"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"
"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
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.
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.
There’s more to hope than we thought. Hope triggers biochemical changes.
On A-Fib.com, hope and encouragement are important ingredients in becoming your own best patient advocate and seeking your A-Fib cure.
We know hope impacts one’s emotions. But it also affects our physical being. I bought and read this book to learn about the BIOLOGY of hope. Written by an oncologist and citing actual patient cases (mostly cancer), Dr. Groopman explores the role of hope in fighting disease and healing.
Bolster All Your Energies to Find Your A-Fib Cure
The latter part of The Anatomy of Hope interested me the most. It documents the positive physiological responses evoked by hope. Top scientists are interviewed who study the biological link between emotion and biological responses. The most relevant studies on the subject are reviewed (I’ve highlighted and marked these with sticky notes). We learn that there’s more to hope than we thought. Hope triggers biochemical changes. Biochemical changes can fight disease.
Hope triggers biochemical changes. Biochemical changes can fight disease.
Dr Groopman shows how hope, belief and expectations can alter the course of our lives, and even of our physical body. Good news for any patient dealing with a serious health condition, including Atrial Fibrillation patients!
Our Positive Thought/Prayer Group: Support is Just an Email Away
Patients offer support
At A-Fib.com one of our volunteer groups is a Positive Thought/Prayer group comprised of wonderful people worldwide. If you would like their support, especially at the time of your ablation or surgery, please email us your request. It’s comforting to know that others who’ve had A-Fib care about you and wish you well.
How to Send Your Request: Send your request to our coordinator, Barbara at: babareeba(at)aol.com (substitute an “@” for the “(at)”).
On a regular basis, we search the web for the best informational reading for Atrial Fibrillation patients and their families. We recommend only up-to-date, unbiased resources. 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.)
Are you one of the many A-Fib patients who also have PACs and PVCs? Are your PACs more than just annoying? Do your PACs become more frequent and trigger an A-Fib attack?
Perhaps you’re thinking if you reduce these extra beats and palpitations, you may be able to reduce your A-Fib episodes. So, what can you do?
PAC and PVC stands for Premature Ventricle Contractions and Premature Atrial Contractions.
Catheter Ablation Option
In extreme cases where the extra beats are very disturbing and damage one’s quality of life, Electrophysiologists (EPs) can perform an ablation for them similar to an ablation for A-Fib. But this is a specialized procedure that not all EPs perform or are willing to perform.
Suppress PACs and PVCs with the “Awesome Foursome” Cocktail
• L-carnitine: A derivative of the amino acid lysine which helps to turn fat into energy. It promotes energy metabolism and enhances cardiac function. Some consider it the single most important nutrient in cardiac health. It reduces PVCs.
Dosage: Daily: 750-2000 mg of L-Carnitine Fumerate (250 to 500 mg three to four times a day).
• Coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone):A naturally occurring enzyme, part of the quinone chemical group, that is found in every cell in the body. It produces energy in the mitochondria and energizes the heart. 95% of the body’s energy is generated by CoQ10, which generates energy in the form of ATP. It prolongs the action potential and helps maintain sinus rhythm. It improves heart rhythm problems.
Dosage: 100-300 mg daily in divided doses with meals.
• D-ribose:A five-carbon sugar that is a regulator in the production of ATP. The only compound used by the body to replenish depleted energy stores. Ribose increases tolerance to cardiac stress, improves exercise tolerance and physical function, provides cardiac energy needed to maintain normal heart function, increases cardiac efficiency, lowers stress during exercise, and maintains healthy energy levels in heart and muscle.
Dosage: Daily: 7-10 grams of Ribose powder. Take in divided doses with meals or just before and after exercise.
• Magnesium: A vital mineral used by the enzymes that make energy synthesis and recycling possible. Adequate intracellular magnesium is essential to normal tissue and organ function. Low magnesium is associated with cardiac abnormalities, fibrillation, and vascular and muscle spasms, and is seen in cardiac failure.
Dosage: A recommended goal is a minimum 600 mg/day, preferably 800 mg. (For example, 200mg three times a day and 200 mg at bedtime.)
When you use the A-Fib.com Amazon.com link, we receive a small commission on each sale, at no extra cost to you. We apply it toward the monthly publishing costs of this website. Bookmark this link and use every time you go to Amazon.com.
As you search for your Atrial Fibrillation cure, you will want to organize the information you are collecting. Start with a notebook and a three-ring binder or a file folder.
What to Include in Your A-Fib Binder
Your A-Fib binder is where you should file and organize all your A-Fib-related treatment information, such as:
• contact list of all health care providers and facilities
• lab test results, EKG strips and other medical records
• office visit notes and phone calls
• list of all medications
• health insurance claims and records
• records of any major medical event from the past two years
• completed worksheets and blanks ready for use
• research from the internet or medical center library
We strongly encourage you to get in the habit of keeping a copy of every test result you get in your three-ring binder. 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.
Your A-Fib Binder holds all the information you need when seeing a new doctor (or interviewing a prospective doctor). You will want to send ahead of time a packet with your medical records, test results, and any applicable images or X-rays.
Monitor Progress of your A-Fib
Because A-Fib is a progressive disease, you should track if your heart’s measurements are getting worse, and by how much.
Ask your doctor for details of your heart dimensions and functions, including the diameter and volume of the left atrium, your Ejection Fraction (EF) and any other test results.
For future reference, store this benchmark data in your A-Fib binder.
Your A-Fib Binder is a Valuable Resource. It will help you find your A-Fib cure!
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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’.
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
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
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.
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.).
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!
A Certified Stroke Center could save your life or avert the debilitating effects of an A-Fib stroke. But only if you get there within four hours.
What is a Certified Stroke Center?
A certified or ‘Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center’ is typically the largest and best-equipped hospital in a given geographical area that can treat any kind of stroke or stroke complication.
Only a fraction of the 5,800 acute-care hospitals in the U.S are certified as providing state-of-the-art stroke care.
Why Do I Need to Know the Closest?
If you have a stroke and get yourself to a Certified Stroke Center within four hours, there is a good chance specialists can dissolve the clot, and you won’t have any lasting damage. (Hurray, you dodged a bullet.)
A Certified Stroke Center will have drugs such as Tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA) to dissolve the clot. They can use Clopidogrel or acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) to stop platelets from clumping together to form clots. Or use anticoagulants to keep existing blood clots from getting larger.
Be Prepared for a Stroke Emergency: Do Your Homework
We offer you two sources to look up the nearest certified or ‘Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center’. Just enter your zip code or other parameter to see a map and list of centers:
Before meeting with a new electrophysiologist (or surgeon), you’ll want to send (or take along) a packet with your medical records, test results and any images/X-rays, but you may be missing some medical records.
HIPAA stands for the U.S.Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.
What They Can and Can’t Charge You
When requesting copies of your medical records, expect to pay duplication costs for hard copies. In the U.S., HIPAA regulations allows doctors/practices to charge a “reasonable, cost-based fee.” They can charge for supplies, staff time for copying and processing, and mailing costs, if applicable.
However, they may not charge for the time a staff member spends searching for the record. In addition, they should not adopt a policy of charging a flat fee or charging a patient to view a record.
Copy digital files to a USB flash drive
To save money, ask your doctors or medical center if they will copy electronic files to your USB Flash drive or to a disc/CD you supply.
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 2016 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.
The A-Fib.com Glossary of Medical Terms and Phrases is the most complete online glossary devoted exclusively to Atrial Fibrillation and is the largest single source online. Each definition is written in everyday language—a great resource for patients and their families.
Bookmark this page and refer to it when reading and studying A-Fib research and literature. (if you have a medical dictionary, make a note of our web address for those terms you don’t find in your dictionary.)
If you don’t find the term you are looking for—email us and we’ll add it to the Glossary.
Realize there are others who have been through A-Fib. Find them, use them as part of your A-Fib support system.
Online support groups can be very helpful to patients and others interested in A-Fib. It’s helpful to know you are not alone. Many, many others are dealing with Atrial Fibrillation.
These groups are free, but usually require registration before you can post messages or even read the messages. All are good for posting messages and searching for responses. But each is unique. Membership numbers vary greatly.
Warning: Guard your privacy!If you join any of the online A-Fib Discussion Groups or Forums. you may want to not use your real name, address, etc.
Because insurance companies, employers, mortgage lenders, credit card companies, etc. may put your name into a search engine, i.e., ‘Google’. They may find you belong to an Atrial Fibrillation discussion site, forum, or that you have Atrial Fibrillation.
This information may be used against you or may influence their decision-making about you.
Seeing a new doctor or specialist? You’ll want to supply them with a copy of all your relevant A-Fib related medical records. This may involve requesting files from current and former physicians and medical centers.
In the US, under the HIPAA legislation, you have a right to copies of your records.
To start the process you need to submit a written request to each doctor or medical practice.
HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.
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, “How to Request Copies of Your Medical Records”.
Atrial Fibrillation doesn’t discriminate. Our Pinterest board has over 40 celebs who have dealt with A-Fib. You might be surprised to learn of the many celebrities with A-Fib. From the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL to track & field athletes and Olympic champions. Political leaders and public servants to musicians, actors and performers.
For example, ELLEN DEGENERES, Talk show host, comedian, KEVIN NEALON, comedian-actor-writer and Saturday Night Live alumni and HERB ALBERT (and the Tijuana Brass), the king of easy listening in the 1960s; Co-founder of A&M Records.
Billie Jean King, Tennis legend
BILLIE JEAN KING, Tennis legend (Wimbledon champ 20 times) and advocate for gender equality, MARIO LEMIEUX, Canadian American NHL/AHL Hockey Hall of Fame and LARRY BIRD, NBA star and coach.
Doctors appreciate knowledgeable, informed, and prepared patients. Since each doctor will probably ask you much the same medical history questions, for efficiency, why not prepare your ‘Personal A-Fib Medical Summary’?
Make a list of all health care providers, emergency rooms, labs and facilities who have provided you with A-Fib-related medical services. Add names and contact information for doctors and specialists you see regularly and why. List medications you take and why (include minerals and supplements also).
Lastly, add relevant medical information from the past two years (surgeries, medical emergencies, allergic reactions, etc.)
Type up your ‘Personal A-Fib Medical Summary’ and print copies. Include with each packet of medical records you send to doctors.
Searching Tip: Besides our topic menus (the subjects on the left side and top of the page), another way to surf A-Fib.com is by keyword, name or phrase. Use the ‘Search’ box found in the upper right corner of every web page.
Search box at A-Fib.com
For example, you can search for a specific medical center, doctor or electrophysiologist.
The ‘Search’ feature is very handy because it will also look through all the answers to our Frequently Asked Questions as well as all our Personal A-Fib Stories of Hope written by patients and even our Glossary of Terms.
To use, enter a word or phrase in the ‘Search’ box—just like in your favorite web search engine. (Put quotes around a phrase to keep the words together.) When you click on ‘search’, a list of results will appear. Review the results, then just click on any entry of interest.
Hint: To retain your search results page, use your mouse ‘right click’ and select “Open in a New Tab’ to view a specific search item.
1. Full name and date of birth
2. Medical conditions
3. Implantable devices and materials
5. Medications (and dosages)
6. A copy of a recent ECG
7. Contact information (family, your doctor, and your Health Care Proxy agent)
Disclaimer: the authors of this Web site are not medical doctors and are not affiliated with any medical school or organization. The information on this site is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Nothing contained in this service is intended to be for medical diagnosis or treatment.