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Atrial Fibrillation at age 20
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Atrial Fibrillation at age 20

Hi, I'm new here and thought it might be a good idea to post with my story.

I'm 20 and have atrial fibrillation. I was diagnosed at 16 but I can remember having episodes back when I was only 11. Since I've been diagnosed, I have seen about three cardiologists and one electrophysiologist. No one can find anything wrong with my heart other than the occassional episodes of atrial fibrillation that I have. I have had countless EKG's, halter monitors, echos, and stress tests done but still they come up with nothing. I feel like I have been evaluated by many people but it still bothers me that they can't come up with an answer on why I have my episodes.

Before I was placed on Toprol, I used to have an episode of atrial fibrillation probably about once every three to four months. Now since they have increased my medicine, I feel like my episodes have lessened. But I still do have periods where I feel like my heart is racing faster than normal and I do get some "skipped beats" occassionally.

I never have had an atrial fibrillation episode where I don't know what caused it. These are what have caused my episodes:
1) Getting scared (I woke up from a nightmare in a-fib)
2) Getting anxious/nervous
3) Getting really upset (I went into a-fib when I found out my grandfather passed away)
4) Coughing (This only happened once but it surprised me)
5) Vomiting (This did not happen after I vomited, but the act of vomiting triggered my a-fib)
6) After I exercise (It never happened during exercise, it always happened after I sat down to rest)

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230125_tn?1193369457
The answer is you will probably never know why you have atrial fibrillation.  There are genetic causes that we don't understand yet -- but researches are working to try to figure it out.

Some people your age have accessory pathways as the cause --- but the only way to know is to have an EP study.  

For someone your age with frequent symptomatic atrial fibrillation, an EP study with a possible ablation is not a bad idea.  Most of the anti arrhythmic drugs might help, but you will not be able to continue them when/if you decide to get pregnant.  sotalol is probably safe during pregnancy, but the goal is to minimize medications as much as possible.  Consider talking to your electrophysiologist about an afib ablation if your episodes are symptomatic enough to justify the risk.

I hope this helps.
thanks for posting and good luck with your training.
4 Comments
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308769_tn?1193064374
Because of when I have had my episodes, it has led me to believe that I have vagal and adrengic a-fib. I often get these "fluttering" feelings that last less than two seconds which feels like it's at the top of my stomach right under where my rib cage meets. Sometimes I can feel it stronger than other times. I've had a halter monitor on when I've felt some of these sensations and they've said there wasn't any indication of my heart messing up. So I'm not sure what I am feeling but I do know it has some effect on my problem.

So I'm just wondering what are any possible ideas of why I might have atrial fibrillation at such a young age? Coming from the smallest state, I've seen the best cardiologists here and I puzzle them. I stay away completely from alcohol, chocolate, caffeine, any desserts, coffee, smoking, and drugs. I try my best to lead a normal life with diet, school, and friends but this often gets in the way. I am currently going to college to become a pediatric nurse practitioner. I would love to know what might be causing my a-fib because if I can fix that problem, then I wouldn't have to worry about my episodes anymore. I've had some other symptoms too so if anyone is interested in what other things I have experienced, just let me know.
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Avatar_n_tn
Your problems sounds very similar to mine - I'm 25 and was diagnosed with a-fib last year. I've also had some episodes with atrial tachycardia. Been through echo and holter without any specific findings. Unlike you, however, I seem to get my episodes mostly when exercising - which is very disturbing since I'm otherwise very fit.

I can really identify myself with you trying to figure out why one gets a-fib in such a young age. I'm scheduled for an ablation in february, and hopefuly this will get rid of the problem - although I will never know why I was struck with the a-fib.
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Avatar_n_tn
what exactly does your a-fib feel like and how long does it last?
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Avatar_m_tn
A related discussion, 80 year old with auricular fibrallation, what I do? was started.
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Avatar_m_tn
A related discussion, Random A Fib was started.
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