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A-Fib or Not???

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  • smccormick
    replied
    Re: A-Fib or Not???

    To Laurie,
    No, I haven't tried the coughing or bearing down to stop it, but it's worth a try. I am on 75mg of atenenol daily. Was diagnosed with HOCM in 2001. I am 51 yrs. old. My heart rate goes up immediately and yes I can tell. I have had the tightness in my chest and arm since 2000. That was the main symptoms that made me go to the doctor and get checked. Also had a very loud murmur but still took them a year to figure out what was wrong. My symptoms vary from fast heart rate and chest pain to pvc's ( on one holtermonitor I had 365 in a 24hr period) to shortness of breath. Each day is a question on which of these symptoms I'll have that day. Then there is the "normal time" ( that's what I call it) that I have no symptoms and feel like I can do anything. Unfortunately, those times are not very often and if I do try to act normal it lets me know right away that I'm not. But from reading this board I'm luckier than some so I try not to complain too much and just go with the flow.

    Leave a comment:


  • nirvana
    replied
    Re: A-Fib or Not???

    Would it make sense to get a ECG or a Holter monitor at home if A-fib and other arrythmia is a concern?

    I know it costs a lot but if you can cough up the dough somehow, the products available are so user friendly that anyone can use it. For e.g. take a look at this holter monitor:

    http://www.primarycarediagnostics.com/holter.html

    Can be analysed on the pc with the automatic interpretive software. Needless to say you need to keep your cardiologist in the loop *all* the time. But this saves you a drive to ER and also helps you stay on top of the situation with more frequent checks.

    Is this suggestion too wierd or there people out there who own their own ECG/Holter equipment? Also, are there FDA rules on ownership of such equipment?

    Leave a comment:


  • EpLaurie
    replied
    Re: A-Fib or Not???

    For SMcCormick,

    Hi, was reading your post and wondered, when you get those episodes, can you do what is called a "valsalva maneuver" which would be to bear down like you're having a bowel movement, and see if you can stop it? Or try coughing several good hard coughs, that would be similar to the bearing down.

    It doesn't sound like A fib since it's so regular. What bothers me is the chest tightness you said you get with it that radiates down your arm. Do you get any shortness of breath too?

    Is that your resting HR normally or are you on beta blockers? Just curious.

    When you do go into this rhythm, does it gradually speed up or just go from 60 to 90's immediately? or can you tell? How long have you had these episodes (meaning all your life or just recently?) and how old are you?

    thanks,
    Laurie

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  • EpLaurie
    replied
    Re: A-Fib or Not???

    Deedee,

    Sorry, forgot to tell you what a PVC was.

    Since I was already on the other sites, I just pasted the following from The Arrhythmia Center @ heartcenteronline.com:

    Premature ventricular contractions (sometimes called PVCs or VPCs or benign ventricular ectopics) are a fairly common type of abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia). In the normal sequence of events, a heartbeat is initiated in the top right chamber of the heart (right atrium) and subsequently conducted to the bottom chambers of the heart (ventricles). A premature ventricular contraction occurs when the ventricles fire early (prematurely), before the atria. They may be caused by fatigue, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine or a variety of other factors. In many cases, the cause of PVCs is unknown.

    Some people may feel skipped beats or galloping palpitations, and other people may not notice PVCs at all. In general, these irregular beats are harmless. However, diagnosing them and ruling out heart disease may be important. People are also urged to contact their physician if they experience chest pain or a sudden worsening of their PVCs. If necessary, treatment generally involves taking medication, such as beta blockers or antiarrhythmics.

    Laurie

    Leave a comment:


  • EpLaurie
    replied
    Re: A-Fib or Not???

    Hey Dee Dee,
    was up in the middle of the night for something, and while I was waiting, I searched some of my favorite patient sites for heart related glossaries/topic lists. These URLs will be helpful for quick cardiac abbreviations/info:

    Illustrated Glossary on Guidant Website
    http://www.guidant.com/webapp/emarke...ev2=glossary#P


    On heartcenteronline.com website you can access a lot of info without registering, but eventually they will prompt you to take a few minutes and register (it’s free) and then you can continue immediately.

    The Arrhythmia Center @ HeartCenterOnline
    http://www.heartcenteronline.com/myh...=31&searchterm

    A-Z Topic List @ HeartCenterOnline
    http://www.heartcenteronline.com/myh...curpage=search

    Have fun! and hope this is helpful
    Laurie

    Leave a comment:


  • Deedee
    replied
    Re: A-Fib or Not???

    I've had irregular beats (never on a monitor though) and sometimes just very fast and fluttery beats (not on a monitor either.) I didn't really know about them being described with different words! I would like to learn more about the right words. It will help me talk to my doctors a lot, doesn't everyone agree?

    What are pvc's again? We need a sticky thread or a FAQ that explains all of these HCM and heart-related abbreviations so bad. PLEASE somebody write an abbreviation FAQ and a little HCM dictionary. It's needed really badly. I'd do it myself instead of begging for someone else to do it, but I need it myself!

    We have tons of new people all the time and new to these short-cuts too... I'm sure it's frustrating when you're new and confused and possibly nervous and scared as well. You can eventually memorize all this stuff if you read HCM info a lot; but a nice, easy to use FAQ look-up all in one place would really be nice; and I think 4hcm.org is the perfect spot for it.

    Just a thought. Well, I'm off to check out Laurie's nice link, I love to go see things for myself Thanks for the link.

    Deedee

    Leave a comment:


  • smccormick
    replied
    Re: A-Fib or Not???

    Thanks all of you for all the info. I have a holter monitor scheduled for this month so maybe if I'm lucky I can catch it! I really appreciate this site, it is sooo helpful.

    Leave a comment:


  • EpLaurie
    replied
    Re: A-Fib or Not???

    Hey guys,
    I should probably throw in that I'm not an HCMer either. I'm an EP (Electrophysiology) nurse. We study the heart's electrical conduction system. I've been in this subspecialty for 13 years, been in nursing for 20. I contribute daily on the Zapper ICD site (www.zaplife.org) voluntarily, and got interested in this site because we have quite a few HCMers. I read this site daily, but because my expertise is not in HCM, I don't post much.

    Since my expertise is in heart rhythms and ICDs and Pacemakers, I decided to start posting if I saw something that I could meaningfully contribute to. I usually like to throw in URLs so that you can access the info first hand if possible.

    Just thought I'd do a little intro of myself. Now I'm going to redo a whole post that I had prepared for another thread on this site, then lost before I submitted because my 5 year old decided to get on Barbie.com when I left my laptop unattended!

    If I can be of any assistance re: the above, please feel free to PM me.

    Warm regards,
    Laurie

    Leave a comment:


  • Reenie
    replied
    Re: A-Fib or Not???

    Guys, remember first that I'm not an HCM'er, this SVT is what I had and what I had the radio frequency ablation for. My records indicated that I also had some atrial flutter and had some recorded instances of tachycardia at a rate of 145 on both digoxin (not recommended for HCM) and Inderal. Just thought I'd throw that in here.

    Reenie

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  • EpLaurie
    replied
    Re: A-Fib or Not???

    Hi Cynthia,

    there's an excellent tutorial on SVT (supraventricular tachycardia) it's technical but shows fabulous animated graphics of atrial fib, atrial flutter, and normal sinus rhythm + various other tachycardias that don't pertain to this conversation. you can access it through this URL:
    http://www.blaufuss.org/SVT/index.html


    this tutorial also shows how these rhythms are ablated using radiofrequency ablation which isn't a topic in this thread but is interesting. The graphics and rhythm strips are fabulous. I encourage you to check it out, it will clear up the differences between atrial fib, atrial flutter and normal sinus rhythm.

    hope this helps,
    Laurie

    Leave a comment:


  • cynthiaG
    replied
    Re: A-Fib or Not???

    thanks. funny how it never happens when you have an event monitor on! I had one on for a month and there were a few funny things but not a full blown episode, but the doctor did say that it was coming from the upper portion and told me it was atrial tach. When it happens, it's irratic I've had stress test and MRI. I'll ask next week when I see my local cardiologist

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  • Sarah
    replied
    Re: A-Fib or Not???

    ah, yes, the vagaries of HCM...

    when your rate is that high (135+), i could understand it might be harder to hear the afib.

    i've had "flutter" too and this has been explained to me as a mix of regular and fib, alternating in "runs" (as in a run of tachycardia).

    cynthia -- if your heart is skipping beats and/or very tachy, it could feel "fluttery" but i can't diagnose you from here. if i remember correctly, you've had been checked out and are awaiting holter results --if there was any afib, they'll see it and treat it.

    some people can be in afib and never feel it at all. most doctors are shocked that i know immediately when it happens.

    ....everyone is different....

    s

    Leave a comment:


  • EpLaurie
    replied
    Re: A-Fib or Not???

    Hi guys,

    When Rich said his afib was really regular... I just wanted to explain that many times people can go in and out of afib and a flutter (they can alternate back and forth all the time.)

    A flutter is a different rhythm that still originates in the upper chambers, usually the right atrium but can be in the left atrium also. Aflutter can be a much more regular rhythm (it can also be irregular) but not like afib.

    The focus for afib is usually in the left atrium in the pulmonary veins, but can be in other areas of the left and right atrium. Afib is totally chaotic, meaning the atria are just quivering, they are not actually contracting or pumping. Depending upon how many of those quivers get through to the ventricles (lower chambers) determines how fast or slow your heart rate will be when you take it (if you are in afib). Same thing with aflutter (as far as only so many beats get through to the ventricles,) but aflutter is a much more organized rhythm.

    I just wanted to add that. Don't know if that helps or makes you more confused.

    Regards,
    Laurie

    Leave a comment:


  • Largehearted
    replied
    Re: A-Fib or Not???

    Hi everyone. Whenever I have been in a-fib I always knew it. My resting heart rate goes anywhere from 120-160 and is so erratic that is is very difficult to take a pulse. My current meds (120 Betapace twice a day)seem to keep a-fib at bay as well as do a much better job controlling PVC's. I used to feel PVC's all the tme. Now it is so rare that when I do I really sit up and notice. It's nice not to feel your heart beating.
    Peace,

    Leon

    Leave a comment:


  • Rich Miller
    replied
    Re: A-Fib or Not???

    Sarah, I am not the expert on hocm that you are but...I was in a-fib 2yrs ago that was a regular very fast rythum 135-140 bpm.when my family dr listened to my heart and i asked him if i was still in a-fib he said " no why" and i told him that i was scheduled in 3 day for cardio version and i was glad i wouldnt have to go, so he listened again and said he couldnt hear it but lets run a strip and sure enough there it was still in a-fib just not the normal a-fib but hey i have to be different.ok theres my 2 cents worth .
    Happy New Year Everyone,be safe and let the amatuers have the rd.
    Rich

    Leave a comment:

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