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  1. #1
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    Dr wants to put me on warfirin

    For the long story see: Used really great heart monitor yesterday!

    Short story. Irregular heart beat, shocked back into rhythm. No clots or heart defects found.
    I am thinking low dose aspirin instead. I think the risk is too high if I were to crash with the warfirin.

    Anybody have any experience here?

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    Senior Member DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Harrowing Experience - Update On Palpitations

    The warfarin should not pose a big crash risk. You will stop bleeding eventually.

    I was on warfarin - a great big bother. I had an ablation, got rid of the atrial fibrillation - no more warfarin. I am now on 1 adult dose of aspirin daily - no other drugs.

    Read the story above. It's been 3 years of regular heart beat since. I am 68 yo.

    The aspirin won't prevent the stroke.

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    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    I've been on coumadin since November 07. My atrial fibrillation comes and goes, mostly connected to dehydration. I already have a cardiac pacemaker, but it only works if my heart rate drops too low. It would have to be set for fulltime operation to stop the AF.

    DF, I know how you felt at first since I also have Kaiser, but my advantage here is that I'm a Disabled Vet, and the heart is my disability. The cardiologist at the Palo Alto V.A. hospital said the AF is considered part of my disability, so they can take care of everything. The good part is that since it's "Service Connected", there won't be any expense at all for me. I've been told that all the cardiologists at the Palo Alto V.A. are actually from Stanford.
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    Super Moderator making's Avatar
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    I think if you are not in afib you dont need coumadin.
    Good Night Chesty, Wherever You Are

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    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by making View Post
    I think if you are not in afib you dont need coumadin.
    Mine comes and goes, but lately it feels like it's always there.
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    Senior Member DnvrFox's Avatar
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    There is something called "silent A-FIb" - you can't always tell if you are or aren't.

    My guess is that the doc is being super-cautious.

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    Don't discuss it here. Discuss it with your doctor and ask about the risks if cycling. Coumadin is usually not a big deal as far as bleeding goes unless you're in such a bad accident that being on it won't make any difference anyway. There is probably a lot more risk from getting a stroke from a clot which develops in a-fib. Everything with medications is about risks versus benefits. There are no absolute answers.

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    Senior Member intrepidbiker's Avatar
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    I agree... talk to your cardiologist about it. You may not be in a-fib, but they may want you on coumadin (warfarin) as a precautionary measure.

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    No I'm Not a Pirate! Bionicycle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fixitman View Post
    For the long story see: Used really great heart monitor yesterday!

    Short story. Irregular heart beat, shocked back into rhythm. No clots or heart defects found.
    I am thinking low dose aspirin instead. I think the risk is too high if I were to crash with the warfirin.

    Anybody have any experience here?
    Being on Coumadin/Warfarin is not so bad… I have been on it for a little over a year now, and will be the rest of my life. The main trouble other than a bit of extra bleeding is, (a) remembering to take the darn stuff, and (b) having to get your I.N.R. measured (a blood test) every month to see what your I.N.R. number is… I have to keep mine in-between 2-3. I also wear a Medic Alert tag, saying I'm on Warfarin, and what my I.N.R. should be, in case of an emergency.

    The I.N.R. number has to do with how fast your blood clots. The higher the I.N.R. number the longer it takes your blood to clot. I don’t have heart problems per say, but at 45 years old, my blood for some unknown reason decided to have coagulation problems, and start clotting in my veins… I have had dozens of tests, and as of so far, I’m a medical mystery… I have three problems with my blood, any of them by themselves, or even two together no problem, but put all three together and it tries to kill me (nearly did twice) by giving me Pulmonary Embolisms… So I guess I’m stuck on Warfarin the rest of my life.

    The plus side is, if you keep your I.N.R under control, there are very few side affects from being on Warfarin/Coumadin. As others have said, you should talk about your options with your Doctor.

    P.S. I know I’m not 50+ yet, but this is a subject that I know all too well… sadly. Hope it works out well for you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    Harrowing Experience - Update On Palpitations

    The warfarin should not pose a big crash risk. You will stop bleeding eventually.

    I was on warfarin - a great big bother. I had an ablation, got rid of the atrial fibrillation - no more warfarin. I am now on 1 adult dose of aspirin daily - no other drugs.

    Read the story above. It's been 3 years of regular heart beat since. I am 68 yo.

    The aspirin won't prevent the stroke.
    Thanks for the link... interesting read.

    Quote Originally Posted by making View Post
    I think if you are not in afib you don’t need Coumadin.
    That is one thing I have been trying to figure out. I mean reading up on the Coumadin there are so many potential interactions with common things like ginger for instance. I worry about how it may interact with sport supplements like gu, induralites and such. I am really only into taking a medication when absolutely needed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Longfemur View Post
    Don't discuss it here. Discuss it with your doctor and ask about the risks if cycling. Coumadin is usually not a big deal as far as bleeding goes unless you're in such a bad accident that being on it won't make any difference anyway. There is probably a lot more risk from getting a stroke from a clot which develops in a-fib. Everything with medications is about risks versus benefits. There are no absolute answers.
    Unfortunately I have not found doctors to give much beyond standard answers. They all seem to be too busy to think beyond the box. That is why I am looking for personal experiences with people that have a similar activity level as myself. I will defiantly talk to the cardiologist further. I am just trying to arm myself with as much information as possible. Just my OCP behavior coming out I guess.

  11. #11
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    Pardon my ignorance, but isn't warfarin rat poison?

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    It's called rat poison and I was threatened with it as "drain cleaner". I am a bit mystified why a doctor would want to put a patient on to it when it is such a strong anti-coagulant when clotting or blockage of an artery in the heart to cause a heart attack hasn't been identified as a risk factor.

    I was on Cartia aspirin for a long time, but haven't take it for several years.

    I do know that when I was admitted to hospital with my heart attack and was transfused with the next level of medication down from Warfarin, a big bruise on my leg sustained while sailing three days previously increased substantially in size and became annoyingly painful because of the additional bleeding. I would caution greatly about getting overconfident when taking Warfarin. I became a real bleeder when just taking aspirin.

    Certainly, you should cover the ground again with your doctor and inquire as to why he would want you taking Warfarin, and for him to identify the likely risks (for example have you had a predisposition to stomach ulcers?).

    As far a strokes are concerned, taking Warfarin or aspirin would not be a good thing.
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    Senior Member intrepidbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ad6mj View Post
    Pardon my ignorance, but isn't warfarin rat poison?

    Yup. Coumadin (Warfarin) is actually rat poison. Many years ago, a person attempted suicide by eating rat poison. He went to the ER. After lab tests and observations, they found him totally fine and healthy... than than his blood taking a much longer time to clot.

    That observation led it to becoming a major anti-coagulation medication for those with Atrial Fibrillation (an irregular heartbeat that can cause mini blood clots to form in the heart, leading to strokes).

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    I can understand the blood clots being formed in the heart by atrial fibrillation (which sort of answers my question).

    But it may be a translation thing... my belief is that a stroke occurs in the brain when a blood vessel bursts and causes bleeding and therefore pressure on the brain or a dying of brain cells because they aren't being nourished. It can be caused chiefly by high blood pressure. My mother had several strokes before dying from one. It is vastly different to a heart attack.
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    i have been taking the drug for over 4 years. i have had a av ablation so i live with a pacemaker in total control. comadine has not been a problem to me other than the regular inr and taking it every morning. i ride just about everyday in season for annual total of 4000 miles. during winter months i xc ski. do have more problems with western wisconsin hills than before the ablation. oh i'm 65.
    i hope this helps

  16. #16
    No I'm Not a Pirate! Bionicycle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ad6mj View Post
    Pardon my ignorance, but isn't warfarin rat poison?
    If memory serves me correct, I read where Warfarin is derived from a type of clover plant. The reasons Doctors like to prescribe Warfarin is that it’s predictable, controllable, and has a relatively long half life in the body. As long as you keep your daily routine fairly constant, you can adjust the level of Warfarin you take in, to keep your I.N.R (level of coagulation time) fairly constant in a therapeutic, and less dangerous range.

    Drugs like Hyprin/Lovenox (sp?) will reduce your I.N.R. Pro time very quickly, but they are not stable in the body, and cause far worse side effects… When I was in the hospital both times for my Pulmonary Emboli; I was injected twice a day for a week with Lovenox in the stomach: it feels like having meat tenderizer injected into you, and leaves about a two inch bruise at the injection site. Not fun. Plus they had me on Warfarin at the same time. Because I had Pulmonary Emboli twice in two years, I am now on Warfarin, or some other anticoagulant for the rest of my life…

    Not to make this a Warfarin commercial, but one of the other advantages is that Warfarin is cheap… And, in an emergency can be counter acted with large dose of vitamin K. On the down side, you have to watch what you eat, because many foods contain vitamin K, and can affect your I.N.R. Vitamin K can be found in mostly green leafy vegetables, but soy products can have high amounts of it as well. As long as you keep your intake of these things stable, you can adjust your intake of Warfarin accordingly.

    I have heard some bad things about Plavix, but the main thing is it cost so much more…

    The funny thing is; once you start taking Warfarin, it seem like you find out that everybody and their brother is on it also… it’s like a whole sub culture, on Warfarin,,, kind of scary in some ways.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    I can understand the blood clots being formed in the heart by atrial fibrillation (which sort of answers my question).

    But it may be a translation thing... my belief is that a stroke occurs in the brain when a blood vessel bursts and causes bleeding and therefore pressure on the brain or a dying of brain cells because they aren't being nourished. It can be caused chiefly by high blood pressure. My mother had several strokes before dying from one. It is vastly different to a heart attack.
    "Stroke" is a generic term for "chunk of the brain dying". It does not specify the mechanism.

    Coumadin reduces the chance of thromboembolic stroke, and specifically, what happens when a clot forms in the left atrium, breaks off, and travels up to one of the arteries in the brain, cutting off the blood supply and thus resulting in the death of the part of the brain that was being supplied by said artery.

    Coumadin greatly reduces the risk of that in atrial fibrillation.

  18. #18
    Senior Member DnvrFox's Avatar
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    I need to clarify.

    I did not have the ablation to get off of the warfarin.

    I had the ablation because I was in AFib 24/7, and it was having a significant effect upon my physical abilities and efforts, and having my heart go pit .pit...........pat.pat.................................pit was driving me nuts.

    Getting off of the warfarin (and the other meds) was, however, a wonderful side effect of the ablation.

    I was NOT successful in having my heart shocked back into rhythm - tried it twice. Generally, the longer one has AFib episodes, the more unlikely it is that the heart shocking thing will be effective.

  19. #19
    Senior Member fujibike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bionicycle View Post
    Being on Coumadin/Warfarin is not so bad… I have been on it for a little over a year now, and will be the rest of my life. The main trouble other than a bit of extra bleeding is, (a) remembering to take the darn stuff, and (b) having to get your I.N.R. measured (a blood test) every month to see what your I.N.R. number is… I have to keep mine in-between 2-3. I also wear a Medic Alert tag, saying I'm on Warfarin, and what my I.N.R. should be, in case of an emergency.

    The I.N.R. number has to do with how fast your blood clots. The higher the I.N.R. number the longer it takes your blood to clot. I don’t have heart problems per say, but at 45 years old, my blood for some unknown reason decided to have coagulation problems, and start clotting in my veins… I have had dozens of tests, and as of so far, I’m a medical mystery… I have three problems with my blood, any of them by themselves, or even two together no problem, but put all three together and it tries to kill me (nearly did twice) by giving me Pulmonary Embolisms… So I guess I’m stuck on Warfarin the rest of my life.

    The plus side is, if you keep your I.N.R under control, there are very few side affects from being on Warfarin/Coumadin. As others have said, you should talk about your options with your Doctor.

    P.S. I know I’m not 50+ yet, but this is a subject that I know all too well… sadly. Hope it works out well for you.
    After having a DVT, I went through a battery of tests ordered by a hemotologist I was referred to. The result was anti phospholipid syndrome, an acquired blood condition which yields a propensity to clots. So I'm on warfarin for life. There are some INR devices now similar to glucose monitors. They are pricey not to mention it's about a $130 hit for the reagent used in the test. What is nice though, if your testing facility or doctor uses one, is that it's a finger prick and results are quick.

  20. #20
    No I'm Not a Pirate! Bionicycle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fujibike View Post
    After having a DVT, I went through a battery of tests ordered by a hemotologist I was referred to. The result was anti phospholipid syndrome, an acquired blood condition which yields a propensity to clots. So I'm on warfarin for life. There are some INR devices now similar to glucose monitors. They are pricey not to mention it's about a $130 hit for the reagent used in the test. What is nice though, if your testing facility or doctor uses one, is that it's a finger prick and results are quick.
    When I first started Warfarin, I went to a clinic that used one of those hand held monitors. For some unknown reason, (you can’t make this stuff up) it quit reading my blood. The clinic even called in the manufacturer rep. and had him test it, and bring in a new one… but it still would not read my blood. The rep. said they had only heard of one other case where that had happened, and they still didn’t know why… lucky me I guess.

    So, I just go to the Anticoagulation Clinic at our local hospital and have my blood drawn once a month. It saves me having a hole in my finger, plus one in my arm.

    Thanks I’ll have to read up on phospholipids syndrome, and see if it could apply to me. My hematologist, thinks she ruled out every kind of hereditary cause, but maybe phospholipids syndrome is something different. Thanks again.

    I’m done on this thread… said all I know about Warfarin anyway… and I don’t wish to hijack the O.P.s original question. I’ll be back in two years and four months when I’m 50+… I hope I'm still alive by then...
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  21. #21
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    I think you're smart to do your homework and verify that Coumadin is right for you.

    My dad took Coumadin and had a-fib. His head-first fall down the stairs in the middle of the night, by all accounts, should have ended his life within 30 minutes. He had lacerations and a bad rug burn on the top of his head. At the hospital, the doctors said he was "over-Coumatized". We waited days for his Coumadin level to drop so they could put a halo on his head to stabilize his neck (a procedure that requires drilling holes in the skull). Meanwhile, he also had a pacemaker (implanted just one month before). They could not do an MRI of his neck area since it would interfere with the pacemaker; without an MRI, we never had a complete picture of his injuries.

    During his hospitalization I began to question his need for a pacemaker since the monitor showed his heart beating a regular rhythm with the pacer only seldom kicking in.

    All of that to say, it's an excellent idea to think long and hard about every treatment option you're given to be sure you absolutely need it. You are not OCP for doing that.
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  22. #22
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    I have a friend who is a nurse at a busy cardiology clinic here in town. So I gave her a call. She mirrored a lot of my concerns and said that as general rule at their clinic they try to keep anyone under 60 off the Coumadin if they can... I am 51.

    She is going to fly my concerns past one of the doc's on Wednesday. So happens the doc is someone I know as well and he is also an avid triathalete & cyclist so he may be a little more in tune with my needs and wants.

    I was hoping it was never going to be a good to say I knew people in this field. The ER doc seemed like a good enough guy, but I will be swiching my care over to the group where I will get the little extra leval of care that happens when you allready have a personal relationship established.

  23. #23
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    My bro -in-law had 2 small strokes due to intermittant Afib before it was caught on EKG. Luckily all symptoms have resolved, except for loss of sight in one eye. He is now on coumadin & being worked up for the cause, to see if an ablation or one of the other newer procedures would work for him.

    The medical studies comparing aspirin/plavix to coumadin in AFib seems to strongly show that coumadin is much better at reducing strokes, although there are more risks (but the risk of stroke is higher than the risk of coumadin).

    I have seen people on coumadin come in with very serious bleeding after falls etc, esp. after head trauma. It seems to me to be a bigger risk the older one is.

    Almost nothing in medicine is black or white unfortunately. It all depends on your own particular situation. If you had some other illness going on that could be strongly blamed for the AFib, and that illness is now gone so the MD think you are unlikely to have AFib again anytime soon, then I could see skipping the coumadin. That situation is pretty rare, though, & most who have had Afib will have it again.

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