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driggins's picture
Joined: Apr 13 2004
Posts: 237
Irregular heartbeat...anyone else out there?

i was diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation a few months ago-- an irregular heartbeat. it can be a big deal as one gets older, but at my age (35), it can be treated by simply taking aspirin or taking a blood thinning drug. it will probably be something i live with the rest of my life--with respect to my active lifestyle, it really won't affect it...other than messing with my head...but, i was wondering if there was anyone else in the trifuel community who are training and racing with a similar condition????

thanks!

JamieM's picture
Joined: Mar 1 2005
Posts: 825

I train and race with a bicuspid aortic valve. Not quite the same problem but a heart issue nonetheless. Have to have an echocardiogram every year or two and may eventually have to have valve replacement. But I haven;t been given any limitations on what I can and can't do. And it does mess with my head, even though my cardiologist, a very active racer himself has assured me it's fine.

G Street's picture
Joined: Apr 12 2005
Posts: 7

I, too, was just diagnosed with AFib after a flag football game. I was going to post here to find out if anyone in the community had any opinions.

I completed my first Sprint this summer and felt the arrythmia after the swim. After my hospital visit I was told not to exercise until I could get a stress test. About two weeks later, I passed the treadmill test with no problems so I was given the green light. I haven't missed too many days since then.

I am also pretty young to have this problem, so hopefully I'll be able to compete for many, many years to come.

driggins's picture
Joined: Apr 13 2004
Posts: 237

jamie and g street--thanks for the notes. i feel better for some reason knowing that i'm not the only one who is dealing with this. good luck to both of you with your training (and the off season) and taking care of this.

g street. i have seen 2 cardiologists are there are basically 3 ways to treat AF: 1) medication which has about 30-40% chance of stopping AF, and your heart going back into a normal rhythm, 2) a 'shock' treatment (forget the clinical name) to normalize the rhythm, or 3) take aspirin or cumidin and do nothing else (these will thin your blood and drastically reduce your potential for stroke).

i will probably do 1) above, because i am relatively young...i shouldn't have to take the medication for more than a few months, and it has few side effects...if that doesn't work? not too sure...still trying to figure that out...but it is something that should be taken care of because your heart isn't working as efficiently when it is in AF...and there is that chance of a stroke

anyway, hope that helps...

toni's picture
Joined: Aug 12 2004
Posts: 826

[QUOTE=driggins]2) a 'shock' treatment (forget the clinical name) to normalize the rhythm, [/QUOTE]

I think you may be referring to cardioversion via defibrillator pads with a low energy charge, like 100 joules or something. They "knock" you out for it I think.

What were your symptoms when you realized you had a heart issue?

I was just at work the other night and was practicing with the new telemetry unit we just got since I missed the inservice workshop for it. I had the telemetry on myself and was sitting there going through the screens and had a missed beat and two premature ventricular contractions also known as a couplet. I've heard that athletes can have premature atrial contractions (I think), but hadn't heard about whether they have the other two that I had the other night. Afib is different than the two funny little beats I had above, but it does get my attention. I didn't have any symptoms at the time so I think I'm okay, but I was just curious if you had any symptoms?

driggins's picture
Joined: Apr 13 2004
Posts: 237

toni,
yes, cardioversion. but i didn't have symptoms of note...save for a fluttering sensation in the chest every once in while. but i wasn't out of breath, dizzy, or faint spells...nothing like that. the AF was discovered at a routine physical exam. however, i was going through alot of stress at the time--twin babies were born in december--and a stressful situation at work, so perhaps the stress and sleep deprivation brought it on. i've read, i believe on webMD, environment can play a factor. but, other than that, again, just the random fluttering.

if you are at all concerned, i would go in for an EKG. the EKG is a quick and easy test. as far as im concerned, better to know and treat it early....

toni's picture
Joined: Aug 12 2004
Posts: 826

i also wonder if it had anything to do with my being dehydrated. I'll have to do some research on the topic and see what I can find. Thanks for the info.

G Street's picture
Joined: Apr 12 2005
Posts: 7

Hi again-
Mine was found after playing in a flag football game at work. I had just sprinted all out for about 40-50 yards and it felt like my heart was beating out of my chest (you could see my chest beating rapidly). I kept playing for a while because I thought that I just wasn't in sprinting shape. About 2 hours later, at home, it was still flutering and I went to the ER.

I'm a Navy Pilot and right now I'm not allowed to fly with this until they find a source or trigger. I'm not sure how they'll find that out without a ton of lab work.

I'm glad there are others on this site to bounce ideas off of. If I find anything else out, I'll post with any news.

Greg

EricbCook's picture
Joined: Feb 1 2005
Posts: 59
irregular heartbeat

I was diagnosed with a benign heart murmur in 8th grade, during a routine physical.
I was later given an ecg and was diagnosed with a mitral valve prolapse, I have a flutturering in my heart at times as well as an irregular heatbeat sometimes. But other than that no real problems!

I keep trainign like a maniac most people don't hear anythign in regular exams !

trimedic's picture
Joined: Jun 5 2004
Posts: 210

EricbCook,

I have the same thing. MVP with PVC's. I have a very strong heart and other than the fluttering I am asymptomatic. I mainly feel it if I allow myself to get dehydrated and I know when I am getting sick. That's when I get more fluttering and irregular beats. Otherwise it's all fine. When I get really nervous or upset or both the beats are all over the place. It's fun to watch on an EKG. I am an Army Flight Medic so I have been hooked up several times so that we can show others the irregular beats.

EricbCook's picture
Joined: Feb 1 2005
Posts: 59
irregular heartbeat!

Wow, trimedic! I am in the same age group as you too! Cool need to stay in touch see an keep an eye on how are hearts fare over the years! lol!

AMCACTUS's picture
Joined: Nov 4 2005
Posts: 1
Afib Support

Try the Afib Support mailing list, it's the most informational resource I've found online for Afib. I've had it myself for a year now, but I'm getting a surgery done this month.

[url]http://www.afibsupport.com[/url]

trimedic's picture
Joined: Jun 5 2004
Posts: 210

EricbCook, we will have to keep up the trainiing and see how things go. I have yet to have a problem with my heart, it's just more annoying than anything else. I'm sure that's the same for you. I figure as long as it's beating and pretty much regular I must be ok. What is your "resting" heart rate? Mine is usually 53-54. They say with MVP/PVC you can have a high heart rate but I haven't found that to be true for me.

driggins's picture
Joined: Apr 13 2004
Posts: 237

AMCACTUS, thanks for the link. i will join this group. always looking for more information and possible treatments. good luck to you.

dave

toni's picture
Joined: Aug 12 2004
Posts: 826

One of my friends who works in the Cardiac unit at the hospital over here said that people throw PVC's all the time. Especially athletes. And it's very common when you're dehydrated. So I'm not going to worry about my funny little beats. Sounds like all of yours are doing pretty well and the exercise can only help I would think.

Good luck!

EricbCook's picture
Joined: Feb 1 2005
Posts: 59

Tri Medic,
I think that is where my heart rate is now before my first surgery it was around 49 or so, so I haven't found a higher resting rate either. But we are the exception I beleive because of our fitness levels you know!

SundayND's picture
Joined: Jan 3 2006
Posts: 75

I just had a heart ablation to fix an arryhthmia in July. Just a few weeks before my first half IM. I actually have long Q-T syndrome (longer than average interval between my Q and T heart waves), which makes me susceptible to getting an arryhthmia. But the procedure was supposed to cure it. The race went fine and haven't had any problems since. I still feel like I have an irregular beat here and there, but nothing major.

The doctors told me that there are a few things that will arrest an arryhthmia or tachacardia
- pour cool/cold water on your head or submerge in water
- force a violent cough, like coming from your diaphram

As for the future - my particular situation has no options. I don't really need drugs or a defibrillator. But there is about a 1 in 5,000 chance my heart could randomly stop at any moment because that is the statistic among people with long Q-T . The irony is it would probably never happen during exercise, but instead when I'm at rest. But what do you do? I was given the green light too. So I'll keep going until something falls off.

Gregg's picture
Joined: Dec 18 2005
Posts: 17
Lone AF

To D Rriggins, I too went to the ER and was diagnosed Lone AF just last Monday. What an interesting experience to say the least!
If you get this note, do me a favor and touch base with me as I would like to hear more about your current status and the meds your taking, if any and how it's going over all.

Bottom line for me at this point is I am not changing a thing but I do plan to see a cardiologist, undergo a stress test and get full physical very soon.

skeats's picture
Joined: Jul 26 2005
Posts: 66

Someone already mentioned ablation. That is definitely another choice. The electrophysiologist goes into your heart, via a catheter threaded into the femoral artery in the groin, and maps out where the area is in the heart that's triggering the arrhythmia. If they can find it, they can essentially burn it out. This can be curative and no long term meds are needed.

driggins's picture
Joined: Apr 13 2004
Posts: 237
Afib

Gregg,
Yeah, it's a very interesting experience...and scary. Lucky for me, my heart has been in 'normal' rhythm since mid November, after I started taking a drug called Flecainide. Right now I'm taking 300 MG's/day, and will probably taper to 200 MG's in about 2 months, and within a few months be off of the Flec completely (hopefully). I'm also taking Coumadin (anitcoagulant). There are a few side affects of Flec: tired, random and vivid dreams, dry mouth and sinuses.

I'd be happy to discuss in more detail if you are interested.

Good luck,
Dave

OhUDid12's picture
Joined: Aug 21 2005
Posts: 2

I had AF for years when I was doing Ultra events in AZ. Usually butterflys in chest at night or sometimes just out of the blue. A long story short, I ended up seeing a Metabolic Nutrition MD. He ran a ton of bloodwork and the only big issue he could see was low intracellular magnesium levels (sweating, low dietary intake). I have taken a 12 hr release mag. lactate supplement for 3 years and have not had a beat related problem since. Magnesium is overlooked by everyone since it shows up normal in simple blood tests even though the majority of it resides in the cells and bone. Something to consider.

Jeff

Gregg's picture
Joined: Dec 18 2005
Posts: 17

Well following my January AFIB episode and a visit to the cardiologist the Dr. tells me based on my echo I have a slightly dialated aorta, it's 4.2 cm so I am scheduled for a CT scan and stress test.

Having this news I did some googling and it appears to me than this diagnoses is common and the 4.2 cm size seems to be a " default " for quite a few Dr's and perhaps
this may be as common as the Lone AF.

Anybody out there in Tri land have some thoughts on this?

Thanks

G Street's picture
Joined: Apr 12 2005
Posts: 7
Arrhythmia Update

Hey all-
I know it's been a while since the last post here--I hope you all are still subscribed.

I had another stress test in March and the diagnosis after that was SVT (Supra Ventricular Tachycardia). I was originally diagnosed with AFib, but it seems to have changed now.

I'm going in on June 2nd for surgery (Electro-Physiology Study and hopefully Cardiac Ablation). Hopefully they can find the bad area and zap it. I had my first Sprint of the year on the 3rd. Luckily the organizers allowed me to transfer my entry until next year.

Anybody else had this surgery??? I know it's pretty minimally invasive, but it's still HEART surgery. . .

Greg

driggins's picture
Joined: Apr 13 2004
Posts: 237

good luck, greg...my cardio MD suggest another echocardiogram in the near future...im in the process of setting that up...i had a slight enlarged heart when i had my first echo october of 2005...but heart is normal right now on 250 mgs of flec...so just started to taper back...keeping my fingers crossed...and jeff, i'm going to talk to my MD about the magnesium...

trimatt's picture
Joined: Feb 1 2006
Posts: 5

I was wondering where SundayND had her ablation done. I had one about 5 years ago that was unsucessful. Thought I might try your doctors.

SundayND's picture
Joined: Jan 3 2006
Posts: 75

[QUOTE=skeats]Someone already mentioned ablation. That is definitely another choice. The electrophysiologist goes into your heart, via a catheter threaded into the femoral artery in the groin, and maps out where the area is in the heart that's triggering the arrhythmia. If they can find it, they can essentially burn it out. This can be curative and no long term meds are needed.[/QUOTE]

Hey Trimatt - the above is exactly what I had done. Also, here's a link that explains the technology and procedure:
[url]http://www.eplabdigest.com/eplab/_contentcurrent/eplab_200109f2.cfm[/url]
I'm in Austin, so I went to the Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Center, inside the Seton Medical Center here on 1301 West 38th Street.

I originally wanted to see Dr. Horton, but couldn't get in fast enough and went to Dr. Zagrodsky instead, who did my procedure as well (along with his partner Dr. Gallinghouse). He was awesome, and all the physicians there are excellent.

Here's the link for TCA:
[url]www.austinheartbeat.com[/url]

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