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1st A-Fib attack today with Cardioversion at ER
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1st A-Fib attack today with Cardioversion at ER

Hi,  I am a 38 year old female. I went to the er today with a heart rate between 145-205. The emt's did an ekg and said it was all over the place and took me to the hospital.  I was in a-fib for about 4 hours before they shocked me to restart my heart rhythm working right.  My rate is back to normal, but both of my arms are weak.  Is this normal after getting shocked?

  The er doc said that Cardiology wants me to start taking baby asprin, and I will see Cardio next week,  but if anyone can give me any idea of what to expect from now on, that would be awesome.  I was diagnosed with Sinus Tach about 2 years ago and on a beta blocker to keep my heart rate regulated, but I have never experienced what I did today...
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612551_tn?1247839157
I agree with the aspirin, and at your age that may be all you need to mitigate possible clot formation - besides the high HR, clots are of concern if there is any AFib.  

I would ask your cardiologist if there is something you can take or that can be done to help you stay in normal sinus rhythm.

I have had several electrocardioversions over the years but have have minimal to no after effects... except for the usual light burns on my chest and back where the shock paddles were placed.   I think I always converted without problems but I always slipped back in to AFib after a year or so.  I was much older than you when I got my first electrocardioversion.  But a bad thing about AFib is it comes back.  It may take years, but it comes back.
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1569985_tn?1328251082
Did they give you a sedative?  I have felt weak for several days after a cardioversion, but not sure if it was the procedure or the drugs they gave me beforehand to try to get me to convert chemically. The follow up with Cardio is standard and a good thing.  My afib started at a time of great stress and converted on its own over a period of 8 years.  It was held in check by a beta blocker for that time.  Then 2 years ago I had to go on an anti-arrythmic drug and it held me in nsr for nearly 2 years.  I just had wo cardioversions in 2 weeks and now that drug has been increased and I'm waiting to see if other options will need to be examined.  I believe Jerry's right --  afib progresses.  That said, it also happens as part of other underlying health issues and when they are resolved, so is the afib.  Good luck.  Afib is not the end of the world, but does require changes in lifestyle and avoidance of triggers.  Some of mine are too little sleep, large meals, stress, caffeine.  This forum is a great source of information and support.
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Avatar_m_tn
Regarding the progressive nature of afib: I have had one episode of Afib that was believed to be alcohol induced (holiday heart).  When I saw a cardiologist it was nothing but doom and gloom.  Telling me how afib begets afib and it's only a matter of time till it happens more and more often with longer episodes and so forth.  I really left the office feeling that any enjoyable life was basically over and to prepare to die young (I was 33 then).

I've done research on my own and I don't believe my outlook is as bleak as the cardiologist in question explained.  I know that it's a fact that afib almost always comes back at some point but I've read that of all people who have paroxysmal afib, only 20% ever enter permanent afib in their lifetime.  I also have read from multiple sources that the expected life span for a 'young' person with lone afib is no different than that of the general population.

Interestingly, even with the bleak outlook provided me by my pessimistic cardiologist, he did not suggest ablation and even specifically stated that 'there is no cure for afib and ablation is not a cure for afib'.  Anyhow, I've made lifestyle changes which I feel decrease my chances of further afib and am hoping for the best as it's been almost a year since my episode.  I very well may have it again but I'm at least trying to stay positive that it may not ever consume my life like my cardiologist thinks it will.  I will not be returning to the cardiologist I saw in the past as each of the two times I saw him previously, I felt like I would be better off just giving up.

The point is: afib is progressive but I think everyone is different and I don't believe that every person who has an episode will certainly end up with permanent afib.
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1569985_tn?1328251082
You make good points.  I agree it does not always progress.  When I had my first episode I heard theories ranging from it WILL come back, to accounts of a patient who'd had an episode 20 years ago from great stress and now having another for the same reason.  Sometimes it is caused by other health factors that are resolved.  Mine apparently was caused by sleep apnea that I was unaware I applaud your research -- we are the ones living with, paying for  and affected most by this disease -- and the more we know, the better off we are. Your positive attitude can only help. I wish you good luck and continued nsr.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you all for the comments! They have been very helpful! I think all of this is going to take some time to sink in and get used too.  I had a lot of weakness in both arms post cardioversion, but that has all gone away now.  However, this morning while taking a shower the afib kicked in again... Temporarily. Scared me, with my HR between 100 to 150 and palpitations. It lasted about 15 minutes. I was so happy when it quit on its own! I don't want to get shocked again anytime soon. I have an appt with my GP on Tuesday and will make an appt with Cardiology on Monday. :-)
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1569985_tn?1328251082
I don't know if this applies to your shower afib episode, but you might want to try a lukewarm shower rather than hot.  Hot water tends to dialate the arteries and bring my blood pressure down and makes me feel dizzy and faint.  Hopefully you can take it easy and avoid any known triggers until you get in to see the doctors and get some advice.  I know how scary this is and it does take some time to get your mind around it.  It tends to make me hyper-vigilent, like waiting for the other shoe to drop.  My meds were increased after my 2nd cardioversion in 2 weeks and so far -- 4 weeks -- I'm still in nsr.  I wish the same for you.  Good luck.  Keep us posted.  
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Avatar_f_tn
I saw the Cardiologist on Tuesday and he was very hopeful. He gave me Flecainide to take, 3 pills, if I am in afib for more than 20 or so minutes. Looks like the side effects can be rough according to a couple of sites I looked at. I went back into afib on Wednesday night, but not nearly as bad as the 24th, so I rested and after about 45 minutes it quit on its own. Yay!
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Avatar_f_tn
I saw the Cardiologist on Tuesday and he was very hopeful. He gave me Flecainide to take, 3 pills, if I am in afib for more than 20 or so minutes. Looks like the side effects can be rough according to a couple of sites I looked at. I went back into afib on Wednesday night, but not nearly as bad as the 24th, so I rested and after about 45 minutes it quit on its own. Yay!
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