In February 2008 I had pertussis but it wasn't diagnosed by family doctor. I just thought I had a summer cough. I went to work in Jakarta for two weeks but picked up a micoplasma infection. This resulted in pneumonia, atrial fibrillation, myocarditis and congestive heart failure. While in Indonesia I self prescribed Zithromax and cured the pneumonia but I didn't appreciate how sick I really was then (and I was working with doctors on their health system who didn't pick up on it either). When I got back to Australia I was admitted into CCU. I was discharged a week later 17 kilos lighter and under the care of a cardiologist but still in permanent Afib and this was corrected a month later by cardioversion. The tests undertaken in hospital showed pertussis, micoplasma pneumonia, myocarditis and a previous coxsackie virus infection that apparently had got into my heart.
My heart rate is now very low, often in the low to mid 40's or low fifties. Straight after cardioversion it was in the low 30's. However I get recurrent Afib, on and off, often more than once a day and sometimes for days at a time. It seems to be triggered by any slight fever (a head cold for example) spicy food, a cold drink on a hot day and other things. I am now taking 8mg of Atacand a day for blood pressure, Sotocor 80mg, a baby aspirin and magnesium aspartate dihydrate (1 pill of 550 mg - 37.4 mg of Mg ). The magnesium seems to help heart stability but taken in combination with calcium heart stability decreased significantly.
I have been fit all my life and still am relatively fit certainly well above average for my age. I have run for about 40 years and still jog a little walk about 5 -10 kilometers a day and swim, kayak, etc. When I was in my late teens my resting heart rate used to get down to the high 20's. My chloresterol level is below normal and high density level is about 5 times low density (weird). I have given blood most quarters for the last 40 years (until l was told not to last year).
I am now 64. I was adopted but recently discovered that my birth mother died of stroke at 56. Don't know anything about my genetic father - I presume he was killed in WW2.
My blood pressure has been variable all my life - often high - but drops to normal when resting. Coffee nearly always gave me palpitations as does too much tea so I don't drink coffee at all and restrict tea intake. My heart has always skipped beats or has had extra ones. My family doctor figured that this wasn't concerning because I was so fit and healthy. I also sweat excessively when I exercise and this has happened all my life. I am not a heavy drinker of alcohol (but did drink a half snifter of cognac every night to stop keeping my wife awake with my coughing when I had pertussis). Normally my wife and I share a bottle of wine with dinner and that is all the alcohol we normally drink.
I had Bornholms disease (coxsackie virus) about 25 years ago.
Finally I am stone deaf in my left ear - due apparently to mumps when I was about 18 months old. ENT specialist said it is nerve deafness.
Now what I want to know is could my left vagus nerve have been damaged when I had mumps (since it presumably knocked out the cochlear or some other nerve in that ear)? I also understand 2 of the 5 known pertussis toxins directly attack the vagus nerve. So is it possible that the pertussis (perhaps in combination with the early mumps) has caused the problems that I now have? I had been on Dlatrend 3.125 mg twice a day but this gve me early morning headaches and so I stopped the night pill and this stopped the headaches. My cardiologist then changed me from 3.125 mg of Dilatrend to 40 mg of Sotocor but he has since retired from practice and my new one has got me to double the dose. But this extra dosage seems to have made heart more unstable. So are beta-blockers the right prescription if my sinus node is affected perhaps by a compromised left Vagus nerve? Finally, my new Cardiologist wants me to take Warfarin but I don't want to. I am happy with baby aspirin but would rather take Genko, which is a blood thinner that I took for some years to reduce tinnitus in right ear caused by Menieres disease which in turn had been caused by eating a bad prawn. I got cured of the Menieres disease by accupuncture. Would Genko substitute for Warfarin or baby aspirin?
Sorry to ask so many questions but I am concerned that Beta-blockers may not be the right medication. I would much prefer to not take any medication but this might be a bit too much to expect.
I'll make a "run" at a few of your question. Much of what you tell is well beyond any knowledge I have as a AFib patient.
Starting at random, I'd think a beta blocker isn't a good idea if you already have a low HR. BB will normally lower you HR, still further.
You said your biological mother died of a stroke, this suggest to me that you should be on an anticoagulant. I take Warfarin. Given you have at least a two (age and AFib) strikes against you relative to having a stroke, I think it good advice for you to take Warfarin. Some people have trouble holding a stable IRN (Protime), if that's your case, then Warfarin is problematic. I get along rather well with Warfarin, I take 5 mg a day and have good success staying in the 2-3 INR range.
If you are not currently under the care of a Cardiologist GET ONE!! Also, if you are in pretty much continuous A-fib you need to increase your INR ASAP! A cardiologist will see whether you are in a-fib and need warfarin or something else. If you ARE in continuous a-fib you are a walking time bomb for ischemic stroke. When your atria are not working properly they do not empty as they should. Additionally the turbulence created by the fibrillation can cause clots to form. If the clot forms on the right side of your heart and gets out then the only place it can go is your lungs. Google "pulmonary embolism". I understand it is NOT a pleasant way to go.
If the clot happens to form on the left side of your heart and exits it can go (if it is small enough) into the coronary arteries. Google "coronary thrombosis".
If the clot forms aon the left side and doesn't enter the coronary arteries then it can enter the aorta - think main distribution manifold for oxygenated blood for the body. The first tap off the aorta is the carotid artery - you know? the one that supplies blood to your head? Google ischemic stroke.
Or just get to a cardiologist. Ask your friends, acquaintences for someone they trust. But get to care. A-fib plus normal range INR equals a stroke waiting to happen.
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