I am now back to normal, although with a cold. I am in sinus rhythm with an occasional ectopic. No more binges for me.
New Years Eve started well, with no ectopics experienced in the previous week. I was drinking slowly, a small glass of wine followed by a cup of tea. Then a small glass of wine, followed by a pint of water. I checked the Kardia at 1:30 a.m., there were no irregularities and no ectopics. Unfortunately the party went on until 3:00 a.m. and I think I drank a bottle and a half in total; 14 units in one session, textbook binge.
In the morning, I was in suspected AF according to the Kardia; which resolved within an hour to “Normal”, but with lots of ectopics.
The wine was not the only factor; I woke with a severe cold and sore throat. But I am pinning most of the blame on the alcohol.
Not too shabby for an invalid who had two heart procedures during the year.
Light Xmas drinking continued; ectopics have dropped to nil.
I have now finished work early for the Xmas period and have tickets for the Beat/Selector Xmas tour. Since there were no problems after the 16th, I decided to start the holiday period with a drink. Eventually three and a half pints were consumed; not much of a problem, not drunk and heart felt fine.
I have just had a pleasant ride on a nice warm morning, completing 28 miles in 2 hours on a very flat route. I have not improved measurably through losing the beta-blockers, but today’s ride was reasonably fast and with little effort.
I think I will have to accept that my lack of form was not wholly down to the drugs, but mainly due to lack of fitness. I am currently restricted to slow speeds due to the muddy trails and cold weather; at a similar time after the first procedure, I was faster, but that was in the start of summer.
I am feeling much better again today. Blood pressure back to normal, but pulse still very high. Before diagnosis, my resting HR was 57. With Bisoprolol, it was 45. After the first ablation it was around 75. After the second it was up to 80 and is now at 100. It will take about nine months to come back to normal.
When I started the Bisoprolol, the effects on my fitness were immediate: fatigue, memory/concentration loss and breathlessness on very little exertion. It was worse than the effects of AF. I was looking forward to a world without beta-blockers; I expected to suddenly jump to a higher level of fitness, a reversal of the immediate loss of fitness when I started them. Unfortunately, this has not happened. So far there is very little difference. It looks like a long haul back to fitness. On the plus side, ultimately, I should be much closer to my normal level than I believed possible 18 months ago.
I am not sure whether I have had a bout of withdrawal from the Bisoprolol or whether I have been suffering from stress caused by work and my mother remaining in hospital. I had a permanent headache from Friday until today and generally felt quite tired.
I went to see Bad Manners last night. Quite a jolly atmosphere (the first night of their Xmas tour) but I was too tired to bounce around in the eighties way that most other 55 year olds in the audience were doing. I am feeling much better this morning. Perhaps all the bisoprolol has gone from my system.
After talking to many fellow sufferers over the last two years, I believe my experience was relatively atypical. I have never understood the feeling of “palpitations” or most people’s experiences that lead them to A&E. For a couple of years pre-diagnosis I had assumed my exercise induced attacks were just lack of fitness due to me getting older. Even when I experienced a HR of 250, I assumed that the monitor was faulty. I never felt particularly ill.
After diagnosis, the Bisoprolol I was given had more of an effect on my fitness than the AF; almost immediately, I became breathless on slight exertion.
I was expecting that today, I would be free of both AF and beta-blocker and would feel much better. However, I woke to a racing heart and a feeling of bouncing in my chest. According to the Kardia, my HR was 100 and very regular. After a shower and breakfast, the HR was still the same, but the feeling had gone. I will mention it as I hand back my holter monitor later today.
My mother had a fall and needed the paramedics. They had an ECG from a couple of weeks ago. Fast AF. This trace was very similar to some of mine pre-ablation.
My mother has known she has had an arrhythmia for over 40 years but was told nothing could be done about it. This ECG shows AF meaning she should at least have been on Warfarin years ago, and explains the TIAs that she has recently experienced.
I am also wandering about causology. There are many possible causes or triggers of AF and some of the most likely are: alcohol, endurance exercise, caffeine/stimulants, sleep apnea, obesity, stress and other pre-eisting heart issues. I have a brother and a sister and we all have a lot of these in common, but my mother and I are the only two suffering from AF. My mother doesn’t drink alcohol or coffee, but the rest of us do (a lot). All three of us have demanding stressful jobs. The only factor I have in common with my mother that is not shared by my siblings is bike racing. This looks like confirmation that exercise is the cause.