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


At A-Fib.com, What Do We Stand For?

To maintain our independence, integrity and our unbiased viewpoint, A-Fib.com is deliberately not affiliated with any medical school, device manufacturer, pharmaceutical company, HMO, or medical practice.

We accept no third-party advertising, do not charge for inclusion in our Directory of Doctors & Facilities and accept no fee (cash or other kind) for a listing in Steve’s Lists of Doctors by Specialty.

Not many healthcare websites or patient education sites can make these claims.

The A-Fib.com Mission

If you visit our “About Us” page, you can read about how Steve Ryan started A-Fib.com after researching and finding his own cure.

Among other things, you will also find the A-Fib.com mission statement. It summarizes what we do and why.

Our Mission: A-Fib.com offers hope and guidance to empower patients to find their A-Fib cure or best outcome. A-Fib.com is the patient’s unbiased source of well-researched information on current and emerging Atrial Fibrillation treatments.

Join Us! Support the A-Fib.com Mission

If you would like to support our mission, you can refer others to our website, you can bookmark and use the A-Fib.com Amazon.com portal link to shop online. Or make a donation through PayPal towards our monthly publishing expenses.

A-Fib.com is your independent source of unbiased information
about Atrial Fibrillation and its resources and treatments.

Join our Mission. Support A-Fib.com.

Updated: What is the Annual ‘AF Symposium’ and Why it’s Important to Patients

I’ve updated my page about the What is the Annual ‘AF Symposium’ and Why it’s Important to Patients. If you are new to reading my reports and summaries from this annual presentation and learning event, you’ll want to take a look.

The most important point I make is that this conference provides me with a unique opportunity to learn about advances in research and therapeutics directly from many of the most eminent investigators in the field.

I use this newly gained insight to share those findings that are relevant to A-Fib patients and their families. And I do it in plain language, filtering out as much medical jargon as possible.

In 2002 I started Atrial Fibrillation: Resources for Patients, A-Fib.com, to spare others the frustration, depression and anxiety I went through to find my cure. (Read Steve’s storyPersonal A-Fib story #1). I continue this mission through my reports from the AF Symposium.

My goal is to provide you with the most up-to-date research and developments in the treatment of Atrial Fibrillation that may affect your choices of medical care.

Go to: What is the Annual ‘AF Symposium’ and Why it’s Important to Patients.

Remember: You must educate yourself to find
your A-Fib cure or best outcome for you!

Our A-Fib.com Video Library and My Top 5 Picks for the Newly Diagnosed

We have screened hundreds of A-Fib-related videos over the years and have carefully selected a short list for you. Our A-Fib library of videos and animations are for the reader who learns visually through motion graphics, audio, and personal interviews. These short videos are organized loosely into three levels:

Browse our curated A-Fib Video Library

♥ Introductory/Basic Level is for the newly diagnosed patient. Fundamentals of the heart’s electrical system, stroke risk and anticoagulation therapy, ECG/EKG, and catheter/surgical treatments. Helpful for the family and friends of an A-Fib patient, too.

♥ Intermediate Level is for the more informed patient. Videos offer details of the heart’s functions, types of heart monitoring devices, specifics of catheter ablation, maze and hybrid surgeries, and closure of the Left Atrial Appendage.

♥ Advanced Level videos offer a more extensive look at cardioversion, ECGs/EKGs, ejection fraction, catheter ablations/EP lab and maze/mini-maze surgeries. (May requires basic understanding of cardiac anatomy and A-Fib physiology.)

We invite you to browse our A-Fib library of videos and animations and try out a few of our titles.

Top 5 Videos for the Newly Diagnosed Patient

The newly diagnosed A-Fib patient has lots of questions. What is A-Fib? How do I deal with my symptoms? What are my treatment options? How does it impact my family? For answers, start with these videos.

1. Introduction to How a Normal Heart Pumps Blood

Heart Pumps

A short video about the path of a red blood cell through the heart’s four chambers to deliver oxygen to the body and then return to be re-oxygenated. Animation with narration. (Don’t worry about remembering the terminology, just follow the flow of the red blood cell). By The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.  (1:00 min.) Go to video.

2. Stroke Prevention in A-Fib and Anticoagulant Therapy

Treatment for stroke prevention in AFThrough interviews and animations explains how atrial fibrillation can cause stroke and why anticoagulation is so important; Discussion of: warfarin (Coumadin), the required monitoring, interactions with food, alcohol and other drugs: newer anticoagulants (NOACs) that do not require regular testing, aren’t affected by foods [but are expensive]. On-camera interviews with AF Association CEO, Trudie Lobban MBE and other experts (5:36)  Developed in association with the drug maker, Boehringer Ingelheim. Go to video.

3. The EKG Signal and Conduction System of the Heart

A-Fib EKG Signal video at A-Fib.com

The EKG signal

Excellent illustration of the heart and a fully labeled graphic of theConduction System of the Heart’. Descriptive text accompanies each step in the animation. First a normally beating heart, the electrical signal path and corresponding EKG tracing. Then the same heart in Atrial Fibrillation with EKG tracing of the heart in A-Fib. Go to video on the American Heart Association website.

4. About Magnesium Deficiency with Dr. Carolyn Dean

C. Dean, MD

C. Dean, MD

Most A-Fib patients are deficient in Magnesium.The Best Way to Supplement Magnesium with Dr. Carolyn Dean, the author of The Magnesium Miracle. Getting nutrients through food is not always possible; discusses side effects of too much and how you can tell if you have a deficiency. (3:39). Go to video. See also: Importance of Balancing Calcium & Magnesium“ (1:00)

5. When Drug Therapy Fails: Why Patients Consider Catheter Ablation

InsiderMedicine.com-When Drug Therapy Fails-Catheter Ablation

Why Ablation?

Dr. Susan M. Sharma discusses why patients with atrial fibrillation turn to ablation when drug therapy doesn’t work. Presenting research findings by David J. Wilber MD; Carlo Pappone, MD, Dr. Sharma discusses the success rates of drug therapy versus catheter ablation. Transcript of the narration is provided. (3:00 min.) From Insidermedicine.com. Go to video.

Disclaimer: Videos provided for your convenience only; we make no endorsement of a specific treatment, physician or medical facility.

For more videos,
visit our A-Fib.com Video Library

Steve Ryan Videos

We’ve edited Steve’s most interesting radio and TV interviews to create several short (3-5 min.) videos. Check out Videos Featuring Steve S. Ryan, PhD, publisher of A-Fib.com.

Do I Have a Legal Right to My Medical Records? Can I See Them? Get Copies?

Yes. Patients have the legal right to access both paper and electronic records, to view the originals and to obtain copies of their medical records.

In the U.S. this right is guaranteed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 [HIPAA]. If you live outside the US, know that over 89 countries have adopted Data Privacy Laws. For example, Canada has the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) and in Europe there’s the EU Data Protection Reform.

Be aware that while your medical information or data belongs to you (the patient), the physical pieces of paper, X-ray film, etc. belong to the hospital or health care provider.

Make an Inventory of 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.

You may already have many of these records on file and just need to identify those you are missing. (You may be fortunate and have online access to your information, depending on your health provider.)

How to Request Copies of Missing 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. So, how do you do that? For all the details, see my article: 3 Ways to Request Copies of your Medical Records

For no cost copies, ask if they will copy electronic files to your USB Flash drive or to a disc/CD you supply. 

Once you have a complete set of your medical records, store your originals in a binder or file folder. Store CDs in binder sleeves or copy to your PC. Make backup copies of any digital 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.

Patient Online Services: If your healthcare provider offers a secure online portal to your patient records, be sure to sign up for it. It is a convenient way to access your health information and medical records. Services include email communication with your doctors (no phone tag), your doctor’s instructions during office visits, a calendar of all upcoming and past office visits, all tests results, a list of prescribed medications and patient education resources.

Store your A-Fib Research: 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.

Make Medical Record-Keeping a Habit: Don’t leave your doctor’s office or medical canter without a copy of every test they performed. Store in your A-Fib three-ring binder or file folder.

Never see a doctor alone - 350 wide at 300 res

A Look at the A-Fib.com Glossary of A-Fib Medical Terms

As part of your education about Atrial Fibrillation, you’re bound to run across terms that you do not understand. Bookmark our Glossary of Medical Terms page (or click on “Glossary of Terms” in the left menu) and refer to it when reading and studying about A-Fib.

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

A Sampling of Glossary Terms

To give you an idea of what you’ll find, we’ve selected a few Atrial Fibrillation terms and phrases related to drug therapy:

If you don’t find the term you are looking for—email us and we’ll add it to the Glossary.

Beta Blocker: A medication that slows down conduction through the heart and makes the AV Node less sensitive to A-Fib impulses.

Calcium Channel Blocker: A medication that prevents or slows the flow of calcium ions into smooth muscle cells such as the heart. This impedes muscle cell contraction, thereby allowing blood vessels to expand and carry more blood and oxygen to tissues.

NOAC: NOAC stands for Novel Oral AntiCoagulants. NOACs are alternatives for vitamin K antagonists (e.g., Warfarin) for stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation.

“Pill-in-the-Pocket” Treatment: For Paroxysmal A-Fib patients. When an A-Fib attack occurs, the patient takes an antiarrhythmic med (flecainide, propafenone, etc.) to return to normal sinus rhythm.

Rate Control Medications: Drug therapy that attempts to control your heart rate (ventricular beats), but leave the upper chambers (atria) of your heart in A-Fib.

Rhythm Control Medications: Drug therapy that uses rhythm control drugs, called antiarrhythmics, to try to stop A-Fib and make the heart beat normally.

Browse Our Glossary of A-Fib Terms

Go ahead and take a leisurely stroll through our Glossary of Medical Terms and Phrases. Bookmark the page and refer to if any time you’re learning about Atrial Fibrillation and your treatment options.

By the way: If you don’t find the term you are looking for—email us and we’ll add it.

Go to our Glossary
Bookmark it! Refer to it often!

Click image to go to A-Fib.com Glossary of Terms

Considering a LAA Occlusion Closure? Watch Out for Nickel Allergy

Approximately 8% of us have a nickel allergy. If you’ve had your ears pierced (or some other body part) and had to use “hypoallergenic” jewelry, you most likely have a nickel allergy. (Patti says gold earrings also work for her nickel allergy but are more costly.) It is one of the most common causes of metal sensitivities in people.

For more info on Nickel allergy, go to Two Cents About Nickel from American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

If you’re one of the many A-Fib patients looking to close off their Left Atrial Appendage, be aware if you have a nickel allergy, you have limited choices of an occlusion device.

Thanks to Frances Koepnick for alerting us to this problem. She had to cancel having a Watchman implanted because of her nickel allergy.

Nickel in Occlusion Devices

Heart illustration showing the Left Atrial Appendage at A-Fib.com

Heart illustration showing the Left Atrial Appendage

Watchman occlusion device (Boston Scientific): The Watchman contains Nitinol, a metal that is approximately 50% nickel and 50% titanium. The manufacturer states that individuals with a nickel allergy are ineligible for a Watchman implant.

Amplatzer Amulet occlusion device (St. Jude Medical-Abbott): The Amulet also contains nitinol and, therefore, has the same implications for nickel allergy.

Hyper-sensitivity Diagnostic Test Results

Standard skin/patch testing is considered unreliable for metal allergy testing. “Metal-LLT (Lymphocyte Transformation Testing)” is a diagnostic test used by allergists to measure hypersensitivity responses.

Below is a sample of test results showing nickel sensitivity:

Metal Challenge Stimulation Index  Range (percentile based)
Aluminum 0.9 Normal (Non-Reactive)
Nickel 4.2 Reactive
Iron 0.7 Normal

For LAA Closure: What To Do About a Nickel Allergy?

Right now Frances’ only option seems to be the Lariat II device (SentraHEART Inc).

The Lariat II does contain Nitinol, but it is gold plated. The gold plating acts as a barrier to nitinol/nickel exposure. Though formerly approved by the FDA, the Lariat II device is currently in a second (extended) “Amaze”clinical trial which is due to be completed in December 2019.

For more about the SentraHeart, see my article, Lariat II Suture Delivery Device.

Additional warning: today’s pacemaker leads may also contain nickel.

Steve’s A-Fib Alerts: April 2019 Issue—Ready for You!

The April 2019 issue of Steve’s A-FibAlerts is out and includes lists of the best absorbed forms of Magnesium supplements, an updated review of medic alert ID products and services, Dr. Kowey’s insights, “Eleven Things I Know About A-Fib Drug Therapy” and more. Read it now.

Our A-Fib Alerts is presented in a condensed, easy-to-scan format. Read the latest issue here. Even better—have our A-Fib Alerts sent directly to you via email. Click to Subscribe. (There’s no risk, you can unsubscribe at any time.) Join readers around the world getting their A-Fib news from Steve’s A-Fib Alerts.

Can One Have a Stroke If A-Fib Free? Years After Successful Ablation, He has TIAs

Steve from Minnesota had a successful catheter ablation in 2016 at the Mayo Clinic. He remained in normal sinus rhythm (NSR), off all medications and felt very good. He walked every day and felt well.

TIA symptoms are the same as a stroke, and usually begin suddenly. The difference is the symptoms only last for a few minutes or hours as the blockage is temporary.

Recently he wrote to me that in the fall of 2018, he had a TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack, a temporary stroke) where his left arm went limp for about 30-60 seconds. Then in March 2019, another TIA caused him to lose complete vision in his left eye for 2-3 minutes.

In response, his electrophysiologist (EP) put him on the anticoagulant Eliquis. He wore a loop monitor which showed he was in normal sinus rhythm with only a single “5-beat atrial tachycardia” (only one irregular beat). All the usual tests came back showing no heart problems.

How can Steve have TIAs if he doesn’t have any A-Fib?

Unfortunately for A-Fib patients, clots and stroke can also be non-A-Fib related, such as vascular strokes or hypertensive lacunar stroke. (Vascular and cerebrovascular disease can produce a heart attack or coronary event as well as a clot or stroke.)

With A-Fib patients, clots more often come the Left Atrium and Left Atrial Appendage (LAA). But stroke can originate from other areas. For example, plaque deposits in the arteries can break loose and form clots.

Also, if Minnesota Steve developed some fibrosis while he was in A-Fib, his left atrium may not be contracting properly making clot formation more possible. And sometimes if the LAA is electrically isolated during the ablation, it may not be contracting properly and can develop clots.

(Doctors may want to check Minnesota Steve for Patent Foramen Ovale and Atrial Septal Defect where a hole in the septum can permit clots to pass to the brain. Though, normally, this problem would have been found when performing Steve’s original ablation.

A transient ischemic attack (TIA) occurs when part of the brain experiences a temporary lack of blood flow. This causes stroke-like symptoms that resolve within 24 hours. Unlike a stroke, a ministroke on its own doesn’t cause permanent disabilities.

Would a Watchman device to close off the LAA prevent these TIAs?

Not necessarily. For patients with A-Fib, clots tend to form in the Left Atrial Appendage (LAA) because blood tends to stagnate there. But if blood is being pumped properly in the left atrium, it’s harder for clots to form in the LAA. (And other areas of clot formation can occur in the left atrium besides the LAA.)

What should Steve do now? What can he do to guarantee that he will never have a stroke?

Having TIAs is a warning sign. Often, but not always, TIAs precede a major stroke. To help guard against clots and stroke, Minnesota Steve will likely have to be on an anticoagulant, such as Eliquis, for life.

What’s Next for Steve?

Minnesota Steve and his doctor should concentrate on treating vascular risk factors such as blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol control, (CHADs2-VASc) and if needed, stop smoking. And, of course, continue monitoring for A-Fib.

Fibrosis makes the heart stiff, less flexible and weak, overworks the heart and reduces pumping efficiency.

Minnesota Steve probably should have an MRI done to measure for fibrosis in his heart. In addition, his Left Atrial Appendage (LAA) should be checked with a echocardiograph (TEE) to see if it is emptying properly.

His doctor may also want to determine how much plaque Minnesota Steve has in his arteries. How likely is it to break off and form clots? (Some doctors may suggest antiplatelet therapy in addition to the anticoagulant Eliquis, but usually the two are not combined effectively.)

I’ll continue to track Minnesota Steve’s progress and write an update if I get more information on his health status.

No Absolute Guarantee Against Stroke

While anticoagulants significantly lower the risk of an A-Fib stroke, they but do not totally eliminate it.

While anticoagulants significantly lower the risk of an A-Fib stroke, but they do not totally eliminate the risk.

A close friend of ours with A-Fib was on Coumadin at the ideal INR range (2.5) and still had a major stroke.

After a successful catheter ablation such as Minnesota Steve had, one’s stroke risk generally drops down to that of a normal person. But normal people have strokes and TIAs, too.

There is no therapy that will absolutely guarantee one will never have a stroke.

Share Your Views at A-Fib.comMinnesota Steve is blessed to have no permanent damage from those TIAs. But they are warning signs which must be heeded, probably by life-long anticoagulation. No one wants to be on anticoagulants for life. But he may not have any other choice.

Share your insights: Without a lot of current definitive research, this is a difficult subject to discuss. If anyone has any suggestions, criticisms, or comments to share on this most important topic, please email me.

A special thanks to Steve from Minnesota for asking this question and sharing his TIA experiences.

Your Nearest ‘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.

Use my article to find your nearest certified or ‘Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center’. Read my article.

My Top 5 Picks: Steve’s A-Fib Survival Kit for the Newly Diagnosed

By Steve S. Ryan, PhD. This post was originally published July 15, 2016.Steve's A-Fib Survival Kit at A-Fib.com

Your first experiences with Atrial Fibrillation have changed your life in a number of ways. As a former A-Fib patient (cured since 1998) I highly recommend these items when first diagnosed with this beast called ‘Atrial Fibrillation’.

My Top 5 Recommendations for the Newly Diagnosed

These are the products I recommend (and use) along with a Bonus: a good medical dictionary. These items are available from many online sources, but I’ve made them easy to order the entire list by making a ‘Wish List’ on Amazon.com: Steve Ryan’s A-Fib Survival Kit for the Newly Diagnosed,(Note: Use our Amazon portal link, and your purchases help support A-Fib.com.)

Magnesium Mg Drs Best1. Doctor’s Best High Absorption Magnesium (200 Mg Elemental), 240-Count

Most A-Fib patients are deficient in Magnesium (Mg). While Magnesium (Mg) is one of the main components of heart cell functioning, it seems to be chronically lacking in most diets.

One form of easily absorbed magnesium is Magnesium glycinate, a chelated amino acid. Look for the label ‘Albion Minerals’ designed to limit bowel sensitivity. Dosage: 600-800 mg daily in divided dosages (meals and bedtime). Read more about Magnesium.

Potassium NOW bottle2. Now Foods Potassium Gluconate Pure Powder, 1-pound

Just like magnesium deficiency, A-Fib patients are usually deficient in Potassium as well. We recommend the powder in order to take the recommended dose of 1600-2400 mg per day.

Be cautious of potassium tablets. For example those listed as 540 mg ONLY contain 99 mg of Potassium. Read more about Potassium.

BYA cover3. Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure: Written in everyday language for patients with Atrial Fibrillation

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.

Polar FT2 Heart Rate Monitor at A-Fib.com4. Polar FT2 Heart Rate Monitor, Black or Blue

Many A-Fib patients want to monitor their heart rate when exercising or doing strenuous tasks (mowing the lawn, moving equipment, etc.) This is a basic DIY model with a clear, LARGE number display of your heart rate (as a number). Requires wearing the included T31 coded transmitter chest strap.

One-button start. Includes a FT2 Getting Started Guide.

Also look at other Polar models: FT1 & RS3000X. I wore a Polar monitor when I had A-Fib, so it’s my brand of choice, but there are many other good brands.

Oximeter image5. Zacurate 500BL Fingertip Pulse Oximeter Blood Oxygen Saturation Monitor 

Many A-Fib patients also suffer with undiagnosed sleep apnea. A finger Oximeter is an easy way to check your oxygen level. A reading of 90% or lower means you should talk to your doctor as you may need a sleep study.

Oxford Med DictionaryBONUS: Concise Medical Dictionary (Oxford Quick Reference)

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).

More of My Amazon.com Lists

Besides Steve Ryan’s A-Fib Survival Kit for the Newly Diagnosed, see my other Amazon.com lists for supplements, recommended books and DIY heart rate monitors:

By a Former A-Fib Patient: My Recommended ProductsAmazon.com link using A-Fib.com account ID afiin-20
For A-Fib Patients: 7 Supplements for a Healthy Heart
For A-Fib Patients: A-Fib Reference Books and Guides
For A-Fib Patients: Recommended Magnesium and Potassium Supplements
Steve’s Top Picks: DIY Heart Rate Monitors for A-Fib Patients

Note: Use the A-Fib.com Amazon portal link and your purchases help support A-Fib.com (http://tinyurl.com/Shop-Amazon-for-A-Fib). Learn more at: Use our Portal Link When you Shop at Amazon.com.

Click image to read Steve Ryan's personal experience story. at A-Fib.com

Click image to read Steve Ryan’s personal experience story.

A-Fib Impacts Quality of Life for the Spouse and Family of Patients

Research verifies that the loved ones living with someone in Atrial Fibrillation may be about as stressed as actually having the condition.

In one study the partners of A-Fib patients reported a significant reduction in their quality of life, to the same degree as the patient. (Note: Most severely impaired was a couple’s sex life.)

Educate the Family, Not Just the Patient

One simple solution might be to make sure the spouse comes to office visits, particularly during the early visits around the time of diagnosis, says Dr. Bruce A. Koplan of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

 Research tells us A-Fib is just as stressful for the patient’s partner.

“Sometimes spouses come but stay in the waiting room,” he said. “But I don’t think that’s a good idea because they’re suffering too.”

Educational programs and other interventions to eliminate some of the unknowns may relieve the anxiety for the patient and their partner leading to improved quality of life for both.

Get all Your Loved Ones Involved

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is from the patient’s partner: “What can I do for my spouse during an A-Fib attack?”

Perhaps, just as important, A-Fib patients should be asking “How can I help my family cope with the stress and anxiety of my Atrial Fibrillation?”

A Momentary Pause: When I talk with an A-Fib patient, I always ask how their spouse or partner is doing―how they are coping. This often elicits a momentarily pause while the patient stops and ponders the impact of A-Fib on their family.

My best advice to patients is to get all your loved ones involved! Knowledge is empowering and reduces stress and anxiety.

Talk with them, answer their questions. To help you, download my free report, Top 10 Questions Families Ask about Atrial Fibrillation”.

Be Confident & Stay Calm

Share your A-Fib plan

In addition, for your family’s peace of mind, learn Why & How to Create Your ‘A-Fib Episode 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.

Discuss your A-Fib Action Plan with your loved ones and answer their questions. Post a copy in a prominent place where your family can find it easily.

Knowledge Empowers, Reduces Stress and Anxiety

References for this Article

• Koplan BA, et al “Living with atrial fibrillation: Does the spouse suffer as much as the patient?” HRS meeting 2008; Abstract PO1-151.

• Phend, C.  HRS: Atrial Fibrillation Affects Family as Much as Patient. Heart Rhythm Society. Meeting coverage. MedPage Today, May 15, 2008. http://www.medpagetoday.com/meetingcoverage/hrs/9472

• Bohnen M, et al. Quality of life with atrial fibrillation: Do the spouses suffer as much as the patients? Pacing Clin Electrophysiol. 2011;34:804-809. DOI:10.1111/j.1540-8159.2011.03111.x. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21535034

• Ekblad, H. et al. The Well-Being of Relatives of Patients with Atrial Fibrillation: A Critical Incident Technique Analysis. The Open Nursing Journal, ISSN: 1874-4346 ― Volume 10, 2016. https://benthamopen.com/FULLTEXT/TONURSJ-8-48. DOI: 10.2174/1874434601408010048

A-Fib Drug Therapy: If We’re Sick, Just Take a Pill, Right?

In the US, we’ve been conditioned to think, “if we’re sick, just take a pill”.

When you have Atrial Fibrillation, anti-arrhythmic drug (AAD) therapy is certainly better than living a life in A-Fib. It can be useful for many patients.

And according to Dr. Peter Kowey, Lankenau Heart Institute (Philadelphia, PA), while anti-arrhythmic therapy is not perfect, it can improve quality of life and functionality for a significant percentage of A-Fib patients.

Peter R. Kowey MD

P. Kowey MD

Dr Kowey is an internationally respected expert in heart rhythm disorders. His research has led to the development of dozens of new drugs and devices for treating a wide range of cardiac diseases.

He cautions, though, that A-Fib anti-arrhythmic drugs are just a stopgap measure. The problem is they don’t deal with the underlying cause. And are seldom a lasting cure for A-Fib.

The Trade-Offs of Anti-Arrhythmic Drugs

In our article, Eleven Things I Know About A-Fib Drug TherapyDr. Kowey writes:

“An anti-arrhythmic drug is a poison administered in a therapeutic concentration. Like most meds, anti-arrhythmic drugs, (AADs), are a trade-off between the unnatural and possible toxicity with the power to alleviate our A-Fib symptoms.”

Did  “an anti-arrhythmic drug is a poison” set off alarm bells for you?

In general, anti-arrhythmic drugs are toxic substances which aren’t meant to be in our bodies―so our bodies tend to reject them.

For more, see our full article with Dr. Kowey’s insights, Eleven Things I Know About A-Fib Drug Therapy. It’s based on his 2014 American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Session presentation.

Look Beyond the Typical AAD Therapy

Today’s anti-arrhythmic drugs have mediocre success rates (often under 50%).

Beyond AAD Therapy

Many patients often experience unacceptable side effects. Many just stop taking them. And when they do work, they tend to lose their effectiveness over time.

According to Drs. Irina Savelieva and John Camm of St. George’s University of London:

“The plethora of antiarrhythmic drugs currently available for the treatment of A-Fib is a reflection that none is wholly satisfactory, each having limited efficacy combined with poor safety and tolerability.”

These drugs don’t cure A-Fib but merely keep it at bay. Most Atrial Fibrillation patients should look beyond the typical antiarrhythmic drug therapy.

See our Treatments page to learn more about Medicines or ‘Drug Therapies’ for A-Fib.

Answering Your Questions About A-Fib Drug Therapies

Since the beginning of 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 unbiased information and guidance about medicines and drug therapy treatments, see our page of questions and answers. You’ll find explanations, resources and advice for the most frequently asked questions by patients and their families. Go to FAQ A-Fib Treatments: Medicines and Drug Therapies.

Help Michele: Share your A-Fib Experince With Wearable Heartrate Monitoring Devices

Heart Rhythm Society logoOne of our A-Fib Support Volunteers, Michele Straube, will be participating as a patient advocate on a panel during the annual Heart Rhythm Society conference in San Francisco, CA, May 2019.  The panel presentation is entitled “The Wearable and Apps: Show Me the Data”. The other panel members, and the workshop audience are medical professionals and experts in cardiac rhythm management

To help Michele share a broad patient perspective, she would greatly appreciate you answering a short survey with your thoughts on wearable/portable devices/apps that provide AFib-related information. Your input may influence what new devices or apps are developed.

Go to Survey now!

All answers will be held confidential. Survey results will be compiled in an anonymous way to share with the Heart Rhythm Society 2019 audience. No individual information will be shared.

Michele S.

The 12-question survey should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete. The survey is open until April 15, 2019. To participate, go to survey:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Z3STKM2

You can read Michele’s A-Fib story at Cured After 30 Years in A-Fib by Dr. Marrouche.

 

Super-Loading: How A-Fib Patients can Correct a Severe Magnesium Deficiency

The mineral Magnesium (Mg) is needed for proper muscle (including the heart), nerve, and enzyme function. A deficiency in Magnesium (along with potassium) can cause palpitations and force the heart into fatal arrhythmias including Atrial Fibrillation.

Magnesium (Mg) is one of the main components of heart cell functioning, but is chronically lacking in most diets. Magnesium deficiencies in general populations range from 65% to 80%, creating a substantial cumulative deficiency over months and years.

A deficiency in magnesium (along with potassium) can force the heart into fatal arrhythmias including Atrial Fibrillation.

Magnesium used to be plentiful in fruits, vegetable and grains, but decades of industrial-scale farming have stripped the soil of minerals like magnesium. One study found that the nutrient content of crops has declined by as much as 40% since the 1950s.

In addition, we no longer absorb magnesium by bathing in or drinking natural mineral-rich water that is high in magnesium—instead, we’re drinking and bathing in tap water that’s devoid of magnesium.

So it’s now almost impossible for A-Fib patients to get adequate amounts of Magnesium from a healthy diet.

To correct a severe Magnesium deficiency and restore levels, it’s often necessary to take a Magnesium supplement over several months.

Not All Magnesium Supplements are Created Equal

Magnesium: Element #12 on the Periodic Table

Confused by the various forms of Magnesium supplements? There are so many different types. Sadly, many of the available magnesium supplements aren’t even absorbable by your digestive tract and will not do anything beneficial for your health. And a low-quality magnesium supplement can cause diarrhea.

Fortunately for A-Fib patients, there are many magnesium forms that are absorbed well by your body.

OrAL Magnesium (Tablets)

• Magnesium Glycinate: (such as Doctor’s Best High Absorption Magnesium Glycinate Lysinate 100% Chelated). One of the most commonly used form of magnesium is both highly absorbed, inexpensive, and easy to use. Magnesium glycinate is absorbed in a different part of the gut compared to other magnesium types, so it’s a good option if other supplements give you digestive stress.

• Magnesium Gluconate: Has very good absorption rate; a good alternative if you have had digestive trouble with other types of magnesium supplements.

• Magnesium Threonate: (such as Life Extension Neuro-Mag Magnesium L-Threonate). Magnesium threonate is a newer form of Magnesium supplement that can penetrate the blood-brain barrier with potentially neuroprotective effects against Alzheimer’s disease. Pricier but doesn’t have the laxative effect. Contains very low elemental magnesium per dose which suggests it would not be a good choice for correcting a magnesium deficiency.

Topical/Liquid forms

• Sublingual Angstrom Magnesium: (such as Mother Earth Minerals Angstrom Minerals, Magnesium-8 ozs.A quickly absorbed liquid that’s 99% pure Magnesium, it’s applied under the tongue, then after one minute, swallowed. Angstrom Magnesium has the best magnesium absorption and generally the fewest digestive side effects. It’s especially good for those who are severely magnesium deficient and need a lot of magnesium in order to replenish their levels.

Magnesium chloride bath salts.

• Magnesium Chloride flakes: (such as Ancient Minerals Magnesium Bath Flakes of Pure Chloride). Similar to Epsom salts (Magnesium sulfate), the molecular structure of Magnesium Chloride is different and is much more easily absorbed into the body. Add Magnesium Chloride flakes to a weekly soaking bath or a foot bath. Can be used in conjunction with magnesium tablets.

• Magnesium Oil: (such as Ancient Minerals Magnesium Oil Spray – Magnesium Chloride). Apply Magnesium oil once a day to arms or legs; after 20-30 minutes, wash off. Can be used in conjunction with magnesium tablets.

Inferior Forms of Magnesium

Some oral forms of magnesium (often cheap) offer relatively low bioavailability (the degree and rate at which it enters the body’s circulatory system). These forms of magnesium do not absorb well and tend to offer little benefit beyond laxative or antacid properties.

When super-loading to replenish your Magnesium, it’s best to avoid Magnesium oxide, Magnesium dihydroxide (milk of magnesia), Magnesium sulfate, Magnesium aspartate, and Magnesium carbonate.

In particular, be sure to avoid any supplement containing magnesium stearate, a common but potentially hazardous additive.

Before You Buy: Seek Brand Quality and Consistency

There are many forms and brands of magnesium supplements. Before you buy, be sure to check the label to ensure they only contain the one type of magnesium and no fillers.

Proper levels of Magnesium can improve by 34% your chances of living a long, healthy life!

It’s critically important to purchase from a source that tests every batch to ensure you are getting what is on the label and nothing else, like unwanted toxins, allergens, and heavy metals.

Look for brands of magnesium that are pharmaceutical grade and adhere to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), a system for ensuring that products are consistently produced and controlled according to quality standards. This means they are produced in strictly monitored facilities which also send batches of their product to third parties for analysis before selling to consumers (such as Nature Made).

(To learn about independent organizations that test branded supplements, see: Which Brands of Vitamins and Minerals Can I Trust?)

Bottom Line for Super-Loading Magnesium

As an A-Fib patient, you may have a severe Magnesium deficiency. To restore your level, it is often necessary to take a Magnesium supplement over several months. We recommend the following when you are “super-loading Magnesium”.

Magnesium supplements should always be taken daily with a meal or just after eating.

• Oral: Magnesium glycinate is thought to be the best type of oral supplement when correcting a severe magnesium deficiency.

• Sublingual: Angstrom Magnesium is 99% pure Magnesium that’s applied under the tongue. Especially good for those who are severely magnesium deficient.

• Topical: Magnesium oil and Magnesium chloride salts (flakes). These are absorbed directly through the skin and by-pass the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, so they can be used in conjunction with magnesium tablets. If sensitive to bowel problems, they can be used as an alternative to Magnesium tablets.

Keep in Mind: Everyone’s body reacts differently to supplements. Just because a form of Magnesium is best for one person, doesn’t mean it’s the best for YOU.

To learn more about Magnesium, see Cardiovascular Benefits of Magnesium: Insights for Atrial Fibrillation Patients.

References for this article
• Rethinking Magnesium: Why You’re Deficient And Need To Supplement (Quick Fix). Nature Builds Health. Jun 09, 2018. URL: https://www.naturebuildshealth.com/blog/magnesium_deficiency_benefits#6

• Leech, J. What Is The Best Magnesium Supplement in 2018? A Comprehensive Review. DietvsDisease.org. Last updated 2nd January, 2018. URL: https://www.dietvsdisease.org/best-magnesium-supplement/

• Magnesium Chloride: Is It Really the “Master Magnesium Compound”? Dr J. Mercola. Last accessed Jan 28, 2019. URL: https://articles.mercola.com/vitamins-supplements/magnesium-chloride.aspx

• What Is The Best Magnesium Supplement? Dr. David Jockers. Last accessed January 28, 2019. URL: https://drjockers.com/best-magnesium-supplement/

• Magnesium: An Invisible Deficiency That Could Be Harming Your Health. Dr. J. Mercola. January 19, 2015. URL:  https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/01/19/magnesium-deficiency.aspx

Tony Rejects Drug Therapy: Says to Ask Questions, None are Stupid

Tony Hall, Evansville, IN, was 54 years old when he develped Atrial Fibrillation in January 2014. After confirming his diagnosis at the hospital, he wrote:

“I sit in the passenger seat feeling like a pet heading to a kennel. Suddenly things are different. I no longer have that “healthy as a horse” attitude.”

He started drug therapy. Then came a cardioconversion, but that didn’t keep him in normal sinus rhythm for long. He was in and out of A-Fib, and by August was in persistent A-Fib.

Learning His Treatment Options

Tony didn’t passively accept everything he was hearing from doctors and others.

He and his wife, Jill, read as much as they could and critically waded through the information they found. (I’m continually amazed at how much mis-information there is about A-Fib on the internet and in the media.)

5-months post-ablation, Tony and Jill after 10K race.

After doing his research, educating himself about treatment options and learning what his health insurance would cover, he chose to have a catheter ablation at the Mayo Clinic in December 2014.

During his three month blanking period, he had some sporadic fluttering and early on a couple of brief A-Fib episodes.

Off all medication and A-Fib-free, in March 2015 he completed a 10K race beating his time from the previous year by a fraction.

Becoming his Own Best Patient Advocate

Tony and Jill are great examples for all A-Fibbers of how to become your own best patient advocate. He rejected endless trials of various drug therapies. Instead he opted for a catheter ablation just shy of a year after his initial A-Fib diagnosis.

In his A-Fib story, he shares this advice to others considering a catheter ablation:

“Make sure, if you desire to have an ablation, that your reasoning is sound and that you have a good argument as to why drug therapy is not the way you want to go.
Having an ablation as front line treatment for A-Fib is not embraced by every EP, and many are reluctant to ablate until drug therapy has failed.
Be persistent and move on [to another doctor] if you are met with resistance.”

For Tony Hall’s personal experience story, see: Very Active 54-Year Old Became His Own Patient Advocate; Chose Ablation as First Line Treatment.

For A-Fib Patients: An Updated Review of Medic Alert ID Products

When you have A-Fib and you’re taking a blood thinner or other medications, you may want to carry details of your specific medical history.

From the simple printed card to products with an integrated USB drive, there are many ways to carry your emergency history with you these days.

Beyond the familiar styles of metallic Medic Alert ID bracelets and necklace pendants, there are products using newer materials like waterproof foam, Duro silicone and plastic. And products linking to centralized, password protected data storage services.

We’ve reviewed dozens of products to offer you an updated sampling of the available options. (For each product, we’ve included a hyperlink so you can easily get more information.)

A Few of Our Favorite Wearables

These are a few items that caught our eye. An Apple Watch slip-on ID band with multiple lines of custom text, an athletic shoe with medical ID card holder which attaches with velcro. And a sports helmet warning decal for 911 responders, with registered data service and built-in medical ID pocket.

Apple Watch strap add-on stainless steel medical ID from Road ID

Athletic shoe ID pocket with Velcro attachment by Vital ID

Helmet warning decal for 911 EMTs with ID card pocket from Vital ID

USB Drive Equipped Products with Medic Alert Symbol

These products all display an emergency symbol or label and include an integrated USB drive. Data can be registered or entered by the owner. A few items are a Duro silicone, latex-free bracelet with pop out USB drive, a stainless steel key chain with the USB built into the fob, and credit-card size data wallet card with a hinged USB drive.

Duro silicone bracelet with integrated USB drive by CARExcel Medical History

Key ring fob with integrated USB drive by Key 2 Life® EMR Medi-Chip

Emergency Medical Information USB Card – The size of a credit card! by 911 Medical ID

Keeping it Simple: Print Your Medical ID Wallet Card

Printable Med ID Wallet Card from AllenLawrence.com

If you want the low-tech version, here are three free online sources for printing your own wallet cards:

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

Follow the online instructions 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.)

Money clip from Universal Medical Data

Don’t carry a wallet? Consider a Money Clip with medical symbol and a compartment to slide in an emergency medical ID (left); from Universal Medical Data.

Review and Update the Contents Regularly

Whichever method(s) you use to carry your emergency medical information, don’t forget to review and update the contents regularly. For example, when you change doctors, when you start (or stop) a medication, or if you have a medical emergency or surgical procedure.

Knowing you have up-to-date medical information will give you peace of mind.

Additional thought: Consider your spouse and other family members. Should they also carry their medical emergency ID information?

What Emergency Medical Info Should You Carry?

For information about what emergency medical information to carry, see our article, Your Portable Medical Information Kit.

Read Steve’s A-Fib Alerts for March 2019

Click image for sample newsletter

The A-Fib Alerts March 2019 issue is ready for you and presented in a condensed, easy-to-scan format.

This issue includes articles about our updated page on mineral deficiencies, about A-Fib and Dementia, my latest report from the 2019 AF Symposium…and more! Read it online today.

…Or make it more convenient to read and have our A-Fib Alerts newsletter sent directly to you via email. Subscribe NOW. I hope you will join us. It’s Risk Free! You can unsubscribe at any time! Subscribe TODAY!Amazon.com review of Beat Your A-Fib book at A-Fib.com

Special Signup Bonus: Subscribe and receive discounts codes to SAVE up to 50% off the eBook version of Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to finding Your Cure by Steve S. Ryan, PhD.

Update: A-Fib and Dementia & My Top 5 Articles

This article was first published on Apr 26, 2017. Last updated: March 14, 2019

There’s a growing body of evidence linking atrial fibrillation with early onset of dementia. New cases of dementia are diagnosed every four seconds. The number of people with dementia is also expected to triple worldwide to an estimated 140 million by 2050.

Most Feared: When 65+ year olds were asked what disease or condition they were most afraid of getting, 56 percent cited memory-robbing dementia.

Good News: A bit of good news is that the prevalence rate of dementia has declined in some countries, including in the US. And researchers think it may in part be due to increases in levels of education, which seems to protect people from getting dementia.

For a disease many of us fear, the message is hopeful: Dementia is not necessarily inevitable.

While both Atrial fibrillation and dementia have been linked to aging, neither is a normal part of growing older.

Reducing Your Risk of Developing Dementia

You CAN influence or avoid developing dementia. Review these articles to learn more about the link between Atrial Fibrillation and dementia:

1. Anticoagulants, Dementia and Atrial Fibrillation
2. Increased Dementia Risk Caused by A-Fib: 20 Year Study Findings
3. FAQ: “I’m scared of getting dementia. Can the right minerals help? I’ve read about the link with A-Fib. What does research reveal about this risk?”
4. Leaving Patients in A-Fib Doubles Risk of Dementia—The Case for Catheter Ablation
5. FAQ: I’m concerned because Vitamin D deficiency has been tied to both A-Fib and Dementia. What is a normal level of Vitamin D

A-Fib Patients & Strategies to Prevent Dementia

Atrial Fibrillation and Dementia: Neither is a normal part of growing older.

What doesn’t work: current drugs, even statins, don’t work or have mixed results in preventing dementia.

What does work: Catheter ablation to eliminate your Atrial Fibrillation. Patients who get a catheter ablation have long-term rates of dementia similar to people without A-Fib. (This result holds regardless of their initial CHADS2 score.)

Don’t Settle. Seek your A-Fib cure: To decrease your increased risk of dementia, your goal should be to get your A-Fib fixed and get your heart beating normally again. We can’t say it enough:

Do not settle for a lifetime on meds. Seek your A-Fib cure.

Reference for this Article
Americans Rank Alzheimer’s as Most Feared Disease, According to New Marist Poll for Home Instead Senior Care; November 13, 2012 http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20121113005422/en/Americans-Rank-Alzheimer%E2%80%99s-Feared-Disease-Marist-Poll

Prince M, et al. The global prevalence of dementia: a systematic review and metaanalysis. Alzheimers Dementia. 2013;9:63–75. [PubMed]

The Dangers of Magnesium Deficiency, Especially for Patients with Atrial Fibrillation

Magnesium is a mineral involved in many processes in the body including normal muscle contraction (including the heart), nerve signaling and the building of healthy bones. About 350 enzymes are known to depend on magnesium.

Magnesium is needed for proper muscle, nerve, and enzyme function. 

At least 80% of Americans are deficient in Magnesium (Mg). Other Western countries today exhibit similar deficiencies.

Most US adults ingest only about 270 mg of magnesium a day, well below the modest magnesium Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of 420 mg for adult males and 320 mg for adult females. (RDA is the minimum amount for a healthy person.)

This creates a substantial cumulative deficiency over months and years.

Magnesium Deficiency and Atrial Fibrillation

A deficiency in magnesium can force the heart into fatal arrhythmias and is central to creating conditions in the heart that cause Atrial Fibrillation.

A-Fib patients, in particular, are often significantly deficient in magnesium. A normal healthy diet rarely meets your need for magnesium.

Therefore, it’s often necessary to take a magnesium supplement over several months to restore levels.

Causes of Today’s Magnesium Deficiency

Why are so many of us deficient in Magnesium?

Magnesium used to be plentiful in fruits, vegetable and grains, but decades of industrial-scale farming have stripped the soil of minerals like magnesium. One study found that the nutrient content of crops has declined by as much as 40% since the 1950s. It’s now almost impossible to get adequate amounts of magnesium from food.

We’re not drinking spring or mineral water that’s high in magnesium—instead, we’re drinking tap water that’s devoid of magnesium. As a result, we ingest even less magnesium. Add to that, we’re no longer bathing in natural water that is high in magnesium. Our skin can absorb magnesium from our bathing water—which is now missing.

Prescription drugs can lower our magnesium levels, as can the stress of our modern lifestyles.

Over the years, this has caused a magnesium deficient population, especially critical for those with Atrial Fibrillation or other heart ailments.

Magnesium Deficiency and How to Restore Your Levels

What’s to do about it? Everyone with A-Fib should understand the role of magnesium in the body and its effects on the heart, and know how to detect if they are magnesium deficient, and how to increase their magnesium levels if they are. Start with these articles:

• Treatments: Mineral Deficiencies
Cardiovascular Benefits of Magnesium: Insights for Atrial Fibrillation Patients.

Then, take a look at this video with Dr. Carolyn Dean, author of The Magnesium Miracle.

VIDEO: The Best Way to Supplement Magnesium with Dr. Carolyn Dean

For those with magnesium deficient diets, getting nutrients through food is not always possible. Dr. Carolyn Dean, author of The Magnesium Miracle, talks about the external use of magnesium oil and Epson salts and the various powder and tablets to supplement magnesium.

She covers the side effects of too much Mg, and how you can tell if you have a Mg deficiency. (3:39 min.) From iHealthTube.com. Go to video.

Reference for this article
• Goodman, Dennis. This Mineral Prevents Headaches, Heart Disease, More. Bottom Line Personal. Volume 35, Number 2, January 15, 2014.

• Galan P. Dietary magnesium intake in French adult population. In: Theophile T, Anastassopoulou J. Magnesium: current status and new developments: theoretical, biological, and medical aspects. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic; 1997.

I Couldn’t Believe the Drugs He Was On; How to Ask Questions About Your A-Fib Prescriptions

03/15/2019 5 pm: Corrected a missing link below to the Free Worksheet, Ask These Questions Before Starting a Prescription Drug.

I received a very distressing email from a reader, Kenny, who was worried about his prescribed medications. He wrote that he just had a cardioversion a week ago and is back in A-Fib (unfortunately that’s not uncommon). Alarm bells went off in my head when I read:

“My doctor just prescribed me amiodarone 200mg, 4x a day…I’m a little concerned about the amiodarone and all the side effects!”

“I’m also on Digoxin…Xarelto and aspirin… .”

“I can’t get my doctor’s office or doctor to call me back! Reluctant to start amiodarone until I can talk to someone!” 

Drugs Therapies Concerns - capsule of heart molecules at A-Fib.com

Drugs Therapies Concerns

Ding, Ding, Ding! I am deeply concerned for him. The doctor prescribing these drugs is in internal medicine, not a cardiac electrophysiologist. While Kenny and I continue to exchange emails, here’s some highlights from my first reply:

Amiodarone is an extremely toxic drug, and this dosage is 4x the normal dose.
You must get a second opinion ASAP! (consult a cardiac electrophysiologist)
Digoxin is also a dangerous drug not normally prescribed for A-Fib patients.
It’s very unusual to prescribe both Xarelto and aspirin.

Time to Change Doctors? And lastly, I wrote him that if your doctor or his office isn’t calling you back, that’s a sign you should look for a new doctor (don’t be afraid to fire your doctor). You need good communication when you’re in A-Fib and trying to find a cure.

I’m glad Kenny reached out to me so we can get him on the right A-Fib treatment plan for him and his treatment goals.

Ask These Questions Before Starting a Prescription Drug

Download the Free Worksheet

Before starting any prescription drug for your Atrial Fibrillation, you should ask what it’s for and why you should take it.

Download our free worksheet, 10 Questions to Ask Before Taking Any Medication’ and use as a guide to ask these questions of your doctor or healthcare provider, and note their responses:

1. Why am I being prescribed this medication?
2. What are the alternatives to taking this medication?
3. What are the side effects of this drug?
4. Are there any precautions or special dietary instructions I should follow?
5. Can it interfere with my other medications?.
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 catheter ablation)?

Research and Learn About Any Prescription Drug 

You can do your own research about a specific medication and if it’s the right one for you.

An excellent prescription database is the U.S. National Library of Medicine Drug Information Portal. (For an example, see the page on Warfarin [Coumadin].)

Decision Making Time

Download our free worksheet: ’10 Questions to Ask Before Taking Any Medication’. Take a copy to your office visits.

Your research and the answers to these 10 questions should help you decide about taking a new prescription drug. Remember, it’s your heart, your health. Taking medications is a decision you should make in partnership with your doctor.

Note: File your completed worksheets in your A-Fib binder or file folder to use for future reference and follow-up.)

AF Symposium New Report: Live! Convergent Hybrid Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation

Background: The Convergent Hybrid Ablation is currently used for patients with persistent and longstanding persistent atrial fibrillation.
The Hybrid is performed under general anesthesia. First the surgeon accesses the outside (epicardial) of the heart and creates lesions on the posterior left atrial wall and around the pulmonary veins (PVs). Next, the EP performs a standard PV catheter ablation from inside (endocardial) the heart, uses mapping systems to detect any gaps in the surgical ablation lines, and completes the surgeon’s lesion set, if needed.

Via live streaming video, AF Symposium attendees got to watch a Convergent Hybrid operation/procedure performed from Emory Heart and Vascular Center at Saint Joseph’s Hospital, Atlanta, GA.

PATIENT DESCRIPTION: A DIFFICULT CASE

The patient was a 62-year-old man who had been in A-Fib for 21 years, 10 years of those in persistent A-Fib. He was also very tall. He also complained of being very fatigued.

They didn’t know the amount of fibrosis the patient had developed. They mentioned that they hoped the fibrosis was localized rather than diffuse and that the patient did not have a Utah 4 or a Strawberry-type of large fibrosis area. (About Utah and fibrosis, see High Fibrosis at Greater Risk of Stroke and Precludes Catheter Ablation)

The patient had been on rate control drugs and the antiarrhythmic Sotalol. It was not mentioned if anyone had ever tried a normal catheter ablation on this patient before going to the Convergent operation/procedure.

Phase I: SURGERY ON OUTSIDE OF HEART

In this version of the hybrid, the cardiothoracic surgeon accesses the outside posterior of the heart through the subxiphoid process cutting through the central tendon of the soft tissue of the diaphragm making a 2-3 cm incision.

Important: Read my extensive Editor’s Comments at the end of this report.

The surgeon achieves direct vision of the posterior cardiac structure with a miniature camera (from EnSight by AtriCure). (The xiphoid process is a cartilaginous section at the lower end of the sternum.)… Continue reading my new report from the 2019 AF Symposium->

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 Mission Statement

We Need You

Encourage others
with A-Fib
click to order.


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 since 2014 

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