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AFib and Low Blood Pressure

Posted by Jackie on May 18, 1999 at 10:17:53
I am a 62 year old female who has been diagnosed as having lone Afib.  I notice that my episodes of Afib come on when my blood pressure is low.  When I'm in Afib my blood pressure goes very low (86/58).  I do not come out of Afib until my blood pressure goes up.  What is the relationship between Afib and low blood pressure?

Posted by CCF CARDIO MD - MTR on May 18, 1999 at 19:15:51

Dear Jackie, thank you for your question.  Low BP should not cause afib.  On the contrary, high BP is usually associated with afib.  However, afib can cause low BP due to the fast heart rate that occurs with afib.   I suggest that you speak with your physician about this association.
I hope you find this information useful.  Information provided in the Heart Forum is for general purposes only.  Specific diagnoses and therapies can only be provided by your physician.   Please don't hesitate to write back if you have further questions.
If you would like to make an appointment at the Cleveland Clinic Heart Center, please call 1-800-223-2273 and ask for cardiology appointments.  Alternatively

Posted by Jackie Mossburg on May 18, 1999 at 22:04:49
Ironically, my heart does not seem to beat rapidly when I'm in Afib.  I normally have bradycardia and the fastest pulse I ever detect is when I'm in Afib is in the 80's.  I feel more misses and irregular beats than anything.  Would I feel what is happening in my atrium, when I'm in Afib and check my pulse?

Posted by CCF CARDIO MD - MTR on May 19, 1999 at 00:30:29
Dear Jackie, some people can notice when they are in afib, and others never experience any symptoms.  You may be one of the latter types.  
Posted by Jackie Mossburg on May 19, 1999 at 14:01:52
I'm quite aware when I'm in Afib.  My heart is missing like the engine of an old car that's taking it's body to the dump and I feel like I'm on Mt. Everest.  I can, though, never count more than 80 beats per minute and neither can my heart monitor.  Normally, I have a very slow pulse.  I'm in excellent physical condition (except when I'm in Afib) since I have been a runner for decades.  When I run, my pulse will go up to 120 and it comes back down quite evenly.  When I'm in Afib my doctor talks about his concern for my tachycardia, and I don't believe I ever have tachycardia.  Is it common to see tachycardia on an EKG that a person doesn't detect when checking the pulse?

Posted by CCF CARDIO MD - MTR on May 23, 1999 at 11:00:15

Dear Jackie, if your heart rate is too fast (tachycardia), you should be able to detect it by checking your pulse and on an ECG.  Generally, the pulse rate you check and the heart rate determined from the ECG are very similar.

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