Heart Rhythm Conditions – Welcome to the group

Welcome to the Heart Rhythm Conditions group on Mayo Clinic Connect.
Did you know that the average heart beats 100,000 times a day? Millions of people live with heart rhythm problems (heart arrhythmias) which occur when the electrical impulses that coordinate heartbeats don’t work properly. Let’s connect with each other; we can share stories and learn about coping with the challenges, and living well with abnormal heart rhythms. I invite you to follow the group. Simply click the +FOLLOW icon on the group landing page.

I’m Kanaaz (@kanaazpereira), and I’m the moderator of this group. When you post to this group, chances are you’ll also be greeted by volunteer patient Mentors and fellow members. Learn more about Moderators and Mentors on Connect.

Let’s chat. Why not start by introducing yourself?

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Heart Rhythm Conditions group.

@windyshores

I can only imagine what it is like to suddenly start having these episodes. My first one happened after flying to help one of my kids with a medical crisis so it was flying + sudafed + deydration + stress and focus on kid not self.

@riverpark does your heart rate go way up? Mine goes above 180 so I have pretty clear symptoms for ambulance call. I have had PVC's and very short runs of tachycardia but not to the point of being very bothersome since menopause.

I am impressed that your doc did not put you on blood thinners. Most docs just automatically put us on them. My doc kept pressuring me to go on an anticoagulant, but the hospital doc said not to worry about it. Confusing! Ultimately the cardiologist told me the CHADS2 scoring had changed and they had been overmedicating people, and agreed on no blood thinners- for now.

Last summer I had my longest episode at 7 hours. They did an echocardiogram to check for clots and one Heparin shot which is routine. I read that there are now studies supporting short term anticoagulation (like for one month) after an episode. I have inquired about that and was glad to see that study, hope it becomes practice.

I do tai chi and it really helps and is also enjoyable. The anxiety of anticipating another episode must be tough. At this point I swear I can feel something coming and believe it or not, it helps me prevent afib by 1) quickly sitting up straight and 2) taking an anti-gas supplement

The way you suddenly started having relatively frequent episodes is mysterious. Did anything change in your life or health or meds? I hope you find answers. Afib, PVC's and tachycardia are not dangerous but they are scary.

Last summer the EMT's kept remarking on how calm I was, given the symptoms . It really has sunk in that I am not in danger. And the chest sensations have become familiar, unfortunately!

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During my AFib episodes, my heart rate is so wildly erratic, that it’s hard to take a count. At times felt like 300 BPM, but my wife, a retired RN, took it a couple of times at about 120 BPM. It’s the galloping irregularity that is so unsettling rather than the pace of the pulse for me. It is actually the CHADS2 scoring that prompted my doc to recommend no blood thinner. My score was a 1/2 with the only condition in favor of the med my age. Speaking of confusion, though, I have heard a great variety of conditions that would be more and less likely to result in stroke. For example, I have heard on one hand that the first hiccup in an AFib attack can cause stroke while on the other hand you have to be in AFib for hours or even days before the stroke threat becomes meaningful. Lots of question marks about all this stuff, for sure. No, I can think of nothing that caused me to suddenly go into AFib so late in my life. ..thanks for the tip about sitting up quickly and taking something like gas-ex. I have always thought that my PVCs and tachycardia were often brought on by a gassy stomach…?

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@riverpark

During my AFib episodes, my heart rate is so wildly erratic, that it’s hard to take a count. At times felt like 300 BPM, but my wife, a retired RN, took it a couple of times at about 120 BPM. It’s the galloping irregularity that is so unsettling rather than the pace of the pulse for me. It is actually the CHADS2 scoring that prompted my doc to recommend no blood thinner. My score was a 1/2 with the only condition in favor of the med my age. Speaking of confusion, though, I have heard a great variety of conditions that would be more and less likely to result in stroke. For example, I have heard on one hand that the first hiccup in an AFib attack can cause stroke while on the other hand you have to be in AFib for hours or even days before the stroke threat becomes meaningful. Lots of question marks about all this stuff, for sure. No, I can think of nothing that caused me to suddenly go into AFib so late in my life. ..thanks for the tip about sitting up quickly and taking something like gas-ex. I have always thought that my PVCs and tachycardia were often brought on by a gassy stomach…?

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I have come to think that actual physical pressure from air in my GI tract, against my heart, is my main trigger. I am always reclining and always in the evening. The solution might be a big burp if I could!

My heart rate is erratic too so I know just how you feel. My highest was 180 but it bounced around.

The old CHADS score made female gender one of the factors but they took that off! I don't have high blood pressure etc.

Noone seems to know how long you have to be in afib to have stroke risk. The study on short term anti-coagulation was for people who were in afib more than 5.5 hours.

Do you have an electrophysiologist?

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How do you all know when you're in AFIB and how long it's. lasting? I have an Apple Watch that allows me to check for AFIB, but otherwise I wouldn't know.

I have AFIB at least several. times a week (can't tell at night) often for several hours, even more.

My doctor says taking Xarelto is enough protection against stroke, as it prevents clotting.

I've never been advised to go the hospital for AFIB. Why? Very confused by all the different advice.

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@windyshores

I have come to think that actual physical pressure from air in my GI tract, against my heart, is my main trigger. I am always reclining and always in the evening. The solution might be a big burp if I could!

My heart rate is erratic too so I know just how you feel. My highest was 180 but it bounced around.

The old CHADS score made female gender one of the factors but they took that off! I don't have high blood pressure etc.

Noone seems to know how long you have to be in afib to have stroke risk. The study on short term anti-coagulation was for people who were in afib more than 5.5 hours.

Do you have an electrophysiologist?

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No, I don’t have an electrophysiologist, just an excellent cardiologist at present. But your electrophysiologist question does open up a whole other series of confusing questions. For example, my cardiologist, who prescribed the Flecainide and metoprolol I’m taking now (lowest doses on both), talked me into taking them against my strongest wishes not to take meds saying, “at least they will give you a couple years of improved lifestyle.” So his statement and plenty I have been researching does suggest that these kinds of meds stop being effective after a while. On the other hand, I have seen statements on blogs like this from folks who have been taking these same meds for many years with ongoing good results. Similarly, I have seen plenty of comments that suggest the drugs are definitely temporary and that the only true fix is ablation or something similar, with lots of advice saying to skip the drugs and seek ablation right away. My present thought is to continue with the drugs for another few weeks to see if I can tolerate them better with time, since I feel like I have a moderate case of the flu with them. Then, I think I will seek referral to an electrophysiologist who is heavily experienced with ablations, if I can find one, and see what he or she has to say about my situation.

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@realitytest

How do you all know when you're in AFIB and how long it's. lasting? I have an Apple Watch that allows me to check for AFIB, but otherwise I wouldn't know.

I have AFIB at least several. times a week (can't tell at night) often for several hours, even more.

My doctor says taking Xarelto is enough protection against stroke, as it prevents clotting.

I've never been advised to go the hospital for AFIB. Why? Very confused by all the different advice.

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Afib for me is absolutely unmistakable with racing pulse and a wild, terrifying irregularity I have heard described as “kittens playing roughly in your chest.” Hard for me to imagine having an AFib event without immediately knowing it, and it would definitely awaken me if it occurred while sleeping.

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@riverpark

Afib for me is absolutely unmistakable with racing pulse and a wild, terrifying irregularity I have heard described as “kittens playing roughly in your chest.” Hard for me to imagine having an AFib event without immediately knowing it, and it would definitely awaken me if it occurred while sleeping.

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Mine feels like large fish flopping around 🙂

I think a second opinion is a good idea. Some people on another forum (I will send you a private message) say that beta blockers are not a good choice. Diltiazem is a calcium channel blocker.

I tried a beta blocker for heart palpitations before menopause, years ago, and could not tolerate. I have low blood pressure and could not feel my arms! Also woozy.

Sent you a private message @riverpark!

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@bjanderson

Well, I had my 1st Afib encounter in 2015 when I was 63. It was so scary. I went to the ER and spent the night. Left the next day on 100mg Flecanide. Also learned I had severe tricuspid valve regurgitation. So, we left Florida and headed home. Went to Mayo Clinic, in Rochester. That was all 7 years ago. I just had open heart surgery for that tricuspid valve and mitral valve repair. I have put all my trust in Mayo. Afib is no fun. I am in it all the time but the meds are helping keep the heart beat
at a decent rate. So try not to be too overly concerned. However, that is being said by one of the biggest worriers ever!!😉

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Hi bjanderson, I had my first Afib event in Jan 2022 and so far not any more. An Echocardiogram showed I had 10-15% ejection fraction, severe mitral valve regurgitation, and moderate tricuspid so I was interested to see you had both valves repaired. The cardiologist I saw on a recent ER stay was just interested in putting me on meds and did not want to discuss the valves. It is my understanding (self educated online) that the ejection fraction can be improved by having these valves repaired. Did your EF change? I have also read about a Mitral clip that can be attached to the valve during a catheterization/angiogram, which means no open heart surgery. I see the cardiology team at UC Davis in Sacramento soon so maybe some of my questions will be answered. Good Luck to you in your recovery.

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Thanks dalous! My surgery went great and I’m feeling good. My EF increased from 50ish to 64. I have heart failure
with preserved ejection factor so my EF
has not been very low. My surgeon, on video, says it’s important to ask your Dr. how many valve repairs or replacements he/she has performed. My surgeon performs about 300+ per year. The more the better. I was worried about my surgery but it went very well. I haven’t heard about the mitral clip. Interesting!
Keep us informed as to what you find out! Good luck!!

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@riverpark

Afib for me is absolutely unmistakable with racing pulse and a wild, terrifying irregularity I have heard described as “kittens playing roughly in your chest.” Hard for me to imagine having an AFib event without immediately knowing it, and it would definitely awaken me if it occurred while sleeping.

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Terrifying. I wonder why I hardly ever notice it (I then use the Apple Watch. Afib
detector to check if I'm awake.)

Perhaps it's because mine isn't very tachycardic (only low 100s – 100-135)
And yet I know I have fairly frequent episodes – several times a week, perhaps more. I'll be interested to get the results of my last week-long cardiac "event monitor")

Thanks for answering.

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@windyshores

Mine feels like large fish flopping around 🙂

I think a second opinion is a good idea. Some people on another forum (I will send you a private message) say that beta blockers are not a good choice. Diltiazem is a calcium channel blocker.

I tried a beta blocker for heart palpitations before menopause, years ago, and could not tolerate. I have low blood pressure and could not feel my arms! Also woozy.

Sent you a private message @riverpark!

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What do you mean by woozy I take metoprolol and I don't know what that is giving me headaches after 8 years and getting me real light-headed and stuff

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@gator123

What do you mean by woozy I take metoprolol and I don't know what that is giving me headaches after 8 years and getting me real light-headed and stuff

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Woozy means light headed basically. Do you check your blood pressure? Mine is low to begin with and beta blockers sent it too low.

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Dr says it is not from beta blocker.sliws beats.nor so sure

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