"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

"Your book [Beat Your A-Fib] is the quintessential most important guide not only for the individual experiencing atrial fibrillation and his family, but also for primary physicians, and cardiologists."

Jane-Alexandra Krehbiel, nurse, blogger and author "Rational Preparedness: A Primer to Preparedness"


"Steve Ryan's summaries of the Boston A-Fib Symposium are terrific. Steve has the ability to synthesize and communicate accurately in clear and simple terms the essence of complex subjects. This is an exceptional skill and a great service to patients with atrial fibrillation."

Dr. Jeremy Ruskin of Mass. General Hospital and Harvard Medical School

"I love your [A-fib.com] website, Patti and Steve! An excellent resource for anybody seeking credible science on atrial fibrillation plus compelling real-life stories from others living with A-Fib. Congratulations…"

Carolyn Thomas, blogger and heart attack survivor; MyHeartSisters.org

"Steve, your website was so helpful. Thank you! After two ablations I am now A-fib free. You are a great help to a lot of people, keep up the good work."

Terry Traver, former A-Fib patient

"If you want to do some research on AF go to A-Fib.com by Steve Ryan, this site was a big help to me, and helped me be free of AF."

Roy Salmon Patient, A-Fib Free; pacemakerclub.com, Sept. 2013

first episode

FAQs Newly Diagnosed with A-Fib: First Attack

 FAQs Newly Diagnosed: First Attack

1. “My doctor says I had an attack of Atrial Fibrillation. How much trouble am I in? (It was around 11:00 pm I was getting ready to go to sleep when my heart started going crazy, like it was trying to jump out of my chest. I panicked and drove to an Emergency room. But by the time I got there, my heart was normal again.)

A-Fib is probably the most frightening of heart problems. We take our heart for granted until it starts beating wildly out of control. Unlike other heart problems which often build up over time, A-Fib can come on like a ton of bricks, seemingly out of nowhere. A-Fib is a real shock not only to our body but also to our mind.

But as bad as A-Fib feels, it is probably the least immediately threatening heart problem. All things considered, you’re not likely to die from an A-Fib attack.

In A-Fib, the upper parts of your heart (the atria) start beating on their own out of sync with the rest of your heart; your heartbeat is irregular and rapid.

The biggest danger of A-Fib is the increased risk of stroke, because your heart isn’t pumping out properly. But that risk of stroke can be lowered by medications or by insertion of a Watchman device. Over time A-Fib can lead to more serious heart problems (because the heart is stretched and weakened).

Also, A-Fib may lead to mental deterioration because the heart isn’t pumping properly to the brain. As troubling as A-Fib is, many people have learned to control their A-Fib (usually with antiarrhythmic medications). Others seek a cure through a Pulmonary Vein Ablation (Isolation) procedure or surgery.

The bottom line: your A-Fib can be cured and/or controlled. But don’t delay. A-Fib is a progressive disease, and overtime becomes harder to cure.

Learn as much as you can about Atrial Fibrillation, knowledge dispels fear. Suggested reading: Overview of Atrial Fibrillation.

Last updated: Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Go back to FAQ for the Newly Diagnosed A-Fib Patient

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