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


Do I Have a Legal Right to My Medical Records? Can I See Them? Get Copies?

Yes. Patients have the legal right to access both paper and electronic records, to view the originals and to obtain copies of their medical records.

In the U.S. this right is guaranteed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 [HIPAA]. If you live outside the US, know that over 89 countries have adopted Data Privacy Laws. For example, Canada has the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) and in Europe there’s the EU Data Protection Reform.

Be aware that while your medical information or data belongs to you (the patient), the physical pieces of paper, X-ray film, etc. belong to the hospital or health care provider.

Make an Inventory of 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.

You may already have many of these records on file and just need to identify those you are missing. (You may be fortunate and have online access to your information, depending on your health provider.)

How to Request Copies of Missing 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. So, how do you do that? For all the details, see my article: 3 Ways to Request Copies of your Medical Records

For no cost copies, ask if they will copy electronic files to your USB Flash drive or to a disc/CD you supply. 

Once you have a complete set of your medical records, store your originals in a binder or file folder. Store CDs in binder sleeves or copy to your PC. Make backup copies of any digital 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.

Patient Online Services: If your healthcare provider offers a secure online portal to your patient records, be sure to sign up for it. It is a convenient way to access your health information and medical records. Services include email communication with your doctors (no phone tag), your doctor’s instructions during office visits, a calendar of all upcoming and past office visits, all tests results, a list of prescribed medications and patient education resources.

Store your A-Fib Research: 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.

Make Medical Record-Keeping a Habit: Don’t leave your doctor’s office or medical canter without a copy of every test they performed. Store in your A-Fib three-ring binder or file folder.

Never see a doctor alone - 350 wide at 300 res

A Look at the Glossary of A-Fib Medical Terms

As part of your education about Atrial Fibrillation, you’re bound to run across terms that you do not understand. Bookmark our Glossary of Medical Terms page (or click on “Glossary of Terms” in the left menu) and refer to it when reading and studying about A-Fib.

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

A Sampling of Glossary Terms

To give you an idea of what you’ll find, we’ve selected a few Atrial Fibrillation terms and phrases related to drug therapy:

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

Beta Blocker: A medication that slows down conduction through the heart and makes the AV Node less sensitive to A-Fib impulses.

Calcium Channel Blocker: A medication that prevents or slows the flow of calcium ions into smooth muscle cells such as the heart. This impedes muscle cell contraction, thereby allowing blood vessels to expand and carry more blood and oxygen to tissues.

NOAC: NOAC stands for Novel Oral AntiCoagulants. NOACs are alternatives for vitamin K antagonists (e.g., Warfarin) for stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation.

“Pill-in-the-Pocket” Treatment: For Paroxysmal A-Fib patients. When an A-Fib attack occurs, the patient takes an antiarrhythmic med (flecainide, propafenone, etc.) to return to normal sinus rhythm.

Rate Control Medications: Drug therapy that attempts to control your heart rate (ventricular beats), but leave the upper chambers (atria) of your heart in A-Fib.

Rhythm Control Medications: Drug therapy that uses rhythm control drugs, called antiarrhythmics, to try to stop A-Fib and make the heart beat normally.

Browse Our Glossary of A-Fib Terms

Go ahead and take a leisurely stroll through our Glossary of Medical Terms and Phrases. Bookmark the page and refer to if any time you’re learning about Atrial Fibrillation and your treatment options.

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

Go to our Glossary
Bookmark it! Refer to it often!

Click image to go to Glossary of Terms

My Top 5 Picks: Steve’s A-Fib Survival Kit for the Newly Diagnosed

By Steve S. Ryan, PhD. This post was originally published July 15, 2016.Steve's A-Fib Survival Kit at

Your first experiences with Atrial Fibrillation have changed your life in a number of ways. As a former A-Fib patient (cured since 1998) I highly recommend these items when first diagnosed with this beast called ‘Atrial Fibrillation’.

My Top 5 Recommendations for the Newly Diagnosed

These are the products I recommend (and use) along with a Bonus: a good medical dictionary. These items are available from many online sources, but I’ve made them easy to order the entire list by making a ‘Wish List’ on Steve Ryan’s A-Fib Survival Kit for the Newly Diagnosed,(Note: Use our Amazon portal link, and your purchases help support

Magnesium Mg Drs Best1. Doctor’s Best High Absorption Magnesium (200 Mg Elemental), 240-Count

Most A-Fib patients are deficient in Magnesium (Mg). While Magnesium (Mg) is one of the main components of heart cell functioning, it seems to be chronically lacking in most diets.

One form of easily absorbed magnesium is Magnesium glycinate, a chelated amino acid. Look for the label ‘Albion Minerals’ designed to limit bowel sensitivity. Dosage: 600-800 mg daily in divided dosages (meals and bedtime). Read more about Magnesium.

Potassium NOW bottle2. Now Foods Potassium Gluconate Pure Powder, 1-pound

Just like magnesium deficiency, A-Fib patients are usually deficient in Potassium as well. We recommend the powder in order to take the recommended dose of 1600-2400 mg per day.

Be cautious of potassium tablets. For example those listed as 540 mg ONLY contain 99 mg of Potassium. Read more about Potassium.

BYA cover3. Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure: Written in everyday language for patients with Atrial Fibrillation

A-Fib can be cured! That’s the theme of this book written by a former A-Fib patient and publisher of the patient education website, Empowers patients to seek their cure. Written in plain language for A-Fib patients and their families.

Polar FT2 Heart Rate Monitor at A-Fib.com4. Polar FT2 Heart Rate Monitor, Black or Blue

Many A-Fib patients want to monitor their heart rate when exercising or doing strenuous tasks (mowing the lawn, moving equipment, etc.) This is a basic DIY model with a clear, LARGE number display of your heart rate (as a number). Requires wearing the included T31 coded transmitter chest strap.

One-button start. Includes a FT2 Getting Started Guide.

Also look at other Polar models: FT1 & RS3000X. I wore a Polar monitor when I had A-Fib, so it’s my brand of choice, but there are many other good brands.

Oximeter image5. Zacurate 500BL Fingertip Pulse Oximeter Blood Oxygen Saturation Monitor 

Many A-Fib patients also suffer with undiagnosed sleep apnea. A finger Oximeter is an easy way to check your oxygen level. A reading of 90% or lower means you should talk to your doctor as you may need a sleep study.

Oxford Med DictionaryBONUS: Concise Medical Dictionary (Oxford Quick Reference)

An excellent medical dictionary, the best I’ve found for patients with Atrial Fibrillation who are conducting research into their best treatment options. Includes occasional illustrations (for fun check p. 276 for the types of fingerprint patterns).

More of My Lists

Besides Steve Ryan’s A-Fib Survival Kit for the Newly Diagnosed, see my other lists for supplements, recommended books and DIY heart rate monitors:

By a Former A-Fib Patient: My Recommended link using account ID afiin-20
For A-Fib Patients: 7 Supplements for a Healthy Heart
For A-Fib Patients: A-Fib Reference Books and Guides
For A-Fib Patients: Recommended Magnesium and Potassium Supplements
Steve’s Top Picks: DIY Heart Rate Monitors for A-Fib Patients

Note: Use the Amazon portal link and your purchases help support ( Learn more at: Use our Portal Link When you Shop at

Click image to read Steve Ryan's personal experience story. at

Click image to read Steve Ryan’s personal experience story.

A-Fib Impacts Quality of Life for the Spouse and Family of Patients

Research verifies that the loved ones living with someone in Atrial Fibrillation may be about as stressed as actually having the condition.

In one study the partners of A-Fib patients reported a significant reduction in their quality of life, to the same degree as the patient. (Note: Most severely impaired was a couple’s sex life.)

Educate the Family, Not Just the Patient

One simple solution might be to make sure the spouse comes to office visits, particularly during the early visits around the time of diagnosis, says Dr. Bruce A. Koplan of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

 Research tells us A-Fib is just as stressful for the patient’s partner.

“Sometimes spouses come but stay in the waiting room,” he said. “But I don’t think that’s a good idea because they’re suffering too.”

Educational programs and other interventions to eliminate some of the unknowns may relieve the anxiety for the patient and their partner leading to improved quality of life for both.

Get all Your Loved Ones Involved

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is from the patient’s partner: “What can I do for my spouse during an A-Fib attack?”

Perhaps, just as important, A-Fib patients should be asking “How can I help my family cope with the stress and anxiety of my Atrial Fibrillation?”

A Momentary Pause: When I talk with an A-Fib patient, I always ask how their spouse or partner is doing―how they are coping. This often elicits a momentarily pause while the patient stops and ponders the impact of A-Fib on their family.

My best advice to patients is to get all your loved ones involved! Knowledge is empowering and reduces stress and anxiety.

Talk with them, answer their questions. To help you, download my free report, Top 10 Questions Families Ask about Atrial Fibrillation”.

Be Confident & Stay Calm

Share your A-Fib plan

In addition, for your family’s peace of mind, learn Why & How to Create Your ‘A-Fib Episode Action Plan’. During an A-Fib attack, an A-Fib Action Plan with specific steps is reassuring and helps everyone stay calm. Your family will be confident they’re supporting you in taking the right action at the right time.

Discuss your A-Fib Action Plan with your loved ones and answer their questions. Post a copy in a prominent place where your family can find it easily.

Knowledge Empowers, Reduces Stress and Anxiety

References for this Article

• Koplan BA, et al “Living with atrial fibrillation: Does the spouse suffer as much as the patient?” HRS meeting 2008; Abstract PO1-151.

• Phend, C.  HRS: Atrial Fibrillation Affects Family as Much as Patient. Heart Rhythm Society. Meeting coverage. MedPage Today, May 15, 2008.

• Bohnen M, et al. Quality of life with atrial fibrillation: Do the spouses suffer as much as the patients? Pacing Clin Electrophysiol. 2011;34:804-809. DOI:10.1111/j.1540-8159.2011.03111.x.

• Ekblad, H. et al. The Well-Being of Relatives of Patients with Atrial Fibrillation: A Critical Incident Technique Analysis. The Open Nursing Journal, ISSN: 1874-4346 ― Volume 10, 2016. DOI: 10.2174/1874434601408010048

For A-Fib Patients: An Updated Review of Medic Alert ID Products

When you have A-Fib and you’re taking a blood thinner or other medications, you may want to carry details of your specific medical history.

From the simple printed card to products with an integrated USB drive, there are many ways to carry your emergency history with you these days.

Beyond the familiar styles of metallic Medic Alert ID bracelets and necklace pendants, there are products using newer materials like waterproof foam, Duro silicone and plastic. And products linking to centralized, password protected data storage services.

We’ve reviewed dozens of products to offer you an updated sampling of the available options. (For each product, we’ve included a hyperlink so you can easily get more information.)

A Few of Our Favorite Wearables

These are a few items that caught our eye. An Apple Watch slip-on ID band with multiple lines of custom text, an athletic shoe with medical ID card holder which attaches with velcro. And a sports helmet warning decal for 911 responders, with registered data service and built-in medical ID pocket.

Apple Watch strap add-on stainless steel medical ID from Road ID

Athletic shoe ID pocket with Velcro attachment by Vital ID

Helmet warning decal for 911 EMTs with ID card pocket from Vital ID

USB Drive Equipped Products with Medic Alert Symbol

These products all display an emergency symbol or label and include an integrated USB drive. Data can be registered or entered by the owner. A few items are a Duro silicone, latex-free bracelet with pop out USB drive, a stainless steel key chain with the USB built into the fob, and credit-card size data wallet card with a hinged USB drive.

Duro silicone bracelet with integrated USB drive by CARExcel Medical History

Key ring fob with integrated USB drive by Key 2 Life® EMR Medi-Chip

Emergency Medical Information USB Card – The size of a credit card! by 911 Medical ID

Keeping it Simple: Print Your Medical ID Wallet Card

Printable Med ID Wallet Card from

If you want the low-tech version, here are three free online sources for printing your own wallet cards:

Printable Emergency Medical ID Card (online form) by
• Print Your Own Emergency Medical I.D. Card (online form) by
Emergency Contact Card (in PDF format) from the American Red Cross

Follow the online instructions to enter your information. Then print, trim, fold and add to your wallet or purse. (Or print the blank form and fill-in by hand.)

Money clip from Universal Medical Data

Don’t carry a wallet? Consider a Money Clip with medical symbol and a compartment to slide in an emergency medical ID (left); from Universal Medical Data.

Review and Update the Contents Regularly

Whichever method(s) you use to carry your emergency medical information, don’t forget to review and update the contents regularly. For example, when you change doctors, when you start (or stop) a medication, or if you have a medical emergency or surgical procedure.

Knowing you have up-to-date medical information will give you peace of mind.

Additional thought: Consider your spouse and other family members. Should they also carry their medical emergency ID information?

What Emergency Medical Info Should You Carry?

For information about what emergency medical information to carry, see our article, Your Portable Medical Information Kit.

Give the Gift of Hope: Steve’s Guides to A-Fib-Related Products

Give the gift of hope this gift-giving season with our ideas for family members and patients with Atrial Fibrillation. We’re often overwhelmed when we shop for A-Fib-related items.

Steve’s Shopping Guides help you sort through the vast array of products of interest to those touched by Atrial Fibrillation. These brands and products are available from many online and other retailers.

We invite you to browse our page with the following shopping guides from books to supplements and heart rate monitors. Go to Steve’s Steve’s Shopping Guides to Recommended A-Fib-Related Products including:

A-Fib Survival Kit for the Newly Diagnosed
A-Fib Reference Books and Guides
Magnesium & Potassium Supplements for A-Fib patients
Seven ‘Natural’ Supplements for a Healthy Heart
DIY Heart Rate Monitors (HRMs)

Support When You Shop portal link for A-Fib.comUse our portal link and support at the same time (at no extra cost to you). Your purchases generate a small fee which we apply to the costs of publishing this website. Bookmark this link. Use it every time!

“Hi Steve and Patti, I just spent $200+ on Amazon and used the portal link [to generate commissions for the website]. I, too, want to keep the website independent and ad free.

I bookmarked your portal link and will continue to use it for every Amazon purchase.” 

Barbara Cogburn, Renton, Washington, U.S. 


C/NET VIDEO: Compares Apple Watch EKG to Hospital 12-Lead EKG

Dr. Gregory Marcus at the UCSF Medical Center compares a 1-lead ECG from the Apple Watch Series 4 (equipped with the right app) to the results of a traditional hospital 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG) monitor.

Hooked up to a traditional electrocardiogram monitor, C/NET Senior Editor Vanessa Hand Orellana uses an Apple Watch 4 app to take a 30 second ECG reading. See comparisons of readings from the two devices. Learn how the Apple Watch 4 captures the heart beat.

Live footage, animation and interviews. Posted Dec. 6, 2018 by C/NET. 4:26 min. Transcript available.

Click on arrow to start video. Hover over video frame for player controls.You can pause playback, turn on closed captions or adjust audio volume. 

If you find any errors on this page, email us. Y Last updated: Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Return to Instructional A-Fib Videos and Animations

Be Proactive—Find the A-Fib Treatment Solution that Fits You Best

Advice from Patients Now Free from the Burden of Atrial Fibrillation

Joy G.

Joy Gray, Manchester, New Hampshire

“A-Fib tends to be a progressive disease, so taking an aggressive approach to treatment early on may be your best option.

Sheri Weber, Boyce, Virginia

Sheri Weber on

Sheri W.

“A-Fib hardly ever gets better. Be aggressive. Anger and determination led me to researching options. Find the solution that fits you best. Every case is different.
You can learn from others’ experiences, but you cannot determine what is best for your case unless you have all the facts, tests and personal goals in line.”

Michele S.

Michele Straub, Salt Lake City, Utah

“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.”

A-Fib Patient Stories: Learn from Others’ Experiences

Other A-Fib patients have been where you are right now. Dozens have shared their personal experience with our readers (starting with Steve Ryan’s story in 1998). Told in the first-person, many stories span years, even decades. Symptoms will vary, and treatments choices run the full gamut.

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.

You can browse the many stories organized by categories such as age group, symptoms or treatment choice. Start at Personal A-Fib Stories by Subject Category.

Read how others learned to seek their A-Fib cure.

From The Top 10 List of A-Fib Patients’ Best Advice’ , a consensus of valuable advice from fellow Atrial Fibrillation patients; Chapter 12, Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure by Steve S. Ryan, PhD.

Go to Top 10 List of A-Fib Patients’ Best Advice
Please, share the advice ♥ 

Atrial Fibrillation Patients: Guide on How to Get Started with Yoga

In our article, FAQs about Natural Therapies: Yoga and A-Fib, Dr. Dhanunjaya Lakkireddy describes his research with A-Fib patients and how yoga provides a powerful connection between mind and body. “It affects heart rhythm through its significant influence on the [nervous system].” It improves symptoms and arrhythmia burden, reduces anxiety and depression, and improves quality of life (QoL).”

Yoga can be adjusted to any level or intensity. Just start slowly! It doesn’t need much equipment: a mat to prevent slipping and provide padding and perhaps a folded blanket, when needed, to support your knees.

Dr. Lakkireddy cautions that yoga isn’t a substitute for medical treatment, but it can be a good adjunct.

Beginner’s Yoga Guide for A-Fib Patients

We found a great article, Yoga for Atrial Fibrillation, on that offers a beginner’s yoga guide for A-Fib patients.

To get you started, they include directions for seven simple poses each with an illustration. Here’s an example of the instructions:

Yoga for Atrial Fibrillation: Table Pose
This pose helps you warm up and is a starting position for other yoga moves. How to do it:
1. Come to the floor on your hands and knees. Bring the knees hip-width apart, with feet directly behind the knees. Bring palms directly under the shoulders with fingers facing forward.

Photo credit:

2. Look down between the palms and allow the back to be flat. Press into the palms to drop the shoulders slightly away from the ears. Press tailbone toward the back wall and the crown of the head toward the front wall to lengthen spine.
3. Breathe deeply and hold for 1-3 breaths. 
Special considerations: Place a blanket under the knees to protect them from pressure and stress. Make fists with your hands to reduce pressure on the wrists. Avoid this pose if you’ve had recent or chronic knee or hip injury or inflammation.

For the other six poses and to read the entire article, go to Yoga for Atrial Fibrillation at According to “By concentrating on your breathing and being present in the poses, you’ll feel the benefits immediately.”

For Atrial Fibrillation patients, yoga can be an effective complementary therapy and a part of your A-Fib treatment plan. Also see our article, FAQs about Natural Therapies: Yoga and A-Fib.

Always consult your doctor before starting a yoga exercise program. For example, if you have high blood pressure, you may need to avoid yoga poses in which your head and heart are lower than the rest of your body, such as the Downward-Facing Dog.

Anatomy of Hatha Yoga: A Manual for Students, Teachers, and Practitioners
by H. David Coulter, PhD

Resource for this article
Lakkireddy, D., et al. Effect of Yoga on Arrhythmia Burden, Anxiety, Depression, and Quality of Life in Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation. Journal of the American College of Cardiology Mar 2013, 61 (11) 1177-1182; doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2012.11.060

Yoga for Atrial Fibrillation. Last updated: 11/14/2017.

Wahlstrom, M, et al. Effects of yoga in patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation—a randomized controlled study. European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing. Vol 16, Issue 1, pp. 57 – 63. March 14, 2016.

Get Support: A-Fib Wreaks Havoc with Your Head as Well as Your Heart

Anxiety, fear, worry, confusion, frustration and depression, and at times, anger. Most A-Fib patients deal with one or more of these feelings. Beware: research indicates that “psychological distress” worsens the severity of A-Fib symptoms.

Advice About Stress from Patients (and a Spouse) Now Free from the Burden of A-Fib

Jay Teresi, Atlanta, GA, USA. cured after having A-Fib for over ten years:

Jay T.

“Of the entire experience, anxiety has been the greatest challenge. Don’t beat yourself up if you deal with this. Be honest with the doctors about it and get help.
And help your family to understand as they are your greatest support system.”
Kelly Teresi, wife of Jay Teresi, about coping with her husband’s A-Fib:

Kelley T.

“This disease is so far beyond what a non-A-Fib person can comprehend—many times I found myself frustrated, not understanding what was going on with Jay’s thoughts and heart. Jay’s A-Fib and the associated anxiety has left its imprint on our lives.”

Max Jussila, Shanghai, China, about the emotional impact of his A-Fib:

Max J.

“I have never been mentally so incapable…even the simplest work-related problems seemed impossible for me to handle, let alone solve.
I was only 52 years old…but mentally I was reduced to a six–year-old child with constant tantrums.”

Joe Mirretti, Gurnee, IL, a 62-Year old cyclist, about the personal A-Fib stories on

Joe M.

“Like everyone has said in their A-Fib stories, A-Fib does such a job on your head. Every time you feel something, it scares you like you’re going back into A-Fib. That’s been a mental battle.
That’s why reading those patient stories [on] help.”

A-Fib Doesn’t Have to be in Your Head as Well

Don’t be ashamed to admit how A-Fib makes you feel (especially if you’re a guy). Your psyche is just as important as your physical heart. Just acknowledging you have some or all of these symptoms is a step in the right direction.

PODCAST: 15 Ways to Manage the Fear & Anxiety of Atrial FibrillationTune in to learn ways to cope. Listen as Steve Ryan and Travis Van Slooten, publisher of discuss ways to help you with the emotional component of A-Fib. (See show notes for the list of 15 tips.)

Acknowledge the Stress and Anxiety.
Seek Emotional Support. 

From The Top 10 List of A-Fib Patients’ Best Advice’ , a consensus of valuable advice from fellow Atrial Fibrillation patients; Chapter 12, Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure by Steve S. Ryan, PhD.

Go to Top 10 List of A-Fib Patients’ Best Advice
Please, share the advice ♥ 

Learning About A-Fib: “A True Experience of Input, Input, Input!”

Advice from patients now free from the burden of A-Fib: Learn all you can about Atrial Fibrillation before making decisions.

Joan Schneider, Ann Arbor, MI, writes how she found online information and support:

Joan S.

“Upon questioning [my new EP]…I didn’t have a warm fuzzy feeling.
However, I found everything I needed to know (and even what I didn’t want to know) when I came across,, and the best support from the A-Fib support group.
It was a true experience of input, input, input!”

Charn Deol, Richmond, BC, Canada, now A-Fib Free after a 23-Year ordeal with Atrial Fibrillation writes:

Personal A-Fib story by Charn Deol, BC, Canada at

Charn D.

“I am relying on his [EP’s] extensive knowledge to help me in a field where I am no expert. My gut said to ‘no longer trust’ this supposed best electrophysiologist at the hospital and search for an alternative path. 

From this experience I’ve learned to obtain as much knowledge as possible of your condition.”

Another A-Fib patient, Sheri Weber, from Boyce, VA, tells what led her to learn more about Atrial Fibrillation on her own:

Sheri W.

“While in the hospital, I questioned my cardio doctor about treatment options other than medication; He told me there were surgical procedures, but they had very low success rates (WRONG!).

Anger and determination led me to research my options [right then] on my laptop.”

Where to Start Learning About A-Fib

Here at we offer you a plethera of experiences to learn about Atrial Fibrillation. Check out our “Where to Start” page to begin.

If you are newly diagnosed or new to our website, you can start with our Overview of Atrial Fibrillation. It introduces you to all the main topics of this website.

Then visit our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section. We answer common patients’ questions. Also, visit our A-Fib Video Library with short clips at the Introductory Level. Along the way, refer to our Glossary of medical terms as needed.

Go to our “Where to Start” page.

Learn All You Can About A-Fib
Before Making Treatment Decisions.

Aim to Stop Your A-Fib Episodes Not Just Control Them

You don’t have to live with Atrial Fibrillation. You don’t have to settle for a lifetime of “controlling” your Atrial Fibrillation. Don’t accept being on drugs for the rest of your life. Instead, aim for an A-Fib cure.

The Heart Rhythm Specialist

A-Fib Patients- The Goal should be to End your episodes not Control them-A-Fib.comEveryone with A-Fib should see a heart rhythm specialist, an cardiac Electrophysiologist (EP). An EP is a cardiologist who specializes in the electrical activity of the heart and in the diagnosis and treatment of heart rhythm disorders.

You want to carefully select a doctor who will partner with you to create a treatment plan—a path to finding your cure or the best outcome for you.

Finding the Right Doctor

To find the right doctor for you, start by reading our page: Finding the Right Doctor for You and Your A-FibWe offer you what you need to know and how to do it.

To help you in your search, we’ve also prepared a list of Questions You’ve Got to Ask for each prospective doctor. The list is designed to solicit information to help you select the best doctor for you and your type of A-Fib.

In addition, we help you interpret a doctor’s possible answers. After each question, we’ve included typical doctor responses and an analysis of what those responses may mean to you.

Questions to Ask Doctors Worksheet

We’ve prepared a print version of this list of questions with our handy Questions to Ask Doctors Worksheet. Print and use for each doctor interview to collect the doctor’s answers. There’s space for your own questions, too. (Read more about our worksheet.)

Download our free PDF worksheet (separate browser window will open). You can send it directly to your printer or download and save to your computer to print copies any time.’s Directory of Doctors Treating A-Fib: Medical Centers and Practices

Not all EPs treat A-Fib patients. To help you find EPs who do, we offer you our own Directory of physicians and medical centers treating Atrial Fibrillation patients. This evolving list is offered as a service and convenience to A-Fib patients. The Directory is divided into three categories.

• US Doctors and Medical Centers (by state/city)
• International: Doctors and Medical Centers (by country or region)

No Pay-to-Play Listings Here!

Note: Unlike other physician directories, offers no preferential listings to be included in our Directory of Doctors and Medical Centers. is not affiliated with any practice, medical center or physician. We accept no fee, benefit or value of any kind for listing a specific doctor or medical center. See our article: Don’t be Fooled by Pay-to-Play Online Doctor Referral Sites.

Seek Your Cure at A-Fib.comLeaving 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). Don’t let your doctor leave you in A-Fib. Unless too feeble, there’s no good reason to just leave someone in A-Fib. (Read more.)

Start with finding the right doctor for you. Then, learn your treatment options. And always Aim for a Cure!

Health-Related Websites: How Do You Find Sources You Can Trust?

Everyday there are more and more websites offering consumer health-related information. While many online health resources are credible and valid, others may present inaccurate, biased or misleading information.

How do you find sources you can trust? How do you evaluate the content on websites?

Key Facts to Ask About Health Websites

Anyone can put up a website. Not all online health information is accurate, legitimate and authoritative. Be cautious when you evaluate health-information on the Internet.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health advises to be suspicious, especially if the site…

… Is selling something
… Includes outdated information
… Makes excessive claims for what a product can do
… Is sponsored by an organization whose goals differ from yours.

Checking Out a Health Website: Five Quick Questions

If you’re visiting a health-related website for the first time, these five quick questions can help you decide whether the site is a helpful and legitimate resource.

Always ask yourself: ‘Who is paying for this website? What is their agenda?’

Who? Who runs the website? Can you trust them? Beware of bias, who is paying for or funding the site?

What? What does the site say? Do its claims seem too good to be true? Be a cyber-skeptic.

When? When was the information posted or reviewed? Is it up-to-date?  Who verifies the information before it is put on the web page?

Where? Where did the information come from? Is it supported by scientific research? Look for recognized authorities and know who is responsible for the content.

Why? Why does the site exist? Is it selling something?

Don’t Rely Exclusively on Online Resources

If you are researching a health-related topic online, review several high-quality websites to see if similar information appears in a number of places. Looking at many good sites will also give you a wider view of a health issue.

When making decisions about your health, don’t rely exclusively on online resources. Online information is not a substitute for medical advice. Before taking any of the advice that you have found online, confer with your doctors and health care providers, get referrals and recommendations from other patients, and ask opinions from family and friends.

You must do your due diligence to find the right treatment(s) for you. I know it’s a lot of effort. To make the best decisions, educate yourself on all your treatment options.

Resources for this Article
• Guide to Healthy Web Surfing Ways to Evaluate the Quality of Health Information on Web. NIH: National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health Sites.

• MedlinePlus Guide to Healthy Web Surfing. NIH: U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Caution - when searching A-Fib websites always ask: who is paying for this site and what is their agenda?

From ‘Beat Your A-Fib”

Learn to Read Your ECG: My Brief Overview or a Training Course

When I developed Atrial Fibrillation, one of my first courses of study was to learn how to read my own Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG). If this interests you, too, consider my brief overview of the ECG waveform signal and how to “read” an ECG tracing. Go to my report, Understanding the EKG Signal.

FREE ECG Training Course

For the reader wanting a more extensive understanding of the Electrocardiogram and A-Fib, we offer you a link to – a FREE online cardiology resource for those seeking to increase their knowledge of ECG tracings.

Start with ECG Basics: I suggest you start with the ECG Basics to analyze each part of the ECG tracing; included are detailed explanations and ECG images of the heart in A-Fib. The tutorial is concise and focused on only what you need to know, yet very thorough — from waves to segments to complexes. Go to ECG Basics.

VIDEO: Graphic Display of Actual Heart in Atrial Fibrillation

Click to go to video

See an ECG waveform of an actual heart in Atrial Fibrillation–how it could look to your doctor. Your ECG may look different, but it will be fast and erratic. (You’ll see the changing heartbeat rate in the lower left.)

Go to video: ECG of Heart in Atrial Fibrillation on Monitor.


Update 2018: Print a free Medical Alert I.D. Wallet Card

Websites change every day. So it’s no surprise when reader Debbie L. emailed us about a non-working link. Thanks to her alert, I’ve updated my links to print your own emergency medical ID wallet cards.

To help you make your medical ID, we have Free online sources for printing your own wallet cards (updated 1-14-18). Here are three sources:

Free printable Med. ID Card from at

Free printable Med. ID Card from

Printable Emergency Medical ID Card (online form) by
• Print Your Own Emergency Medical I.D. Card (online form) by
• American Red Cross Emergency Contact Card link on site or go directly to PDF form.

Use the PDF form to enter your information. Then, print, trim, fold and add to your wallet or purse. Or print the blank form and fill-in by hand.

Tips to Consider

• Laminate your wallet card to prolong its use (an office supply store can help you)
• Print a card for each member of your family
• If you choose a medic alert bracelet with limited space, add the message “See wallet card,” and carry a wallet card with all your medical details.

Beyond Wallet Cards: Medic Alert IDs

Shoe pocket by Vital ID

Shoe pocket by Vital ID

There are many styles of Medic Alert ID bracelets, necklace pendants, USB-based devices and sports equipment using different materials like waterproof foam, leather and stainless steel. (see Your Portable Medical Information Kit.)

Whichever method(s) you use to carry your emergency medical information, don’t forget to review and update the contents regularly especially when you change doctors, or start (or stop) medications or have a medical procedure. Knowing you have up-to-date medical information gives you a little bit more peace of mind.

For more about how to carry all your medical information in case of emergency, see our article: Your Portable Medical Information Kit.

New FAQ: Will EECP Heart Therapy Help my Circulation?

 FAQs: Coping with A-Fib: EECP Therapy

“I’ve heard about an out-patient heart therapy that improves circulation called EECP (Enhanced External Counterpulsation). Would it help me with my A-Fib?”

The goal of Enhanced External Counterpulsation (EECP) therapy is to improve the flow of healthy, oxygenated blood to the heart. It works by opening or forming small blood vessels called collaterals which create natural bypasses around blocked arteries.

It’s FDA cleared, non-invasive, requires no medication and has no recovery period. It improves circulation and decreases inflammation.

Ischemic means a restriction in blood supply to tissues caused by constriction or obstruction of the blood vessels.

Improve Blood Pressure and Circulation

EECP has been used with patients suffering from ischemic heart diseases (e.g. angina and heart failure).

In addition, if you have high blood pressure, EECP can decrease arterial stiffness and hardening of the arteries. It also pumps blood into bone marrow and pushes stem cells to secrete into the circulatory system.

My Experience with EECP

I recently had an EECP session at Global Cardio Care–West Los Angeles, CA. I can testify that EECP therapy is very powerful and invigorating.

During and after my session. I spoke with Sara Soulati, the CEO of Global Cardio Care, Inc. who is a pioneer in EECP since 1996. (She also helped with research for this article.)

In my case, they found that my arteries were very flexible, so I didn’t get as much benefit as someone with clogged arteries. I can testify from personal experience that EECP feels very effective. It seems like a naturally occurring bypass.

(Global Cardio Care, Inc. has two locations in Los Angeles and offers a free session, see their website).

What Happens During EECP Therapy

EECP therapy session: patient with compression cuffs on lower limbs at

EECP therapy session: patient with compression cuffs on lower limbs

During an EECP therapy session, you lay on an EECP bed with a pulse-oximetry device on your finger and hooked up to a 12-lead ECG. Heavy-duty air compression pressure cuffs (similar to blood pressure cuffs) are wrapped around each calf, thigh, and the buttocks. The ECG signal synchronizes the sequential squeezing of the cuffs to the rhythm of the patient’s heartbeat.

When the heart is at rest, the blood pressure cuffs squeeze the blood from the lower legs and circulate it throughout the entire arterial system. When the heart pumps, the cuffs deflate rapidly.

EECP therapy increases the blood flow and oxygen back to the heart, reducing the work that the heart has to do. It also improves circulation and strengthens the cardiopulmonary system. A typical session lasts around 1 hour; one course of EECP is usually 35 hours.

EECP: How It Effects Your Body

Effect of EECP therapy at

Effect of course of EECP therapy: new arteries for blood to flow through

This increased and powerful circulation to the arteries helps develop “collaterals”―new arteries for blood to flow through. Hormones and vasodilators (nerves that cause widening of blood vessels) are released.

Within the arteries, nitric oxide and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF stimulates the formation of blood vessels) are secreted which help the process of collateralization (forming a side branch of a blood vessel). This improves arterial stiffness, increases circulation, and decreases inflammation.

EECP and A-Fib Patients

When I interviewed Sara Soulati of Global Cardio Care, Inc., she shared her experiences with Atrial Fibrillation patients seeking EECP.  (Global Cardio is where I had my EECP session.)  She recalled how her first A-Fib client came from a referral from Dr. Julian Whitaker (Whitaker Wellness Institute in Newport Beach, CA). Her insights and advice come after conducting EECP on more than 60 A-Fib patients.

“About 20% of our clients have had their A-Fib converted back into normal sinus rhythm.” Sara Soulati of Global Cardio Care, Inc.

Criteria for Best Results: She learned that in order to conduct EECP on someone with A-Fib, one of the criteria for a successful outcome is to have controlled A-Fib as opposed to unstable A-Fib.

Uncontrolled A-Fib has a wider range of heart rates, for example 40 to 150 beats per minute which makes the heart rate very irregular. Whereas controlled A-Fib has a narrower range of heartbeat (50-70 beats/minute).

This allows EECP to work properly, since EECP is triggered by the resting phase of the heartbeat.

EECP Results for A-Fib Patients: Sara Soulati hypothesizes that EECP stimulates electrical conduction of the SA Node to start to conduct and to normalize electrical conduction.

Sara Soulati, Global Cardio Care, Inc

Sara Soulati

EECP works for those with A-Fib as though it were passive exercise. It lowers heart rate and blood pressure while increasing circulation. About results with A-Fib patients, she writes:

 “Since the earliest days when I started doing EECP, we have treated more than 60 A-Fib clients. Not every single person has returned to normal sinus rhythm. I have seen the conversion from A-Fib to normal sinus rhythm first-hand while watching the EKG heart monitor during EECP therapy. About 20% of our clients have had their A-Fib converted back into normal sinus rhythm.”

For those who don’t return to sinus, their heart rate often becomes more controlled and medications can be decreased.

Still frame from Renew Group Private Limited EECP video

Still frame from Renew Group Private Limited EECP video

More About EECP Therapy

Is EECP Therapy Safe?

EECP is FDA cleared for the following conditions: angina pectoris, congestive heart failure, cardiogenic shock, and acute myocardial infarction.

Medicare (and many private insurers) will reimburse for several courses of EECP if you meet the criteria.

Other diseases or conditions mentioned have been studied in clinical trials. Clinical research shows there is, in fact, improvement in these disease types with EECP treatment.

Medicare will reimburse for several courses of EECP if you meet the criteria. Most private insurance companies have coverage policies similar to Medicare.

We advise you to talk to your cardiologist or EP before proceeding.

Where can I Find Centers Offering EECP Therapy?

There are nearly 1,000 academic medical facilities, physician practices and stand-alone centers offering EECP throughout the world and in the U.S. See “Locate EECP®Therapy Centers” at the VasoMedical EECP Therapy website.

Read More About EECP Therapy

The Bottom Line for A-Fib Patients

A course of EECP therapy may offer a way to improve the flow of healthy, oxygenated blood to your heart. As Sara Soulati of Global Cardio Care, Inc. reports, with EECP therapy, about 20% of her A-Fib clients have converted back into normal sinus rhythm.

The criteria: if your A-Fib is controlled within a narrower range of heartbeat (50-70 beats/minute), or if you have paroxysmal (occasional) A-Fib, you may want to look into a course of EECP therapy. It can improve cardiac function and possibly decrease the need for A-Fib meds.

(If you do try EECP therapy, let me know about your experience! Email me.)

Resources for this Article
Sara Soulati, Global Cardio Care, Inc.,.

Bihm, Jennifer. Global Cardio Care in Inglewood Focuses on Changing, Saving Lives. Los Angeles Sentinel. November 9, 2016.

VasoMedical EECP Therapy website:

Sharma,U. et al. The Role of Enhanced External Counter Pulsation Therapy in Clinical Practice. Clin Med Res. 2013 Dec; 11(4): 226–232. doi:  10.3121/cmr.2013.1169.

Enhanced External Counterpulsation (EECP). The Cleveland Clinic.

Whitaker, J. Get Pumped Up With EECP. Whitaker Wellness Institute, Medical Center.

Braverman, Debra. Heal Your Heart with EECP: The Only Noninvasive Way to Overcome Heart Disease

Graphic of EECP Animation: from Renew Group Private Limited YouTube video. Published Jul 24, 2016.

Back to FAQs: Coping with Your A-Fib 
Last updated: Saturday, February 16, 2019

Does Your Family Know How to Help You During an A-Fib Episode?

Keep Calm and Follow Your A-Ffib Action Plan poster at

“Keep calm and follow your A-Fib Action Plan.”

Steve S. Ryan, PhD,

For your family’s peace of mind, you need to create an ‘A-Fib Action Plan’.

During an A-Fib attack, an A-Fib Action Plan with specific steps is reassuring and helps everyone stay calm. Your family will be confident they’re supporting you in taking the right action at the right time.

To learn how to create your action plan, see: Why & How to Create Your ‘A-Fib Episode Action Plan’.


Carrying Your Medical ID: A Free Wallet Card or Wearable Technology

Print free wallet card from

(Updated 1-4-18) When you have A-Fib and you’re taking a blood thinner or other medications, you may want to carry your medical information. There are many ways to carry your info these days, on a printed card, or  with an array of accessories with USB storage, etc.

Print Your Free Online Medical ID Wallet Card

To help you make your medical ID, we have three Free online sources for printing your own wallet cards (updated 1-14-18).

• Printable Emergency Medical ID Card (in PDF format) from
• Print Your Own Emergency Medical I.D. Card from
• Emergency Contact Card (in PDF format) from American Red Cross

Use the PDF form online to enter your information. Then, print, trim, fold and add to your wallet or purse. Or print the blank form and fill-in by hand).

A Few Tips

• Laminate your wallet card to prolong its use (an office supply store can help you).
• Why not print a card for each member of your family?
• If you also wear a medic alert bracelet, inscribe it with the message “See wallet card”.

Additional Ways to Carry Your Emergency Medical Alert ID Information

Wearable technology: There are many new styles of Medic Alert IDs bracelets (latex-free) and necklace pendants both with preloaded software and made with different materials like waterproof foam, leather and stainless steel.

Care USB Medical History Bracelet – latex free

USB key from Stat Alert

USB key from Stat Alert

USB credit card-size by ER Card

Credit card-size USB by ER Card

Money clip from Universal Medical Data

Money clip from Universal Medical Data

You can also carry your emergency medical ID information on USB-equipped personal devices like a key chain fob and credit-card size data wallet card (above).

Paper-based? Don’t carry a wallet? Consider a Money clip with a compartment to slide in your emergency contact info (right).

Or, if you carry a paper-based day planner or calendar, add the same information to your address book.

What Emergency Medical Info Should You Carry?

For much more information about what and how to carry your emergency medical information, see our article, Your Portable Medical Information Kit.

Prepare for Your Doctor Visits: Two FREE Appointment Worksheets

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

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.’s FREE Worksheet: 10 Questions to Ask Your New Doctor Questions for Doctors Worksheet at 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

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.

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

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