Sudden Afib, Just Today Disapeared

My pacemaker was installed about 2 years ago after several years of monitoring low heart rate. My heart was fine but slow pace sometimes below 40 bpm when sleeping. Normal 45 bpm. Here is the long and short:

1. After surgery big red skin bruise/cut at edge of where a wide tape was installed  ... guessing from electro devices perhaps to restart heart during operation

2. After several months recommended to replace non-functioning lower lead. Was malfunctioning lower lead due to electrical cut from sharp edge from high voltage because of tape? I think so. Dr. said PM could fail.

3. Heart monitoring said to be acting like it needed oxygen. Did catheterization to get definite determination with the capability to fix the issue if required. They put in a stint. I'm 75 years old Feb 7th, 2020. 73 yo when stint put in. Now there is a general law suit about unneeded stints being installed but I'm not involved.

4. Because stint was installed, I had to take blood thinners for a year.

5. They could not replace the lower lead until the year passed.

6. I pressed for removal of old lead, not leaving it in there with the new one, not functioning.

7. I insisted on best preparation because removing the lower lead is more prone to failure than leaving it in. Leaving it in makes later failure more likely. They prepped me for open-heart surgery. I stopped Eliquis as they directed. The replacement went well without issues. No open-heart surgery needed. Restarted Eliquis. Heart seemed fine.

8. Prior to this time and even now, I have no heart pain. I play tennis and snow ski. So I do not have problems even with my heart, until now.

9. 1st episode … heart rate went from 50 bpm setting to larger bpm range at the tennis court. Had minor shortness of breath. Was taken to hospital, they put me to sleep and shocked heart, returned to normal 50 bpm.

10. 2nd episode some weeks later … went to VA office … no help … went back to emergency room at hospital. Was heart shocked again … returned to normal 50 bpm.

11. Saw new cardiologist. He set my heart rate to 60. Everything seemed fine until …

12. Went two weeks ago for normal visit to cardiologist. I mentioned that I have had some dizziness for some time on rising. I suggested that they might want to reset the pacemaker so that it does not try to predict when I need higher heart beats. That is the way it was originally set not to predict up when my heartbeat was at 50 bpm. It worked better for me. I could get to higher heart rate faster. So, they did that.

13. Around the same time by happenstance, I added three new pills to my vitamin regimen Magnesium because my VA psychiatrist (I am no longer seeing) said that was good for her, L-Lysine for my joint pain and vitamin A for energy.

14. Then I started to have Afib big time, much much worse than ever before. Heart rate all over the place from 50 to 140 bpm and irregular, not an equal time between beats. Still no pain. I practiced tennis to see if I still could. Yes, I could. Maybe related to the change in setting of the pacemaker? Maybe related to the vitamins that I inadvertently added to the mix? So, I went back to the cardiologist as scheduled and mentioned this. He said it was normal Afib. He wanted to treat me with a normal heart weakening drug for Afib. They gave it to me before. I did not like it and told him no. Then he said try an old solution and he gave me Digoxin to try once.

15. I did that and had to call him yesterday or go to the emergency room because my heart was again beating all over the place. He saw me. Said it was Afib. Said to take the Digoxin every day and it should go away. They did call the technician and get the story directly this time to confirm the issue. I told the doctor that it might be “normal” Afib but that it was new to me. I requested that the pacer be set as it was before. So, I have another appointment for that next week with the heart doctor and the technician.

16. As mentioned, I stopped the new drugs Magnesium, L-Lysine for my joint pain and vitamin A for energy. Today my resting heart is 125/63 60 bpm steady as a rock? I did not take the Digoxin today.

17. I’ll continue this regimen and cancel my appointment with the cardiologist and pacer technician if this heart stays the same on resting and no more Afib.

18. Does anyone have any insight into this history, particularly with the drugs Magnesium, L-Lysine for my joint pain and vitamin A for energy interaction with Afib?

19. Any other insights?



by Julros - 2020-02-01 12:25:47

Afib does tend to occur more frequently as we age, so your episodes probably have little to do with your pacer. Normal magnesium levels, as well as potassium are thought to decrease arrhythmias. I would definitely discuss supplements with your cardiologist. 

I am not sure what you mean by a heart-weakening drug. Some drugs will slow heart rate, and others suppress irregular beats, but with your history of heart disease, only a cardiologist should determine which is best, as all drugs have benefits, risks, and side effects. If you are continually in Afib, an anticoagulant may be reccomended. 



by pogerm1 - 2020-02-02 18:51:41

Digoxin is a terrible drug to take, there are better drugs, you should see a EP not a cardiologist, a EP deals in the electrical problems of the heart (Afib).

I have taken Magnesium for years, it helps for any palpatations.  You have to get your Potassium levels where they should be as well when you take Mag.  Vit. D helps with joint pain, Vit. D gets Calcium into your bones where it belongs.  Too much Calcium is not good for AF/heart.

There is also a very good site on AFib. which is AFIbbers. org,

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