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Old 06-23-2012, 01:17 PM   #1
petey_c
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Default A Fib

Well, last Tuesday I went to the Drs. for my annual physical. First the eye exam where they dilated my pupils. I arrived at my primary care provider's (reg. doctor) office looking like I'd just done some mescaline (or at least what I suspect someone who'd just done mescaline would look like.). So, I get the usual height (Hmmm, I'm shrinking), weight (hmmm, earth's gravitation pull has increased somehow...) and finally an EKG. The tech had to run the tests three times. I'm thinking, hah, nube. She ushers me into the exam room and the PA comes in and says, "Sir, your pulse is 127 and you appear to be in A Fib." A what? She explains what Atrial Fibrillation is and how potentially dangerous it is (clots, congestive heart failure, etc.). "You should get to an E/R right away, would you like us to call an ambulance?" Whoa, whoa, whoa! I feel fine, I mean, maybe I had a little too much coffee this morning, but I'm okay. No you're not, look at the EKG. Fortunately a hospital with an excellent cardiac department (Mather Hosp. Port Jeff, NY) is across the street and she reluctantly allows me to drive.
I get to the E/R and I get to go to the head of the line, no waiting. Oops, that's not good. I never get seen in an E/R in less than two hours. The E/R nurse says we've got to put you on some anti-coagulants and blood thinner. We're going to have to admit you sir. But I feel fine... Another nurse comes by and asks questions; cardiac history? No. Family cardiac problems? No. Previous incidents, heart palpitations, shortness of breath? No, well maybe occasionally. Do you drink? Yeah occasionally. How occasionally? 1-2 brews a night. Every night? Yeah. Then, there's that look. I know you're bs' ing me. I think to myself, hmm, I have been really enjoying my hombrews a lot lately. Every doc or nurse that saw me for the first time and there were a lot of them, asked basically the same questions and gave me the same look about the drinking.
I spent two and a half days in the hospital with all sorts of tubes (Heparin and Cardizem) stuck in me and pads for the EKG. Xrays, echo cardiogram (pretty cool to see my own heart) and lots of blood work. With the echo I could see that my valves were misfiring, or staying open too long. My cholesterol and LDL levels were a little high but not enough to have caused this. Echo said I had a good heart. The EKG showed my heart rate running from 80 to 113 in a few seconds. The cardiologist said if the drugs don't work we'll have to do "cardioversion." What's that? It's where we shock your heart back into regular rhythm. Like in the movies, except a little less dramatic.
Thinking about losing my life and family made me put things in perspective. Mr. Beer and I (not the little brewing system) were gonna have to start seeing less of each other. I'm putting this out there as sort of a PSA. I still had some of the 20-something bullet proof attitude and am starting to realize I'm not. Oh, I also have the Navy to thank for this. If they didn't get me on this yearly physical thing, I might not have found this. (steps off soap box)

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Old 06-23-2012, 01:39 PM   #2
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When I saw the title, I thought, "Afib--don't post about it, go to the hospital!". Then I figured someone was telling a little lie, but you really were talking about your heart. Glad to hear that you caught it. I think the medical professionals hear so many lies about alcohol consumption that they automatically assume double the admitted quantity.

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Old 06-23-2012, 02:16 PM   #3
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Yes, I too just went through the whole ecocardiogram, stress test game with the doctors. Luckily for me everything came out fine. But, the doctors are skeptical when you tell them 1-2 beers a night. Which for me is the truth. But like Sharoa stated. They are used to doubling whatever anybody says about their vices. Most people lie to the doctors. I've always wondered what drug addicts say to the anesthesiologist. Do they lie knowing it may kill them and they may never wake up? The ones I have asked say they do lie. I don't get it. Well....I guess I do. Tis a shame.

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Old 06-23-2012, 02:27 PM   #4
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I'd be very shocked if they used cardioversion on you with a heart rate less then 180 so dont worry, I think your cardiologist was trying to scare you.

While A-Fib can cause serious problems it is also fairly easy to treat so dont let them get ya to scared. Take your meds as prescribed (probably some form of Digoxin and a Coumadin and MAYBE a beta blocker) and you'll be fine.

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Old 06-25-2012, 03:57 PM   #5
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Thanks all, for your support. I'm on Coumadin and Cardizem. Getting suck everyday for my INR (Coumadin levels, making sure "I'm therapeutic"). I believe many people who lie about their intake is because they don't want it written down anywhere it may come back to haunt them. Listened to my heart this morning with my stethoscope (I used to work at a hosp. repairing many medical instruments and one followed me home.) and it sounded weird. Not like I'm used to.

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Old 06-25-2012, 04:35 PM   #6
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I saw A Fib and I thought a Lie... Then I read about the Dr Visit and I'm thinking of the times I always tell my Dr the Fibs about drinking and eating BWW. Way more serious stuff here. Sucks. I need to get back in shape so my heart beats for a little longer.

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Old 06-25-2012, 04:48 PM   #7
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I'm glad to hear you caught this early on and shared it with us! Makes me wonder about my own daily intake...

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Old 06-25-2012, 05:03 PM   #8
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here i just thought you were from Illinois.

glad you caught it in time.

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Old 06-25-2012, 05:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pumbaa View Post
I'd be very shocked if they used cardioversion on you with a heart rate less then 180 so dont worry, I think your cardiologist was trying to scare you.

While A-Fib can cause serious problems it is also fairly easy to treat so dont let them get ya to scared. Take your meds as prescribed (probably some form of Digoxin and a Coumadin and MAYBE a beta blocker) and you'll be fine.

Cardioversion is used to correct the A-fib and send the heart back into sinus rhythm. BPM is irrelevant. I've had this done more than once.

To the OP, depending on the root cause of the arrythmia, meds should work. But not always. It's something you'll learn to deal with.

On the bright side, my cardiologist told me a couple weeks ago that one of his patients, age 71, just finished a climb of Kilimanjaro - while in A-fib.
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Old 06-25-2012, 05:08 PM   #10
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Maybe a switch to wine is in order......
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddr...ddle-aged.html

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