I'm no expert but I believe that Cardizem (Calcium Channel Blocker) is considered a very effective drug for afib. Cardizem, I believe, also lowers bp and heart rate. Could your Dr prescribe some instant acting Cardizem that could be taken in the case of an Afib event on the plane? I would think that this may at least keep your heart rate contained until you can get to an actual medical facility upon landing. Just a thought.
Yes, an as needed medication is one approach, or even taking a dose before boarding just-in-case. I thing a beta blocker is the more common med to lower HR (and need it or not, blood pressure). Your doctor may be willing to give you a prescription for some low does, say 25 mg of Metoprolol (generic for Toprol) and have you take in a few days before your flight, if it gives you problems there would still be time to stop before you flight. I'd not recommend taking a medication for the first time just before or on a flight or other difficult environment.
I, too, have the rapid ventricular response with my afib. The next to the last time I had an episode I spent 5 days in afib before being converted. I don't recommend it, but it won't kill us I've been told. I think trying a beta blocker couldn't hurt. I have no experience with cardizem, but it sounds like it might work also. Maybe your doctor could work out something for a "pill-in-the-pocket" approach. Sometimes they will give you a drug like Rythmol to take to end an episode. You have to be free of blockages to use Rythmol. My doctor tried it in the hospital but it didn't work for me. That said, it wouldn't hurt to ask about that one or another. Good luck.
I currently take Atenolol which I think is very similar to Metoprolol. I used to take Metoprolol and had A Fib through it. I keep telling myself its a 2.5 hour flight -- what are the odds you will get A Fib????
Can you get some Xanax or something similar just for the flight? It might curb your anxiety. You are right -- it is a small stretch of time and the odds should be in your favor. Imagine a good experience -- might as well, we have no control over the future at any rate -- and imagining a good experience can't hurt, might help. Good luck.
I had an ablation for AFib in September but have since had a couple of episodes which feels like exactly the same, lasting for a couple of hours with very rapid heartbeat and chest tightness. I want to visit my daughter in the States but am fearful of the 10 hour flight from UK. Does altitude affect the heart at all?