AFIB Support

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  • 1.  A Fib

    Posted 03-03-2021 12:57
    I did not have A fib until after Open Heart Surgery. I had three bypasses and now I have to deal with this, I absolutely hate the side effects of Beta Blocker and blood thinners and I am having a difficult time adjusting to this. Do other people feel this way; is this the way I will feel the rest of my life? My heart doctor is so blah and does not discuss things with me.

    Jennifer Doering
    Salisbury NC

  • 2.  RE: A Fib

    Posted 03-04-2021 10:12
    Hello Jennifer,
    How long ago was your surgery?
    I first experienced AFIB after surgery when I had my aortic valve replaced in Dec 2015. I was told that it's common after certain heart surgeries especially when they cut into your heart because it disrupts the electrical flow between the muscles. I still have AFIB but it's so "mild" that I can't tell unless I feel my pulse or see it on an EKG. I too had issues with the meds I was given after surgery and what I can tell you is YOU need to take charge of your health and let your cardiologist know exactly how your meds are affecting you. There are many similar meds for different conditions and it may be a matter of switching. Remember, your cardiologist sees dozens of patients and treats you as an "average" heart patient. You should start by creating a daily log of your activity and how you feel during the day. Then you can approach your MD with facts and see if he/she can try something different or it may be a matter of lowering your current dose. As I was recovering while doing rehab my body felt like I had no energy even though I was getting stronger. After repeated arguments with my MD he finally agreed to reduce 1 med by half. After a few days I felt better and my heart rate, BP were still in a good range. I continued my rehab and a few weeks later started feeling like I was losing energy again. So I talked to my MD and he agreed to cut a second med in half. This routine happened several times while I was recovering and within 6 months I went from 5-6 meds down to 2. The 1 med I'm on now is Atenolol, a beta blocker, and it's 1/4 of my initial dose. That was 4 1/2 years ago and I still feel great. The other med I take is Warfarin because I developed clots in my lower legs during a 4 minute cardiac arrest that prompted my valve replacement.
    One last note, if your cardiologist doesn't want your input on how you feel it may be time to look for a new one.

    Bill Cekala
    Orlando, FL

  • 3.  RE: A Fib

    Posted 03-04-2021 12:28
    Hi Jennifer,

    I have been fighting with AFib for the last 8 years. Mine was likely due to a mitral valve issue.

    Prior to the surgical valve repair I went into AFib; after the surgery I was good for a couple of years but then it came back.

    I suggest that you do some research on AFib. I search the internet for Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic and other reputable places.

    There are 3 types of AFib: periodic ( comes and goes on its own), persistent (requires an intervention) and permanent.

    Many people have AFib but do not know it as it is not noticeable to them. Others can feel it and it can be debilitating.

    A lot of the people that do not notice it do not question the doctor about it. Since it is not affecting the patient, the doctor does minimum intervention. Normally the doctor will work with a patient that has concerns-mine has.

    I have been on medication to help with arrhythmia. For me It worked for a while and then I need a heart shock (called Cardioversion).

    Most recently, I have had 2 cardiac ablations. The first one worked for 8 months; the second on is still working after 18 months.

    I have a neighbor that has AFib and it does not bother him. He does complain obout the cost of the blood thinner though.

    Me—I wanted it fixed.

    So, do research and ask questions. Any Mended Hearts chapters near you. Contact their support line at WWW.MYHEARTVISIT.ORG

    There are millions of people in the USA with AFib.

    Marv Norman

    Sent from my iPad

  • 4.  RE: A Fib

    Posted 03-04-2021 12:39
    Those of you who got back to me thanks so much for your input.

    I am on metoprolol succinate and it causes me to be extremely tired and explosive diarrhea, as well as a non-stop runny nose. I feel these side effects are too difficult to deal with but every beta blocker seems to have the same side effects. I will ask my doctor to lower the dose. I really want to be able to start feeling better and three months post up, I feel as bad as pre surgery. Granted, I was really run down before the surgery, plus I have to deal with a prosthetic leg. 

    Sometimes I feel why me? I am 69 years old but don't look it and want to start living life again.

    My main goal is to be able to walk in a store behind a cart on my own and it still feels way off.

    Anyway, thanks for listening.


    Jennifer J. Doering

  • 5.  RE: A Fib

    Posted 03-05-2021 09:46
    As far as how long it will take to recover, don't go by what others say because you, like many others, have additional health issues.
    It took me almost a year before I felt "normal" .
    Before my cardiac arrest I was in pretty good physical shape. I had a physical job and went to the gym 3-5 times a week. But, my prior health issues include Hodgkins Lymphoma(1979), damage from the radiation treatments to all of these >(my entire spine, heart murmur, thyroid malfunction, swallowing difficulty, extreme nerve pain in my neck, back and sciatica and a couple of GI bleeding episodes)<.

    You mentioned that all beta blockers have side effects. Have you tried others besides the metoprolol? I know you said you don't want to look for another MD but it may be in your best interest to venture a little further from home to find a better MD.

    One last thing, I truly believe that having a positive outlook and a spiritual belief made a huge impact on my recovery. 
    Don't give up or give in to thinking you'll never get better, you CAN do it.

  • 6.  RE: A Fib

    Posted 03-05-2021 15:56
    Bill: It sure sounds like you have gone through Hell, so sorry to hear. And you still have a good attitude.

    I have tried three Beta Blockers and they all make me feel like crap. It is like trying to climb the tallest mountain, and I am always so out of breath. Plus, several other side effects I believe I have mentioned before.

    I saw my doctor today and he has cut the dose in half. I told him I felt awful and feeling worse after the surgery was not what I had planned. So I stepped  up for myself and my husband, who was with me, told him how much I have deteriorated after taking the Beta blockers. I  hope the 1/2 dose helps, because it  has really helped my heart.

    I have fought for good health for over 33 years and probably have had over 20 surgeries. My last big one before this was in 2016 where I had 13 hours of back surgery, and that was not as bad as this.

    After fighting for so long, it seems so difficult. I believe in God, but I also believe we are here on our own.

    I am lucky that I have good friends that help me get through things; I get no support at all from my son or his family. Weeks go by and we don't hear from him. I am thinking of changing for my will!

    I enjoy talking to you and if you want I can give you my telephone number so we can talk personally. I live in Salisbury, NC, near Charlotte.

    I hope you have family support or at least the support of friends.

    Hoping we both continue to improve.

    Jennifer Doering
    Salisbury NC

  • 7.  RE: A Fib

    Posted 03-04-2021 12:38
    Hello Jennifer ~ Unfortunately A-Fib and other herat arrhythmias are quite common after open heart surgery. I've never figured out why doctors don't tell us ahead but I guess for many of us it beats the alternative.

    In answer, I have enjoyed A-Fib and a host of other irregular beats since my surgery 15 years ago. Sometimes they're disruptive and others I don't even notice but because I have a CRT (defibrillator) implanted it records these events so we know how frequent it is. Some people are fortunate and their heart settles down soon after surgery but as I said that's not always the case. However we do adapt and get somewhat used to the rampant beating.

    As for medication, if it's a problem talk to your doctor. there are almost always alternative medicines which msy not bother you. Additionally there are little tricks like taking Beta Blockers at bedtime that help minimize the problems.

    Hang in, we'll keep our fingers crossed this is temporary for you.


  • 8.  RE: A Fib

    Posted 03-09-2021 07:13
    Hi Jennifer,

    I also dis not have AFib until after my heart surgery last year which persisted for 2 months after the surgery (dropped into AFib three times and had cardioversion).  I was on metoprolol succinate, Eliquis and amiodarone twice a day.  I was tired all the time but also had a hard time sleeping, my resting heart rate was below 50, I was cold all the time and I had frequent dizzy spells.  Due to the dizziness, my doctor switched me to metoprolol ER which helped reduce the dizziness.  I also try to make sure that I take the metopolol at almost the same times every day with food, which has seemed to reduce the issues with it.

    You did not mention if you were staying in AFib or if you had gotten back into normal rhythm.  When I was in AFib my ability to do anything was dramatically reduced and I had no energy but after cardioversion I was back to normal almost immediately.

    Dose your doctor have a electronic messaging system where you can submit non-urgent questions/information?  If so that is a good way to document the issues you are having and ensure they are aware of it.

    Have you taken the list of all the medicine and supplements your are currently taking to your Pharmacist for review?  There may be a interaction between them that is causing the issues.

    From what I have been told by my doctors the reason I am on metoprolol is to keep my heart rate and BP down.   Based on this I have been keeping track of my BP and HR and presenting the data to the doctors along with informing them of the side effects I was experiencing. I also ask what they see as the plan forward as I also want to stop taking metoprolol.  Due to this approach over the past year I have worn a heart monitor several times, and have slowly been able to stop taking the amiodarone. After being a year without dropping into AFib I have just been able to stop taking the Eliquis and I am hoping to stop taking metoprolol eventually also.

    The best suggestion I have is to make sure the doctor is aware of the issues and the frequency of the side effects you are experiencing and if they are not willing to listen to you and help minimize/eliminate them then it may be time to look for a different doctor.

    Best of luck,

    John K