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Atrial Fibilation advice please for my Dad
Hi,

My Dad is a fit 63, non smoker, little alcohol and not overweight. He is active and eats healthily overall.

3 days ago, he complained that he was breathless when he walked anywhere and Mum took him to the GP when this continued to the next day.

GP did ECG and sent him direct to hospital.

Hospital has diagnosed atrial fibrillation and has him on warfarin and dioxlin. To date, 2 days later, heart rate down from 140 to 78 but beat still fibrillating.

We have been told that he needs an echocardiogram next, which I know is standard, as they look for any heart disease or other causes. However, the earliest he can have this is next week.

In the meantime, they are continuing with the medication and sat that cardio version is likely after the echocardiogram to try and restore the beat to normal.

My questions are

1. Is this life threatening for dad?

2. Should I advise my sister not to go on holiday next week for 1 week if it is so serious or not?

3. Is there anything I should be insisting on, (i.e. is a 1 week wait for the echocardiogram acceptable or safe?)

Thanks for your help
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290624_tn?1202332475
I am sorry to hear about your dad's heart problem.  I am 30 years old and I have had atrial fibrillation since I was 17 years old.  It is not dangerous in itself, since the rhythm originates in the upper chambers of the heart and not the lower chambers.  The risk is if a blood clot forms, it could cause a stroke.  That's why people with a-fib are usually on aspirin therapy or warfarin.  I take a baby aspirin every day because I am not constantly in a-fib.  I just get it occassionally and the drugs work pretty well to control it.

I think the other risk is if the arrhythmia continues for years, then it could weaken his heart.  But, since he is going in for an echo in a week and they will probably convert him, then I do not think there is a big danger of that happening.

The older a person gets, the more likely he or she is to develop atrial fibrillation.  Lots of older people have it, and again, it is not dangerous in and of itself and many times (like in my case), it occurs without any underlying heart disease.

Let me know if you have any other questions.  Hopefully this help.  Good luck to you!

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I agree with the above.  I had a single a-fib event in March.  Within 24 hours, I was administered IV meds which cardioverted me back into sinus rythm.  This cardioversion is done after a confirmation that there are no evident clots developing in the atrium.  I would ask why they are not looking to cardiovert earlier than later.  Best wishes.
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