In Nov. 2000 I was diagnosed with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation after a dizzy, lightheaded episode. I maintained this diagnosis until last May or June when I noticed that my heart rate readings on my cycle at the gym were going all over the place, as opposed to the constant lowered rate I had experienced for the over two years I had been going to my grym. I had just been on a Holter Monitor in April which had me still paroxysmal. So my doctor ignored my first phone call but checked me out when I made an office call only to find out I indeed was no longer paroxymal but in constant afib with no symptoms. I was sent to a cariologist who put me on warfarin and did all the usual tests, plus a cardio transfer, which worked just a few days .I was then put onFecainide which did not work. He also had me take a chemical stress test which revealed a "normal" heart. I was then sent to a heart rhythm specialist who explained my options: medicines for life (like amiodarone) or ablation. My question: with no symptoms so far, is there a third option: maintain the current procedures: Atenolol and Warfarin? My five siblings and mother who died at age 91, all have had afib. I am now 70. I am being pressured to chose one of the two options, and my family doctor has also brought up a pacemaker. I'd like to get an evaluation at the Cleveland Clinic, if possible.
Second opinions are always worthwhile if you have the kinds of questions you posed. Certainly Cleveland Clinic should be able to help you choose the best option.
Weighing the risks of treatment is difficult. I chose ablation, which occured two months ago. It appears to be successful. My aunt, who is 70, had ablation a year ago, and it was also successful. As you are aware, there are risks. A second opinion from experienced people will help you sort that out.
Best of luck to you.
Thanks for your response. It was exactly what I needed to know. I'll made an appointment for that second opinion on the treatment to follow. I'm now inclined toward the ablation.
Remarks from the doctor/patient forum seem to be with the silent afib, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." However, at some point the heart does seem to develop problems. For instance, my sibling next up to me (I'm the youngest of 6) is having open heart surgery, valves and blockage, this week. As with all my siblings, he has afib. Because of this forum, and especially your encouraging reply, I suggested he talk to the surgeon about having ablation also at the same time.
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