Doctors & patients are saying about ''...

" 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

General or one use

Conflicts of Interest—The Hidden Cost of Free Lunch for Doctors

by Steve S. Ryan, PhD, September 2016. Updated May 2017

Few people in the U.S. today are shocked or scandalized that the Drug and Device Industry (DDI) basically bribes doctors and hospitals to prescribe their drugs or use their equipment. It’s so commonly done that we take it for granted.

In the U.S., in general, it isn’t considered unethical or immoral for doctors to accept payments or favors from the Drug and Device Industry (DDI). Nor is it illegal.

May 2017 Update: Pharma companies signed onto a set of policies, the PhRMA Code of Conduct, regarding the way they would interact with physicians which is basically a code of conduct. Read the policy.

Here are some major points or changes in how sales reps should conduct themselves:

• No Personal Gifts
• No Entertainment of Recreational Events
• No Branded Products
• “Modest” Meals are OK – in context of education

Many academic centers now enforce stricter policies limiting access of pharmaceutical reps to physicians, and strict punishments or fines for rule violations. [Medpage Today, May 4, 2017])

U.S. patients can now simply type in our doctor’s name in the Open Payments Database and see how much they are being paid by the DDI and what conflicts of interest they have.

Open Payments DataThanks to the Sunshine Act (a provision of the U.S. 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act), the DDI must report when they make a payment to a doctor for meals, promotional speaking or other activities.

This data is available at Just type in your doctor’s name. See also, and the ProPublica Dollars for Docs project.

Influencing Doctors’ Prescriptions for the Price of a Meal

In a recent JAMA Internal Medicine report (DeJong, C., June 2016), the authors compared meal payments to doctors with the drugs they prescribed to Medicare patients.

Even doctors who accepted only one free meal were more likely to prescribe the brand name drug.

Not surprisingly, they found that physicians who accept free meals from a drug company are more likely to prescribe that company’s brand name drugs rather than cheaper (and usually more proven) generic drugs. This study only focused on physicians who received meals.

Even doctors who accepted only one free meal were more likely to prescribe the brand name drug. Doctors who accepted four or more meals were far more likely to prescribe brand name drugs than doctors who accepted no meals. Furthermore, doctors who accepted more expensive meals prescribed more brand name drugs.

In another related JAMA Internal Medicine report (Yeh, JS, June 2016), researchers found similar evidence that industry payments to physicians are associated with higher rates of prescribing brand-name statins.

Steer Clear of Conflicts of Interest

The publication, Bottom Line Personal, offered words of wisdom on this subject.

“Studies have found that when there is a conflict of interest, it is almost impossible for even well-meaning people to see things objectively.”

Dr. Dan Ariely of Duke University described how, if a doctor must choose between two procedures, they are likely to pick the one that has the better outcome for their bottom line.

“That doesn’t mean the doctor is unethical…it just means he is human. We truly seem to not realize how corrosive conflicts of interest are to honesty and objectivity.”

He advocates that we steer clear of people and organizations with conflicts of interest “because it does not appear to be possible to overcome conflicts of interest.”

Conflicts of Interest: Be Suspicious of Doctors

Doctors are only human. If a drug rep does them a favor, of course they will be inclined to favor that rep’s drug.

Whenever you visit a health/heart website ask yourself: “Who owns this site?” and “What is their agenda?”

But be suspicious if your doctor tells you:

• to take an expensive new drug
• to just “live with your A-Fib”
• insists that catheter ablation is too dangerous or unproven
• that A-Fib can’t be cured
• that you have to take drugs for the rest of your life

If this happens to you, RUN and get a second opinion (and even a third opinion).

Conflicts of Interest: Be Suspicious of Health/Heart Websites

When I attend talks at most A-Fib conferences, the first slide a presenter shows is often a list of their Conflicts of Interest.

But this is not required of websites! Health/Heart websites are not required to be transparent and reveal their conflicts of interest.

Whenever you visit a health/heart website, ask yourself: “Who owns this site?” and “What is their agenda?” (Hint: Check their list of “sponsors” and follow the money!)

Drug Industry Owns or Influences Most Heart/Health Web sites

The drug and device industry owns, operates or influences almost every health/heart related web site on the Internet!

The fact is most health/heart web sites are supported by drug companies who donate most of their funding.

For example, did you know that the drug company Ely Lilly partially owns and operates WebMD, the,, and many other health web sites?

The fact is that most health/heart web sites are supported by drug companies who donate most of their funding. Consider how that may affect the information they put on their web sites―they’re not going to bite the hand that feeds them.

About Read disclosures on our website and check’s 990s at

Be Suspicious of A-Fib Info on the Internet

Steve Ryan video at

Video: Buyer Beware of Misleading or Inaccurate A-Fib Information.

In our crazy world, you can’t afford to trust anything you read on the Internet.

At one time I tried to keep track of all the mis-information found on various A-Fib web sites. When we’d find something wrong, we would write the site. I don’t think we’ve ever received a reply. Finally, we gave up. (See my video: Buyer Beware of Misleading or Inaccurate A-Fib Information.)

Many web sites put out biased or mis-information. Be skeptical. You can tell if someone is trying to pull the wool over your eyes. Truth will out. If you feel uncomfortable or that something is wrong with a site, it probably is. When you find a good site, the truth will jump out at you.

In today’s world, you have to do your own due diligence. You know what makes sense and what doesn’t.

For more, see my article: EP’s Million Dollar Club—Are Payments to Doctors Buying Influence?

References for this article
Husten, Larry. CardioBrief: The Hidden Cost of Free Lunch. Medpage Today. June 21, 2016.

DeJong, C. et al. Pharmaceutical Industry-Sponsored Meals and Physician Prescribing Patterns for Medicare Beneficiaries. JAMA Intern Med. Published online June 20, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.2765

Yeh, JS et al. Association of Industry Payments to Physicians With the Prescribing of Brand-name Statins in Massachusetts. JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(6):763-768. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.1709. Ariely, Dan. Why Everybody Is Lying. Bottom Line Personal. Volume 37, Number 14, July 15, 2016. P. 14.

Husten, L. Dollars for Heart Docs: Analysis of CMS database shows some docs pocketed millions from drug and device makers. CardioBrief, June 23, 2015.

Medpage Today Staff. Hospital-Based Medicine: How Do Policies on Detailing Affect Branded Drug RX?—F. Perry Wilson, MD, digs int recent study. Medpage Today, May 04, 2017. You can check’s 990 at In the past 5 years we have received two “no strings attached” Medtronic grants for website-specific projects: $10,000 in 2011 and $6,000 in 2014.

A-Fib Patient Conference Sept. 16-18, 2016 in Dallas

The 2016 Get in Rhythm, Stay in Rhythm™ Atrial Fibrillation Patient Conference will be September 16-18 at the Sheraton DFW Airport Hotel in Dallas, TX. For further info and to register, visit the Get in Rhythm, Stay in Rhythm conference website.

StopAfibOrg 200 x 80 pix at 96 resHosted by Mellanie True Hills, Founder and CEO of, the Get in Rhythm, Stay in Rhythm™ Atrial Fibrillation Patient Conference is designed to give you the tools and information you need to take care of yourself, and to communicate effectively with your doctors and other healthcare professionals. Confirmed topics are listed in the “Agenda”. For presenters, go to the Get in Rhythm, Stay in Rhythm website and hover over each faculty photo.

Costs: Admission is $127–$157 (Early Bird rate) Special hotel rate is $119/night (normally up to $289/night). This special rate is good from 3 days before until 3 days after the conference (so you can vacation in Dallas before/after the conference).

Event Sponsors: The conference is made possible with support from industry sponsors including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Janssen, Boston Scientific and Medtronic. Co-sponsors include Heart Rhythm Society, and Health eHeart. Promotional partners include Alliance for Aging Research, American Sleep Apnea Association, and National Blood Clot Alliance.

Just for Fun Friday: The ECG Business Card

Startup company, MobilECG has created an electrocardiograph (ECG) business card as a novelty to promote their actual clinical product, a low cost ($150-$250) holter or resting ECG.

As long as you’re touching both of the business card’s scanner pads, the screen will show a basic but accurate ECG readout.

While it is not a diagnostic device, it is good enough to clearly capture the P, Q, R, S and T waves of the ECG signal.

Want one? You can sign up to get an email if/when it’s available (for about $29).

MobilECG Business Card


June 14th is World Blood Donor Day: Blood Connects Us All!

World Blood donor day sign at A-Fib.comAs a former A-Fib patient, I’m very much aware of blood as the most precious gift that anyone can give to another person — the gift of life.

I regularly donate blood (just donated last week). It’s invigorating to help others, and it doesn’t cost you anything but your time. (But be advised that certain A-Fib medications such as some blood thinners may preclude you from giving blood.)

Every year, on June 14th, countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day. There is a constant need for regular blood supply because blood can be stored for only a limited time before use.

Regular blood donations by healthy people ensure that safe blood will be available whenever and wherever it is needed. A decision to donate your blood can save a life. For more, read Why should I donate blood?

Where Can I Donate Blood?

Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Blood Donation? At

Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Donating Blood?

In the U.S. check The American National Red Cross website. In Canada, go to the Canadian Blood Service. In Australia, go the the Australia Red Cross. For 29 countries in the EU, go to the European Commission/Become a blood donor website. In other countries, check with your national health services.

Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Donating Blood?

Test your knowledge with this online quiz at the World Health Organization (WHO), sponsor of World Blood Donor Day.

Remember: Blood Connects Us All! 2016 Top-Rated by For Third Year top rated by for the third year. top rated by for the third year.

We are proud to announce, for the third year, has been named to the list of the ‘Best Atrial Fibrillation Blogs’Atrial Fibrillation: Resources for Patients ( is one of a ten websites selected for special recognition by the Marketing Team.

Of the ten heart health websites, is one of only four websites dedicated exclusively to Atrial Fibrillation patient education. The other three are ‘Atrial Fibrillation by Dr. John M’ (Dr. John Mandrola),  ‘Living with Atrial Fibrillation’ (by our friend, Travis Van Slooten) and ‘Stop A-Fib Atrial Fibrillation Blog’.

About Healthline: is  the fastest growing consumer health information site — with 65 million monthly visitors. Their goal: “Healthline’s mission is to be your most trusted ally in your pursuit of health and well-being.”

From the article:

“We’ve carefully selected these blogs because they are actively working to educate, inspire, and empower their readers with frequent updates and high quality information…new medical research, personal stories, and helpful advice.”

Visit Healthline’s The 10 Best A-Fib Blogs of 2016 to review all ten winners.

OUR MISSION: offers hope and guidance to empower patients to find their A-Fib cure or best outcome. We are your unbiased source of well-researched information on current and emerging Atrial Fibrillation treatments.

Did you read…Steve’s A-Fib Alerts: May 2016 Issue?

A-Fib patients around the world are reading the A-Fib Alerts May 2016 issue.

Beat Your A-Fib book cover

Sign-up bonus! Save 50% on my book.

Read the latest issue here. Even better—have our A-Fib Alerts sent directly to you via email. Subscribe NOW.

Our A-Fib Alerts monthly newsletter is presented in a condensed, easy-to-scan format. (There’s no risk! Unsubscribe at any time.) Subscribe NOW.

Special Signup Bonus: Subscribe HERE and receive discounts codes to save up to 50% off my book, Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to finding Your Cure by Steve S. Ryan, PhD.

Help Others with A-Fib: Share What’s Working for You

Share your tip at

Email me your tip

You’ve done your homework. You’ve learned about your A-Fib triggers. You’ve found some relief from your symptoms.

Why not share an insight or two with other patients with your same symptoms? Is a specific treatment working for you? Have lifestyle changes helped? Or, perhaps, an alternative or homeopathic remedy?

Won’t you email us and share your tip?

Sharing is What This Website is All About.

As Steve writes in his own personal A-Fib story: “I started A‑ to spare others the frustration, depression, and debilitating quality of life the disease caused me.” Won’t you join us in this noble effort?

Do it NOW! Send us an email. What can you share to help others deal with this ‘demon’ Atrial Fibrillation?

Send us a tip to help other A-Fib patients

Do it TODAY!
Email Us

P. S. Have more than a tip share? How about sharing your A-Fib story! Read how to write and submit your personal experience A-Fib story.

Your Nearest ‘Certified Stroke Center’ Could Save Your Life

A 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.

What is a Certified Stroke Center?

A certified or ‘Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center’ is typically the largest and best-equipped hospital in a given geographical area that can treat any kind of stroke or stroke complication.

Only a fraction of the 5,800 acute-care hospitals in the U.S are certified as providing state-of-the-art stroke care.

Why Do I Need to Know the Closest?

If you have a stroke and get yourself to a Certified Stroke Center within four hours, there is a good chance specialists can dissolve the clot, and you won’t have any lasting damage. (Hurray, you dodged a bullet.)

A Certified Stroke Center will have drugs such as Tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA) to dissolve the clot. They can use Clopidogrel or acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) to stop platelets from clumping together to form clots. Or use anticoagulants to keep existing blood clots from getting larger.

Be Prepared for a Stroke Emergency: Do Your Homework

We offer you two sources to look up the nearest certified or ‘Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center’. Just enter your zip code or other parameter to see a map and list of centers:

Find A Certified U.S. Stroke Center Near You/NPR News
Find a Certified Comprehensive Stroke Center

How about your workplace? Find and post the closest ‘Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center’.

Graphic: Keep your medical records in a binder or folder.

Print the name, address and phone number of the closest Certified Stroke Center. Store extras in your A-Fib Records binder or folder.

Post at home for easy access during a medical emergency.

If EMT responders come to your home, tell them where to take you and give them a handout (insist they take you there).

For more tips on preparing your family in the event you have a stroke, see our FAQ and answer: In Case of Stroke, What Your Family Should Know Now.

Sorry for the recent down time.

We were attacked!

We were attacked!

Sorry for the recent down time. We were ‘attacked’ and had a few recovery missteps.

As they say in info commercials, “If lines are busy, please try your call again later.”

The ‘barrage attack’ was a couple IP addresses making excessive hits to our site (1000s, in fact.) That excess got us in hot water with our hosting service. It took us a bit to determine what had happened.

We learned to block the abusers and hope this is behind (say a prayer).

TV Doctors’ Talk Shows: Can You Trust Their Recommendations?

Dr Oz Show: 3 Healthy Ways to Use Apple Cider Vinegar, Video frame

Dr Oz Show: 3 Healthy Ways to Use Apple Cider Vinegar, Video still

Most of us have seen an episode or two of a TV medical talk show, like the Dr. Oz Show. Have you wondered if the health recommendations are accurate and fact-based?

A group of general practitioners had the same question. So, they analyzed over 40 episodes of the popular American TV shows, ‘The Dr Oz’s Show’ and ‘The Doctors’, to see if health claims were evidence-based.

Published in The British Medical Journal, the study results were alarming.

Can You Trust the Claims of TV Doctors?

The research doctors were concerned when their patients would say: ‘I was watching TV and I saw a recommendation that I should be taking this medication (or this supplement or have this test).’ Or, ‘I’ve started taking this supplement because it was recommended on this particular medical show.’

Dr. Christine Korownyk, the lead researcher said, as doctors, “we were left scrambling thinking ‘what is the evidence for that? Is this something you should be doing?’ So we thought we should go ahead and systematically look at these shows on television.”

The main goals were to assess the accuracy of the reporting (was it evidence-based), if the recommendations were ‘best practice’ and if the doctors’ claims were unbiased (no conflicts of interest).

The Doctors - Hope or Hype TV video frame 400 x 300 pix at 300 res

The Doctors: Hope or Hype: The Trendiest Foods of 2016, Video still.

Are the Health Claims Evidence-Based?

The findings were somewhat disturbing. One third to one half of what was discussed and recommended on these programs had NO scientific basis.

• For recommendations in The Dr Oz Show, evidence supported 46%, contradicted 15%, and was not found for 39%.
• For recommendations in The Doctors, evidence supported 63%, contradicted 14%, and was not found for 24%.
• On average, The Dr Oz Show had 12 recommendations per episode, and The Doctors had 11 recommendations.

What this Means to Patients

You should be skeptical about claims made on medical talk shows.

The public should be skeptical about claims made on medical talk shows.

Do your own research and talk to your own healthcare professional before making any changes to your health plan.

For a more in-depth look at this study, read the article: Study: Less than half of Dr. Oz’s recommendations are actually supported by evidence.

References for this article
Korownyk C, Kolber MR, McCormack J, et al. Televised medical talk shows—what they recommend and the evidence to support their recommendations: a prospective observational study. BMJ. 2014;349:g7346. doi:

Abel, J. Study: Less than half of Dr. Oz’s recommendations are actually supported by evidence: Those pills are not “miracles,” and they’re not worth buying either. 12/19/2014. URL:

Can you trust the advice of TV doctors? The BS Medicine Podcast. Audio program with the authors of the Korownyk BMJ article, 45:00. Online at:

Black, HR and Lundberg, GD. Bad News: Medical Misinformation and the Ethics of TV Docs. Video program (17:39) and transcript. Medscape Cardiology: Black on Cardiology. April 08, 2015. URL:

Visual credits: Dr Oz Show: 3 Healthy Ways to Use Apple Cider Vinegar, Video frame,; The Doctors: Hope or Hype: The Trendiest Foods on 2016, Video frame.

Silent A-Fib: When to Call Your Doctor or Visit the Emergency Room

VIDEO: EKG display of heart in Atrial Fibrillation, A-Fib

EKG display of heart in A-Fib

With a ‘Silent’ A-Fib episode, when is it time to call your doctor or visit the emergency room? That’s the topic of this email we received from Ross Johnston. He wrote he was recently diagnosed with ‘Silent A-Fib’ (discovered during a routine ECG). He asked me:

“During a ‘silent’ episode with few symptoms, when is it time to visit the ER? When my heart rate hits 150, 175, or 200? Or when my A-Fib lasts more than 24 hours? Or 48 hours?”

Ross is very fortunate that his Silent A-Fib was discovered. About 30%–50% of people with Atrial Fibrillation are walking around not knowing they have it. All too often they have a stroke and only then find out they have Silent A-Fib (and the probable cause of their stroke). 

A-Fib is easily identified from an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), which should be part of your annual physical exam.

Silent A-Fib Is Seldom Totally Silent

Anyone with Silent A-Fib should learn to take their pulse and take it often. Besides the number of beats-per-minute, also note is it uneven? Too fast (or too slow)?

To learn how, see the Arrhythmia Alliance video: “Know Your Pulse wth Sir Roger Moore”. You can also use a device like a pulse oximeter (such as the Contec Pulse Oximeter for about $20 from or from your local drug store).

A Conservative Approach

Silent A-Fib is seldom totally silent. If you feel something is “off” or different about your body, check your pulse. Don’t hesitate about going to the emergency room.

A conservative, safe approach is to go to the ER if your heart rate is over 100 bpm and/or lasts for 24-48 hours.

My Best Advice: Create an ‘A-Fib Episode Action Plan’

Anyone with Silent A-Fib (or any type of A-Fib) should develop an action plan. During an A-Fib attack, an A-Fib Action Plan reassures you you’re taking the right actions and helps you stay calm.

To develop your A-Fib Action Plan, you need to team up with your doctor. Discuss the following items. When having an A-Fib episode, you should know:Keep Calm and Follow Your A-Ffib Action Plan poster at

• When to contact your doctor’s office
• Your doctor’s cell number and email address for emergencies
• What symptoms or criteria should send you to the emergency room
• When at the ER, if you should call your doctor
• When at the ER, if your doctor will call and talk with the ER staff
• When you should “just ride out” the episode
• How to recognize the signs of stroke

Write up the answers and add other helpful information, i.e., your local emergency room, directions, phone numbers, etc. Post a copy in a prominent place and discuss your A-Fib Action Plan with your loved ones.

The Bottom Line

If you feel something is “off” or different about your body, check your pulse. Then refer to your A-Fib Episode Action Plan and check for your next actions. If not sure, don’t hesitate to go to the emergency room.

For more, see my article: Why & How to Create Your ‘A-Fib Episode Action Plan’.

My 2015 Top Five List: Advancements in the Treatment of A-Fib

Looking back over 2015, I found five significant developments for those ‘living’ with A-Fib and those seeking their ‘cure’. My ‘Top Five List’ focuses on the Watchman device, a Pradaxa antidote and research findings about lifestyle choices, and reducing fibrosis.

1. FDA Approves the Watchman Device

The Watchman occlusion device

The Watchman is positioned via catheter

Anticoagulant Alternative: Because A-Fib patients are at high risk of stroke and clots, a blood thinner (anticoagulant) like warfarin is often prescribed. If you can’t or don’t want to be on blood thinners, you had few options.

That was until March 2015 when the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Watchman device. There’s now an option to blood thinners! The Watchman device (Boston Scientific) is inserted to close off the Left Atrial Appendage (LAA), the origin of 90%-95% of A-Fib clots.

To read my complete Top Five List…go to My 2015 Top Five List: A Review of Advancements in the Treatment of A-Fib->.

What Do We Stand For?’s Mission

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

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

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

Integrity and an Unbiased Viewpoint

To maintain our independence and unbiased viewpoint and integrity, 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 those claims.

Join Us! Support the Mission portal link to Amazon.comIf you would like to support our mission, you can refer others to our website, you can bookmark and use the portal link to shop; or make a donation through PayPal towards our monthly publishing expenses.

(You don’t need a PayPal account to pay by credit card.)
Every donation helps. Even $1.00

We’ve got it! Largest Glossary of Atrial Fibrillation Medical Terms

Atrial Fibrillation: Resources for Patients Glossary of Terms

Atrial Fibrillation: Resources for Patients Glossary of Terms

Check it out. Bookmark it! Refer to it often!

The Glossary of Medical Terms and Phrases is the most complete online glossary devoted exclusively to Atrial Fibrillation and is the largest single source online. Each definition is written in everyday language—a great resource for patients and their families.

Bookmark this page and refer to it when reading and studying A-Fib research and literature. (if you have a medical dictionary, make a note of our web address for those terms you don’t find in your dictionary.)

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

Got A-Fib? Add ICE to Your Cell Phone

Cell phone with ICE contact

Cell phone with ICE contact

Emergency personnel often look at your cell phone contacts list for an ‘ICE’ contact, that is, an “In Case of Emergency“ entry.

With the proliferation of cell phones, it makes sense and it’s easy to do. Just set up a contact named ‘ICE’ and enter your emergency contact’s name, phone numbers, email address, etc.

In the notes field, you can add your vital medical information such as medications, allergies or medical conditions.


• Be sure your all family members add ICE to their cell phones including teenagers, college students and grandparents.

• Don’t forget to review and update your ICE info when you change doctors, start (or stop) medications or have a medical procedure.

We Make it Easy to Request Your Medical Records

How to Request Copies of Your Medical Records

Seeing a new doctor or specialist? You’ll want to supply them with a copy of all your relevant A-Fib related medical records. This may involve requesting files from current and former physicians and medical centers.

In the US, under the HIPAA legislation, you have a right to copies of your records.

To start the process you need to submit a written request to each doctor or medical practice.

To make this easy, use the sample letter provided by the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a non-profit patients advocacy group.

Download the free PDF file from their website and print or save the PDF file to your hard drive. 

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

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, “How to Request Copies of Your Medical Records”.

FREE Download: Keep an Inventory List of Your Medications

 Medication Inventory form complements of Alere at

Medication Inventory form complements of Alere

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. And because over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and mineral supplements can interfere with your medications, you’ll want to include them, as well.

Download this FREE Medication List (PDF) and save to your hard drive.

Just type your information into the PDF document and print a copy for each of your doctors or other medical healthcare providers.

Because your medications will change over time, you may want to print a few blank worksheets. Use to collect changes for entering later into your PDF document. (Store the blanks with your A-Fib records binder or folder.)


In Your 80s? Are You Doomed to Live In A-Fib?

A-Fib is age related. In particular, more people in their 80s are developing A-Fib.

Yet many A-Fib centers have a policy of not performing a catheter ablation on anyone 80 years old or older. But these are often the patients who need a PVI the most. Up to 25% of strokes occurring in octogenarians can be attributed to A-Fib.

It seems arbitrarily cruel to force someone to “live in A-Fib” just because they are older.

It seems arbitrarily cruel to force someone to “live in A-Fib” just because they are older. Isn’t this age discrimination? Why exclude octogenarians from a potentially curative treatment like catheter ablation (PVI)?

Study of Octogenarians Who Had a Catheter Ablation (PVI)

Dr. Pasquale Santangeli and his colleagues at the Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute in Austin, TX examined data from 103 octogenarians who had an RF catheter ablation between 2008 and 2011. They compared this older group to younger patients who underwent the same procedure.

• There was no difference in the rate of success between the octogenarians and the younger group (69% vs. 71%).

• The rate of procedure-related complications was also not significantly different between the two groups, even when looking at different types of A-Fib such as paroxysmal and non-paroxysmal A-Fib.

• Octogenarians with paroxysmal A-Fib had more non-pulmonary vein trigger sites, and consequently required longer procedural time to effectively isolate such non-pulmonary vein areas. (Dr. Santangeli suggested a hypothesis that the underlying pathology of A-Fib in older patients might be different from younger patients.)

What Patients Need To Know

If you’re in your 80s, you’re not automatically doomed to a life in A-Fib and on A-Fib drugs. Dr. Santangeli’s work is very hopeful and encouraging. …Continue reading…

How to Write Your Personal A-Fib Medical Summary

Doctors appreciate knowledgeable, informed, and prepared patients. Since each doctor will probably ask you much the same medical history questions, for efficiency, why not prepare your ‘Personal A-Fib Medical Summary’?

Make a list of all health care providers, emergency rooms, labs and facilities who have provided you with A-Fib-related medical services. Add names and contact information for doctors and specialists you see regularly and why. List medications you take and why (include minerals and supplements also).

Lastly, add relevant medical information from the past two years (surgeries, medical emergencies, allergic reactions, etc.)

Type up your ‘Personal A-Fib Medical Summary’ and print copies. Include with each packet of medical records you send to doctors.

For a list of questions for drafting your summary, see our article, Your Personal A-Fib Medical Summary.

Wonder if You Have Sleep Apnea? At-Home Testing Option

WatchPat device product image

Photo: Itamar Medical patient brochure

December 2016: This article has been update: Go directlly to: Sleep Apnea: Home Testing with WatchPAT Device and the Philips Respironics

At least 49% of all patients with A-Fib suffer from Sleep Apnea as well. With untreated Sleep Apnea, you have a greater chance of a more severe form of A-Fib and increased risk of recurrence after a successful catheter ablation.

Everyone with A-Fib should be tested for sleep apnea. Traditionally this has involved an overnight stay in the sleep lab.

But now there’s an alternative! You can test at home with the WatchPAT™ device.

The WatchPAT™ is an FDA-approved wrist-worn sleep study device you can use in the comfort of your own bedroom to determine if you have sleep apnea. (PAT is short for Peripheral Arterial Tonometry [pressure measurement].)

Multiple studies have shown there is a high correlation of the WatchPAT with sleep indexes such as the respiratory disturbance index (RDI) and the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI), compared with the same indexes measured by the normal sleep test PSG.

If you think you may have untreated Sleep Apnea: read my full review.

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