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


Understanding A-Fib

Does Size Matter? What’s the Size of Your Left Atrium?

When in A-Fib, your left atrium has to work harder than normal and tends to stretch and dilate over time. Thus, an enlarged heart, specifically your left atrium, can be one symptom of living with Atrial Fibrillation.

Other contributors to an enlarged left atrium are obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and high blood pressure. Also, people with a naturally large or tall body size often have an enlarged left atrium (ELA).

Consequences of an Enlarged Left Atrium

One study showed that Persistent A-Fib was associated with left atrium size (but not the number of years that a patient had A-Fib).

Left atrium size is a predictor of mortality due to cardiovascular issues.

Left atrium size has been found to be a predictor of mortality due to both cardiovascular issues as well as all-cause mortality (although other factors may contribute).

As a result, some medical centers won’t do a Pulmonary Vein Ablation (Isolation) procedure if the left atrium is enlarged (over 5.5 cm). However, with the newer ablation techniques, other centers will. Surgeons also are reluctant to operate on someone with an enlarged heart.

Normal left atrium: 2.0-4.0 cm

Left Atrium Size: Normal vs Enlarged

An enlarged left atrium can be diagnosed and measured using an echocardiogram (ECHO). A normal left atrium measures around 2.0-4.0 cm (20 mm–40 mm).

Ranges: Left atrial enlargement can be mild, moderate or severe depending on the extent of the underlying condition.

Note: Measurement of the volume is preferred over a single linear dimension since enlargement can be different for different directions.

Why You Need to Know Your Measurement

If you’ve had A-Fib for a while with significant symptoms, we often advise you to ask your doctor for this measurement to see if your left atrium is being enlarged.

To rank the size of your atrium, see TABLELeft Atrial Size
It will be described in either centimeters (i.e., 2.0 cm) or millimeters (i.e., 20 mm).

Store this info with your other A-Fib test results and other papers in your A-Fib Binder or folder. This will be your benchmark for future comparison.

To rank the size of your atrium, go to TABLE: Indexing the Left Atrial Size

Resources for this article
• Margolese, R G, et al. Cancer Medicine (e.5 ed.). Hamilton, Ontario: B.C. Decker. ISBN 1-55009-113-1. Retrieved 27 January 2011.

• Allen NE, et al. (March 2009). “Moderate alcohol intake and cancer incidence in women”. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 101 (5): 296–305. doi:10.1093/jnci/djn514.

• Lang RM, et al. “Recommendations for chamber quantification”. European Journal of Echocardiography. (2006) 7 (2): 79–108.  PMID 16458610. doi:10.1016/j.euje.2005.12.014. Retrieved 2012-08-26.

• Left atrial enlargement. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Last edited 20 March 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left_atrial_enlargement

My Top 5 Articles About Atrial Flutter + Bonus Video

You can have A-Fib without Flutter and A-Flutter without A-Fib. But more often than not, they are linked.

Atrial Flutter can be considered as a milder or more ‘organized’ form of A-Fib. But A-Flutter is still as dangerous as A-Fib. If you have A-Flutter, A-Fib often lurks in the background or develops later.

While most of the information on A-Fib.com applies to Atrial Flutter too, I offer you a list of my top articles about Atrial Flutter.

• FAQ: Does your information about atrial fibrillation apply to a-flutter, as well?

Atrial Fibrillation and Atrial Flutter: Cause and Effect? 

• Q & A:They want to do an A-Flutter-only ablation on me. Will that help me? I definitely have A-Flutter and possibly A-Fib as well.”

Reader With A-Flutter Advises Two Lifestyle Changes.

A-Flutter At High Altitude In Colorado; A personal A-Fib story by Tom Burt, Houston, TX.

BONUS VIDEO: Atrial Flutter: Fast Heartbeat Arrhythmia. Short clip illustrates how the AV node, a cluster of cells located in the center of the heart between the upper and lower chambers, slows down the electrical signal before it enters the lower chambers.(:28 sec.).

Additional reference: For an in depth article about Atrial Flutter see the post by Dr. John Mandrola, Atrial Flutter—15 facts you may want to know. Published on DrJohnm.org.

New Video: Impact of Lifestyle Factors on Patients with Atrial Fibrillation with John Mandrola, MD

We’ve posted a new video with Dr. John Mandrola, MD, a cardiac electrophysiologist from Louisville, KY (Patti’s hometown).

Dr Mandrola on Impact of Lifestyle Factors on A-Fib

In this interview, Dr Mandrola talks about the impact of lifestyle factors on patients with atrial fibrillation. He explains how in the past 5–10 years doctors have started to understand that A-Fib can be caused through “upstream” factors that affect atrial health, things that stretch the atrium like high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, even stress and anxiety, and over exercise like endurance exercise.

He describes how managing these risk factors can reduce the patient’s risk of stroke, and make a significant impact on the patient’s heart rhythm and overall health. (5:29) Go to video->

Dr John Mandrola is the chief cardiology correspondent for Medscape—a web resource for health professionals (see ‘Trials and Fibrillations with Dr John Mandrola’). In addition, he maintains a general health and fitness blog, Dr John M, and is active on social media, especially Twitter, where he can be found @DrJohnM.

The Costs and Consequences of Living with Atrial Fibrillation

Our mission at A-Fib.com is, in part, “to empower patients to find their A-Fib cure or best outcome.” We often advise:

Don’t listen to doctors who want to just control your symptoms with drugs. Leaving patients in A-Fib overworks the heart, leads to fibrosis and increases the risk of stroke. The abnormal rhythm in your atria causes electrical changes and enlarges your atria (called remodeling) making it work harder and harder over time. Seek your Cure.

A Few CDC Facts About A-Fib

I was recently reminded of the other costs of living with Atrial Fibrillation when I re-read the  A-Fib Fact sheet from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In part it reads: “More than 750,000 hospitalizations [in the U.S.] occur each year because of Atrial Fibrillation (A-Fib). The death rate from A-Fib as the primary or a contributing cause of death has been rising for more than two decades.”

The A-Fib stat that jumped out at me was:

“Medical costs [in the U.S.] for people who have A-Fib are about $8,705 higher per year than for people who do not have A-Fib.”

How disconcerting! A-Fib costs you in many ways. Beyond the physical toll, staying in A-Fib with medication is costly to your wallet. Besides the annual costs of your medications, the odds of your being hospitalized increases. Just in terms of dollars and cents, A-Fib on average costs you an additional $8,700 a year.

To learn more, read my editorial, Leaving the Patient in A-Fib—No! No! No!

How Much Will You Pay to Stay in A-Fib?

Remember: ‘A-Fib begets A-Fib.’ The longer you have A-Fib, the greater the risk of your A-Fib episodes becoming more frequent and longer, often leading to continuous (Chronic) A-Fib. (However, some people never progress to more serious A-Fib stages.)

When you add up all the costs (physical, emotional and monetary) of living in A-Fib, doesn’t it make sense to ‘Seek you Cure’?

Don’t let your doctor leave you in A-Fib. Educate yourself. Learn all your treatment options.

Resources for this Article

• Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Weighted national estimates. HCUP National Inpatient Sample [online]. 2012. [cited 2015 Feb 9]. Available from: http://hcupnet.ahrq.gov/HCUPnet.jsp.

• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About multiple cause of death 1999–2011. CDC WONDER Online Database. 2014. [cited 2014 Oct 2]. Available from: http://wonder.cdc.gov/mcd-icd10.html.

• January CT, et al. 2014 AHA/ACC/HRS guideline for the management of patients with atrial fibrillation. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2014;64(21):2246–80.

• Mozaffarian D, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics—2015 update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2015;131:e29–e322

• Atrial Fibrillation Fact Sheet. Last reviewed August 2017. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fs_atrial_fibrillation.htm

Causes: How Do You Get Atrial Fibrillation? What Triggers A-Fib?

Expanding your understanding of A-Fib is a core mission here at Atrial Fibrillation: Resources for Patients (A-Fib.com). In that effort, one of our core content pages is Causes of A-Fib.

(A ‘core page’ answers one of the basic questions you [and your family] have about developing or being diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation.)

Causes of A-Fib at A-Fib.com

Causes of A-Fib

Review of Causes and Triggers

Expand or fill in any gaps in your understanding of A-Fib. Our basic review of the various causes of Atrial Fibrillation covers: Heart Problems, Alcohol Consumption, Severe Body Distress, Mental Stress, Being Overweight and Genetics.

After the list of causes, we then review some of the Triggers that can bring on your A-Fib. We cover: Food-Related Triggers, Sleep Apnea, Mechanically-Induced A-Fib, Physical and Gender Characteristics, Aging and ‘No Known Cause’. Go to What Causes A-Fib?

The Pursuit of Knowledge

The more you understand about Atrial Fibrillation, the better you can cope with your symptoms—and the better you can strive to Seek Your Cure! 

New Video: EKG of Actual Heart in Atrial Fibrillation

We’ve added a new video to our Library of Videos & Animations. A graphic display of actual heart in Atrial Fibrillation. How it could look to your doctor on an EKG/ECG monitor; (Your EKG may look different, but will be fast and erratic). Includes display of the changing heartbeat rate in the lower left.

For comparison, we’ve included a graphic comparing the tracing of a heart in normal sinus rhythm vs. a heart in A-Fib.

Share with you family and friends when you talk about your A-Fib. (:59 sec)  Go to video->

EKG tracing

How to Interpret an ECG Signal

A-Fib is fairly easy to diagnose using EKG. The ECG signal strip is a graphic tracing of the electrical activity of the heart.

An electrocardiogram, ECG (EKG), is a test used to measure the rate and regularity of heartbeats. To learn more, see our article, Understanding the EKG Signal.

Video: EKG of Heart in Atrial Fibrillation on Monitor

Graphic display of actual heart in Atrial Fibrillation. How it could look to your doctor on an EKG/ECG monitor; (Your EKG may look different, but will be fast and erratic). Notice the changing heartbeat rate in the lower left. Compare to normal ECG below.

Share with you family and friends when you talk about your A-Fib. (:59 sec) Posted by jason king, Published on Aug 24, 2017.

Graphic: ECG of Heart in Normal Heart Rhythm and in Atrial Fibrillation

In the case of Atrial Fibrillation, the consistent P waves are replaced by fibrillatory waves, which vary in amplitude, shape, and timing (compare the two illustrations below).

How to Interpret an ECG Signal

EKG signal components at A-Fib.com

EKG signal components

An electrocardiogram, ECG (EKG), is a test used to measure the rate and regularity of heartbeats, as well as the size and position of the chambers, the presence of any damage to the heart, and the effects of drugs or devices used to regulate the heart.

The ECG signal strip is a graphic tracing of the electrical activity of the heart. To learn more, see our article, Understanding the EKG Signal.

If you find any errors on this page, email us. Y Last updated: Friday, September 8, 2017

Return to Instructional A-Fib Videos and Animations

VIDEOS: Endoscopic Views of a Beating Heart in Atrial Fibrillation

The Left Atrium in Atrial Fibrillation

Endoscopic video of a beating heart; shows the Left Atrium during Atrial Fibrillation. Looped footage with voice-over narration. (:32 sec.) Posted by BillSchnee

YouTube video playback controls: When watching this video, you have several playback options. The following controls are located in the lower right portion of the frame: Turn on closed captions, Settings (speed/quality), Watch on YouTube website, and Enlarge video to full frame. Click an icon to select.

Amputation of the Left Atrial Appendage

Endoscopic video of a beating heart; shows placement of the Left Atrial Appendage into the jaws of the stapling device before amputation and removal (using a EZ45 linear stapler). With voice-over narration, (1:34 min.) Posted by BillSchnee.

YouTube video playback controls: When watching this video, you have several playback options. The following controls are located in the lower right portion of the frame: Turn on closed captions, Settings (speed/quality), Watch on YouTube website, and Enlarge video to full frame. Click an icon to select.


If you find any errors on this page, email us. Y Last updated: Thursday, August 31, 2017

Return to Instructional A-Fib Videos and Animations

Your Heart’s Electrical System & How Clots Form: An Introduction 

Basic introduction to how the heart works. Identifies the parts of the heart and illustrates the role of each, and shows how clots form; Detail animation of the heart processes accompanied by narration. Transcript below. (3:50 min.)

Animation from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.

TO PLAY VIDEO: Click the PLAY  button to start video
(The controls inside the video frame don’t work.)

Transcript of this Article
Your heart’s electrical system controls all the events that occur when your heart pumps blood. The electrical system also is called the cardiac conduction system. If you’ve ever seen the heart test called an EKG (electrocardiogram), you’ve seen a graphical picture of the heart’s electrical activity.

Your heart’s electrical system is made up of three main parts:

The sinoatrial (SA) node, located in the right atrium of your heart
The atrioventricular (AV) node, located on the interatrial septum close to the tricuspid valve
The His-Purkinje system, located along the walls of your heart’s ventricles

A heartbeat is a complex series of events. These events take place inside and around your heart. A heartbeat is a single cycle in which your heart’s chambers relax and contract to pump blood. This cycle includes the opening and closing of the inlet and outlet valves of the right and left ventricles of your heart. Each heartbeat has two basic parts: diastole and systole.

During diastole, the atria and ventricles of your heart relax and begin to fill with blood. At the end of diastole, your heart’s atria contract (atrial systole) and pump blood into the ventricles. The atria then begin to relax.

Your heart’s ventricles then contract (ventricular systole), pumping blood out of your heart. Each beat of your heart is set in motion by an electrical signal from within your heart muscle. In a normal, healthy heart, each beat begins with a signal from the SA node. This is why the SA node sometimes is called your heart’s natural pacemaker.

Your pulse, or heart rate, is the number of signals the SA node produces per minute. The signal is generated as the vena cavae fill your heart’s right atrium with blood from other parts of your body. The signal spreads across the cells of your heart’s right and left atria. This signal causes the atria to contract. This action pushes blood through the open valves from the atria into both ventricles.

The signal arrives at the AV node near the ventricles.

It slows for an instant to allow your heart’s right and left ventricles to fill with blood. The signal is released and moves along a pathway called the bundle of His, which is located in the walls of your heart’s ventricles.

From the bundle of His, the signal fibers divide into left and right bundle branches through the Purkinje fibers. These fibers connect directly to the cells in the walls of your heart’s left and right ventricles (see yellow on the picture in the animation).

The signal spreads across the cells of your ventricle walls, and both ventricles contract. However, this doesn’t happen at exactly the same moment.

The left ventricle contracts an instant before the right ventricle. This pushes blood through the pulmonary valve (for the right ventricle) to your lungs, and through the aortic valve (for the left ventricle) to the rest of your body.

As the signal passes, the walls of the ventricles relax and await the next signal.

This process continues over and over as the atria refill with blood and more electrical signals come from the SA node.

If you find any errors on this page, email us. Y Last updated: Monday, September 11, 2017

Return to Instructional A-Fib Videos and Animations

New FAQ about Asymptomatic Long-Standing Persistent A-Fib

We’ve posted a new FAQ and answer based on an email I received from a fellow with a very challenging case of Long-standing Persistent Atrial Fibrillation:

“I am 69 years old, in permanent A-Fib for 15 years, but non-symptomatic. My left atrium is over 55mm and several cardioversions have failed. My EP won’t even try a catheter ablation. I exercise regularly and have met some self-imposed extreme goals. What more can I do?

My answer: As you may know, being in permanent (long-standing persistent) Atrial Fibrillation can cause other long term problems like fibrosis, increased risks of heart failure and dementia. So you are wise to be concerned.

I’m not surprised your electrophysiologist (EP) is reluctant about performing a catheter ablation. Being asymptomatic with 15 years of long-standing persistent A-Fib and a Left Atrium diameter of 55mm, most EPs wouldn’t recommend or perform a catheter ablation on you.

Tikosyn: generic name dofetilide at A-Fib.com

Tikosyn: (dofetilide)

Drug Therapy Option: Tikosyn

Have you tried the newer antiarrhythmic drug Tikosyn (generic name dofetilide)?

Tikosyn was designed for cases like yours. It’s a Class 1A drug that works by blocking the activity of certain electrical signals in the heart that can cause an irregular heartbeat. Read more of my answer…

Infographic: My Best A-Fib Reference Books for Patients and Their Families

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.)

 

Infographic: September is Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Month

During September each year, we focus our efforts on reaching those who may have Atrial Fibrillation and don’t know it. We offer a our infographic to educate the public about this healthcare issue, along with a free promotional banner and poster.

Share it! Pin it or Download (click on link to view full size, then ‘Save As’ )

Download (600 x 1875-pix): PNG format or JPEG format. Also available: Promo banner and promo poster.

A-Fib.com A-FibFacts.info

About Atrial Fibrillation: An estimated 30%−50% of those affected with Atrial Fibrillation are unaware they have it—often only learning about their A-Fib during a routine medical exam. Of untreated patients, 35% will suffer a stroke. Half of all A-Fib-related strokes are major and disabling.

For more facts about Atrial Fibrillation, go to A-FibFacts.info or download the A-Fib Facts 5-page report.

Also available (click to enlarge, then Save As):

Promotional bannersept-is-a-fib-awareness-month-bannerPromotional poster:

sept-is-a-fib-month-orange-head-poster

 

 

 

InfoGFX: How Atrial Fibrillation Damages Your Heart, Brain and Other Organs

by Steve S. Ryan, PhD

It’s a bad idea to just live with your Atrial Fibrillation. A-Fib is a progressive disease. It reduces the amount of blood flowing to the rest of your body by about 15%–30% with damaging effects. At the same time, your heart is working progressively harder and harder.
A-Fib is progressive disease - Infographic Aug 2016

A-Fib is definitely curable. (I was cured of my A-Fib in 1998). If you have A-Fib, no matter how long you’ve had it, you should aim for a complete and permanent cure.

If your doctor is satisfied with just keeping your A-Fib “under control,” I recommend you get a second opinion.

Refer to our Finding the Right Doctor page and related readings. We step you through all you need to know to find the right doctor for you and your treatment goals.

#AtrialFibrillation #afib #Arrhythmia #AtrialTachycardia #Tachycardia

New FAQ Answered: Which Procedure Has the Best Success Rate?

We’ve answered a new FAQ under the category: Understanding Atrial Fibrillation. Thanks to Thomas Scheben for this question:

I have paroxysmal A-Fib and would like to know your opinion on which procedure has the best cure rate.

The best cure rate isn’t the only criteria you should consider when seeking your Atrial Fibrillation cure. Let me first review your top three procedure options: cardioversion, catheter ablation, and surgical Maze/Mini-Maze. 

Atrial Fibrillation is not a one-size fits all type of disease.

Electrocardioversion: When first diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation, doctors often recommend an Electrocardioversion to get you back into normal sinus rhythm. But for most patients, their A-Fib returns within a week to a month. (However, you might be lucky like the A-Fib patient who wrote us that he was A-Fib free for 7 years after a successful cardioversion.)

Catheter Ablations: Radio-frequency and CryoBalloon catheter ablations have similar success rates 70%-85% for the first ablation, around 90% is you need a second ablation.

How to achieve these high success rates? It’s crucial you choose the right electrophysiologist (EP)…Continue to read my full answer.

Blizzard of 2016 Increases Risk of A-Fib Stroke

We’ve all heard of someone dropping dead from a heart attack while shoveling snow. But along with record snowfall and subfreezing temperatures comes a warning for those with Atrial Fibrillation. Winter increases stroke risk in people with A-Fib.

Winter and increased risk of stoke at A-Fib.com

Winter: increased stroke risk

Do You Live in a Cold Climate?

In a study from Taiwan, nearly 300,000 people with new-onset A-Fib were followed for eleven years. Almost 35,000 suffered an ischemic (A-Fib) stroke.

The risk for an ischemic stroke was nearly 20% higher in winter than in summer.

“When the average temperature was below 68⁰ F (20⁰C), the risk of ischemic stroke significantly increased compared to days with an average temperature of 86⁰F (30⁰C).”

Why More Ischemic Strokes During Winter?

Cold weather may make blood more prone to coagulate.

Cooler temperatures may produce greater plasm fibrinogen levels and factor VII clotting activity and may lead to “increased coagulability and plasma viscosity,” according to the author of this study, Dr. Tze-Fan Chao. 

Ischemic stroke was nearly 20% higher in winter than in summer.

What Patients Need To Know

The cold temperatures can put you more at risk for an A-Fib (Ischemic) stroke. So act accordingly. Bundle up during winter. Keep the thermostat set to keep you warm enough.
If you’re on a blood thinner, discuss this research with your doctor. You need to keep your anticoagulant levels up during winter.
References for this article
Chao, Tze-Fan. Cold weather linked to increased stroke risk in atrial fibrillation patients. European Society of Cardiology Congress News Release, August 26, 2015 17:21. http://www.alphagalileo.org/ViewItem.aspx?ItemId=155774&CultureCode=en

My 2015 Top Five List: Advancements in the Treatment of A-Fib

Looking back over 2015, I found five significant developments for those ‘living’ with A-Fib and those seeking their ‘cure’. My ‘Top Five List’ focuses on the Watchman device, a Pradaxa antidote and research findings about lifestyle choices, and reducing fibrosis.

1. FDA Approves the Watchman Device

The Watchman occlusion device

The Watchman is positioned via catheter

Anticoagulant Alternative: Because A-Fib patients are at high risk of stroke and clots, a blood thinner (anticoagulant) like warfarin is often prescribed. If you can’t or don’t want to be on blood thinners, you had few options.

That was until March 2015 when the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Watchman device. There’s now an option to blood thinners! The Watchman device (Boston Scientific) is inserted to close off the Left Atrial Appendage (LAA), the origin of 90%-95% of A-Fib clots.

To read my complete Top Five List…go to My 2015 Top Five List: A Review of Advancements in the Treatment of A-Fib->.

Pinterest: Profiles of Over 40 Celebs with A-Fib

Ellen Degeners, TV host and comedian

Ellen Degeneres, TV host and comedian

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

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.

See many, many more Celebs with A-Fib on our Pinterest page: “Celebs With A-Fib“. #afib. Visit all our A-Fib-related Pinterest boards at https://www.pinterest.com/stevesryan/

Free Report: How & Why to Read An Operating Room Report

Special 12-page report by Steve S. Ryan, PhD

FREE 12-page Report by Steve S. Ryan, PhD

In our free Special Report, How and Why to Read Your OR Report – Special Report by Steve S. Ryan PhD – A-Fib.com, we examine the actual O.R. report of the catheter ablation of Travis Van Slooten, publisher of Living With Atrial Fibrillation performed by Dr. Andrea Natale, Austin, TX.

What is an O.R. Report?

An O.R. report is a document written by the electrophysiologist who performed the catheter ablation. It contains a detailed account of the findings, the procedure used, the preoperative and postoperative diagnoses, etc.

It’s a very technical document. Because of this, it’s usually given to a patient only when they ask for it. You need to call your doctor or his office to obtain it.

Why to Request and Read Your O.R. Report

The O.R. report is a historical record of how you became A-Fib free.
The O.R. report is a blow-by-blow account of your EP’s actions. It’s as close as you’ll get to understanding your own ablation without actually looking over the EP’s shoulder during the ablation. The O.R. report is a historical record of how you became A-Fib free. (File with your A-Fib medical records for future reference.)

If you’ve had an ablation that was less than successful, you want to know why! Your O.R. report would show what they found in your heart, what was done, and possibly why the ablation didn’t fulfill expectations.

Studying an O.R. report can be very revealing…you may decide to change EPs going forward!

Reading an O.R. report can be very revealing. Were there complications? Was your fibrosis more extensive than expected? Was there a problem with the EP’s ablation techniques? Or with the EP lab equipment? This information will help you and your healthcare team decide how next to proceed.

Also, depending on what you read in your O.R. report, you may decide to change EPs going forward!

O.R. Report with closeup

Close-up of O.R. Report with markups

FREE Report: How & Why to Read Your Operating Room Report

In our FREE Special Report: How and Why to Read Your OR Report – Special Report by Steve S. Ryan PhD – A-Fib.com, I make it easy (well, let’s say ‘easier’) to learn how to read an O.R. report.

Along with an introduction, I’ve annotated every technical phrase or concept (in purple text) so you will understand each entry. I then translate what each comment means and summarize Travis’ report.

Get your PDF copy TODAY. Download How and Why to Read Your OR Report – Special Report by Steve S. Ryan PhD – A-Fib.com our FREE 12-page Special Report (Remember: Save to PDF  to your hard drive.)

Tip: If you’ve had an ablation, ask for your O.R. Report. If you or a loved one is planning a catheter ablation, make a note to yourself to ask for the O.R. report.

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If you find any errors on this page, email us. Y Last updated: Monday, July 18, 2016

FAQs Understanding A-Fib: Stiff Heart & Diastolic Dysfunction

 FAQs Understanding A-Fib: Stiff Heart

FAQs Understanding Your A-Fib A-Fib.comI’ve heard about ‘stiff heart’ or diastolic dysfunction. When you have A-Fib, do you automatically have diastolic heart failure? What exactly is diastolic dysfunction?

Someone with A-Fib can have much the same symptoms as someone with a ‘stiff heart’ or diastolic dysfunction. But A-Fib is an electrical problem that is often fixable, whereas diastolic dysfunction is a structural (or plumbing) problem usually not easily fixed.

Here are some statements from doctors I asked about this question:

• “Diastolic dysfunction (stiff heart) can lead to congestive heart failure. A-Fib is electrical. But some patients with A-Fib also have diastolic dysfunction.”

• “While many people with A-Fib do indeed have diastolic dysfunction (usually as a result of hypertension), this is not always the case.  On the other hand, there is no doubt that hypertension and the consequent effect on atrial stretch exacerbates the situation.  Perhaps the best way to think about it is that based on one’s genetic predisposition, one has a certain propensity to develop A-Fib. This can be modulated (i.e., exacerbated) by conditions that increase atrial pressure—such as hypertension, valve disease, heart failure, etc.”

Diastolic dysfunction refers to a decline in performance of one or both ventricles. ‘Diastole’ refers to the time when the ventricles are relaxing and filling with incoming blood as compared to when the ventricles are propelling blood out to the rest of the body. Diastolic Dysfunction may refer to both the left atrium and left ventricle being stiff and not functioning properly. (Whereas in A-Fib the focus is on the left atrium.)

When someone in A-Fib is restored to normal sinus rhythm, usually both the left atrium and left ventricle begin to function normally again. But someone with long term A-Fib may also develop an anatomical or mechanical pumping problem—diastolic dysfunction (stiff heart), fibrosis, scarring, cardiomyopathy, etc. which are more permanent and harder to improve. (Another reason to treat your A-Fib as soon as possible.)

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Last updated: June 18, 2018

VIDEO: Atrial Fibrillation—A Conversation with Dr. Steve S. Ryan

Resources & Links

Video Interview: Steve S. Ryan, PhD, Author of Beat Your A-Fib

Host Skip E. Lowe interviews Steve S Ryan, PhD, about Atrial Fibrillation. Topics include A-Fib symptoms, causes, cures and Dr. Ryan’s book, Beat Your A-Fib – The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure. Skip E. relays his own experiences with A-Fib. Dr. Ryan warns about incorrect A-Fib information found on the internet and in print media.  Recorded in W. Hollywood, CA. 14:53 min.

About Steve S. Ryan, PhD: An advocate for patients with Atrial Fibrillation, Dr. Ryan is publisher of the patient education website ‘Atrial Fibrillation: Resources for Patients’  (A-Fib.com), author of the award-winning book, ‘Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure’ (BeatYourA-Fib.com) and known as The A-Fib Coach for his one-to-one mentoring of A-Fib patients.

Return to Videos Featuring Steve S. Ryan, PhD

Last updated: Tuesday, April 21, 2015

 

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