I am a 27 year old male and started having atrial fibrillation earlier this year. It was found during a pre-surgery checkup for an unrelated condition. My doctor was very surprised because he had never seen atrial fibrillation in a young adult. My doctor prescribed digoxin and my heart rhythm returned to normal. About six months ago I moved to a different state. I recently went to a new doctor to have my digoxin levels checked and he noticed that my afib had returned. He was concerned because digoxin would not have been his choice of treatment and he said I should have also been taking aspirin or a blood thinner. That same day I had to back to the office for an echocardiogram and treadmill stress test. The echo turned out fine but eight minutes into the stress test my heart rate peaked at 275 bpm. The nurses in the office had never seen a heart rate that high. Two doctors reviewed the EKG results and said they would have to consult an EP specialist. I was prescribed Coumadin and metoprolol tartrate. The doctors have not decided on a procedure yet but said that I could possibly have a cardioversion or ablation. What are the advantages/disadvantages to these procedures?
I don't think that atrial fib discriminates by age...i think we have all seen people with it here on the site alot younger then you are. In actuality i think that your age will work for you in whatever decision that you all make in the form of treatment or cure. A cardioversion is just that a treatment for a symtom...it is either done through meds or electrical to re set the electrical of your heart or to hopefully knock it out of atrial fib if you have it persistant. People are not generally cardioverted unless you are in the throes of atrial fib. My pulse rate before i had my ablation done four years ago would go into the 300's in the blink of an eye doing absolutely nothing and i think alot of other community members have also had that happen as well. So cardioversion is basically a treatment where an ablation is deemed a cure providing they can catch all of the misfires and where it is re routing the electrical of your heart to instead of the pathway its supposed to follow. The advantages of having a cardioversion is that it is fast and usually works within a couple of hours using meds or faster if using the pads....as far as the downside goes....it is only a temp. fix for most of us.......as far as ablations go....if you are in the 70% or higher ratio for success try to remember that ablations are for many people a cure if the stars are basically aligned up for you and you have no other issues. Ablations were developed years ago specifically for atrial fib and in most cases it is successful. I was super happy i had mine done...i got my life back and its a no brainer procedure that is non invasive. In the end it will be up to you and your doc to make those decisions......good luck...been there done that....
The "normal" sequence it the treatment for AFib is to try to convert with medication. If that doesn't work to use electrocardioversion, and that was followed with a maintenance medication in my case. If the electrocardioversion doesn't work (in my case, I think most cases, it is not a permanent cure) ablation is then considered.
My experience with electrocardioversion is it is a same day treatment, in for a couple of hours and then home. I had to be driven home by someone else and was not to drive myself until the next day, otherwise back to normal activities. This procedure worked fo me for up to 18 months at a stretch, but no longer works. This is in part because of my age, a senior citizen, I think. A young person such as yourself may be years of relief from a conversion. But, you may have to be on medication ongoing, not the best, were an ablation may get you a cure with no need for long term medication. That's another reasons to consider ablation.
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