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


She Calls it a Miracle: No More Meds and Restored Quality of Life


“Do not take ‘this is as good as it gets’ as an answer. Do your own research about what’s possible and take a co-leadership role with your doctor.”

Michele Straube, A-Fib free after 30 years


‘I Want to Cure My A-Fib, Not Just Manage It.’

Keep in Mind: For many A-Fib patients, their best outcome came about only when they told their doctor, ‘I want to cure my A-Fib, not just manage it.’ (And, if needed, they also changed doctors.)

How to Find the Best Doctor for Youor

To be cured of your A-Fib, you may need to ‘fire’ your current doctor. Seek an electrophysiologist (EP), a cardiologist who specializes in heart rhythm problems (the electrical functions of the heart).

Choose a doctor who will partner with you to create a treatment plan—a path to finding your cure or best outcome. To learn how, read Finding the Right Doctor for You and Your A-Fib.

Michele’s Personal A-Fib Story: To learn the importance of finding the right doctor, read Michele Straube’s personal A-Fib experience: Cured after 30 years in A-Fib.

Run―don’t walk―to the best EP you can afford.

Will You Help Us Serve A-Fib Patients and Their Families?

In the spirit of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S., I want to share this lovely message from an A-Fib.com reader:

Will You Help Us Serve A-Fib Patients and Their Families?

Since 2002, Patti and I have personally funded A-Fib.com and donated our time to research and write all content. Since we want A-Fib.com to remain independent and ad-free (i.e. no third-party advertising like Google ads), our long-term goal is to make A-Fib.com a self-sustaining site. Here’s how you can help.

How We Generate Ad-Free Revenues

First, from time-to-time we receive donations from grateful readers (look for our PayPal link in the right sidebar).

A-Fib.com portal link to Amazon.comOur second source of revenue comes each time you use our A-Fib.com Amazon.com link to shop online (Just use our link and shop as usual). We earn a small commission on each sale (at no additional cost to you). Bookmark this A-Fib.com portal link to Amazon.com. Use it every time.

During the Upcoming Holiday and Gift-Giving Seasons

I ask you to support A-Fib.com in two ways:

Consider a one-time or recurring donation through our PayPal link (see our sidebar) or mail us a check.
Use our A-Fib.com Amazon.com link every time you shop online.

Won’t you help keep A-Fib.com ad-free and independent?

Prepare for Your Doctor Visits: Two FREE Appointment Worksheets

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

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

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

AHA FREE Worksheet: Partnerning in Your Treatment

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

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

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

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

A-Fib.com Questions for Doctors Worksheet

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

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

Which Doctor is Right For You?

Choosing your doctor at A-Fib.com

Choosing your doctor

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

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

Don’t Let Your Doctor Leave You in A-Fib


Don’t live in A-Fib!

“Treating patients with drugs but leaving them in A-Fib, overworks the heart, leads to fibrosis and increases the risk of stroke and dementia. Seek your Cure.”


Leaving the Patient in A-Fib—No! No! No!
The goal of today’s A-Fib treatment guidelines is to get A-Fib patients back into normal sinus rhythm (NSR). Unless too feeble, there’s no good reason to just leave someone in A-Fib. Read more.

Don’t let your doctor leave you in A-Fib. Educate yourself. Learn your treatment options. And always aim for a Cure!

Learn more about all treatments for Atrial Fibrillation.

 

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

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

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

Submit a Written Request

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

Three Ways to Request Your Records

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

Your Personal Medical Summary

How to request your medical records

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

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

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

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

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

‘Request Your Medical Records’ Sample Letter

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

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

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

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

Where Do You Organize Your A-Fib Records?

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

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

The Longer You Have A-Fib, the Greater the Risk


“A-Fib begets A-Fib. Don’t delay. It’s important to treat your A-Fib as soon as practical.” 

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


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.) Unless too feeble, there’s no good reason to just leave someone in A-Fib.

Leaving patients in A-Fib overworks the heart, leads to fibrosis and increases the risk of stroke.

Any treatment plan for A-Fib must try to prevent or stop remodeling and fibrosis. Educate Yourself. And always aim for a Cure!

To learn more, see Leaving the Patient in A-Fib—No! No! No!

Beat the A-Fib Mental Games: Try an Anxiety Thoughts Log

Up to 40% of patients say their ‘quality of life’ has suffered due to their Atrial Fibrillation. For many that manifests as stress, fear and anxiety. It’s my opinion, electrophysiologists (EPs) generally don’t focus on, or effectively help patients deal with the distress that A-Fib often creates.

In his personal A-Fib story, Anthony Bladon shared his techniques for dealing with the mental stress of his A-Fib. He wrote, “The constant lurking fear that A-Fib may spontaneously return, is insidious. I absolutely needed to develop coping mechanisms.”

Anthony’s Two Anxiety-Busting Techniques

Anthony Blandon photo

Anthony Blandon

First, he used a 17-minute audio relaxation exercise 1 on a daily basis (or more often) for months. He then went on to describe his second technique:

“In addition I developed an “anxiety thoughts log,” making myself write down word-for-word what the anxious thought was, as well as noting the physical event that seemed to trigger it.

By confronting my most extreme fears very explicitly (i.e., ‘Is this a TIA or A-Fib?’ ‘I’m afraid of a stroke, I might die or be disabled.’ I can’t contemplate a third ablation!’), it became easier to re-state and contextualize them in a more reasonable frame of mind, thereby reducing my anxiety.

And lastly, he offer this advise:

If fears of A-Fib prey on your mind, I encourage you to seek out the help of a professional psychologist, as I did. After a few sessions of consultation, and with the continued use of tools like these, I was fully able to cope.”

To read all of Anthony Bladon’s A-Fib story, go to: Two CryoAblations, Difficult Recovery Period, Dealing with the Fear that A-Fib May Return.

Coping with Fear and Anxiety; Overview of Atrial Fibrillation

Coping ideas

Beat the Mental Stress of A-Fib

Fight your fears! Ambush your anxiety! Seek your freedom from anxiety and improve the quality of your life.

You may also want to read my article, Seven Ways to Cope with the Fear and Anxiety of Atrial Fibrillation.

A-Fib may be in your heart—
But it doesn’t have to be in your head. 

Footnote Citations    (↵ returns to text)

  1. Still available: You can listen to the free 17 minute audio relaxation exercise on the Dr. Dean Given website (or download the free mp3) at http://drdeangiven.com/?page_id=76.

Don’t Just ‘Manage’ Your A-Fib. Learn All Your Treatment Options. Aim for a Cure.


“Get your A-Fib taken care of. It won’t go away. It may seem to get better, but it will return. Don’t think that the medication is long term solution.”

Danel Doane, A-Fib free after Mini-Maze surgery


Don’t Expect Miracles from Current Medications

Antiarrhythmic drugs are only effective for about 40% of patients. Many patients can’t tolerate the bad side effects. When drugs do work, over time, they become less effective or stop working. According to Drs. Savelieva and Camm:

“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.”

Drugs don’t cure A-Fib but merely keep it at bay.

Learn All Your Treatment Options

Educate yourself about all your treatment options, see: Treatments for Atrial Fibrillation and Which of the A-Fib Treatment Options is Best for Me? Finally, discuss these treatment options with your doctor. This should be a ‘team effort’, a decision you and your doctor will make together.

Don’t just ‘manage’ your A-Fib. Seek your Cure.

Choosing Your Doctor: Good Rapport & Trust are Vital for Your Health

An A-Fib.com reader, now A-Fib-free after two ablations, wrote me about an experience with one EP she had consulted:

“I checked your website’s listing of EPs and was surprised to find (name withheld) listed under (affiliation withheld).

This is the EP who told me I was definitely not a candidate for ablation and I needed to just accept the fact that I needed to stay on basic medications (atenolol and Eliquis).  

This guy is a smooth talker and tells you how he “treats his patients just like they were his family members”.  

However, when I pressed him with questions, he told me that ‘he was the one who went to medical school’. I would never recommend this EP to anyone.”

Studies of Doctor-Patient Relationships

At A-Fib.com, we stress the importance of a good doctor-patient relationship and finding the right doctor for you and your treatment goals. Don’t just go to a doctor because their office is nearby.

Indeed, recent research proves that patients do better when they have a good rapport with their doctor. Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital analyzed the results of 13 high-quality studies of doctor-patient relationships.

“Patients who trust their doctors are more likely to follow their advice, ask questions and discuss how treatments are working”, according to Dr. Gerald B. Hickson of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Doctors, in turn, may be more engaged.

Finding the Right Doctor for You

Caduceus at A-Fib.com

Which doctor?

If the first doctor you interview doesn’t meet your needs, move on the second (or third) doctor on your list, etc. Yes, I know it takes time and energy, but a good doctor-patient relationship is important. You’ll do better when you have a positive rapport with your doctor.

Read more at How to Find the Right Doctor for You and Your Treatment Goals.

References for this Article

Increasing Your Quality of Life: Catheter Ablation versus A-Fib Drugs

When seeking your Atrial Fibrillation cure, you’re often faced with the choices of catheter ablation versus antiarrhythmic drugs therapy.

We know from previous research studies that it’s safer to have an ablation versus living a life on antiarrhythmic drug therapy (AAD). (See Ablation Safer Than Life on Antiarrhythmic Drugs.)

But how do the two treatments compare when it comes to improvement in general health and ‘quality of life’?

Measuring ‘Quality of Life’

To determine success after treatment, researchers traditionally measure if A-Fib recurs using periodic ECGs. But this is “hardly a measure of successful treatment”, says Dr. Carina Blomstrom-Lundqvist, principal CAPTAF investigator from Uppsala University in Sweden.

CAPTAF stands for ‘Catheter Ablation compared with Pharmacological Therapy for Atrial Fibrillation‘.

The CAPTAF clinical trial is one of the first studies in which improvement in ‘quality of life’ was the goal. The trial compared the Atrial Fibrillation treatment effects of ablation versus antiarrhythmic drugs.

One-year results were presented in August at the 2017 European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress.

The CAPTAF Clinical Study

The CAPTAF trial enrolled 155 symptomatic patients with paroxysmal or persistent A-Fib at four Swedish centers and at one center in Finland.

Drug Therapies for Atrial Fibrillation, A-Fib, Afib

A-Fib Drug Therapies

All enrolled patients had to have failed one drug therapy (rate or rhythm control). The average age of the enrolled patients was 56 years. Nearly three-quarters had paroxysmal A-Fib. On average they had been diagnosed with A-Fib for about 5 years, and 70%-80% of the patients had severe or disabling symptoms.

Catheter ablation (RF)

Patients received a subcutaneously implantable cardiac monitor 2-m onths prior to the start of the study (to establish a baseline ‘burden’ of A-Fib, i.e. the proportion of time in A-Fib). Then participants were randomized to ablation with pulmonary vein isolation or antiarrhythmic drug therapy. (The study protocol required patients randomized to the ablation regimen to be completely off antiarrhythmic drugs by 6 months after their ablation procedure.)

The primary goal of the study was a change in general health-related quality of life.

CAPTAF Results: Overall Health & ‘Quality of Life’ Improved More after Ablation

Overall Health: After 12 months of follow-up, the ablation group showed a greater improvement in average overall health by 11.0 points versus 3.1 points improvement in the drug group (as measured by a standard survey instrument). The 8-point difference in gain between the two groups was statistically significant.

Quality of Life: The quality-of-life domains (general health, physical function, mental health, role-emotional, role-physical, and vitality) improved significantly more in the ablation group than in the drug group. No significant differences were shown in the remaining two domains (bodily pain and social functioning).

AF Burden: The AF burden of the ablation group was decreased by an average of 20% points versus 12% points among the group on antiarrhythmic drugs. The change from baseline did not reach statistical significance between treatment groups.

The complication rates were comparable between treatment groups.

Summarizing the Results

About the difference in quality of life, Dr. Carina Bloomstrom-Lindqvist, principal CAPTAF investigator, explained that continued treatment with an antiarrhythmic drug in the drug group of patients compared with no drug treatment in the ablated patients “is absolutely the explanation” for the observed difference in quality of life.

Regarding her findings, she said, “Using quality of life as the primary endpoint of a trial for the first time, we demonstrated that pulmonary vein isolation [PVI] is significantly more effective than antiarrhythmic drugs…even at an early stage of their disease.”

Want a Better Quality of Life? Get a Catheter Ablation

“Using quality of life as the primary endpoint…PVI is significantly more effective than antiarrhythmic drugs…”

The CAPTAF clinical study, though small, goes much further than previous studies and is a significant milestone for Atrial Fibrillation patients. This was one of the first studies to focus on quality of life after treatment.

The CAPTAF results prove scientifically that ablation works better for A-Fib patients than antiarrhythmic drugs (AADs).

If you have A-Fib and want to improve your quality of life―get a catheter ablation. It makes you feel better than a life on antiarrhythmic drugs.

Remember: Seek your Cure!
Anyone no longer in A-Fib can tell you how wonderful it is
to have a heart that beats normally again.

Resources for this Article

 

Atrial Fibrillation…Like a Thief in the Night


“‘Don’t let A-Fib rob you of your joy of living.
Don’t just take your meds and get used to it.’
Seek your cure.”

Robert Dell, patient quote from
Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure.


Now A-Fib-free, Robert Dell shares:

“I no longer live in the A-Fib shadow and no longer take the drugs. My life is back. I no longer have to be content with less. All is now quiet. The ablations have given me my life back. I no longer have to worry about what pills, foods, or attitudes I should have to avoid A-Fib. I no longer go to sleep at night wondering if I will wake up with A-Fib.”

To read Robert Dell’s A-Fib story, see: Daddy is always tired.” Daddy needed his life back.

We’ve Got Answers: Browse Our Q&As About Drug Therapies and Medicines

The various medications or drugs for treatment of Atrial Fibrillation can be overwhelming. What they are for, how they work and how they might affect you, can be confusing. After reading our page Treatment/Drug Therapies, you may still have unanswered questions (perhaps the same others have asked).

We may be able to address your concerns in our Q&A section, Drug Therapies and Medicines (under FAQ: Living with A-Fib). We provide answers to the most frequent inquiries by patients and their families.

Some of the questions we answer are:

Medicines & Drug Therapies at A-Fib.com

Q&A: Medicines & Drug Therapies

• “Is the “Pill-In-The-Pocket” treatment a cure for A-Fib? When should it be used?”

• “Is there a way to get off blood thinners all together? I hate taking Coumadin. I know I’m at risk of an A-Fib stroke.”

I’m worried about the toxic side effects of amiodarone. What should I do?

 • “What are my chances of getting an A-Fib stroke?

Go to Drug Therapies and Medicines to browse all our questions.

You’ll find more answers to questions about therapy, such as about warfarin and Coumadin, foods with Vitamin K, Electrical Cardioversion, aspirin and stroke prevention, and natural blood thinners.

We invite you to browse through all our categories of answered questions. Go to -> FAQs: Coping with Atrial Fibrillation.

 

Lessons Learned Poster: A-Fib Patients’ Best Advice Top 10 List

Over the past few months we have written posts about each item on the ‘A-Fib Patients’ Best Advice Top Ten List’. This list is reprinted from Chapter 12 of Steve’s book, Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure.

The ‘Top 10 List’ is a consensus of valuable advice from fellow patients who are now free from the burden of Atrial Fibrillation.

To read individual posts in this series, just click on the the following links:

#1: Find the Best, Choose a Specialist
#2: Should you Dump Your Doctor?
#3: Don’t Believe Everything You’re Told About A-Fib
#4: Don’t Just Manage Your A-Fib with Drugs. Seek your Cure.
#5: Get Treatment Sooner Rather Than Later
#6: Take an Aggressive Approach to Treatment
#7: Persevere—Multiple Treatments May be Needed
#8: Acknowledge the Stress and Anxiety—Seek Emotional Support
#9: Learn All Your Options Before Making Treatments Choices
#10: Strive to be Your Own Healthcare Champion


From Chapter 12 of Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure, by Steve S. Ryan, PhD.

FREE Download: Keep a List of Your Medications—The Easy Way

 Medication Inventory form complements of Alere at A-Fib.com

Medication Inventory form complements of Alere

Patti wanted to update her list of medications and vitamins, so I just downloaded and printed the Free Medication List form for her.

I thought I’d remind our A-Fib.com readers about the FREE Medication List (PDF) available on our Free Offers and Downloads page.

Keep up with changes to your meds.  Because your medications and dosages can change over time, store blanks with your A-Fib records binder or folder. Use one to collect changes (if desired you can later update your computer-based PDF document.)

List of over-the-counter drugs, too. Over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and mineral supplements can interfere with your medications, so you’ll want to list them, as well.

Download this FREE Medication List (PDF), complements of Alere, and remember to save to your hard drive.

You can open the PDF and type into the document and then print copies. Or, you can print blank forms and fill-in by hand. Give a completed copy to each of your doctors or other medical healthcare providers.

Keep Your Doctors Informed

It’s important to keep your doctor and other healthcare providers up-to-date on all the medications you are taking, the dosages, and for what purpose. Take a copy with you on your next appointment.

My doctor’s office has me verify all my medication on each office visit. My up-to-date printed medication list makes this a snap. – Patti

 

CASTLE AF Study: Live Longer―Have a Catheter Ablation!

Catheter ablation actually reduces death rates and hospital admissions. That’s the finding in the CASTLE AF trial, a key heart disease study, by Dr. Nassir Marrouche and his colleagues.

In a presentation at the 2017 European Cardiology Congress in Barcelona, Spain, Dr. Marrouche described CASTLE-AF study participants as having A-Fib, advanced heart failure (i.e., low ejection fraction) and an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD).

The multicenter CASTLE-AF trial focused on patients with A-Fib and systolic heart failure.

The CASTLE-AF trial enrolled 398 patients in 33 sites across Europe, Australia and the US between 2008 and 2016. Patients were randomized to receive either radiofrequency catheter ablation or conventional drug treatment.

The study set out to definitively test the ability of A-Fib ablation to improve hard outcomes in patients with symptomatic paroxysmal or persistent A-Fib and a left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) of ≤35 percent (dangerously low percent). Median follow-up period was 37.8 months.

Results: Ablation Improves Quantity Not Just the Quality of Life

After catheter ablation, the death rate of trial patients was lowered by an amazing 47%! This is a lot better result than research studies using ICDs with drug therapy to lower the death rate in similar patients.

Before this study, catheter ablation was known to improve quality of life, but unexpected it also improved life outcomes (the quantity of life, how long one lives).

In addition, there may be a “major impact” on reducing costs associated with hospitalizations.

Ablation Improves Ejection Fraction

Once we study the soon-to-be published CASTLE-AF results, we can document what we’ve often observed anecdotally, that catheter ablation improves lower-than-normal ejection fraction and consequently cures a major component of heart failure.

Dr. Marrouche recommends EPs treating heart failure patients with A-Fib to “ablate them early on, very soon in the disease stage.”

My Anecdotal Evidence: Just last month I advised a 73-year-old man in persistent A-Fib to have an ablation by Dr. Andrea Natale. After only one month in sinus, his ejection fraction improved from a low 35% to a normal 55% (normal range is 50 to 75 percent)!

The CASTLE-AF study could pave the way for wider adoption of catheter ablation for treatment of A-Fib.

Even though he’s only a month into his blanking period, he feels terrific.

Wider Adoption of Catheter Ablation?

The CASTLE-AF study results could be a game changer for Atrial Fibrillation patients! Results could pave the way for wider adoption of catheter ablation and may prompt changes in current guidelines for treatment.

CASTLE-AF stands for Catheter Ablation versus Standard conventional Treatment in patients with LEft ventricular dysfunction and Atrial Fibrillation

Resources for this Article

After Several Years of Unnecessary Suffering: How Warren Found his A-Fib Cure


“I experienced several years of unnecessary suffering by accepting an opinion of one specialist [cardiologist] who said I would have to live with my A-Fib.

Don’t make the same mistake…research [your] treatment options.”

Warren Welsh, A-Fib free after changing cardiologists


In his personal A-Fib story, Warren continued: “I believe that unless there are special circumstances that might preclude ablation, any advice on treatment that is not directed towards a possible cure should be questioned.”

Continuing reading Warren’s A-Fib story (#34), “A-Fib Free After Two Ablations Down Under.”

Browse from Over 90 Personal A-Fib Stories of Hope and Courage

Many A-Fib.com readers have shared their A-Fib personal experiences (starting with Steve Ryan’s story). Told in the first-person, symptoms will vary, and treatments choices run the full gamut. Some stories span years, even decades.

Each author tells their story to offer you hope, to encourage you and to bolster your determination to seek a life free of A-Fib. Learn more at Personal A-Fib Stories of Hope.

In Layman’s Terms: What is Post-Ablation ‘Recurrence’?

“Recurrence” or “Re-connection” is a general term electrophysiologists (EPs) use to describe when A-Fib returns after a successful catheter ablation.

Heart tissue is very tough and resilient. There is a tendency for ablated heart tissue to heal itself, regrow the ablated area, reconnect, and start producing A-Fib signals again.

Illustration: cyroballoon ablation

But if this happens, it usually occurs within approximately the first three to six months of the initial catheter ablation.

This type of recurrence may happen because the heart tissue was not originally ablated properly, the burn lesion may not have been deep enough (transmural).

In practice, there are four basic types of recurrence found primarily when using RF point-by-point ablation…continue reading more about recurrence…

New FAQ: About Qualifying for Disability Benefits

We’ve added a new question and answer in our FAQ category For the Newly Diagnosed Patient:

“Can I get government social security disability benefits if I have Atrial Fibrillation?”

For those in the United States, the general answer is yes, you may quality for benefits. The U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) helps people with a disability which makes them unable to support themselves financially. (For readers outside the U.S., check your country’s human services department for more information.)

The Social Security Administration Blue Book lists the disabilities that qualify for benefits. Of interest to patients with Atrial Fibrillation is Sec. 4.05 which lists A-Fib at “Cardiovascular” under “Recurrent Arrhythmias”.

You can qualify for benefits two ways: under a medical disability and/or a medical-vocational allowance.…Continue reading my answer…

A-Fib Patients’ Best Advice #10: Strive to be Your Own Healthcare Champion


‘Become your own
best patient advocate.’


John Thorton from Sioux Falls, SD, about ignoring the bad advice: “The local MDs, cardiologists, EPs, and other local specialists, all told me stuff like: “It is just anxiety,” and “You just need to learn to live with it”. Which was completely WRONG.

Michele Straub, Salt Lake City, Utah, encourages you to be more active in your own treatment plan: “Do not take ‘this is as good as it gets’ as an answer—do your own research about what’s possible. Take a co-leadership role with your doctor.”

Joan Schneider, Ann Arbor, MI: “I was so desperate for answers I started searching on-line. My jaw hit the table. [I said to myelf…] ‘How could my physicians not explain these things to me?’ Once I was able to really comprehend my future, I was able to make things happen.

Seek Support—Our A-Fib Support VolunteersTo become your own best patient advocate, it helps to have someone you can turn to for advice, emotional support, and a sense of hope that you can be cured. Our volunteers are just an email away, see our article, Our A-Fib Support Volunteers.

Make Things Happen: Become Your Own Best Patient Advocate!


‘The Top 10 List of A-Fib Patients’ Best Advice” is a consensus of valuable advice from fellow patients who are now free from the burden of Atrial Fibrillation. From Chapter 12, Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure by Steve S. Ryan, PhD.

Research Supports It: ‘If You Don’t Like Your Doctor, Look For a New One!’

If you like, trust and respect your doctor(s), you’re more likely to accept and follow their advice. It’s intuitive, isn’t it? But now a review of studies backs it up. Developing a good relationship helps you feel comfortable asking questions and getting feedback in a give-and-take environment.

Relationship-Based Strategies Improve Patients’ Health

The more people like their doctors, the healthier they tend to be. This is what researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital found in a review study where they examined 13 research reports on this subject.

If you like, trust and respect your doctor(s), you’re more likely to accept and follow their advice.

A mega-study review looked at doctors who were trained in “relationship-based strategies” such as making eye contact, listening well, and helping patients set goals.

The results: these strategies significantly improved their patients’ health compared to control groups. Their patients achieved lower blood pressure, increased their weight loss, reduced pain and improved glucose management.

If You Don’t Like Your Doctor, Look For a New One!

If you don’t have a good rapport with your current doctors―even if they are “the best” in their field―it’s worth looking elsewhere for a new doctor.

Stethoscope and EKG tracing at A-Fib.com

Know When it’s Time to Fire Your Doctor

In the article, Know When it’s Time to Fire your Doctor, CNN.com Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen discusses five ways to know when it’s time to think about leaving your doctor, and the best way to do it. The highlights are:

1. When your doctor doesn’t like it when you ask questions
2. When your doctor doesn’t listen to you
3. If your doctor can’t explain your illness to you in terms you understand
4. If you feel bad when you leave your doctor’s office
5. If you feel your doctor just doesn’t like you — or if you don’t like him or her

Being the “Best in the Field” Isn’t Enough

Even if a doctor(s) is the best in their field and an expert in your condition, that may not help you if you don’t communicate well with them and don’t relate to them. If we don’t like our doctors, we’re less likely to listen to them.

Don’t Be Afraid to Fire Your Doctor

Doctor shopping? Caduceus at A-Fib.com

Doctor shopping?

Changing doctors can be scary. According to Robin DiMatteo, a researcher at the University of California at Riverside who’s studied doctor-patient communication. “”I really think it’s a fear of the unknown. But if the doctor isn’t supporting your healing or health, you should go.”

Finding a new doctor: To learn how, read our page: How to find the right doctor for you and your treatment goals.

Resources for this article

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