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Update (warning- long post!!)

Posted by Patti Starr 
Update (warning- long post!!)
February 12, 2019 10:48PM
It’s now been two years since I was diagnosed with Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. In 2016 I was training for a 50 K and began noticing palpitations after training runs. Those palpitations also appeared after drinking alcohol especially wine. After several trips to my family doctor and being diagnosed with anxiety he finally did a Holter monitor which showed periods of Atrial fibrillation and flutter. These episodes were short-lived (3-5 min) and I always self converted . I was referred to an electrophysiologist and at the first visit I was offered ablation-cryo-ablation. I was put on Flecanide which caused a pro arrhythmia and for the first time ever I had periods of a fib lasting up to 2 hours with a heart rates higher than I had experienced ever before. The EP increased my dosage of Flecanide which made me miserable and really looking forward to the ablation. I had no other testing other than the Holter monitor and an ekg prior to the ablation. I was put on warfarin to prevent clots and although I took the dosage exactly as they prescribed I had a lot of trouble staying in therapeutic range probably because of my diet. I had the ablation and although I felt like I was in good shape and would bounce back immediately I had prolonged shortness of breath, hematomas in both groins, and swelling of my left leg. I was off of work for five days exactly, but felt miserable for approximately two weeks after the ablation. I was discharged from the hospital with an INR of 4.5 and my left groin continued to bleed for the next day after I left the hospital. I also learned that I had a conjoined pulmonary vein and dilation of the aorta. Because I had continued shortness of breath one week after the ablation and continued having difficulty with my left leg pain and swelling I went to the emergency department. There they did a CT with contrast. When I went back for my follow up visit at five months I had been having very short palpitations, never lasting more than a minute or two but it just so happened when I went to the EP that I had a run of about a minute or two of atrial fibrillation. I was very nervous going back to the EP because he made me nervous. He put a four week event monitor on and I had a repeat visit in 3 1/2 weeks. In the meantime the other thing that I was dealing with was I had had a reaction to the dye used during the ablation and during this CT visit at the ER. My kidney function had dropped to about half of normal. So on top of all of that I was dealing with I had to see a nephrologist and the EP sent me to a sleep doctor to check for sleep apnea. All of this on top of working which I had a stressful job was way too much for me. I had severe severe anxiety. I think the anxiety really plays into making afib worst. When I went back to the electrophysiologist he decided I needed to repeat ablation and put me on amiodarone and Eliquis. I was very nervous taking the amiodarone and a week before the scheduled ablation I came down with a terrible chest cold with cough. I canceled the ablation and it was rescheduled for four weeks later. I was very anxiety ridden and started having stomach pain and severe reflux. I again ended up in the ER with severe stomach pain and ended up with a G.I. bleed probably from stress but not helped by the Eliquis. Again I canceled the ablation and stopped the Amniodarone and Eliquis. I ended up quitting work and started watching my grandchildren. The next year I worked on decreasing stress I took yoga started feeling good and was pretty much arrhythmia free for a whole year. I had been feeling really good like I was getting back to normal and then my aunt got sick. She has no children and I was in charge of helping take care of her at the end of her life. She also had Atrial Fibrillation . She had developed atrial fibrillation about 60 yo and she was 87. She never had any treatment except for she had taken a baby aspirin daily. She had vascular surgery a fem-pop bypass and ended up having a massive stroke. I started having palpitations again while discussing her code status, putting her in hospice care, and helping to make her end of life decisions. For me there is a very real anxiety component that puts me into palpitations. I’m wearing an event monitor now. My Aunt passed away comfortably and my life has calmed down since. I guess the reason for my post is that several of you helped me when I was facing the second ablation and on Amiodarone. The advice was good, step back relax and make good decisions. Anxiety doesn’t help ! I haven’t seen a cardiologist in the last year. Kinda afraid to go see one. My first experience wasn’t so good.
Re: Update (warning- long post!!)
February 14, 2019 07:02AM
Find yourself another one (Cardiologist and EP) if you are not happy or compatible with the one's you have. It's their job but it's your life.
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