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  1. #1
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    Any afib folks in here?

    Hey. I'm 57 and was diagnosed with paroxysmal atrial fibriallation about 6 years ago. Fortunately, I haven't had any episodes for about a year and a half.

    The med they gave me is rythmol. It is supposed to help regulate your HR. It has very mild beta blocking tendencies.

    Here's an interesting thing-my HR has never gone above 150 since I have been riding seriously for about 8 months. This AM, I rode 25 miles at an average speed of about 18.5. For about 12 of those miles, I was between 20 and 24 mph; my HR average was 110. My max HR was 146.

    Does anyone else have an unusually low HR? I don't get winded or anything and can go for hours at pretty good pace without any problem, but the HR just sits at a really low number. I have decided its okay, but wonder if anyone else is made like this.

    John

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    Sounds about right... I'm 62, been in a. fib continuously for 18 years. I was a distance runner when it started, with a resting pulse of 38-40 and a max of...I forget. Been a long time since I was up there, but I think it was 160+. I ran by feel, and didn't check it very often at the end of a workout.
    My drugs are different from yours (digoxin for the rhythm, plus a blood thinner to avoid clots), but the effect is the same: I can hold a pace, fast or slow depending on what kind of shape I'm in, for as long as I ever could. If I try to pick up the speed, though, I run out of gas in seconds. My heartrate will go up to 125 or so, and often I'm feeling good there, like I could go faster. If I add even half a mile an hour, I can't hold it for more than a minute or two. If I drop back to my previous speed, I recover very quickly and can keep on going.
    Nothing much you can do about it, according to my cardiologist, who's also a distance runner. He says it helps to keep repeating to yourself, "A lot of guys my age couldn't do this at all."

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by 67walkon
    Hey. I'm 57 and was diagnosed with paroxysmal atrial fibriallation about 6 years ago. Fortunately, I haven't had any episodes for about a year and a half.

    The med they gave me...
    Does anyone else have an unusually low HR? I don't get winded or anything and can go for hours at pretty good pace without any problem, but the HR just sits at a really low number. I have decided its okay, but wonder if anyone else is made like this.

    John
    me 2! me 2! (queen's wave)

    1st diagnosed with atrial fib (don't know about the para-whatsy edition thought...) back in the early 80's (decade, NOT my age). Old Doc Brannon says to me one day "Hey, looks like you might be having Atrial Fib, you might wanna keep an eye on that...", while he was scrubbing road dirt out of a good patch of road rash I caught that day during a crit. Only way he found out was, he was scrubbin so hard to get the dirt out, I was turnin white as a sheet from the pain. He had me lie down instead of remain seated and did a quick pulse check, at which time his eyes got so large I thought they were goona bug outta his head.
    Did an on the spot EKG... Dang, that was some really painful strawberry skin, still remember it.
    So I been keeping my eye on it...
    26 yrs later, I'm still keepin an eye on it...
    not doin any meds for it.
    Havin a HRM and watchin it during my rides, its incredible how often the ticker actually goes into A-Fib. So eventually I slow down, it stops, til the next time.
    Very hard Cycling is really the only thing I do these days that brings it on. Low heartrate is not an issue for me, obviously. In fact I seem to go from resting heartrate to 130 in an instant. It'll prolly kill me one of these days. Hey, but I'd rather go that way than as a hood ornament for some tapioca brained, cell ph yakkin, Nissan Titan drivin, Raider Nation mentate borg. Just my preference...
    What I'm always wonderin is how we all did it (you know, livin) BEFORE we found out how 'sick' we all are?

  4. #4
    But on the road more MTBLover's Avatar
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    The med they gave me is rythmol. It is supposed to help regulate your HR. It has very mild beta blocking tendencies.
    There's your answer- beta blockers slow the HR, and if you're on one, you'll see that your maxHR (not calculated, but actual) is considerably lower than without a BB. I was on one about 10 years ago for ventricular extrasystoles, and could never get my HR above 140, no matter how hard I tried! Went off the BB about two years later, and within a month was getting my max up in the 180s. Yeah, yeah, I know- at 48 (my age then), I (theoretically) wasn't supposed to be in that range, but I tend to agree with Gabe Mirkin on this- if you want intervals to do their job (and you don't have access to a cardiopulmonary lab to measure your VO2 while you work out), you have to be close to that range during a bout.

    Anyway, nothing to worry about, although my cardiologist friends/colleagues don't have an answer for the questions of whether or not your myocardium is really benefitting from strenuous cardio when you're on a BB, becuase your HR isn't near your estimated max for your age. I agree with what Velo Dog's doc said!

    Oh- BTW... afib is associated with irregular systoles, so some HRMs could (at least theoretically) underestimate your actual HR, which calculate the HR from the R-R interval (that's the distance between the "big" waves on the EKG). Most HRMs average R-Rs though, so it's probably not a problem.

  5. #5
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    I had a pretty serious episode with Afib in 1990 at the tender age of 38. It required medication to get the HR to return to a normal rythm. I have been taking medication since to keep it from getting back out of rythm and it seems to be working. My HR continues at it's normal higher than the average person's rate. My Max HR is 194. I've seen it well into the 180's over the past year. Like others, I have seen some very unusually high readings on my HR monitor from time to time but they only last for very brief periods.

  6. #6
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    Afib can be cured

    If afib and the drugs you take for it affect your quality of life to the point where you want to be cured of it, see the following websites for more information and support. I was cured of afib over 5 years ago by going to the Cleveland Clinic (CC) and seeing Dr Andrea Natale for a pulmonary vein isolation (PVA) ablation. It was a four-hour procedure. DR Natale is one of the best doctors in the world for this procedure.

    There are ways to cure afib sugically if a PVA isn't appropriate for you. I was very symptomatic and hated the thought of being on drugs for the rest of my life, so I opted to risk beng cured rather than risk the side effects of taking drugs for the rest of my life.

    DenverFox was also cured of afib by a PVA, Many cardiologists won't recommend or even tell their patients about ablations or Maze surgery to cure afib (that's a long story in itself). The success rate at CC is very high, but note - results vary widely when done elsewhere so beware.

    http://www.clevelandclinic.org/heart...on/default.htm

    http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/A-fibcures/

    Contact me if you are seriously considering a procedure to cure your afib and I will be happy to tell you of my experience. I am very thankful not to be on any afib medications and to be able to go as strong and long as I ever could. BTW, I'm 61 years old.

    Best Regards

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacco
    DenverFox was also cured of afib by a PVA, Many cardiologists won't recommend or even tell their patients about ablations or Maze surgery to cure afib (that's a long story in itself). The success rate at CC is very high, but note - results vary widely when done elsewhere so beware.

    http://www.clevelandclinic.org/heart...on/default.htm
    http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/A-fibcures/

    Contact me if you are seriously considering a procedure to cure your afib and I will be happy to tell you of my experience. I am very thankful not to be on any afib medications and to be able to go as strong and long as I ever could. BTW, I'm 61 years old.

    Best Regards

    I went to Marin General Hospital (San Francisco) for a PVIA with Dr. Andrea Natale, who operated(s?) there 2 days per month. It has been 18 months and the only heart-related drug I am on is 1 adult aspirin per day. I was in continuous AFib for one full year prior to my ablation. I am in full-time NSR. I am 67yo, and was 65 at the time of the ablation, and 64 when I first developed AFib.

    FWIW, research tends to show that the longer one waits for a PVIA, the less the chances of success.

    Also, the procedure is still more of an art than a science, and you want to have someone do it who does a lot of successful ones. Dr. Natale did 4 ablations that day.

    I could not stand the drugs, and they did no good anyway, except to slow the heart down. They never borught me back to NSR, neither did two electrocardioversions.

    See my story in great detail here:

    Here is another good knowledgeable support group:

    http://www.afibbers.org/toboards.htm

    Organizations such as Kaiser do not want to deal with and pay for ablations. Their docs won't tell you about it. My cardio told me NOT to have the ablation done in Denver as "they are still on the learning curve," but he did urge me to have one.

    A recent patient survey showed that Marin and Cleveland Clinic have the highest success rates in the country.
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 03-02-07 at 06:44 AM.
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  8. #8
    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox
    ...
    See my story in great detail here:

    Here is another good knowledgeable support group:

    http://www.afibbers.org/toboards.htm

    Organizations such as Kaiser do not want to deal with and pay for ablations. Their docs won't tell you about it. My cardio told me NOT to have the ablation done in Denver as "they are still on the learning curve," but he did urge me to have one.
    ...
    I read Denver's reports with great interest. Do go back over the thread if Afib has any relevency to you.
    Like Denver says, afibbers.org is a great site, and I lurk over ther regularly... Also found http://www.a-fib.com/ to have a good links area for more info. Turning up new stuff on the net weekly...

    For myself, I've tried to 'control' mine mostly with improving diet over the years, keeping well hydrated and paying attention to my Hypoglycemia. Its only been recently that I've been more successful in controlling my caffeine intake. A few years back, during my long hiatus of 8 years away from pedal-power, I could have mild episodes while just in 'normal' life (under some circumstance though - usually stress related). Now, at 23 months after pedalling reentry the Afib is entirely confined to hard cycling - race level, and like jppe, I have an unusally high heart rate. So when I hit 194 an episode starts. There's hardly a solid training ride I do that doesn't take me weill into the 180's but over 190 is usually confined to racing/hammerfests. I'm not about to stop the hard cycling, but once I get close to 190 I try to shut 'her' down. Hard thing to do, cause every Sunday Hammerfest with the young guyz sends me up there everytime. Pretty soon gonna have to relegate that whole thing to 'fond memories'. Its a hard thing to accept that age does bring further limitations, c'est le guerre...
    Not sure if this self-maintaining 'method' is gonna work long term, but right now I've seen great improvements over where I was 8 years ago at 50. Everyone makes their own choices. Right now I'm happier to be my own Health Captain, rather than turn that over to the Med Establishment. YMMV

    EDIT - I know 2 cyclists in our area who have had ablation, and neither have had positive results - no negative effects either; but it has keep me from pursuing it further, for the moment...

  9. #9
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    i too developed a-fib problem 3 years ago. also had extreme high heart rate and a very low resting rate. needed a pm to control the low rate. on a ski trip the pm recorded several events of a high rate at 240 bpm. had a av node ablation done after that. everything has worked out very well for me. i still ride most days between 20 and 40 miles. the only thing i have noticed is hills seem to take longer and get steeper every year, might be age related. in the winter months i try to walk every day about 3 miles.
    i think having the ablation was the right decision for my case.

  10. #10
    Gone DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezen
    I read Denver's reports with great interest. Do go back over the thread if Afib has any relevency to you.
    Like Denver says, afibbers.org is a great site, and I lurk over ther regularly... Also found http://www.a-fib.com/ to have a good links area for more info. Turning up new stuff on the net weekly...


    EDIT - I know 2 cyclists in our area who have had ablation, and neither have had positive results - no negative effects either; but it has keep me from pursuing it further, for the moment...
    I'd love to know who did theirs, how many they have done, who they trained with etc.? As I mentioned, it is still more of an art than a science - SUCCESSFUL experience is really important. There are lot of electro physiologists out there who do may 3-4 per year. You aren't going to get much success from these folks.

    Also, it is not unusual for folks to need a "touchup" after the first ablation. ABout 15% do.
    Gone >> Gone >> Gone >> Gone >> Gone >> Gone >> Gone

  11. #11
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclezen
    For myself, I've tried to 'control' mine mostly with improving diet over the years, keeping well hydrated and paying attention to my Hypoglycemia. Its only been recently that I've been more successful in controlling my caffeine intake. A few years back, during my long hiatus of 8 years away from pedal-power, I could have mild episodes while just in 'normal' life (under some circumstance though - usually stress related). Now, at 23 months after pedalling reentry the Afib is entirely confined to hard cycling - race level, and like jppe, I have an unusally high heart rate. So when I hit 194 an episode starts. There's hardly a solid training ride I do that doesn't take me weill into the 180's but over 190 is usually confined to racing/hammerfests. I'm not about to stop the hard cycling, but once I get close to 190 I try to shut 'her' down. Hard thing to do, cause every Sunday Hammerfest with the young guyz sends me up there everytime. Pretty soon gonna have to relegate that whole thing to 'fond memories'. Its a hard thing to accept that age does bring further limitations, c'est le guerre...
    Not sure if this self-maintaining 'method' is gonna work long term, but right now I've seen great improvements over where I was 8 years ago at 50. Everyone makes their own choices. Right now I'm happier to be my own Health Captain, rather than turn that over to the Med Establishment. YMMV
    CycleZen-Sounds like our episodes and regimes are very similar. I have avoided caffeine for about 15 years and it seems to have really helped me. Overall my HR and heart beat seem much more within reason. However, if I ever slip in a Coke after riding it seems to just makes my HR go bananas and my heart feels like it is going to jump out of my chest. I need to follow your regime of staying better hydrated. I recall the cardiologist telling me I needed to do that and I'm probably the worst at hydrating. Good tips and ideas from everyone.

  12. #12
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    There are lots of us!

    Dnvrfox, I have been a "member" of afibbers.org since 2002. My afib was never set off by exercise, but usually came from the restful time after a period of stress. Classic vagal afib. Fortunately, it never lasted more than a relatively few hours (except the first few times when they put me in the hospital).

    Since August of 2005, I have been afib free except for 1 short episode in April, 06, that was brought on by stress. If I don't drink caffine, don't get heartburn and stay calm, I'm good. I've never had any afib while riding or exercising.

    At 57, I'm not going to be racing. However, I got back into riding in the summer of 2006 because I can't run anymore and I wasn't able to motivate myself to get a good aerobic workout except playing basketball. But I would like to get faster, so I just work at it. I don't think the Rythmol has a very strong beta blocking tendency, if any at all, so maybe I've always had a low Max HR and just didn't know it.

    By the way, Dr. Natale is reported by the afibbers.org people to be the absolute best in the world, so you either got really lucky or you were really smart.

    John

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