet

Free download

Looking for a new cardiologist or electrophysiologist? To help you scrutinize prospective doctors, we’ve written a set of interview questions. The questions help you find the right doctor for your treatment goals.

Our worksheet has the questions to ask each doctor and an area to note their responses. Print a copy of this worksheet for each doctor you talk to.

Afterwards: How to Interpret the Answers You Received

Back home, study your notes about each doctor. To ‘interpret’ the doctors’ answers, see our article, “Choosing the Right Doctor: 10 Questions You’ve Got to Ask (And What Their Answers Mean)“.

We’ve included the various responses you might receive, and what each response means to you when searching for the right doctor for you and your treatment goals.

DON’T FORGET: File your worksheets and other notes in your A-Fib binder or folder for future reference (later, you might want a second opinion).

Download the FREE PDF and save to your hard drive
(separate browser window will open). Print multiple copies.

Memorial Sloan Kettering’s App of Herbs, Vitamins, and Dietary Supplements

Determining whether herbs, vitamins, and other over-the-counter dietary supplements can be helpful or harmful to you can be challenging.

Our favorite resource is the About Herbs database at the Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) website.

Web-based ‘About Herbs’ app

The database is continually updated and managed by a pharmacist and a botanicals expert with assistance from other MSK Integrative Medicine Service experts.

You can search by product or by medical condition to find objective and evidence-based information about:

• traditional and proven uses
• potential benefits
• possible adverse effects
• interactions with other herbs or medicines

Download App or Use Web Version

iTunes Store

Use the web-based service, or the About Herbs app that’s compatible with iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch devices and other mobile devices.

Download the free About Herbs app from the iTunes App Store or

Or go to the web-based version.

Your Doctor Needs to Know

If you are using a dietary supplement, keep your doctor or other healthcare professional informed. Why? The active ingredient in the product could interact with—increase or lessen—the effect of other medicines you’re taking.

Inforgraphic: What’s on My A-Fib Bookshelf?

book-shelf-infogfx-cropped-version-500-x-450-pix-at-300-res

Click on image to see the full infographic

To seek your A-Fib cure, educate yourself and learn to become your own best patient advocate. To help you, we created an infographic with 12 recommendations from my own Atrial Fibrillation library.

The Best A-Fib Reference Books

First are my top three A-Fib books along with my favorite medical dictionary. Then, I hand-picked books on patient empowerment, the importance of Magnesium to A-Fib patients, how to unmask the facts behind health statistics, and revealing insights into the marketing ploys of the pharmaceutical industry.

To see the full infographic, click here.

All are available from retail and online bookstores. To read my description of each book, see my ‘Wish List’ on Amazon.com. (Note: Use our Amazon portal link to order your books, and your purchases help support A-Fib.com.)

Educate yourself.
Become your own best patient advocate!

 

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