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Avatar universal

Treatments for A-FIB

My husband was diagnosed with A-FIB.  He is 70 years old and all other aspects of his health are perfect. Blood tests are all normal. Dr. wants him on coumadin to help prevent stroke, but considering you could have a stroke while on this medicine, is there any other ideas out there?  He already takes many vitamins, daily asprin and recently added cod liver oil (helps keep arteries nice and slippery) and TOLD the Dr. to give him  the electrolite blood work order to check his magnesium, potassium etc. Heard magnesium can help heart arrythmias.  Will have the results in a day or 2. He also tries to get in olive oil each day.  He experiences no symptoms from this and was only picked up from the EKG.  All I know is he will not go on the drugs so any other suggestions would be appreciated.  Thank you
10 Responses
Avatar universal
does your husband have chronic a-fib or is it paroxysmal? with his age there is a stroke risk and coumadin has side effects. it is actually used for rat poison. how long do his episodes last and does he need medicine to convert to sinus rhythm? i am just 30 and i have had many paroxysmal a-fib episodes that would last anywhere from 10-30 minutes and convert to nsr without medication. if he has chronic a-fib i would ask the doctor about calcium channel blockers.
Avatar universal
Don't know whether it's chronic or paroxysmal (don't even know what that means).  What I do know is that he has no episodes, no symptoms of any kind.  Had he not had the ekg, he wouldn't even know he has a problem--didn't even know his rhythm was off till then, so no, he has had nothing done to convert his rhythm.  I do remember the Dr. telling him while in the office that putting his rhythm back is sometimes worse than living with it and that he is at a very low risk for a stroke
612551 tn?1450025775
COMMUNITY LEADER
I am 72 and have suffered from AFib for about 15 years.  I have been on Warfarin all that time, generic for Coumadin.  I have been in normal sinus rhythmn during part of that time but remained on Warfarin just in case.  I have been in permanent AFib since April 2007, except for about 30 days of NSR following my open heart surgery in 2007 to repair my mitral valve repair.  This means my left atrium in ins fibrillation all the time, 24 hours a day.  My symptoms are minor unless I exert myself, and I suppose some of my lack of physical endurance is due to my lack of doing regular exercise - I ran for exercise until the onset of permanent AFib in 2007.

Age and AFib puts your husband at some risk of a stroke and I myself take warfarin to reduce my similar risk.
1569985 tn?1328251082
Paroxysmal means occasional.  Next is persistent, then permanent.  I would not be afraid of the Coumadin.  I know people who have been on it for 40 years.  A stroke is possible, but if they get it regulated, risk should be minimal.  My INR score stays between 2 and 3 and I check it once a week on a home meter.  However, a daily asprin would reduce his risk too.  Ask to have his stroke risk calculated by the CHAS 2 score.  I can't remember what it stands for, but the doctor ought to know.  My risk was 3% and I chose to go on the blood thinner.  I also took Atentolol for 7 years and it kept my Afib in check before my episodes started to come more often.  Now I take Norpace, an antiarrhythmic drug.  Good luck.
Avatar universal
Thanks for your comment.  Did the Chas2 score and my husband has 0 points so his risk is 1.8% of having a stroke. He does remember the DR. saying that his Chas score put him at the lowest risk but could change when he reaches 75. I had forgotten about that being said so went and found the test on line.  Like I said earlier, he has no symptoms or episodes--didn't even know he had it. He does take asprin daily, cod liver oil and many vitamins and has the blood work of a much younger man .  Does the Norpace work for you?  I take it you do not take coumadin.  Thanks again.
1569985 tn?1328251082
I do take Warfarin, the generic for Coumadin.  I guess I left that out.  The Norpace is working. I am staying out of the hospital and feeling better and tht was my goal.   I still have some irregular beats, but I have had no Afib episodes for 5-1/2 months. I started on it because I had two episodes 3-1/2 months apart, had to be shocked back to NSR,  and did not want to end up in the hospital again.  I think it's up to your husband -- if he's at low risk of stroke -- revisit it when he's 75.  (They used to say 65).  You can have Afib and not know it and that means it wouldn't be treated.  I always know because I have a rapid ventricular response -- heart rate shoots up to 150-180.   It sounds like your hubby is in pretty good shape.  The cod liver oil also provides Vitamin D.
1756321 tn?1547098925
Every cell in the body and every single electrical pathway in the body is regulated by magnesium and when this electrical activity gets altered, you can have problems that range from simple irritability to atrial fibrillation to sudden death from heart failure.  Only 1% of magnesium in the body is actually found in blood, and only .3% is found in blood serum, so clinical blood serum testing may not successfully identify magnesium deficiency.

Nattokinase is a potent fibrinolytic (anti-clotting) enzyme extracted and highly purified from a traditional Japanese food called Natto.  Researchers have found that Nattokinase is four times more potent than plasmin, works more effectively than warfarin drugs, and doesn’t produce any side effects.  
Avatar universal
Thank you so much for your help.  Nice to know about the antiarrythmic drugs and glad they're working for you.  We do keep track of my husband's heart rate and almost always in the 70's or 80's. He's pretty much decised to keep doing what he's doing-vitamins, cod liver oil, asprin etc. cuz so far he has the blood work and blood pressure of a young man.  Unless something changes, think he'll address it again when he reaches 75.  Thanks again and good luck to you.
Avatar universal
Got my husband's blood work back on his magnesium and yes it was serum magnesium that was done.  His result was 2.2 with normal being 1.6=2.6.  Kind of confused though.  If only 1% of magnesium is found in blood and 3% found in serum, why could you be more deficient with the one that shows 3% (serum).  Maybe you can help clear it up.  Might you also happen to know what the ratio is between potassium and magnesium?  His potassium level (serum) is 4.5.  Thank you for your help.
612551 tn?1450025775
COMMUNITY LEADER
I'd not take the age 75 as some hard number, it is more an approximate number.  I also have no idea what "the blood work of a much younger man" means.  If it means good cholesterol numbers and in range numbers in general, the I too have "the blood work of a younger man", but my cardiologist would never say take just an aspirin.  Again, I have permanent AFib, but am mostly unaware of it, in fact most of the heart trouble symptoms I have likely come from the beta blocker and calcium channel blocker medications I take to keep my HR below 100 at rest, usually around 80.  I also take a low dose aspirin, warfarin, and a statin drug to keep my total cholesterol in the 150 range, with AFib 200 isn't good enough.  Exercise helps too as it increases the HDL, the good cholesterol which by being good/high also adds to the total number.  In fact this is one of the measurements I get a "flag" on when I have my full blood test done each year, my HDL is above the normal range.

There is a newer anticoagulant drug out, high cost though, that dose not require periodic coagulation tests of the blood.  It is an alternative to coumadin for some patients.  I could take it myself but don't see the higher cost as justified.  That may be because my blood test costs are covered by Medicare.    
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