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4 days ago · Atrial Fibrillation - AFib in Heart Rhythm Conditions

I want to respond right away, Linda (@rubywitch67), so you'll know that your messaging is getting through. Then I'll take some time to pull together some references to help you sort out your concerns about A-fib and PVC and the antiarrhythmic medications prescribed to suppress wayward blood clots from forming when blood pools with the heart. I'll have more later this evening. I'll also send you a private message with contact information on me. Martin

4 days ago · Atrial Fibrillation - AFib in Heart Rhythm Conditions

Hi, @anniegk. Glad to have you on this discussion with us. Hope you have had a chance to review other postings in this discussion, including mine of 3 days ago when I posted a Mayo Clinic web site link that you may find very helpful in giving you some assurances: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/new-and-totally-lost/?pg=1#comment-125372. If you can check that out, we'll be glad to know what you think of the information it provides.

4 days ago · Atrial Fibrillation - AFib in Heart Rhythm Conditions

Hello @rubywitch67. I'm glad to join your conversation with Teresa @hopeful33250. She is one of the most thoughtful and caring people you will ever encounter. I have four immediate comments: First, call your doctor and explain as accurately as you can what you experienced last night and ask for a special prescription at your local drug store. Second, if the doctor's not available to consult AND the A-fib heart beats are really disturbing, consider going to the emergency room. Third, don't be afraid of Xarelto (spelling!). It's an anticoagulant that prevents formation of blood clots in your atrium which rarely form in the upper chamber of your heart, but when they do can cause a stroke. Fourth, be sure you know the symptoms of stroke, and if you have any of them, call 911 for swift medical help in getting to the emergency room.

Here's some information on my experience; it might be helpful to you. My A-fib was diagnosed four years ago. I have been on an anticoagulant medication (Coumadin) since then. It involves regular blood tests to inhibit coagulation, and for me, that provides assurance that I'm on top of things. But I got careless a couple of months ago and didn't take care of my coagulation level, and after about three days, I had a stroke — a "small stroke," the radiologist said, when she read results of my MRI. It made me a little shaky in the legs, but after a session with a neurologist and six sessions of a physical therapist, I'm almost back to normal. As proof, my bowling league resumed after the summer off, and I rolled a 237 game and a 565 series yesterday!

I hope my experience will help alleviate your stress over your diagnosis. Can you readily connect with your doctor when you feel you need to? Would you feel better if you had confirmation of A-fib rather than PVC in your recent events? Is emergency medical help available by calling 911 in the rare case that you need it?

4 days ago · Atrial Fibrillation - AFib in Heart Rhythm Conditions

Good morning, @rubywitch67! To answer your questions, I'd start by saying I probably overemphasized going to the ER. I'm always ready to do that, but I'd call 911 only if I know that my symptoms are severe and in need of emergency attention by the best doctors available. In most cases of A-fib incidents, the arrhythmia isn't that severe, although it could be. Check this source on the Mayo Clinic web site for more information: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-arrhythmia/symptoms-causes/syc-20350668.

A-fib is an electrical misfiring in the upper chamber (atrium) of the heart, as compared with PVC — premature contraction of the ventricles (lower pumping chambers). A-fib has a very wide range of symptoms, and treatment of it depends on what they are and how likely they are to cause you injury. In most cases, A-fib doesn't deserve immediate emergency treatment; even severe cases tend to be addressed with surgical procedures (not open-heart surgery) to correct disruptions in the electrical signals that cause the heart to beat.

Coumadin is my preferred drug for reducing the tendency of my blood to coagulate. I take a pill every day and drop in to my medical lab on the way home from the bowling alley once a month. No hassle; I get a call within a few hours about my coagulation index and what my dosage should be for the coming month. More hassle than Xarelto, but I'm glad to have the relentless monthly check on how things are going on the status of blood clotting in my heart.

Did you find the information on the Mayo Clinic web site helpful and reassuring?

4 days ago · Atrial Fibrillation - AFib in Heart Rhythm Conditions

Sorry that happened, @rubywitch67. I'll be here when you can revive the discussion.

Sun, Mar 1 12:42pm · Decreased sense of smell may indicate early dementia in Brain & Nervous System

Hi @sakota, your experience with peanut butter caught my attention — partly because I switched to almond butter three years ago (to avoid the sodium that piques my blood pressure) and partly because you're "forgetting a lot of things," as I do. But my experience should calm any stress you may feel over dementia. I have been under treatment for hypertension for 35 years, and it has been a growing problem — with rising dosages of more medications — every since. However, I'm on three antihypertension meds now, and I have tried and dropped 13 others over the years — partly because my nephrologist found a genetic defect in my kidneys, partly because of potassium starvation discovered 10 years ago, partly because I developed atrial fibrillation five years ago, and partly because of a small stroke almost three years ago. Those events forced big changes in my medication regimen, with hypertension and threats of stroke the leading factors in my therapies.

My medical team and I concluded three years ago that "forgetting things" is due to 1) aging (I'm almost 84) and 2) my medications, not dementia. Three factors drove us to those conclusions: 1) a thorough examination and testing by a neurologist, 2) stabilized ability to remember that matches stability that has developed in my medical regimen, and 3) recognition that almost everybody in my age group has trouble calling up recently used information and names along with rarely used information and ideas. Historically, my father and my maternal great grandmother both lived to 95, and I'm aiming for at least that goal. Hope you'll join me in the years ahead. Martin

Fri, Feb 14 9:13pm · Heart Rhythm Conditions – Welcome to the group in Heart Rhythm Conditions

Sorry you're suspended in the midst of recovery from A-fib, @kates1221. Perhaps my other experiences can be helpful in stabilizing things — your concerns, for instance. I have used your three main hypertension drugs before, but was switched to my current mixture after discovery of a genetic defect that had my kidneys throwing away most, if not all, of my potassium. My diuretic, Amiloride, fixed that. When A-fib turned up four years ago, we focused on my heart rate for several months, but since my A-fib was mostly asymptomatic, we turned back to a broader regimen focused on my blood pressure, adding Coumadin as an anticoagulant to prevent blood clots. The anticoagulant therapy failed 20 months ago, and I got a small stroke that has a limited effect on my muscular stability, although not so serious that it keeps me from averaging 170 in our old-timers bowling league. I have three friends with A-fib who have moved through cardioversion and, ultimately, ablation; all three of them are glad they did it 3-4 years ago. I also have the "benefit" of helping my wife recover from Paroxismal Supraventricular Tachycardia (PSVT), which struck her last Spring, initiating moderate palpitations without forewarning and putting her through several months of muscular instability and related fatigue. That interrupted her daily hour-long exercise and got her thinking she was becoming disabled. Not so! No palpitations for weeks. This week, she has been up early every morning, back on her exercise regimen as in "the old days." That makes my point about exercise — it is essential for sustaining achievements in recovery and proves that recovery is and has been, in fact, happening. Good for the soul and her optimistic outlook! I hope you can soon arrange a second opinion with a medical team that takes the time, listens to your concerns, and answers all your questions. Martin

Wed, Feb 12 3:10pm · Heart Rhythm Conditions – Welcome to the group in Heart Rhythm Conditions

Hi @kates1221. Glad to see you again on Mayo Connect. You and I share the problems of A-fib and high blood pressure. I have several years "enjoying" the challenges involved and dealing with them with the help of a very capable medical team — Internist, Nephrologist, Cardiologist, and Anticoagulation Specialist. None of them has told me "there is no cure" for A-fib OR hypertension, but they have said I should expect to be on medication, at least, until we find a therapy to stabilize my symptoms and carry on my life. I have three medications for hypertension (Carvedilol, Lisinopril, and Amiloride diuretic). I also take Coumadin, a "blood thinner" (or more properly an anticoagulant drug) to prevent formation of blood clots within my heart when its rhythm is disturbed and fails to move blood through promptly. My arrhythmic medication to modulate my heart rate is Carvedilol, a beta blocker. In my case, my medical team and I have asked each other about cardioversion and ablation and have decided each time that my symptoms and the risks don't make either treatment necessary right now. Send along any questions that occur to you and might prompt me for more information of use to you.

Finally, though, this one recommendation: Get a second opinion from a well-known, recognized authority on arrhythmia and how to treat it — your state university medical clinic is one possibility. Have you discussed with your heart doctor the possibility of referral for a second opinion? Martin