"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

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50-year Trends in Atrial Fibrillation: More A-Fib but Less Stroke

An analysis of 50 years of data from the Framingham Heart Study reveals good news and bad news for A-Fib patients.

Sadly, the number of people with A-Fib has more than quadrupled over the last 50 years!!!

But happily there was a 75% reduction in stroke rate (1998-2007 compared to 1958-1967). And, there was a 25% reduction in mortality after diagnosis of A-Fib.

What This Means to Patients: The Good News

A-Fib heart cloud Seek Your Cure 400 pix wide at 96 res with CC labelThanks in large part to warfarin (and the development of catheter ablation procedures), stroke rates over the years have declined by an amazing 75%. (Note: the new anticoagulants weren’t in use until after this study.)

As much bad press as warfarin has received and with all of warfarin’s bad side effects, we have to recognize that warfarin kept a lot of people from having a stroke. For years warfarin was the only game in town. Warfarin saved a lot of lives and disabling strokes.

New Therapies to Stop A-Fib and Prevent Stroke

The authors of this study talk about “therapeutic successes for atrial fibrillation” which have increased survival. Catheter ablation (and surgery) have certainly given A-Fib patients hope of a cure, when before all they could do is live with A-Fib and die from it.

New Anticoagulants (NOACs) Likely to Further Reduce Stroke Rate

The new anticoagulants (NOACs) will likely further reduce the A-Fib stroke rate. Eliquis, in particular, may be a major improvement over warfarin. Eliquis tested better with a better safety record than the other NOACs.

What This Means to Patients: The Bad News

Four times more people are developing A-Fib compared to the last five decades. A-Fib has rightly been called an epidemic. One out of four people over 40 will develop A-Fib in their lifetime. Today 1 out of 10 people over 80 years old has A-Fib.

Silent (no symptoms) A-Fib has emerged as a major killer. Of those who suffer a stroke, 20% later discover that they had silent A-Fib which probably caused their stroke.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

There has been a huge increase in the number of Electrophysiologists (EPs) performing catheter ablations to make people A-Fib free, thereby reducing their stroke risk to that of a normal person.

But even if all the EPs were perfectly trained and could work 24-hour days 7 days a week, they would barely put a dent in the huge number of new people developing A-Fib.

We may be facing a future where many new A-Fib patients may have to rely on drugs to cope with A-Fib.

But the current record for drug therapy isn’t good. There haven’t been any new antiarrhythmic drugs developed to stop A-Fib (with the possible exception of Tikosyn). Almost all current antiarrhythmic drugs either have bad side effects or aren’t effective for most patients. And if they do work, they often lose their effectiveness over time.


Don’t let this data discourage you. Seek your cure NOW. See an electrophysiologist about treatment options to cure your A-Fib.

References for this article

“You’re Exaggerating Your A-Fib Symptoms” Her Doctor Said

By Steve S. Ryan, PhD

I received an email from a woman from England who described her horrendous A-Fib symptoms—palpitations, extreme fluttering, breathlessness, “absolute extreme fatigue.”

She then relayed how her doctor told her that her symptoms had nothing to do with her A-Fib, that these symptoms were all in her head, that she was exaggerating her breathlessness and exhaustion.

To add insult to injury, her doctor was a woman! (It’s usually male doctors who tell female patients that’s its all in their mind.)

I wrote back to her and reassured that her symptoms are real and recommended contacting one or more of our A-Fib Support Volunteers. They offer hope and encouragement through exchanging emails and sharing their stories. (Not all Support Volunteers are ‘cured’ of their A-Fib, but have found the best outcome for themselves.)

I also suggested she change doctors.

To learn more about our A-Fib Support Volunteers, go to our Resources page: Our A-Fib Support Volunteers: Just an Email Away.

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