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


FAQ: How Does High Altitude Affect Atrial Fibrillation?

Updated July 5, 2018: Two readers last week emailed me questions about hiking in mountains or living in a high altitude state like Colorado. They wanted to know: “Does research show if high altitude brings on A-Fib?”

High Altitude Affects Everyone

To begin, know that the lower oxygen environment of high altitude affects everyone, at least at first. Your body must make certain physiological adaptations. This is particularly obvious at very high altitude (9000+ feet). Oxygen levels are approximately 40%-45% less dense and feel like “thin air”.

Heart rate speeds up, increased adrenaline circulates in our bodies. The low moisture content in the atmosphere causes dehydration (50%-60% lower than at sea level).

Even healthy individuals often feel shortness of breath and fatigue.

How High Altitude Affects A-Fib

If physically active, conditioned and in shape, A-Fib patients without symptoms should generally be fine at high altitude (depending on concomitant other heart conditions).

Patients whose atrial fibrillation is stable without symptoms should generally be fine at high altitude. 

For patients with episodes of atrial fibrillation, the stressors of high altitude may (or may not) be a trigger.

For those patients who have been cured of A-Fib, the risk of high altitude shouldn’t be much different from normal healthy persons.

Plan First with Your Doctor

When going to a high-altitude location, check with your doctor before hand. Your doctor may suggest that you rest and lower your normal activity level for several days after arriving at the high altitude.

In addition, it would be wise to have a plan for medication adjustment. For example, if on rate-control drugs, your doctor may want to up the dosage.

Adaption is the Key

For A-Fib patients, altitude and lower oxygen levels will affect your breathing and put a strain on your pulmonary veins where most A-Fib originates.

Adaption is key. Allow at least a couple of days of lower than normal activity level.

The key is gradual adaption. Before strenuous hiking or exercising in high altitude, allow at least a couple of days of lower than normal activity level.

To adjust to low moisture content and escape dehydration, hydrate well. Alcohol consumption should be minimized.

Also, watch for any new or unusual signs or symptoms of your a-Fib or of altitude sickness.

“High Altitude” and “Really High Altitude”

Reader comment: Michele Straube shared some insightful comments about high altitude and A-Fib. Michele Straube had A-Fib for 30 years until her successful ablation. She is an active hiker including walking the Alps.

Michele Straube

“There is “high altitude” and then there is “really high altitude”. Plus, even at “high altitude”, it is possible that anyone who has ever had A-Fib may feel some adverse effects. I offer two stories:

1. I was “cured” of A-Fib in 2009. In December 2015,, my family climbed Kilimanjaro taking a longer route up so we had time to acclimate. While the rest of the family summited, I stayed at base camp (15,580′) because my heart was no longer in NSR [normal sinus rhythm]. It returned to NSR as soon as we got down to 12,000′ elevation.

2. We do a lot of hiking in the mountains. Even though I’m not in A-Fib anymore, I feel the elevation (above 8,000′) more than most of my hiking companions. I don’t go into A-Fib (thank goodness), but my heart races and I often get dizzy. It takes me up to 5 days to acclimate, even at that not-so-high elevation.”

I admire Michele’s fearless attitude toward hiking and mountain climbing and her boldness in leading an A-Fib free life. Thanks, Michele, for sharing. To read Michele Straube’s story, go to ‘Cured after 30 years in A-Fib by Dr. Marrouche.

More FAQs by Patients with Atrial Fibrillation

For over a decade of publishing A-Fib.com, we have answered thousands of patient’s questions—many times the same questions. Perhaps the same questions you may have right now.

For more questions and answers in a number of categories, visit our FAQ pages.

Resources for this article
Nunley, K. Heart Rate & High Altitudes. Sept. 11, 2017. Livestrong.com. https://www.livestrong.com/article/398387-techniques-for-running-breathing-in-high-altitude/

Levine BD. Going High with Heart Disease: The ,of High Altitude Exposure in Older Individuals and Patients with Coronary Artery Disease. High Alt Med Biol. 2015 Jun;16(2):89-96. doi: 10.1089/ham.2015.0043. Epub 2015 May 21. PubMed PMID: 26060882.

Altitude & the Heart. National Jewish Health. https://www.nationaljewish.org/conditions/cardiac-conditions/altitude-and-the-heart

Raymond F. Stainback, MD. FAQ: Does high altitude have a negative effect on A-fib patients? Texas Heart Institute. 05/06/2016https://www.texasheart.org/heart-health/heart-information-center/frequently-asked-patient-questions/does-high-altitude-have-a-negative-effect-on-a-fib-patients/.

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)

Related Posts

Follow Us
facebook - A-Fib.comtwitter - A-Fib.comlinkedin  - A-Fib.compinterest  - A-Fib.comYouTube: A-Fib Can be Cured!  - A-Fib.com


A-Fib.com is a
501(c)(3) Nonprofit



Your support is needed. Every donation helps, even just $1.00.



A-Fib.com top rated by Healthline.com for fourth year 2014  2015  2016  2017

A-Fib.com Mission Statement
We Need You

Mug - Seek your cure - Beat Your A-Fib 200 pix wide at 300 resEncourage others
with A-Fib
click to order

Home | The A-Fib Coach | Help Support A-Fib.com | A-Fib News Archive | Tell Us What You think | Press Room | GuideStar Seal | HON certification | Disclosures | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy