12. “Is there anything I can do to get out of an A-Fib episode? How do others deal with their episodes?”
One approach to ending your A-Fib episode is a drug therapy called “pill-in-the-pocket”. Under a doctor’s direction, you take the antiarrhythmic meds flecainide (brand name Tambocor) or propafenone (Rythmol) whenever you feel the start of an attack of A-Fib. The dosage is determined by your doctor.
Note: If your A-Fib episode is longer than normal, or if it doesn’t terminate on its own, you may need to contact your doctor or visit the emergency room. The E.R. doctor may use electrical cardioversion or chemical cardioversion (medication like a Cardizem drip) to end your A-Fib episode.
Anecdotal Tips from other A-Fib Patients: Most of the following is anecdotal, what people have reported, rather than based on scientific studies. Please use discretion in trying any of the following:
• Magnesium and/or Potassium supplements have been reported to help A-Fib attacks.
• Some people soak in Epsom salts for twenty minutes to get out of an A-Fib episode. See Treatments/Mineral Deficiencies/Magnesium and Treatments/Mineral Deficiencies/’Natural’ Supplements for a Healthy Heart.
• Ian in Australia recommends a Martin and Pleasance product called “Magnesium Phosphate Spray” (available only in Australia/New Zealand) and Magnesium Orotate.
• Mild exercise has been reported to be helpful in getting out of an A-Fib episode, but in other cases exercise may trigger A-Fib.
• Resting and lying down in a darkened room during an A-Fib episode.
• One person suggests, “…lying down on my bed without a pillow, relaxing my body and mind, and keeping my body very warm.”
• The application of cold compresses or ice packs to the back of the neck.
• Putting one’s head between one’s knees and/or breathing down hard on one’s diaphragm.
• Taking a hot bath or shower (which seems to contradict the use of cold packs above).
(If you have any remedies which have worked for you to bring you out of an A-Fib attack, please let me know. Send me an email: Contact Us. I’ll add them to this list.)
Last updated: Wednesday, July 15, 2015
3.“When I have A-Fib symptoms, should I go ahead and exercise or skip it and rest? Can I damage my heart if I exercise in A-Fib?”
This is a hard question to answer, because it depends so much on the type of A-Fib you have and how A-Fib affects you individually. It’s really a judgment call for you and your doctor.
Light exercise: In some people light exercise helps get them out of an A-Fib attack (Vagal A-Fib). In others, exercise makes it worse. When you first start exercising, your heart rate tends to be very rapid and disturbing. If you have A-Fib symptoms, try light exercise for a short time to see if it will get you out of an A-Fib attack. If not, you should probably skip it and rest. Try to exercise when you’re in Normal Sinus Rhythm.
Possible dangers of exercising in A-Fib: When exercising in A-Fib, you may be pushing your heart into higher pulse levels, putting added strain on your atria, getting your heart used to beating in A-Fib and staying in A-Fib longer, etc. But unfortunately we don’t know this for sure.
Some regularly exercise in A-Fib: I have a friend who is in persistent no-symptom A-Fib. He is an active swimmer. His swimming probably improves his A-Fib compromised circulation. He feels better when he can exercise. If you don’t feel bad when exercising in A-Fib, the exercise probably does improve your circulation, in addition to the regular benefits of exercise.
Exercise if you can: In general, with A-Fib, do whatever you can to still exercise. If you can exercise without your heart rate becoming too rapid and you feel like exercising, you probably should. But check with your doctor. If exercising feels bad or brings on an A-Fib attack, skip the exercise. No one’s going to hold it against you if you miss a day of exercise.