Doctors & patients are saying about 'A-Fib.com'...


"A-Fib.com 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


Help Michele: Share your A-Fib Experince With Wearable Heartrate Monitoring Devices

Heart Rhythm Society logoOne of our A-Fib Support Volunteers, Michele Straube, will be participating as a patient advocate on a panel during the annual Heart Rhythm Society conference in San Francisco, CA, May 2019.  The panel presentation is entitled “The Wearable and Apps: Show Me the Data”. The other panel members, and the workshop audience are medical professionals and experts in cardiac rhythm management

To help Michele share a broad patient perspective, she would greatly appreciate you answering a short survey with your thoughts on wearable/portable devices/apps that provide AFib-related information. Your input may influence what new devices or apps are developed.

Go to Survey now!

All answers will be held confidential. Survey results will be compiled in an anonymous way to share with the Heart Rhythm Society 2019 audience. No individual information will be shared.

Michele S.

The 12-question survey should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete. The survey is open until April 15, 2019. To participate, go to survey:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Z3STKM2

You can read Michele’s A-Fib story at Cured After 30 Years in A-Fib by Dr. Marrouche.

 

Super-Loading: How A-Fib Patients can Correct a Severe Magnesium Deficiency

The mineral Magnesium (Mg) is needed for proper muscle (including the heart), nerve, and enzyme function. A deficiency in Magnesium (along with potassium) can cause palpitations and force the heart into fatal arrhythmias including Atrial Fibrillation.

Magnesium (Mg) is one of the main components of heart cell functioning, but is chronically lacking in most diets. Magnesium deficiencies in general populations range from 65% to 80%, creating a substantial cumulative deficiency over months and years.

A deficiency in magnesium (along with potassium) can force the heart into fatal arrhythmias including Atrial Fibrillation.

Magnesium used to be plentiful in fruits, vegetable and grains, but decades of industrial-scale farming have stripped the soil of minerals like magnesium. One study found that the nutrient content of crops has declined by as much as 40% since the 1950s.

In addition, we no longer absorb magnesium by bathing in or drinking natural mineral-rich water that is high in magnesium—instead, we’re drinking and bathing in tap water that’s devoid of magnesium.

So it’s now almost impossible for A-Fib patients to get adequate amounts of Magnesium from a healthy diet.

To correct a severe Magnesium deficiency and restore levels, it’s often necessary to take a Magnesium supplement over several months.

Not All Magnesium Supplements are Created Equal

Magnesium: Element #12 on the Periodic Table

Confused by the various forms of Magnesium supplements? There are so many different types. Sadly, many of the available magnesium supplements aren’t even absorbable by your digestive tract and will not do anything beneficial for your health. And a low-quality magnesium supplement can cause diarrhea.

Fortunately for A-Fib patients, there are many magnesium forms that are absorbed well by your body.

OrAL Magnesium (Tablets)

• Magnesium Glycinate: (such as Doctor’s Best High Absorption Magnesium Glycinate Lysinate 100% Chelated). One of the most commonly used form of magnesium is both highly absorbed, inexpensive, and easy to use. Magnesium glycinate is absorbed in a different part of the gut compared to other magnesium types, so it’s a good option if other supplements give you digestive stress.

• Magnesium Gluconate: Has very good absorption rate; a good alternative if you have had digestive trouble with other types of magnesium supplements.

• Magnesium Threonate: (such as Life Extension Neuro-Mag Magnesium L-Threonate). Magnesium threonate is a newer form of Magnesium supplement that can penetrate the blood-brain barrier with potentially neuroprotective effects against Alzheimer’s disease. Pricier but doesn’t have the laxative effect. Contains very low elemental magnesium per dose which suggests it would not be a good choice for correcting a magnesium deficiency.

Topical/Liquid forms

• Sublingual Angstrom Magnesium: (such as Mother Earth Minerals Angstrom Minerals, Magnesium-8 ozs.A quickly absorbed liquid that’s 99% pure Magnesium, it’s applied under the tongue, then after one minute, swallowed. Angstrom Magnesium has the best magnesium absorption and generally the fewest digestive side effects. It’s especially good for those who are severely magnesium deficient and need a lot of magnesium in order to replenish their levels.

Magnesium chloride bath salts.

• Magnesium Chloride flakes: (such as Ancient Minerals Magnesium Bath Flakes of Pure Chloride). Similar to Epsom salts (Magnesium sulfate), the molecular structure of Magnesium Chloride is different and is much more easily absorbed into the body. Add Magnesium Chloride flakes to a weekly soaking bath or a foot bath. Can be used in conjunction with magnesium tablets.

• Magnesium Oil: (such as Ancient Minerals Magnesium Oil Spray – Magnesium Chloride). Apply Magnesium oil once a day to arms or legs; after 20-30 minutes, wash off. Can be used in conjunction with magnesium tablets.

Inferior Forms of Magnesium

Some oral forms of magnesium (often cheap) offer relatively low bioavailability (the degree and rate at which it enters the body’s circulatory system). These forms of magnesium do not absorb well and tend to offer little benefit beyond laxative or antacid properties.

When super-loading to replenish your Magnesium, it’s best to avoid Magnesium oxide, Magnesium dihydroxide (milk of magnesia), Magnesium sulfate, Magnesium aspartate, and Magnesium carbonate.

In particular, be sure to avoid any supplement containing magnesium stearate, a common but potentially hazardous additive.

Before You Buy: Seek Brand Quality and Consistency

There are many forms and brands of magnesium supplements. Before you buy, be sure to check the label to ensure they only contain the one type of magnesium and no fillers.

Proper levels of Magnesium can improve by 34% your chances of living a long, healthy life!

It’s critically important to purchase from a source that tests every batch to ensure you are getting what is on the label and nothing else, like unwanted toxins, allergens, and heavy metals.

Look for brands of magnesium that are pharmaceutical grade and adhere to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), a system for ensuring that products are consistently produced and controlled according to quality standards. This means they are produced in strictly monitored facilities which also send batches of their product to third parties for analysis before selling to consumers (such as Nature Made).

(To learn about independent organizations that test branded supplements, see: Which Brands of Vitamins and Minerals Can I Trust?)

Bottom Line for Super-Loading Magnesium

As an A-Fib patient, you may have a severe Magnesium deficiency. To restore your level, it is often necessary to take a Magnesium supplement over several months. We recommend the following when you are “super-loading Magnesium”.

Magnesium supplements should always be taken daily with a meal or just after eating.

• Oral: Magnesium glycinate is thought to be the best type of oral supplement when correcting a severe magnesium deficiency.

• Sublingual: Angstrom Magnesium is 99% pure Magnesium that’s applied under the tongue. Especially good for those who are severely magnesium deficient.

• Topical: Magnesium oil and Magnesium chloride salts (flakes). These are absorbed directly through the skin and by-pass the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, so they can be used in conjunction with magnesium tablets. If sensitive to bowel problems, they can be used as an alternative to Magnesium tablets.

Keep in Mind: Everyone’s body reacts differently to supplements. Just because a form of Magnesium is best for one person, doesn’t mean it’s the best for YOU.

To learn more about Magnesium, see Cardiovascular Benefits of Magnesium: Insights for Atrial Fibrillation Patients.

References for this article
• Rethinking Magnesium: Why You’re Deficient And Need To Supplement (Quick Fix). Nature Builds Health. Jun 09, 2018. URL: https://www.naturebuildshealth.com/blog/magnesium_deficiency_benefits#6

• Leech, J. What Is The Best Magnesium Supplement in 2018? A Comprehensive Review. DietvsDisease.org. Last updated 2nd January, 2018. URL: https://www.dietvsdisease.org/best-magnesium-supplement/

• Magnesium Chloride: Is It Really the “Master Magnesium Compound”? Dr J. Mercola. Last accessed Jan 28, 2019. URL: https://articles.mercola.com/vitamins-supplements/magnesium-chloride.aspx

• What Is The Best Magnesium Supplement? Dr. David Jockers. Last accessed January 28, 2019. URL: https://drjockers.com/best-magnesium-supplement/

• Magnesium: An Invisible Deficiency That Could Be Harming Your Health. Dr. J. Mercola. January 19, 2015. URL:  https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/01/19/magnesium-deficiency.aspx

Tony Rejects Drug Therapy: Says to Ask Questions, None are Stupid

Tony Hall, Evansville, IN, was 54 years old when he develped Atrial Fibrillation in January 2014. After confirming his diagnosis at the hospital, he wrote:

“I sit in the passenger seat feeling like a pet heading to a kennel. Suddenly things are different. I no longer have that “healthy as a horse” attitude.”

He started drug therapy. Then came a cardioconversion, but that didn’t keep him in normal sinus rhythm for long. He was in and out of A-Fib, and by August was in persistent A-Fib.

Learning His Treatment Options

Tony didn’t passively accept everything he was hearing from doctors and others.

He and his wife, Jill, read as much as they could and critically waded through the information they found. (I’m continually amazed at how much mis-information there is about A-Fib on the internet and in the media.)

5-months post-ablation, Tony and Jill after 10K race.

After doing his research, educating himself about treatment options and learning what his health insurance would cover, he chose to have a catheter ablation at the Mayo Clinic in December 2014.

During his three month blanking period, he had some sporadic fluttering and early on a couple of brief A-Fib episodes.

Off all medication and A-Fib-free, in March 2015 he completed a 10K race beating his time from the previous year by a fraction.

Becoming his Own Best Patient Advocate

Tony and Jill are great examples for all A-Fibbers of how to become your own best patient advocate. He rejected endless trials of various drug therapies. Instead he opted for a catheter ablation just shy of a year after his initial A-Fib diagnosis.

In his A-Fib story, he shares this advice to others considering a catheter ablation:

“Make sure, if you desire to have an ablation, that your reasoning is sound and that you have a good argument as to why drug therapy is not the way you want to go.
Having an ablation as front line treatment for A-Fib is not embraced by every EP, and many are reluctant to ablate until drug therapy has failed.
Be persistent and move on [to another doctor] if you are met with resistance.”

For Tony Hall’s personal experience story, see: Very Active 54-Year Old Became His Own Patient Advocate; Chose Ablation as First Line Treatment.

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 AllenLawrence.com

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 AllFreePrintable.com
• Print Your Own Emergency Medical I.D. Card (online form) by AllenLawrence.com
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.

Read Steve’s A-Fib Alerts for March 2019

Click image for sample newsletter

The A-Fib Alerts March 2019 issue is ready for you and presented in a condensed, easy-to-scan format.

This issue includes articles about our updated page on mineral deficiencies, about A-Fib and Dementia, my latest report from the 2019 AF Symposium…and more! Read it online today.

…Or make it more convenient to read and have our A-Fib Alerts newsletter sent directly to you via email. Subscribe NOW. I hope you will join us. It’s Risk Free! You can unsubscribe at any time! Subscribe TODAY!Amazon.com review of Beat Your A-Fib book at A-Fib.com

Special Signup Bonus: Subscribe and receive discounts codes to SAVE up to 50% off the eBook version of Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to finding Your Cure by Steve S. Ryan, PhD.

Update: A-Fib and Dementia & My Top 5 Articles

This article was first published on Apr 26, 2017. Last updated: March 14, 2019

There’s a growing body of evidence linking atrial fibrillation with early onset of dementia. New cases of dementia are diagnosed every four seconds. The number of people with dementia is also expected to triple worldwide to an estimated 140 million by 2050.

Most Feared: When 65+ year olds were asked what disease or condition they were most afraid of getting, 56 percent cited memory-robbing dementia.

Good News: A bit of good news is that the prevalence rate of dementia has declined in some countries, including in the US. And researchers think it may in part be due to increases in levels of education, which seems to protect people from getting dementia.

For a disease many of us fear, the message is hopeful: Dementia is not necessarily inevitable.

While both Atrial fibrillation and dementia have been linked to aging, neither is a normal part of growing older.

Reducing Your Risk of Developing Dementia

You CAN influence or avoid developing dementia. Review these articles to learn more about the link between Atrial Fibrillation and dementia:

1. Anticoagulants, Dementia and Atrial Fibrillation
2. Increased Dementia Risk Caused by A-Fib: 20 Year Study Findings
3. FAQ: “I’m scared of getting dementia. Can the right minerals help? I’ve read about the link with A-Fib. What does research reveal about this risk?”
4. Leaving Patients in A-Fib Doubles Risk of Dementia—The Case for Catheter Ablation
5. FAQ: I’m concerned because Vitamin D deficiency has been tied to both A-Fib and Dementia. What is a normal level of Vitamin D

A-Fib Patients & Strategies to Prevent Dementia

Atrial Fibrillation and Dementia: Neither is a normal part of growing older.

What doesn’t work: current drugs, even statins, don’t work or have mixed results in preventing dementia.

What does work: Catheter ablation to eliminate your Atrial Fibrillation. Patients who get a catheter ablation have long-term rates of dementia similar to people without A-Fib. (This result holds regardless of their initial CHADS2 score.)

Don’t Settle. Seek your A-Fib cure: To decrease your increased risk of dementia, your goal should be to get your A-Fib fixed and get your heart beating normally again. We can’t say it enough:

Do not settle for a lifetime on meds. Seek your A-Fib cure.

Reference for this Article
Americans Rank Alzheimer’s as Most Feared Disease, According to New Marist Poll for Home Instead Senior Care; November 13, 2012 http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20121113005422/en/Americans-Rank-Alzheimer%E2%80%99s-Feared-Disease-Marist-Poll

Prince M, et al. The global prevalence of dementia: a systematic review and metaanalysis. Alzheimers Dementia. 2013;9:63–75. [PubMed]

The Dangers of Magnesium Deficiency, Especially for Patients with Atrial Fibrillation

Magnesium is a mineral involved in many processes in the body including normal muscle contraction (including the heart), nerve signaling and the building of healthy bones. About 350 enzymes are known to depend on magnesium.

Magnesium is needed for proper muscle, nerve, and enzyme function. 

At least 80% of Americans are deficient in Magnesium (Mg). Other Western countries today exhibit similar deficiencies.

Most US adults ingest only about 270 mg of magnesium a day, well below the modest magnesium Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of 420 mg for adult males and 320 mg for adult females. (RDA is the minimum amount for a healthy person.)

This creates a substantial cumulative deficiency over months and years.

Magnesium Deficiency and Atrial Fibrillation

A deficiency in magnesium can force the heart into fatal arrhythmias and is central to creating conditions in the heart that cause Atrial Fibrillation.

A-Fib patients, in particular, are often significantly deficient in magnesium. A normal healthy diet rarely meets your need for magnesium.

Therefore, it’s often necessary to take a magnesium supplement over several months to restore levels.

Causes of Today’s Magnesium Deficiency

Why are so many of us deficient in Magnesium?

Magnesium used to be plentiful in fruits, vegetable and grains, but decades of industrial-scale farming have stripped the soil of minerals like magnesium. One study found that the nutrient content of crops has declined by as much as 40% since the 1950s. It’s now almost impossible to get adequate amounts of magnesium from food.

We’re not drinking spring or mineral water that’s high in magnesium—instead, we’re drinking tap water that’s devoid of magnesium. As a result, we ingest even less magnesium. Add to that, we’re no longer bathing in natural water that is high in magnesium. Our skin can absorb magnesium from our bathing water—which is now missing.

Prescription drugs can lower our magnesium levels, as can the stress of our modern lifestyles.

Over the years, this has caused a magnesium deficient population, especially critical for those with Atrial Fibrillation or other heart ailments.

Magnesium Deficiency and How to Restore Your Levels

What’s to do about it? Everyone with A-Fib should understand the role of magnesium in the body and its effects on the heart, and know how to detect if they are magnesium deficient, and how to increase their magnesium levels if they are. Start with these articles:

• Treatments: Mineral Deficiencies
Cardiovascular Benefits of Magnesium: Insights for Atrial Fibrillation Patients.

Then, take a look at this video with Dr. Carolyn Dean, author of The Magnesium Miracle.

VIDEO: The Best Way to Supplement Magnesium with Dr. Carolyn Dean

For those with magnesium deficient diets, getting nutrients through food is not always possible. Dr. Carolyn Dean, author of The Magnesium Miracle, talks about the external use of magnesium oil and Epson salts and the various powder and tablets to supplement magnesium.

She covers the side effects of too much Mg, and how you can tell if you have a Mg deficiency. (3:39 min.) From iHealthTube.com. Go to video.

Reference for this article
• Goodman, Dennis. This Mineral Prevents Headaches, Heart Disease, More. Bottom Line Personal. Volume 35, Number 2, January 15, 2014.

• Galan P. Dietary magnesium intake in French adult population. In: Theophile T, Anastassopoulou J. Magnesium: current status and new developments: theoretical, biological, and medical aspects. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic; 1997.

I Couldn’t Believe the Drugs He Was On; How to Ask Questions About Your A-Fib Prescriptions

03/15/2019 5 pm: Corrected a missing link below to the Free Worksheet, Ask These Questions Before Starting a Prescription Drug.

I received a very distressing email from a reader, Kenny, who was worried about his prescribed medications. He wrote that he just had a cardioversion a week ago and is back in A-Fib (unfortunately that’s not uncommon). Alarm bells went off in my head when I read:

“My doctor just prescribed me amiodarone 200mg, 4x a day…I’m a little concerned about the amiodarone and all the side effects!”

“I’m also on Digoxin…Xarelto and aspirin… .”

“I can’t get my doctor’s office or doctor to call me back! Reluctant to start amiodarone until I can talk to someone!” 

Drugs Therapies Concerns - capsule of heart molecules at A-Fib.com

Drugs Therapies Concerns

Ding, Ding, Ding! I am deeply concerned for him. The doctor prescribing these drugs is in internal medicine, not a cardiac electrophysiologist. While Kenny and I continue to exchange emails, here’s some highlights from my first reply:

Amiodarone is an extremely toxic drug, and this dosage is 4x the normal dose.
You must get a second opinion ASAP! (consult a cardiac electrophysiologist)
Digoxin is also a dangerous drug not normally prescribed for A-Fib patients.
It’s very unusual to prescribe both Xarelto and aspirin.

Time to Change Doctors? And lastly, I wrote him that if your doctor or his office isn’t calling you back, that’s a sign you should look for a new doctor (don’t be afraid to fire your doctor). You need good communication when you’re in A-Fib and trying to find a cure.

I’m glad Kenny reached out to me so we can get him on the right A-Fib treatment plan for him and his treatment goals.

Ask These Questions Before Starting a Prescription Drug

Download the Free Worksheet

Before starting any prescription drug for your Atrial Fibrillation, you should ask what it’s for and why you should take it.

Download our free worksheet, 10 Questions to Ask Before Taking Any Medication’ and use as a guide to ask these questions of your doctor or healthcare provider, and note their responses:

1. Why am I being prescribed this medication?
2. What are the alternatives to taking this medication?
3. What are the side effects of this drug?
4. Are there any precautions or special dietary instructions I should follow?
5. Can it interfere with my other medications?.
6. How long before I know if this drug is working?
7. How will I be monitored on this drug? How often?
8. What happens if this drug doesn’t work?
9. What if my A-Fib symptoms become worse?
10. If I don’t respond to medications, will you consider non-pharmaceutical treatments (such as a catheter ablation)?

Research and Learn About Any Prescription Drug 

You can do your own research about a specific medication and if it’s the right one for you.

An excellent prescription database is the U.S. National Library of Medicine Drug Information Portal. (For an example, see the page on Warfarin [Coumadin].)

Decision Making Time

Download our free worksheet: ’10 Questions to Ask Before Taking Any Medication’. Take a copy to your office visits.

Your research and the answers to these 10 questions should help you decide about taking a new prescription drug. Remember, it’s your heart, your health. Taking medications is a decision you should make in partnership with your doctor.

Note: File your completed worksheets in your A-Fib binder or file folder to use for future reference and follow-up.)

AF Symposium New Report: Live! Convergent Hybrid Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation

Background: The Convergent Hybrid Ablation is currently used for patients with persistent and longstanding persistent atrial fibrillation.
The Hybrid is performed under general anesthesia. First the surgeon accesses the outside (epicardial) of the heart and creates lesions on the posterior left atrial wall and around the pulmonary veins (PVs). Next, the EP performs a standard PV catheter ablation from inside (endocardial) the heart, uses mapping systems to detect any gaps in the surgical ablation lines, and completes the surgeon’s lesion set, if needed.

Via live streaming video, AF Symposium attendees got to watch a Convergent Hybrid operation/procedure performed from Emory Heart and Vascular Center at Saint Joseph’s Hospital, Atlanta, GA.

PATIENT DESCRIPTION: A DIFFICULT CASE

The patient was a 62-year-old man who had been in A-Fib for 21 years, 10 years of those in persistent A-Fib. He was also very tall. He also complained of being very fatigued.

They didn’t know the amount of fibrosis the patient had developed. They mentioned that they hoped the fibrosis was localized rather than diffuse and that the patient did not have a Utah 4 or a Strawberry-type of large fibrosis area. (About Utah and fibrosis, see High Fibrosis at Greater Risk of Stroke and Precludes Catheter Ablation)

The patient had been on rate control drugs and the antiarrhythmic Sotalol. It was not mentioned if anyone had ever tried a normal catheter ablation on this patient before going to the Convergent operation/procedure.

Phase I: SURGERY ON OUTSIDE OF HEART

In this version of the hybrid, the cardiothoracic surgeon accesses the outside posterior of the heart through the subxiphoid process cutting through the central tendon of the soft tissue of the diaphragm making a 2-3 cm incision.

Important: Read my extensive Editor’s Comments at the end of this report.

The surgeon achieves direct vision of the posterior cardiac structure with a miniature camera (from EnSight by AtriCure). (The xiphoid process is a cartilaginous section at the lower end of the sternum.)… Continue reading my new report from the 2019 AF Symposium->

Eye Disease: The Atrial Fibrillation Link to Glaucoma

This article was first published May 26, 2017 Last updated: March 15, 2019

Atrial Fibrillation patients are at high risk for developing Glaucoma. You may have Glaucoma right now and not know it because Glaucoma is often asymptomatic. Patients often have no eye complaints and have a normal range of intraocular pressure (IOP).

Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damage the eye’s optic nerve and can result in vision loss and blindness.

Like Atrial Fibrillation, Glaucoma is a progressive disease. It usually happens when fluid builds up in the front part of your eye. That extra fluid increases the pressure in your eye, damaging the optic nerve. Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness for people over 60 years old.

Glaucoma: damage to the optic nerve

However, with early detection and treatment, you can often protect your eyes against serious vision loss. (See VIDEO below.)

Atrial Fibrillation Linked with Glaucoma

Research shows a connection between cardiac arrhythmias and Glaucoma. Glaucoma may be related to “ischemia” (when your heart muscle doesn’t get enough oxygen) and has been linked with Atrial Fibrillation

A 2017 research study at Medical University of Warsaw (Zaleska-Zmijewska) looked at the rate of Glaucoma in patients with Atrial Fibrillation.

Though it was a relatively small sample size of 117 patients (79 with A-Fib and a control group of 38 with sinus rhythm), participants were matched for age and sex. Ophthalmic examinations were conducted between October 2014 and December 2015.

Normal-tension glaucoma (NTG) is a form of glaucoma in which damage occurs to the optic nerve without eye pressure exceeding the normal range.

Study findings: Normal-tension glaucoma was diagnosed almost 3 times more often in patients with A-Fib than in the control group. Just like an A-Fib diagnosis, normal-tension glaucoma is highly dependent on age. The older the patient, the greater the risk of glaucoma.

A-Fib increases risk of Glaucoma: Independent of other known cardiovascular risk factors, this research study and others have found that A-Fib increases the risk of developing normal-tension glaucoma.

Among A-Fib patients, glaucoma is found especially among those who are female, 60+ years old, take the medication Warfarin and have high blood pressure.

What Patients Need to Know

What Glaucoma looks like during eye exam. A-Fib.com

What Glaucoma looks like during eye exam.

While there are no known ways of preventing glaucoma, blindness or significant vision loss from glaucoma can be prevented if the disease is recognized in the early stages.

Know your risk: As a patient with Atrial Fibrillation, you’re at increased risk of glaucoma. If Glaucoma runs in your family, you are also at increased risk.

More frequent eye exams: When at higher risk of Glaucoma, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends having regular eye examinations. If you’re 55 to 64 years old, that would be every one to three years; if you’re older than 65, then every one to two years. Ask your doctor to recommend the right screening schedule for you.

Most ophthalmologists will include a glaucoma test as part of your regular eye care. Make sure to have your eyes examined through dilated pupils.

With early detection and treatment, you can often protect your eyes against serious vision loss.

VIDEO: Glaucoma Animation: The causes of glaucoma, a group of diseases that damage the eye’s optic nerve. National Eye Institute, NIH. (40 sec.)

YouTube video playback: Click center arrow icon to watch.

References for this Article
• Fingeret, M. Take new approach to identify glaucoma risk factors not related to pressure. Primary Care Optometry News, November 2000. http://tinyurl.com/healio-glaucoma-afib

• Atrial fibrillation and Glaucoma – from FDA reports. ehealthme.com. Accessed Feb. 2, 2019. URL: http://www.ehealthme.com/cs/atrial%20fibrillation/glaucoma/

• Ritch, R. Glaucoma: The Systemic Disease Connection. Review of Ophthalmology. 27 October 2008. URL: https://www.reviewofophthalmology.com/article/glaucoma-the-systemic-disease-connection

• Facts About Glaucoma. The National Eye Institute (NEI)/U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Accessed Feb. 2, 2019. URL: https://nei.nih.gov/health/glaucoma/glaucoma_facts

• Glaucoma. MayoClinic.org Accessed Feb. 2, 2019. URL: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/glaucoma/symptoms-causes/syc-20372839

Why You Should Learn to Live with Your Atrial Fibrillation—Not!


“Don’t let anyone—especially your doctor—tell you that
A-Fib isn’t that serious…or you should just learn to live
with it…or to just take your meds.”

From Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure


Research studies tell us the longer you have Atrial Fibrillation, the harder it can be to cure it. A-Fib patient Daniel Doane, Sonora, CA, shares his insights:

Daniel D.

“I didn’t realize how continued A-Fib so drastically remodels your heart. ‘A-FIB BEGETS A-FIB’ was the phrase that brought it home to me. 

Every instance of A-Fib changed my heart, remodeled the substrate, and made it more likely to happen again. Get your A-Fib taken care of. It won’t go away. It may seem to get better, but it will return.”

Lessons Learned: After eight years with A-Fib, Daniel had a successful Totally Thoracoscopic (TT) Mini-Maze operation. In his personal story in Beat Your A-Fib, he offers this advice to others with A-Fib:

“Get a catheter ablation or a mini-maze procedure, whichever best suits your situation. I wish I had had this done sooner. I personally think that the sooner a person has a procedure, the better off they are.”

For more from Daniel, a patient now free from the burden of Atrial Fibrillation, see: “I Have Gotten a Lot of Bad Advice From Various GPs”. 

“Don’t let anyone tell you that A-Fib isn’t that serious.

To be cured of your A-Fib, you may need to ‘fire’ your current doctor, see Is This the Year You Fire Your Doctor? and Finding the Right Doctor for You and Your A-Fib.

Updated Article: Treating Mineral Deficiencies in A-Fib Patients

When you have A-Fib, a sensible starting point may be to check for chemical imbalances or deficiencies. A deficiency in minerals like magnesium or potassium can force the heart into fatal arrhythmias.

If you haven’t recently read our Mineral Deficiencies page under Treatments, you might want to review it. We’ve updated and added some new content.

The Top Four Minerals/Vitamins

vitamins and minerals for A-Fib patients - A-Fib.com

We cover the four main minerals/vitamins of special concern to patients with Atrial Fibrillation:

Magnesium
Calcium
Potassium
Vitamin D

For each we describe the mineral’s role and function in our body. Then, we cover how to test for deficiency (or overload). We describe the food or natural sources, then the various forms and choices of each supplement and recommended dosages.

You’ll find the topics to discuss with your doctors including recommended tests and alternative choices. All backed up with our usual well researched citations. Go to our Mineral Deficiencies page.

Reliable, Unbiased Information on Vitamins and Minerals

In our search for unbiased information sources about vitamins and mineral supplements, we looked at many, many informational directories.

Three searchable databases rose to the top of our list. See Our Top 3 Sources for Reliable, Unbiased Info on Vitamins and Supplements.

Join our Subscribers—Read Steve’s A-Fib Alerts for February 2019

Join our world-wide subscribers! Read Steve’s A-Fib Alerts February 2019. It’s condensed and easy-to-scan. Read it online NOW.

…Or Subscribe NOW and have our A-Fib Alerts newsletter sent directly to your email inbox. It’s Risk Free! You can unsubscribe at any time! LEARN MORE.

Signup Bonus: Want to SAVE 50% off the eBook version of my book, Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to finding Your Cure? Get the eBook for $12 ($24.95 retail). LEARN MORE.

About our A-Fib Alerts:

“I really appreciate your newsletter. No one is doing anything like it.”
Don Cislo, Vista, CA

“By reading Steve’s informative book as well as reading his newsletters, I was able to partner with my electrophysiologist in finding a cure for my condition.” Nancy Putnam, Manlius, NY

AF Symposium Two New Reports: Ablation Without Touching Heart and New RF Balloon Catheter

I’ve posted two of my reports from the 2019 AF Symposium.

Automated Robotic Ultrasound Ablation

From the Czech Republic via streaming video, a catheter ablation using an incredible new technology―Ultrasound Mapping and Ablation (Low-Intensity Collimated Ultrasound, LICU) from Vytronus, Inc. The catheter never touches the tissue!

From Vytronus VIDEO: Ultrasound Mapping and Ablation

The EP created a robotic lesion path for the ultrasound catheter to follow. Using electromagnetic navigation, the catheter automatically went to the spots and path the operator drew.

We watched as the catheter hovered over the heart surface while the highly directional ultrasound energy beam created the lesion lines—never touching the tissue. It was amazing to watch!

To learn more...go to my full report: Ablation Without touching the Heart Surface Using Ultrasound―Live Case from Prague.

Multi-Electrode Radio-Frequency (RF) Balloon Catheter

Multi-Electrode Radio-Frequency (RF) Balloon Catheter from Biosense Webster

The new irrigated Multi-Electrode RF Balloon Catheter from Biosense Webster is a “one-shot” delivery of RF energy and can burn lesions to isolate the Pulmonary Veins in minutes. And because the electrodes can be programmed to deliver less energy levels (for example near the esophagus), the RF Balloon Catheter can be safer and more effective than traditional RF point-by-point ablation.

It has 10 gold surface electrodes or heating bars which can be turned on and off or set to deliver different energy levels simultaneously. Each electrode is powered by its own generator.

While the AF Symposium audience watched the RF ablation live, the EP took just 7 seconds to isolate a particular vein―quite remarkable compared to the time involved for traditional RF.

To read my full report, go to: Multi-Electrode RF Balloon Catheter―Live Case from Boston Mass. General

“Do Not Use This Product” Warnings on Decongestants: Which are Safe for A-Fib Patients

by Steve Ryan
First published Dec. 2017. Last updated: March 14, 2019

It’s cough and cold season, and millions of cold sufferers are reaching for an over-the-counter (OTC) decongestant capsule or nasal spray to clear a stuffy nose.

As an A-Fib patient, did you notice these over-the-counter decongestants often contain a warning such as:

“Do not use this product if you have heart disease, high blood pressure, thyroid disease, diabetes, or difficulty in urination due to enlargement of the prostate gland, unless directed by a doctor.”

What does this warning mean for patients with Atrial Fibrillation?

Decongestants, Heart Disease and A-Fib

When you have a stuffed up nose from a cold or allergies, a decongestant can cut down on the fluid in the lining of your nose. That relieves swollen nasal passages and congestion. (In general, an antihistamine doesn’t help with this symptom.)

The Problem: When taking a decongestant, heart rate and blood pressure go up, the heart beats stronger, blood vessels constrict in nasal passages reducing fluid build-up. In general that’s okay for most patients.

But not for patients with high blood pressure, heart disease or, specifically, Atrial Fibrillation. Decongestants cause the blood vessels to shrink and blood pressure to rise. Perfect conditions that can trigger or induce an episode of their A-Fib.

Another concern for A-Fib patients is that some over-the-counter (OTC) medications can interact with the anti-arrhythmic medication they’re taking.

Check your Cold Medicine: The main active ingredient in many decongestants is pseudoephedrine, a stimulant. It is well known for shrinking swollen nasal mucous membranes.

To find out if your cold medicine contains a decongestant, start by reading the label. You can lookup the ingredients of any OTC medication at Drugs.com. Just search by product name or active ingredient.

In addition, you can consult your pharmacist who can check the label of a medicine and let you know if it’s safe for someone with atrial fibrillation and/or high blood pressure.

Drugs.com makes it easy to check the ingredients of any OTC medication, just search by product name or active ingredient.

OTC Decongestants to Avoid: Some OTC decongestants tablets, capsules and nasal sprays to avoid if you have atrial fibrillation include:

• AccuHist DM® (containing Brompheniramine, Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)
• Advil Allergy Sinus® (containing Chlorpheniramine, Ibuprofen, Pseudoephedrine)
• Advil Cold and Sinus® (containing Ibuprofen, Pseudoephedrine)
• Sudafed (pseudoephedrine)
• Afrin and other decongestant nasal sprays and pumps (oxymetazoline)

Phenylephrine: a Safe Substitute? Maybe. A substitute for pseudoephedrine is phenylephrine. In general, phenylephrine is milder than pseudoephedrine but also less effective in treating nasal congestion. As with other decongestants, it causes the constriction of blood vessels and increases blood pressure.

There is anecdotal evidence that products with the substitute phenylephrine might be less of a trigger for A-Fib than products with pseudoephedrine. Products with phenylephrine:

Sudafed PE Congestion tablets
Dimetapp Nasal Decongestant capsules
Mucinex Sinus-Max Pressure and Pain caplets (Sue Greene writes that she has used Guaifenesin (Mucinex) for years which has never put her into A-Fib, 2/15/19. Lompocsue(at)yahoo.com.)

Decongestant-Free Products: These tablets, capsules and nasal sprays are decongestant-free and safe for patients with Atrial Fibrillation (They are marketed for those with High Blood Pressure):

Coricidin HBP line of products (Chlorpheniramine)
DayQuil HBP Cold & Flu (dextromethorphan hydrobromide)
NyQuil HBP Cold & Flu (dextromethorphan hydrobromide)
• non-medicated inhalers such as Vicks VapoInhalers (Levmetamfetamine)

What About Antihistamines?

Antihistamines reduce the effects of histamine in the body which can produce sneezing, runny nose, etc. Though they can lessen your symptoms, some can aggravate a heart condition, or be dangerous when mixed with blood pressure drugs and certain heart medicines.

Antihistamines can be dangerous when mixed with blood pressure drugs and certain heart medicines.

Heart-safe Antihistamines: Compared to decongestants, antihistamines are often better tolerated by people with A-Fib. Some heart-safe antihistamines that can help with a stuffy nose from a cold include:

Claritin tablets (loratadine)
Zyrtec tablets (cetirizine)
Allegra tablets (fexofenadine)
• Chlor-Trimeton (chlorpheniramine)

Non-Drug Alternatives for Cold Relief

If you want to avoid medications altogether, you can try a variety of things to clear your head.

Breathe Right nasal strips may help you breathe better at night. Use saline nasal spray (like Ocean or Basic Care) to help flush your sinuses, relieve nasal congestion and curb inflammation of mucous membranes.

A steamy shower or a hot towel wrapped around the face can also relieve congestion. Drinking plenty of fluids, especially hot beverages (like chicken soup), keeps mucus moist and flowing.

Recommendations for A-Fib Patients

Antihistamines and decongestants can give much-needed relief for a runny or congested nose. But A-Fib patients should pay attention to the warnings for heart patients. Here’s some products and procedures to consider:

Decongestant-free: Look for decongestant-free products (e.g. Coricidin HBP, DayQuil HBP Cold & Flu, NyQuil HBP Cold & Flu and Vicks VapoInhalers).

One possible exception are those decongestant products with the active ingredient phenylephrine (e.g. Sudafed PE, Dimetapp and Mucinex Sinus).

Heart-safe antihistamines: You can try one of the heart-safe antihistamines (e.g. Claritin, Zyrtec and Allegra).

Drug-free alternatives: Try drug-free substitutes (e.g. Breath Right nasal strips, saline nasal spray and a steamy shower).

The best advice for you and your A-Fib: Always consult your cardiologist or EP. Ask what’s the best option for your stuffy nose or allergies. And ask about interactions with your other heart medications (especially if you have high blood pressure).

References for this article
• Don’t let decongestants squeeze your heart. Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School. March, 2014. https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/dont-let-decongestants-squeeze-your-heart

• Atrial fibrillation: Frequently asked questions. University of Iowa Health Care. Last reviewed: December 2015. https://uihc.org/health-topics/atrial-fibrillation-frequently-asked-questions

• Wieneke, H. Induction of Atrial Fibrillation by Topical Use of Nasal Decongestants. Mayo Clinic Proceedings , July 2016, Volume 91, Issue 7, Page 977. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mayocp.2016.04.011

• Terrie, YC. Decongestants and Hypertension: Making Wise Choices When Selecting OTC Medications. Pharmacy Times, December 20, 2017. https://www.pharmacytimes.com/publications/issue/2017/december2017/decongestants-and-hypertension-making-wise-choices-when-selecting-otc-medications

AF Symposium: New Product Vascular Closure Device for Catheter Ablations

I just got off the phone with Andy who was telling me about his RF Ablation and his post-op experience. He had to lie on his back for 15 hours before his groin incision stopped bleeding and he was safe to go home. He said it was quite painful to be immobile that long.

Delivery disc of the  ASCADE MVP implants the collegan plug

My first report from the 2019 AF Symposium is about a new product used during catheter ablations and is designed to help patients like Andy go home sooner after their ablation.

The problem? Post-op bleeding from the catheter insertion point in the groin. Typically, the patient lies on their back for about 6 hours while the insertion point heals and stops bleeding enough so they can be discharged. (For guys, especially, it’s no fun having to use a Foley catheter to pee.)

Cardiva Medical has solved this problem. A simple, ingenious device closes off the insertion point(s) in the groin with a “collagen plug”.

Collagen plug like a cork in a bottle

How it’s used: After completing the ablation, the EP withdraws the ablation catheter, then replaces it with the VASCADE MVP which has a expandable/collapsible delivery disc to implant a collagen plug. This plug acts like a cork in a bottle and stops all bleeding leakage. (The FDA was so impressed with the VASCADE that it approved it within weeks.)

I give it a try: In the Exhibitors Hall, Michael Gebauer of Cardiva Medical demonstrated it to me. It takes a whole 5 seconds to insert the VASCADE MVP.

Continue reading (for how to get the cork out of the bottle, and more)go to my full report: Cardiva Medical ASCADE MVP Vascular Closure Device.

Medical Marijuana: A-Fib Patients Offer Personal Experiences

Due to the increased use of medical marijuana in California and other states, we should soon be getting more data on marijuana’s effects on Atrial Fibrillation.

Several readers with A-Fib have emailed me to share their experiences and observations with marijuana. There seems to be a lot of interest every time I write about this topic.

How about you? I’d love to get more first-hand feedback from A-Fib users. Please email me.

First-Hand Experiences: A-Fib and Medical Marijuana

Jim, an A-Fib patient, has kindly shared his personal use of marijuana and how it helps him. He has tried various meds, cardioversion, and had a failed ablation. He owns his own business in California and is under a lot of stress.

♥ JIM: “Because of all of this, I was having trouble sleeping and was getting very stressed out. But instead of taking something pharmaceutical, I turned to medical marijuana. It changed my life. I come home at night, have some marijuana edibles, and the stress goes away. I sleep wonderfully at night, waking up fresh and ready for another day.

I told my doctor who understands. He says that marijuana edibles shouldn’t have anything to do with A-Fib, and that I can continue to take them.”

On the other hand, John writes that:

♥ JOHN: “99% of his A-Fib attacks occurred while under the influence of marijuana.”

And others add their experiences:

♥ JONATHAN: “I tried a tiny bit of brownie for the first time since being diagnosed with A-Fib (occasional episodes). It was OK until about two hours later. I went into A-Fib and, a bit later, came the closest I ever have to blacking out. I don’t think it’s for me anymore.”

You can join the discussion, too. If you have used marijuana to help with your A-Fib symptoms, email me and share your experience.

♥ WILLIAM: “The A-Fib ablation has been very successful, except the two times that I went into A-Fib after smoking marijuana. I’m a lifelong recreational marijuana smoker, also smoke to relieve the pain from six surgeries on my right arm. Both times that I’ve gone into A-Fib since my last ablation have been after smoking marijuana. After the latest episode I’ve quite smoking marijuana because of the evidence that it can lead to A-Fib.”

♥ SCOTT: “I am currently 55 years old and have been through 15 cardioversions due to A-Fib. I smoked marijuana pretty much daily and noticed that, when I smoked, my heart rate went up. So, I stopped smoking altogether. Since quitting smoking marijuana 7 years ago, I have not had a single case of going into A-Fib. I’m positive that the two are related.”

Scott added that he also stopped drinking which helped. He used to drink a six pack daily.


PODCAST: Marijuana—Good, Bad or Ugly for Patients with A-Fib?

For my most recent report about A-Fib and Marijuana, listen to my Podcast with Travis Van Slooten, publisher of LivingWithAtrialFibrillation.com. (About 18 min. in length.) Includes transcript.

PODCAST

Marijuana—Good, Bad or Ugly for Patients with A-Fib?

With Steve Ryan and Travis Van Slooten (18 min.)

Go to Podcast

References for this article
Korantzopoulos, P. et al. Atrial Fibrillation and Marijuana Smoking. International Journal of Clinical Practice. 2008;62(2):308-313.

Petronis KR, Anthony JC. An epidemiologic investigation of marijuana- and cocaine-related palpitations. Drug Alcohol Depend 1989; 23: 219-26.

Rettner, R. Marijuana Use May Raise Stroke Risk in Young Adults. LiveScience.com, MyHealthNewsDaily February 08, 2013. Last accessed Nov 5, 2014. URL: http://www.livescience.com/26965-marijuana-smoking-stroke-risk.html

First Impressions: The 24th Annual International AF Symposium 2019

There was snow on the streets of Boston, Mass. when I arrived for the 2019 AF Symposium (an all too familiar site for a boy from Buffalo, NY). But the weather warmed up somewhat during the three-day event from January 24-26, 2019.

The most prominent topic at this year’s Symposium was the CABANA trial which had its own Thursday afternoon (January 24) session including a debate on its merits. Look for my report soon. (For background, see my January 2019 post: 5-Year CABANA Trial: Compares Catheter Ablation with Antiarrhythmic Drug Therapy)

Plethora of Future Technology

Steve Ryan at 2019 AF Symposium sign; A-Fib.com

Steve Ryan at 2019 AF Symposium

I have never seen so many future technology presentations at the AF Symposium including topics such as Quantum Mechanics, Artificial Intelligence, Technology and Ethics, Robotic Interaction, and Device Investment applied to the A-Fib field.

A-Fib Experts Presentations, Discussions and Audience Interaction

Within the 3-day Symposium, there were 65 different short presentations, followed by time for discussion and audience interaction. Each topic session was moderated by 2 or 3 leaders in the A-Fib field. The five live cases session Friday morning was again worth the price of admission by itself.

Expect My Reports

It’s a privilege to be able to attend presentations by the best clinicians and researchers working in A-Fib today. I learn more in three days than in a year of reading the various A-Fib research reports.

In the next weeks and months, I will share the current state of the art in A-Fib research and treatments and what’s relevant from a patient’s point-of-view. And all written in plain language for A-Fib patients and their families.

Link to my First Report

To read my first full report of the 2019 AF Symposium, go to: Overview of The 24th Annual International AF Symposium 2019.

AF Symposium 2019 logo at A-Fib.com

How to Cook up Your A-Fib Plan for a Cure

At A-Fib.com we encourage you to become your own best patient advocate. Here’s our “recipe” to help you look beyond common drug therapies and nourish you on your path to an A-Fib cure or best outcome for you.

We hope the ingredients in our “recipe” will help you in your journey to a life free of the burden of Atrial Fibrillation. At A-Fib.com we can help you, and many of our A-Fib.com readers have written their personal stories to help you, too.

A-Fib Patient Stories: Listed by Topic

It’s encouraging to read how someone else has dealt with their A-Fib. In our 99+ Personal A-Fib Stories of Hope, A-Fib patients tell their stories to help bolster your determination to seek a life free of A-Fib.

Pick an A-Fib story by Theme or Topic: You may find it helpful to read a specific type(s) of stories. For example, about A-Fib patients in your age group, patients with the same symptoms as yours, or perhaps patients who have had a specific treatment such as a cardioversion, catheter ablation or a mini-maze surgery.

Select stories by theme or topic

How to Choose an A-Fib story: To help you select a personal A-Fib story, we’ve cross-referenced them by five major themes and topics:

by Cause
by Risk Factor
by Symptom
by Age group/Years with A-Fib
by Treatment

Each category has several subcategories. To browse stories on a specific subject, see Personal A-Fib Stories ‘Listed by Subject’.

At A-Fib.com, we can help you to
Whip up your Resolve to
Seek your Cure. 

Why am I Angry at Some Doctors Treating Atrial Fibrillation Patients?

I can’t tell you how angry I am at cardiologists who want to leave their patients in Atrial Fibrillation.

It doesn’t matter even if a patient has no apparent symptoms. Just putting a patient on rate control meds and leaving them in A-Fib can have disastrous consequences.

Silent A-Fib Discovered During a Routine Physical

Discovered during routine exam

I corresponded with a fellow who had just found out he was in “silent” Atrial Fibrillation (no symptoms).

I told him he was very lucky (and should buy his doctor a present in gratitude). His doctor discovered his A-Fib during a routine physical exam. If his silent A-Fib had continued untreated, he might easily have been one of the 35% who suffer a debilitating A-Fib-related clot and stroke.

I would normally commend his cardiologist, but his doctor just put him on the rate control drug, diltiazem, and left him in A-Fib.

That is so wrong for so many reasons!

Rate control drugs aren’t really a “treatment” for A-Fib. They leave you in A-Fib.

Rate Control Drugs Don’t Really “Treat” A-Fib

Rate control drugs aren’t really a “treatment” for A-Fib. Though they slow the rate of the ventricles, they leave you in A-Fib.

They may alleviate some A-Fib symptoms, but do not address the primary risks of stroke and death associated with A-Fib.

Effects of Leaving Someone in A-Fib

A-Fib is a progressive disease. Just putting patients on rate control meds (even if they have no apparent symptoms) and leaving them in A-Fib can have disastrous consequences. Atrial Fibrillation can:

Infographic at A-Fib.com A-Fib is a Progressive Disease

• Enlarge and weaken your heart often leading to other heart problems and heart failure.

• Remodel your heart, producing more and more fibrous tissue which is irreversible.

• Dilate and stretch your left atrium to the point where its function is compromised.

• Progress to Chronic (continuous) A-Fib often within a year; Or longer and more frequent A-Fib episodes.

• Increase your risk of dementia and decrease your mental abilities because 15%-30% of your blood isn’t being pumped properly to your brain and other organs.

What Patients Need to Know

For many, many patients, A-Fib is definitely curable. You don’t have to settle for a lifetime of “controlling” your Atrial Fibrillation.

Normal Sinus Rhythm: The goal of today’s AHA/ACC/HRS A-Fib Treatment Guidelines is to get Atrial Fibrillation patients back into normal sinus rhythm (NSR) and stay in sinus rhythm.

Unless too feeble, there’s no good reason to just leave someone in A-Fib (see note below).

Don’t let your doctor leave you in A-Fib. Educate yourself. Learn your treatment options.

Always Aim High! No matter how long you’ve had A-Fib, you should aim for a complete and permanent cure. Shoot for the moon, as they say, and you’ll find the best outcome for you and your type of A-Fib.

Note for this article
A rebuttal: A cardiologist may cite the 2002 AFFIRM study to justify keeping patients on rate control drugs (and anticoagulants), while leaving them in A-Fib. But this study has been contradicted by numerous other studies since 2002.
References for this article
• AHA/ACC/HRS. 2014 Guideline for the Management of Patients With Atrial Fibrillation: Executive Summary: A Report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines and the Heart Rhythm Society. Circulation. 2014; 130: e199-e267 DOI: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000000041.

• AHA/ACC/HRS 2014 Guideline for the Management of Patients With Atrial Fibrillation. Circulation. published online March 28, 2014, 4.2.1. Antiplatelet Agents, p 29.doi: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000000041 Last accessed Nov 23, 2014.URL: From http://content.onlinejacc.org/article.aspx?articleid=1854230

Follow Us
facebook - A-Fib.comtwitter - A-Fib.comlinkedin  - A-Fib.compinterest  - A-Fib.comYouTube: A-Fib Can be Cured!  - A-Fib.com

A-Fib.com Mission Statement

We Need You

Encourage others
with A-Fib
click to order.


A-Fib.com is a
501(c)(3) Nonprofit



Your support is needed. Every donation helps, even just $1.00.



A-Fib.com top rated by Healthline.com since 2014 

Home | The A-Fib Coach | Help Support A-Fib.com | A-Fib News Archive | Tell Us What You think | Press Room | GuideStar Seal | HON certification | Disclosures | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy