Does Stress Cause Atrial Fibrillation? - For Patients. By Patients - Stop Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation is so sneaky. So is afib really stress in disguise? Afib seems to sneak up on you when you least expect it and you wonder “where did that come from?” It’s hard to pin down an atrial fibrillation cause or trigger when it’s different every time.

For some, it’s triggered by alcohol or caffeine. For others, by certain types of foods or food additives. For some, it may come on during exercise or from something as simple as bending over. For still others, eating late or sleeping on the left side triggers it. It varies all across the board.

In medical information you rarely see mention of stress causing afib, but I think that stress is a huge contributor. Of the patients I’ve interviewed, about 3/4 said that stress was a huge component in bringing on their afib episodes.

Stress certainly could be a factor that leads us to indulge in alcohol, caffeine, or certain foods. But is the food the cause, or is the stress the actual root cause?

Here’s a short video clip of what triggered my afib:
Mellanie True Hills talks about what triggered her atrial fibrillation

We know that the numbers of folks having afib is growing exponentially, which is generally chalked up to Baby Boomers hitting their 60s. But I also see so many younger folks struggling with afib and wonder if the stress epidemic that’s due to our 24/7 lifestyles is causing an afib epidemic, too.

What do you think? Does stress trigger afib for you?


285 Responses to Does Stress Cause Atrial Fibrillation?

  • I was told my a-fib was triggered by a heart that was already battered by two surgeries and then a virus. At least that’s how I understood it. I’m only 39, so I’m quite young to have this issue. I also work 11 to 12 hour days and have a high stress job. So I’m guessing that had something to do with it too.

  • admin says:


    I’m so sorry that your surgeries and virus may have precipitated, or contributed to, your afib. It makes a lot of sense, though, as we’re now starting to understand more about the role of inflammation in afib and heart disease. Recent studies have pointed out that statins–drugs such as Lipitor or Crestor, which are normally used to lower cholesterol–can also help decrease inflammation in those with heart problems. It’s worth discussing with your doctor as a temporary help to reduce that inflammation.

    You are much too young to be dealing with this, but I’m constantly amazed at the number of folks I know in their 30s who are dealing with afib. The stress of our 24/7 lives must surely be contributing to this.

    Take care of your heart. Is there any way to decrease your work stress? If not, if you can turn bad stress into good stress, based on how you look at things, then it won’t have the same ill effects on you and can surely help.

    Life is good, and this is just a temporary setback. It’s good that you’re focusing on what message your afib has for you. That’s healthy, as is your blogging about it.

    Good luck with your healing, and helping others to do the same. Thanks for adding your comments here as a fellow “afib sister.” I’m here if I can help.


    • jenniferm says:

      All good advice. I would try an anti inflammatory diet way of living before any statins. They were really affecting my heart and muscles in general.I’d say statins should be last resort. Good luck

  • Shaun says:

    Hello everyone,

    I have been suffering from a fib for a while now, I had my first episode when I was 19 years old and had to be cardio verted back to regular rhythm. I am 25 now and have had about 5 episodes of a fib that did not require a cardio vert because after about 48 my heart went back to it’s regular rhythm. My concern is what is causing these attacks and what I can do to help them, I’ve been taking bisoprolol medication since I was 19 for this problem but I’m tired of taking it. I would really like a natural root to help prevent any more episodes.

    I would really appreciate it if anyone can tell me specifically what types of food may trigger these attacks and other things whatever they me be.


  • Mellanie says:


    I’m so sorry you’re fighting the afib beast, too. Are you athletic? When we see atrial fibrillation in younger folks, sometimes it’s related to being an athlete, but not always.

    Since you’re so young, you probably have what is called Lone Atrial Fibrillation, which is afib without underlying heart disease. Lone Afib appears to be much less risky, and often responds well to dietary changes.

    Often afib is triggered by caffeine, alcohol, food additives, or even just certain foods. Often it’s triggered by deficiencies or imbalances in magnesium, potassium, or other nutrients. And it seems to be different for each of us – thus we’re each an “experiement of one”.

    One of the very best resources on using diet to control afib is Hans Larsens’ Lone Atrial Fibrillation forum at . You will find a wealth of information there. While there, you may also want to get a copy of Hans’ books. Also check out his questions page ( to understand the different types of afib (vagal vs. adrenergic). I don’t have enough info from your post to identify which type you have, but if you have vagal afib it’s worth knowing that beta blockers, such as the bisoprolol that you are taking, can actually cause MORE afib. Many doctors aren’t aware of this, especially if they aren’t experts in afib.

    If you haven’t already, you may want to see an electrophysiologist (a cardiologist that specializes in heart rhythms). Our Afib Services Locator ( may help you with that as it lists Electrophysiologists (EPs), Surgeons, and Afib Centers and Hospitals that specialize in treating afib.

    Good luck. Let us know if you have further questions.


  • Christine says:

    I have had a number of AF episodes over the past 7 yrs. Mine first started when I was 48 yrs old and had a hysterectomy. I also am hypothyroid. During my first episodes I went from Hypo to Hyperthyroid, so it was suspected that this was the cause of my A Fib. I was also going through a stressful time since my husband was ill with cancer. Medications don’t seem to convert me to normal rhythm, so I’ve had to be cardio verted that past few times to bring me back to normal rhythm.

    I hadn’t had an episode in 4 yrs until t wo days ago. I had altered my diet by eliminating caffeine and limiting alcohol and also increased vitamins and excercise. I thought I was doing well until this last episode happened. My blood work shows that my thyroid is off again, but this time my TSH is 16 (hypo not hyper).
    I have been taking 100mcg levothroxin which will now be increased to 112mcg to bring my numbers down.
    My doctor feels that my hypothyroidism has been the cause this time. In all of the research I’ve been doing online I’ve seen that hyperthyroidism causes AFib but I haven’t seen anything on hypothyroidism causing it.
    Has anyoe els had this experience? Also, could the menopause affect the thyroid and thyroid affect the heart? Could alot of this be homone related?

  • Tim says:

    I am starting to believe stressors aggravate my AF problems.

    I have had around six noticeable episodes of AF since 2004, two of them in the past 2 months with this past week as the most recent. These two occurred during very high stress points of my life (the first one being work-related, the other being home-related). I don’t manage my stress well at all, and I tend to turn it inward on myself. In the home-related stress, I had been really upset with my partner over something, and I kept it to myself and acted like nothing was wrong for three days and then BOOM!

    Every episode of AF I have worries the hell out of me because I see it as a sign that my heart condition is worsening and that I’m closer to needing a transplant. (I am on the waiting list but on inactive status at this time because I am otherwise doing very well.) And now I’ve had two episodes in two months’ time. I hate this stuff.

  • FloridaRick says:

    I am a 49 year old WM living with LAF since my early 30s. I was in a very stressful marriage during the initial onset of symptoms and strongly suspect the stress caused the onset. I am still in afib on permanent basis and seeking relief.

  • Mellanie says:

    Christine, Tim, and Florida Rick,

    Your posts came in while was on the road speaking for Stroke Month and Women’s Health Week. I could approve your posts from my cell phone browser, but it proved much too cumbersome to post comments from it. I’ll post replies to each of your messages separately.


  • Mellanie says:


    Thanks for sharing your story. I’m so sorry for what you’ve been through.

    I don’t have expertise around thyroid conditions, but it seems that if your thyroid being abnormal in one direction can cause afib, then being abnormal in the other direction might, too.

    I haven’t seen anything specifically correlating menopause with thyroid, but haven’t researched it either. Hormones and menopause definitely mess up so many things about our bodies that they are probably related to your thyroid issues and your atrial fibrillation.

    Are you seeing an electrophysiologist? That’s a cardiologist that specializes in heart rhythms. There are some EPs listed in our Afib Services Locator ( If you don’t find one in your area let me know and I’ll see if I can help.

    Good luck getting this under control.


  • Mellanie says:


    I’m so sorry for all the stress you’ve had and which has brought on and exacerbated your atrial fibrillation

    You mention that you’re waiting for a transplant. How low is your heart’s ejection fraction (EF)? I’ve heard of several folks having afib surgery (maze or mini-maze) that brought their ejection fractions back up from in the 20% range to 50% and higher, causing them not to need a transplant. I wonder if that’s an option for you? Please let me know if I can help.


  • Mellanie says:

    Florida Rick,

    I’m so sorry for what you’ve been through and the stress that caused your afib to now be permanent.

    It used to be that permanent afib was very difficult to treat and cure. But not any more. There is a brand new approach being used in mini-maze surgery that is having very promising results for those in permanent afib.

    It’s my hope that permanent afib is no longer going to be permanent. If you’d like to talk with someone doing it, I’ll be glad to help you find that resource. Just let me know if you’re interested.


  • Tim says:

    Hi Mellanie!

    Thanks for your response. To give a bit of background, I have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. I am in end-stage because of significant fibrosis of the left ventricle. My condition is such that there is no immediate need for the transplant, and I’ve been on inactive status for a couple years now.

    I don’t have my records in front of me, but I believe my EF was around 30% the last time it was checked. I will be having an echo next month, so I’m eager to see if it will show some improvement now that I’ve been exercising lately.

    I’m not sure that MAZE would be an option for me because of the fibrosis. At least, MAZE has never been mentioned in any of my doctor consultations. From what little I know about it, doesn’t it involve, more or less, scarring the cardiac tissue?

    Either way, having had two episodes of AF in a relatively short amount of time worries me. I am concerned this is an indication of deterioration in my condition. It will certainly be discussed next month when I see my doctors.


  • martin says:

    I think my afib was brought on by aclohol and cigarettes followed by a stressful life. Had an external cardioversion which lapsed back yo afib 2 years ago. A recent internal cardioversion failed again after 2 weeks. Condition considered chronic. However while working the 12 steps of AA and handing my life over to God I spontaneously converted back to sinus rythymn.
    2 months on still ok, God Willing. I keep working the programme as best I can. Everyone can do the steps and hand it over to God.

  • FloridaRick says:

    I am scheduled for either the mini maze or Cox Maze IV on June 2, 2008. I will make up my mind this weekend and talk with the surgeon on Monday. What did you mean when you said ” There is a brand new approach being used in mini-maze surgery that is having ……..”. ? I have studied this problem for approximately 20 years and am learning more every day.

    Florida Rick

  • Mellanie says:


    I’m sorry about the hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Fibrosis may not necessarily preclude you from having the surgery. Just the other day a heart surgeon said that having fibrosis doesn’t necessarily keep one from having maze or mini-maze surgery. I interpreted that to mean that it’s really on a case-by-case basis to determine if it’s feasible.

    Your doctor may not have mentioned it because he/she doesn’t know it is an option. The surgeon is the only one who can really say whether it’s possible or not. Since you’re concerned, consulting with a surgeon about your individual circumstances might put your mind at ease about the possibiliies. And I have heard of folks who ended up with a normal EF after a mini-maze.

    Good luck. Let me know if I can help in any way.


  • Mellanie says:

    Florida Rick,

    Congratulations on your upcoming mini maze or Cox Maze IV.

    What I meant by a brand new approach is a new expanded lesion set that includes a lesion across the roof of the heart. A newly-approved tool for this roof lesion reduces gaps and completely blocks the erractic electrical impulses.

    Dr. James Edgerton, here in Dallas, was the first heart surgeon to use it, and many other surgeons are now quickly adopting it as well. I’ve heard that this roof lesion significantly improves the success in difficult, long-standing cases. Let me know if you need more info about this.


  • FloridaRick says:


    I am absolutely interested in this new approach since my surgery is in about 10 days and my anxiety is growing. I googled Dr Edgerton and there was some indication on the www that the tools he is using are the same that my surgeon is using. That is a comforting thought. I had LA RF Ablation during Aug 07 and was electrocardioverted at the end of the surgery. I stayed in NSR for about 30 hours. I have been electrocardioverted 4 time in the last year under the influence of different drugs and on two occasions I was in NSR for 24 to 30 hours then the the Afib took over. NSR feels very nice. I was a little spooked with the NSR since I have been in Afib almost 20 years.

    Florida Rick

  • FloridaRick says:


    The expanded lesion set of which you spoke is entirely an epicardial line, correct ?

    Thanks for any help rendered.

    Florida Rick

  • Mellanie says:

    Florida Rick,

    Yes, the roof lesion line is epicardial. I found a drawing that illustrates it for you:

    View the next to last photo – there are two encircling lesions around pairs of pulmonary veins, and the roof lesion connects those two encircling lesions. The challenge has been that that tissue is pretty thick, so good lesions have been harder to make, but the newest tools seem to be having good results with that.

    That’s great that your surgeon probably has those same tools – there are several in Florida.

    Good luck. Please let us know how it goes. And if you’d like to let us know more details, we’ll be pulling for you that day.


  • FloridaRick says:


    The new tool he has is the Cool Rail from Atricure. Following my failed RF Ablation, I was faced with a choice of another ablation, mini-maze, or Cox Maze IV. I did not want to re-try ablation as it had failed once. I visited a local surgeon that seemed competent, but had only performed the minimaze 7 times. He referred me to the surgeon in Tampa FL who trained him and has performed many hundreds of minimaze and Cox Maze IV procedures. The Tampa surgeon recommended the Cox Maze IV since I have been in Afib since approx 1989 and that is the gold standard. He subsequently called me about a week after I met with him and said the new tool would make the minimaze a much more attractive option. I am opting for the minimaze and pray that it works. I had to quit work about 6 weeks ago and don’t plan on returning to work unless I get this fixed. My work performance is very inconsistent because of the Afib. When I have good days, I can perform well, but when the bad days come – I can hardly function. I was having 2 or 3 bad days per week and my colleagues were afraid to give me stressful assignments or problems. When I quit I had 15 engineers working for me and significant budgetary responsibility.

    Thanks for all of your information.


  • Mellanie says:

    Florida Rick,

    I’m really sorry that afib has impacted your life and career so profoundly.

    Yours’ is not an unusual story, but it makes me angry every time I hear that because so many doctors truly don’t understand what afib does to us. (I’m not saying that your doctors didn’t understand, but many don’t.) They don’t realize that not only does afb have a physical impact on us, but it also has a huge financial and emotional impact as well, not just on us but on our families, too. If they understood that, perhaps they would help us find the right solutions immediately rather than experimenting until they find a solution.

    You are so fortunate to have visited a surgeon who referred you to the surgeon in Tampa. I know the Tampa surgeon and am sure you’ll be very pleased. (That heart hospital is fabulous!) I agree that the mini-maze with the Coolrail tool makes a lot of sense for you because of recent successes with it for treating chronic afib.

    Please stay in touch so we can cheer you on that day. (I’ll put it on my calendar.) Before you go in, you may want to read up on what to expect before, during, and after mini-maze surgery at:

    Also keep in mind that you may have afib incidents for several months after surgery, until your heart heals. Just keep the faith that you’ll soon be afib-free!


  • Carol says:

    I am so glad I found, Mellanie! It gives me new hope! I had a stroke — actually two blood clots in the brain — in mid-April. Doctors believe they were caused by A-Fib, which I had experienced infrequently for the past 4 years. My first A-Fib was in 2004, immediately following major surgery (stomach). I’m not always aware I am having A-Fib “attacks”. Now, following the recent stroke, doctors have me on a whole conglomeration of medications, which frightens me a lot. Coumadin, Sotalol, Protonix (for internal bleeding). Thankfully, I seem to be recovering, but now I need advice. I hate taking Coumadin, which is not only frightening but very restrictive with diet and activities. Also, I was always a strong believer in natural therapies, and now doctors have ordered me to stop taking all supplements, including daily vitamins. Help!! I’m not sure where to begin in my research and quest for answers. I am 69 years old, and plan to hang around for many more years. Thank you for any help or advice you can offer!

  • Mellanie says:


    I’m so glad you found We’re here to help.

    I’m so sorry for what you’ve been through having had a stroke related to atrial fibrillation.

    Doctors are so busy that they generally don’t have time to research and understand supplements, so to avoid interactions, they will just tell you to stop all. Doing your own research, as you plan to do, is the right answer.

    Here are some resources that can help:

    (1) Let me encourage you to visit the Lone Atrial Fibrillation Forum ( run by Hans Larsen. What a wealth of information you’ll find, with many folks there having had great success with natural and dietary approaches. They focus largely on Lone Afib, which is afib without any underlying heart disease; since you’ve had a stroke already, some of it may not be as applicable to you, but you’ll find much valuable info there.

    (2) In addition, as long as you’re on Coumadin (which was frightening to me, too) you do need to know what supplements and foods interfere with it and by how much. A great resource to help with that is There is a vitamin K registry there that will help immensely.

    Once you’ve done your research and started sorting out what works for you, then it’s probably time to find a doctor that will support you in your choices.

    Good luck. We’re here to help you if we can.


  • David says:

    Dear All,

    I am a healthy 36 year old white male. I had my first encounter with Afib during college at age 20. Since then, I’ve had about 12-15 cardio-versions, tried Norpace (Disopyramide) and am now on Flecinide. Based on my personal experience, STRESS HAS A DIRECT EFFECT ON AFIB. I can look back on my life and each time “I go in” there is usually a stressful event associated. Stress management is key, as is a good amount of regular sleep.

    I hope this helps.

    All the best as we all share to stay well,


    No stress doesn’t cause Af but it does not help it at all.

    Well done Martin for taking positive steps to overcome Drink, yes it will trigger AF ….Christine had AF for 17yrs with several cardioversions…and a Ablation 3 years ago…still come back several mths ago…just been shocked agAin alittle respite until they know what to do agAin. Christine aged 53..worked all my life with or without AF. cHRISTINE

  • Joseph says:

    I am a firm believer that stress and alcohol play a pivotal role in developing atrial fibrillation. I am a “lone” sufferer. When I had some particular stressful occurrences in my life (starting last year – 52 years of age) I had some major attacks. We had some diazepam in the house and I took one to calm my nerves and went under control immediately (cause -effect?). I was a pretty regular drinker of alcohol as well. I think the alcohol makes it worse because we sometimes drink to deal with stress and/or unhappiness. I still have the afib now but I can tell you the attacks happen daily, but are very limited. A cup of green tea helps 90% of the time. I have stopped drinking almost altogether (a careful glass of red wine perhaps once weekly). WIth high blood pressure under control, one aspirin a day, no alcohol, one AM cappucino and dropping weight, I am hopeful that I can do this without meds or procedures. I have a pretty good group of cardiologists as well so the only thing I can do is to keep on top of it. i am trying very hard to develop mechanisms to deal with stress with varying levels of success. I think that is the key though; the stress.
    Perhaps someone knows what the incidence of AFib is in other industrialized countries that sociologically have a lower degree of stress (Italy, France)?
    Great Blog!

  • Mellanie says:


    I’m so sorry you have afib, and that it started at such a young age. It’s good that you recognize the role of stress in bringing on your afib episodes.

    As you indicate, sleep is very important, too. There is a strong correlation between sleep apnea, which disrupts sleep, and afib.

    Good luck with your afib.


  • Mellanie says:


    You’re technically correct in that stress doesn’t CAUSE afib – we don’t know what causes it. But it does trigger it and bring it on. And it seems to be much worse when stress is part of the equation.

    I’m sorry you’re in this afib club, too, and have had such a hard time.

    There are solutions! With failed ablations and cardioversions, there is still the surgery option.

    My heart goes out to you. Let me know if I can help as I’ve been there.


  • Mellanie says:


    You’ve hit on something important. Medical research and conventional wisdom tell us that drinking alcohol brings on afib. That may be true, but as you say, perhaps it’s the underlying stress that encourages drinking to deal with the stress.

    I don’t know individual numbers for European countries, but do know that Europe has about 4.5 million afibbers, so it’s about as common there as here. But to your point, it would interesting to know if some countries have lower rates because they have lower-stress cultures overall.

    Good luck with the dietary changes (the help you get from green tea is encouraging) and with controlling your stress. I hope that keeps it well under control.

    Thanks for your comments.

    All the best,

  • FloridaRick says:

    I survived the 6/2/08 minimaze procedure and still have significant bruising and swelling. I had complications after the procedure that I am still dealing with.

    I will need to wait many weeks or months to ascertain the efficacy of the procedure.


  • Mellanie says:


    I’m glad you made it through your mini-maze. I am sorry that you had complications.

    It does take several months (at least three) to know if it worked. You may have afib episodes for several months as your heart heals. But you’ve been in afib for a mighty long time, so it’s reasonable to expect that they had to do a lot of work on your heart and that all of that must heal.

    You were in my thoughts on 6/2, and I will continue to send good wishes for a speedy recovery. I hope soon your afib will be just a distant memory.

    Warmest regards,

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  • Nicola Coles says:

    What a relief to be able to find information and read other’s stories about AF.
    I’m a 36 yr old professional athlete in the NZ Rowing Team about to compete at my 2nd Olympics in Beijing in under 4 weeks.
    Last week I had my first episode of AF after having trained in the morning, a big lunch and then a nap on the couch, I woke up with AF. When after 24 hours it hadnt gone away I was electrically cardioverted (IV flecainide didnt work).
    Am I stressed at the moment? Um yuhhuh!!!!! I am trying to find methods of dealing with the stress but also trying to find as much info as I can on dealing with AF as I’m not sleeping very well as I’m sure its going to come on again. Not ideal in the lead up to an olympics but I’m determined this will not affect my performance. So far this hasn’t affected my training and I’m hopeful that because this comes on in my sleep it wont come on when I’m racing. (Flecainide creates and irregular wave pattern on my ECG so I cant use this and Beta blockers are banned so I cant use those either).
    Does anybody have any advice on anything i can do to avoid another episode? Foods to avoid etc?? Doctors have been less than helpful, looking at me blankly when I say I woke up with rather than being brought on by exercise.


  • Ellis says:


    My name is Ellis and I am 17 years old. I think that I have been experiencing afib for a couple of years. I not sure. I have been under a lot of stress and pressure. On top of this, I am experiencing something that feels like heartburn but I am not so sure if it is. What should I do?

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  • Mellanie says:


    I’m so sorry it’s been several days since you posted. I had just come back from travels when our Internet went out for 2 1/2 days, so I’m finally back online.

    Please feel free to contact me directly ASAP to help in any way I can. Just send me your e-mail address (go to and I’ll reply. I realize that you will be leaving any day for Beijing, or may already be there.

    You’ve trained too hard for this to have afib get in your way. Dehydration can be a major factor in bringing on afib, so controlling that may help. Also, being dehydrated depletes your magnesium, so supplementing with that (I believe that magnesium glycinate is supposed to be the most effective form for afib) may help.

    Please feel free to send me your e-mail so I can help more directly. I’m not a doctor, but may have come across ideas that could help.

    And most of all, I’ll make sure that the afib community knows, and we’ll be pulling for you in Beijing.

    Warmest regards,

  • Mellanie says:


    I’m so sorry you’re having what appears to be afib at such a young age. The stress and pressure will bring it on, and for many people the heartburn and “vagal” symptoms are quite common with afib.

    An electrophysiologist (a cardiologist specializing in heart rhythms) can diagose whether it’s afib or some other heart rhythm irregularity, and can treat you.

    Good luck finding the right doctor. If you’ll let me know where you are, perhaps I will know of some doctors in your area. You can reply privately by sending me an e-mail from . Thanks.


  • Scott says:

    I am 41 and I just found out I have permanent A Fib. The doctor gave me a mild sedative to help relax me. The stress was causing higher heart rates.

    You may want to check to see if this is an option.

    I wish you the best at the olympics!

  • Brenda says:

    I have hypertrophic cardimyopathy & starting w/afib about (3) years ago. Tried several medications but every (3-4) months I’m in the hospital have a cardio conversation. I took Norpace and went 8 months without a episode, went into afib in March, 2008 & my cardiologist put me on amiandorone, which after research I do not like taking it. I was wondering if the new drug, multaq would be something I could suggest to my cardiologist or what surgery would I be a candidate for.

  • Mellanie says:


    You said: “I was wondering if the new drug, multaq would be something I could suggest to my cardiologist or what surgery would I be a candidate for.”

    First caveat – I’m not a doctor, so I can’t make medical recommendations.

    However, it’s certainly worth askig your doctor if Multaq would be a good replacement for amiodarone. While it probably won’t be on the market until some time next year, it’s worth asking about and watching. If you’re interested, there are several stories about Multaq and amiodarone on’s News & Events page (

    As to whether you’re a candidate for surgery, that can best be answered by a surgeon. You may find a surgeon in your area in’s Afib Services Locator (

    Good luck.


  • JENNIFER FOX says:

    I am so glad to see this article. I had my first really attack of afib 4 mos ago. I had a chest xray, CT, and echocardio gram and all were negative. The echo showed I have a healthy and normal heart. However, I keep feeling my heart fibrilate while I am at work. I work at a level 1 trauma hospital and there is a tremedous amount of stress. I don’t smoke, have a couple of beers a week and limit myself to 8oz of caffeine a day. I am really beginning to believe that my fibrilation is stress related.

  • Mellanie says:


    Yes, stress really can bring on afib episodes, and since the episodes come and go, they are often not picked up on diagnostic tests.

    Some research indicates that caffeine may not be the culprit in afib that it is perceived to be. Some folks with afib can drink organic coffee with no problem, but have afib episodes from regular conventional coffee. Thus, that’s one thing you might try, switching to organic for your daily coffee as a starting point.

    There are also nutritional things that you can try. One of the best resources for dietary changes to deal with afib is the Lone Atrial Fibrillation Forum at (link is also in the forum list on this blog).

    Another option is examining how you think about the stress in your life. As I talk about in my book (A Woman’s Guide to Saving Her Own Life), if you can turn your bad stress into good stress based on how you think about it, it won’t have the same ill effects on you.

    Good luck. Let me know if we can help further.


  • Gordon says:

    Hi there,

    I’m a 31 year old male living in Manchester and I had my first known episode of AF 4 months ago; my partner and I had just gone to Scotland for a week’s break and I went into AF on the first evening after a meal and a few drinks. My partner is a doctor, and whilst she knew immediately that I was ‘irregularly iregular’ we decided to rest on it overnight; not much sleep was had by either of us.

    When morning came I was much the same but was getting light headed so we went to a hospital in Glasgow. I’ll never forget the drive there; I could barely move or speak and I thought I was going to die. I was in hospital for 2 days and was electro-cardioverted after a 24hour IV of Amiodarone failed to put me back into sinus rythmn. I was released with no additional treatment nor a followup appointment, and having been in AF for very nearly 48 hours I was exhausted.

    My working lifestyle had been fairly hectic for the 14 months prior to this point; as a self employed contractor I had been commuting and staying away in London and had been drinking regularly and sometimes quite heavily for about 9 months. Indeed, I was out on a leaving do 2 days before the episode and the cardiologists in Glasgow attributed this, along with my lifestyle, to the AF episode; textbook holiday heart syndrome.

    My bloods showed no underlying problems with my thyroid/platelets/blood sugar/electroytes and an echo revealed my heart in perfect working order, although one wall was maybe slightly thick. They believed that this was purely down to my size, (I’m 6″5 and at the time was probably in excess of 23 stone) which made sense to me and is thankfully reversible.

    With my contract ending 2 weeks afterward, I decided to turn down another job in London as I wanted a good break to recuperate. Since that time I stopped smoking, drinking and started a good balanced diet with my partner (lost about 1 1/2 stone so far). Over the first few months I felt pretty bad with headrushes, palps, sore chest muscles, GERD, but we put all that down to the dramatic changes I was making and anxiety. These symptoms came to a climax with what we believe were panic attacks. At this point I realised a lot of it was in my mind and so began to deal with things better. I felt much better for about a month until I had my second AF episode.

    This came on 2 weeks ago, mid-afternoon, whilst I was cramming for an exam. I had been experiencing ectopics for about 24 hours before this point, and prior to that some central chest pain (either side of my sternum) which came about after a lot of heavy lifting (5 days before the episode). This was definitely a muscular pain, but I had experienced very similar symptoms the first time round, almost identical infact (few days chest pain, few days ectopics, AF).

    This time I successfully reverted to sinus rythmn with 1 1/2 hours IV flecainade and was advised to take 100mg twice daily for 1 week, take 75mg aspirin daily and to carry a ‘pill in the pocket’ thereafter. I have a follow up in 6 weeks. As before, my bloods and chest x-ray showed that I was otherwise fine.

    Sorry for the long winded story but I’ve been reading just about anything and everything vaguely related to AF, probably too much. I have been off work for about 3 1/2 months now (not entirely through choice) and am concerned I’m turning into a bit of hypocondriac, but I do have some questions I hoped people may be able to comment on..

    If AF is brought on by alcohol/stress can it stop as suddenly as it starts, assuming you’ve adjusted your lifestyle accordingly, or is it then a permenant part of life?

    Has anyone experienced similar symptoms ie.. slight chest pain followed by frequent ectopics (every 10-20mins approx) then AF. Also, both times I had a brief AF episode, then kicked out of it to sinus rythmn, then finally went into it again after 15 mins or so.

    When I go into AF it’s very noticeable, pounding heart etc.., and both times I become light headed as my bpm shoots upto 170/180.. The last time however my resting heart rate settled to about 90/100 (still in AF) when in hospital. Is the initial surge because of panic/adrenaline?

    How do people find the pill in the pocket approach? I was advised to take 100mg if an episode occurs, but I wonder if this is enough. Also, from what I have read, most people try and ride out an AF episode, and I’m not sure if I should be trying to do that or going straight to hospital.

    Has anyone had any success with holistic treatment? I am considering having my amalgams replaced, as I have also been suffering from chronic Cholinergic Urticaria for over 10 years, and am wondering if there is some tenuous connection between it all.

    Along similar lines, I have read that ectopics and tachycardia can be caused by an infected root canal or abscess, which I have had for about 6 months. (dentist is now wary of extraction because of AF and aspirin combo)

    Sorry if it reads like I’m clutching at straws but I guess I’m just getting a lot of things of my chest.

    I hope you all find a way to better deal with or cure your own conditions; it is inspiring for me to read that so many of you deal with it so well already, yet I’m obviously a little concerned about how this could shape my life going forward.

    Best wishes and thanks for reading (if you made it this far…)


  • Mellanie says:


    I’m so sorry that you have afib and have been through so much already. You are truly fortunate that your partner is a doctor and can probably help you sort much of this out.

    Hopefully some folks can chime in to answer your questions. Here are a few of my thoughts:

    Stress is a definite afib trigger for many folks, and alcohol is for many as well. Many folks have found that avoiding their triggers keeps afib away.

    Regarding pill-in-the-pocket, my doctor had me take a beta blocker every day, and keep an extra one handy in case I needed it to reverse an afib episode. That worked for me many times.

    Many folks that have lone afib (no underlying heart disease) have found diet and supplements to be quite effective at keeping their afib at bay. If you haven’t already, you might check out the Lone Afib Forum for discussions on those topics. The link is here, in the Afib Forums list. Some folks over there also have experience with amalgam removal.

    Dental and heart issues are closely related due to the inflammation connection with heart disease and afib. Can your dental issue be treated with antibiotics?

    I wish you success in finding the right answers for you.


  • francesca says:

    Have read about the results of a German study linking AF to a virus…….my own experience is that the episodes last exactly three days and are accompanied, as the end of the episode draws near by head sweating. When the episode concludes I feel as if I have been detoxified indeed….sulfites, animal fats, irradiation in foods (??). There are sulfites in non-organic coffee! There are sulfites in everything, even in flour to keep it from clumping! A nightmare….have been working with cratageous oxyacantha, lactuca virosa, magesium…..any success on treating/finding a link with intercellular magnesium deficiency…when we are under stress our bodies don’t absorb magesium properly. Wonderful and informative blog.

  • David says:

    I believe you are on the right track Mellanie. My AF started when I was struggling to start my business. 15-18 hour days and the money draining away. I was 45 when I had my first episode. I was an athlete through my college years and continue to swim everyday. I continue to have episodes and they are always related to illness or stress. My wife lost both of her parents this year and it has been a horrible year for AF.
    I have seen several doctors and I always test out strong on treadmill and blood tests. My at rest-heart rate is 45 and my blood pressure is around 115/65. I go periods of months without an episode but when I do it lasts for around 3-5 days and the only thing that helps is coughing and sitting in the shower with the water (stream) hitting me directly in the back. After 5 min the AF subsides. Like others when the AF is on and off I cannot sleep on my left side or drink cold water.
    I have always believe it was stress related but recently I started thinking that there may be a relation to back pain. I’m an avid golfer and when I have strain in my upper back region I notice that I am prone to an episode.
    I would love to find out what is really causing this because all the doctors want to do is to put me on meds for the rest of my life and this is just not an option I want to consider given the side effects.
    I have been reading about the Cox-Maze procedure but don’t like the idea of surgery much better. I’m in Orange County California and would love a reference to a decent Cardiologist if anyone knows one.
    Thanks for the blog. I don’t mean it negatively but it’s good to know I’m not alone.

  • Jeanne says:

    Hello Mellanie,
    I just came across your site and have lot’s of reading to do. I cannot believe all the people who are suffering from Afib. I don’t think anyone realizes how scary it is when your heart out of the blue starts pumping 200-300bpm, or more sometimes! I was diagnosed with Afib 4years ago. I have Paroxsymal Afib. I have been on coumadin since it began, also the beta blocker atenelol. I have had 3 TIA’s. For the most part though, the Afib has been under control with just a few episodes here and there. In the meantime I have had lapband surgery to lose weight. My Dr. thought that weight was part of the problem. So I went through the surgery, lost about 65lbs. in a year and a half. Had a problem in the last 2mos. with the lap band, haven’t been able to eat without vomitting, so not getting any nutrtion. So obviously my electrolytes are all off…so sure enough the Afib has been out of control. Went into the hosptal to try a drug called Tikosyn (dofetilide). They monitored me for 3 days and sent me on my way. A week later was back in the hospital to have the lapband removed. While recovering had quite a few episodes of Afib. One that almost sent me to be converted. But I begged them to give me my meds, along with another beta blocker, some potassium, and a nice hot shower, (which 75% of the time does stop my afib!) and sure enough it stopped after 12 hours. Just a question about the Tikosyn…do you know much about it? It is very limited to certain Doctors, hospitals and even pharmacies. Any information would be appreciated. I am going to give myself time to heal after this last surgery, see how my heart does on the Tikosyn before I make any other decisions on what to do. I do know I cannot live like this anymore. First of all it is so frightening, a person has no quality of life…for me anyway. After an epsisode I am laid up for days, exhausted, head ache…just cannot function. I am only 48years old and cannot see me living like this for the rest of my life, also taking these drugs for that long. I am sure they will have some ill effect on my body in some other way. Please shed some light, for at this point I am getting so depressed about the whole thing. Thanks for listening. Take care.

  • Mellanie says:


    Thanks for your kind words about the blog and for your contributions and comments here.

    Yes, we have learned a lot about intercellular magnesium deficiency and that it is correlated with afib. For many people, supplementing with magnesium keeps them under control or stops afib episodes. There’s a lot of great info on that over at Hans Larsen’s Lone Atrial Fibrillation Forum. You’ll find the link to it here in the list of Afib Forums (on the right side of the page).


  • Mellanie says:


    I’m sorry it’s been such a tough year for you and your wife.

    If people can get afib from bending over, it’s as likely that you can get it from muscle strain and back pain.

    There are several electophysiologists (cardiologists that specialize in heart rhythms) that are listed in our Afib Services Locator and who are not too far from you – see them listed here:

    Good luck.


  • Mellanie says:


    Yes, afib is scary. I’m so sorry about what you’ve been through – the TIAs, the Lap Band challenges, and the terrible afib.

    Rather than trying to tell you all about a medication, since I’m not a medical person, it’s better for me to refer you to some medical resources about medications. Over at, we have a Patient Resources section ( and in it you’ll find a section with medication resources. They will will tell you about medications and some will even help you figure out interactions with other medications and even foods and supplements. I hope that helps.


  • Kevin says:

    Hi Mellanie-

    I was just diagnosed with Afib yesterday during a routine physical. I am only 32 years old, but do have a type A personality and considerable stress.

    I have been put on a beta blocker to lower my BP which was 152/119 last night. I am scheduled to go back to the cardiologist in two weeks to see if the Beta Blockers are lowering my BP enough so that the Afib ceases… I think.

    This all feels rushed. I had no symptoms, was just going for a physical and then I end up at a cardiologists office. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to find out there is somehting wrong so it can be fixed…Can you recommend a cardiologist in the Columbia, SC area. The services locator on the site could not. I was sent via a referral to a doctor, who seems nice, but I can’t find out anything about him…



  • Matt says:


    My first episode of AF was back in November 2007 at the age of 31. I was on a night out with friends and admittedly drank a lot of alcohol I was admitted to A and E.

    My heart rate was over 200bpm and irregular I was transferred to the CCU ward and given Fleccanide but this did not revert my heart to sinus rhythm. I was told that the I would have to have cardioversion to revert it back if another drug did not work. Well they thought this drug did not work also and I was booked in for cardioversion the following day. As I was nil by mouth for that whole day and was not having the anisthetic till the following day I was allowed to drink and eat. As soon as I’d drank some water my heart rate came back to the right rhythm and they cancelled the op. I was allowed home the following day.

    I was really concerned about what had happened to me and found through various sites that this was not a common thing in people under 40. Things were fine I dared not go near alcohol and was also taking an aspirin a day. I gradually became more confident over the Christmas period and drank occasionally.

    About 6 months later I began getting flutters and irregular beats, sometimes upto 20 a day. I booked to see the doctor and I was fitted a couple of weeks later with a cardiomemo to record my heart rhythms for a week. Guess what, yes no irregular beats so that was that.

    Then just last friday 21/2/09 I was out with friends again and drinking alcohol but not to excess like I had before, I started to get acid and felt a bit sick then the AF returned. So back to A and E and was given Fleccanide amnd iperin again which slowed my heart rate but was still in AF. Next I was given another drug and a drip around 12 hours after first getting the episode my heart went back into the right rhythm again. a doctor signed me out and no follow up is arranged.

    I’ve booked to see my GP because surely this should not be happening at my age unless there is some kind of defect with my heart. I also have numbness in my left hand from time to time this turns into pins and needles on the outside of my hand. I think the doctors in the CCU department think i’m a drunk which im not but surely alcohol is not the only cause of this. I have been very stressed in my work recently and think that this has attributed to the recent episode of AF.

    Hope to hear peoples comments on this and any advice would be appreciated.

  • Annie says:

    YES Stress can cause afib episodes. I just had a horrible stressful work meeting and came to google “afib & stress” to see what I else I could find and found this page. I have NO doubts whatever in my mind that my afib episodes are largely stress related. This one certainly was. There were no other factors (sometimes it can be alcohol or caffeine, but neither has been in my body for months). This one is all stress.

  • Mellanie says:


    I’m sorry – I’ve been on the road without my PC.

    In South Carolina, Dr. Marcus Wharton is a very well-known and highly respected electrophysiologist. I know several folks for whom he has done ablations and they say he is one of the very best. EPs are cardiologists that specialize in heart rhythms. Good luck.


  • Mellanie says:


    Stress could be a major issue for you, especially since alcohol and partying help us deal with stress.

    It sounds like dehyration could be an issue for you, which is not unusual for younger afibbers. Magnesium and focusing on having sufficient electrolytes could be a help. You might find some help over at the Lone Afib Forum: (it’s also linked in the afib forums over to the right). Many folks over there have experienced what you have experienced. Hope this helps. Good luck.


  • David_Dallas says:

    My first episode of AFIB happened early January. I passed out early, had a pretty deep cut and heard for the 1st time at the ER about atrial fibrillation. After 5-6 hours, just before I was supposed to get an electroshock, my heart started working normally again. Cardiologists told me it could be a lone AFIB and forecasted it never to happen again.
    The next (& last – so far) happened on March 23rd, in the same conditions (except this time I didn’t cut myself falling) and that my heart went right after back to normal. Of course, the same 2 cardiologists now foresee this AFIB to come back! I am now wearing 24h a day an ECG machine (from the company LifeWatch) at a Cardiac Electrophysiologist request.
    I have a pretty stressy life (which I enjoy): I am a workaholic, working on 3 time zones, traveling heavily. And I can’t stay inactive: I always have to do something (at work, at home…). Plus we are expecting for the 1st time, after a couple of years trying (another source of stress)…
    I must admit I have been (and I guess I am still) in a denial mode, saying I am fine and not changing much to my way of life. But my wife is taking it more seriously (as I should) and worries a lot for me. I need to do some changes & reduce the stress but I am not sure how…

  • Mellanie says:


    You’re a Type A, like a very large portion of afibbers. It’s not unusual. We’re adrenalin junkies, and we love it, but that does predispose us to afib.

    So, what to do? The first step is often to reframe our stress so that we don’t let it get to us. Good stress doesn’t have the same ill effects as bad stress.

    Sometimes it’s a case of taking a deep breath and reflecting on what is going on around us. Maybe it means slowing down a little bit occassionally so our bodies can regroup. Maybe it means being mindful of what is happening to your body and whether there is something you should change.

    Of course, adrenalin junkies can decrease the stress load on our bodies through paying closer attention to what we eat and drink. Yes, that’s hard on the road, but it can be done.

    So the first step is paying attention and reframing how we see things.

    Good luck, and I hope this helps in some small way.


  • Bedford Brown says:

    I started taking 10mg of Lipitor for bad cholesterol, in January 2009. I haven’t had an episode of A Fib since that time. My incidents of A Fib are short term, and I have had them for over 20 years. Is it possible that Lipitor decreases the incidence of A Fib?

  • Joshua says:


    About three months ago I woke up at 5 am and my heart felt like it was beating out of my chest. It was fast and the beats were irregular as well. I had know idea what was happening and was sure that I was going to have a heart attack. After about two hours the palpitations were not as strong but my heart continued to race at a really fast pace and this threw me into what I think was my first panic attack.

    I went to the ER after waiting at home for over 3 hours to see if it would stop on it’s own. Of course while waiting in the waiting room my afib ceased and my heart began to beat normally again. The doctors told me that I had a case of party heart and that I should cut back on the drinking (i was drinking on average 4-5 beers a day 4-5 days aweek after work) and coffee as well. Also All of the testing and x-rays showed nothing out of the ordinary.

    I cut out the caffeine and alcohol but at the same time I was under an immense amount of stress at work and home. I spent the immediate days after the episode anxious about another episode and it was all I could think about. I found myself always listening to my heart beat and checking my breathing basically expecting another onset.

    After a few weeks I wasn’t thinking about it so much and slowly began to drink again. a few beers here and there basically trying to cope with all the stress i was under. Then about 3 days ago I came home from work and drank a six pack of beers and went to bed. I awoke at about 5 am to find my heart racing again. This time I was able to fend off a panik attack and decided to go to work and try to forget about it. It only got worse at work as I felt light-headed and dizzy the entire time and I almost passed out on a couple of occasions. I went right tho the ER again and this time they were able to record my heartbeat with EKG. The doctor told me to close my eyes and bear down as he massaged the pulse in my neck and applied slight pressure to my eyes. My heart converted back almost instantly! I stayed for a few more hours while they ran blood tests and took x-rays. And again everything was fine. The er doctor said it was proxomyl (?) afib.

    I am scheduled to see a cardiologist this week but once again I am in constant fear of another episode.
    They told me to take an aspirin everyday and they put me on cardizem 30 mg. (which I have not taken because the side effects seem crazy.

    I’m only 27 years old andI’m in good health with no family history of heart problems.

    Does this seem like afib or maybe party heart again? Has anyone else gone through something similar

  • Don says:

    I am 51 years ond and I have had atrial fibrilation for about 6 years now. They tried medication and 2 seperate cardioversions with no success. I have had a single lead pacer implanted, then a two lead and now a 3 lead with the defibrilator. In 2007 the defibrilator shocked me 29 times within anhour. I have since had 2 atrial abations (one lasted 8 hours and the second was 9) these also were not effective. My quality of life is very poor. When Medtronics did the last check on my pacer; they said that I was in A-Fib 96% of the time. I am looking for other viable options. possibly a cox maze or the extreme would be a nodal ablation. What do you think?

  • Don says:

    I forgot to add in my previouse comment that I am also on 9 different daily medications (metoprolol, coumadin, lasik, klor-con, digoxin, amiodarone, enalapril, lipitor & methimazole) I also take xanax as needed for the anxiety. I could really use an alternative

  • don says:

    I submitted a couple of inquiries the other day pertaining to atrial fibrilation and this morning and yesterday they said they were awaiting mediation, but now there gone. did I do something wrong on the posting?

  • Maya Matthew says:

    Nice blog, thanks. I have experienced AFib almost exclusively as a stress reaction – though I was not able to pin-point exactly one or a few issues that really stress me. One explanation that made sense was that AFib happens when the components of the heart aren’t moving to the same beat, and this can happen because of inner conflicts (in my case it seems to make sense). Whenever I am torn between going one way or another, it seems to increase my chances of afib.

    A website article says

    “In the case of Arrhrythmia (Atrial Fibrillation), there is a specific energy imbalance in the energies brought to the heart and the energies being sent out. Ofcourse the electric beat is disturbed. To balance the flow of energy or electricity through the Heart, the commonsense thing to do is immediately stop getting emotionally worked up. If you are in the habit of feeling things deeply, then start transalating those feelings into physical response – like clenching your fists, or breathing deeply, or even punching a pillow. Let the electricity out of your Heart into the rest of your body. This will balance the electricity of your heart quickly enough you’ll notice.”

    (from )

    I’m finding myself a lot less stressed these days ‘letting the electricity of my heart out to the rest of my body’. I just let my body feel my stress and then tell myself its going to be ok, I just have to have faith in God and do what I can to the best of my ability.

    Hope this helps someone!


  • I had an A-fib episode….the first in my life……seems to be triggered by a vitamin supplment…..Its been 2 days now and I am experiencing numbness in my hands…..very slight…like pins and needles…..been taking aspirin for those 2 days. Scary…I am 37 and thought to be in great health.

  • Fadi Haddad says:

    I have recently experienced a Lone AF with 150 beats per min. some doctors mentioned using bisoprolol 2.5 mg daily as a preventative . is this right?

  • athony says:

    iam 36 yrs male in extreme shape ,use weights 6 days a week, run 4 days a week about 6 months ago i woke in a fib after a night of binge drinking.
    rushed to the er heart rate 150 bpm they gave me a beta blocker .
    about 12 hrs converted on my own, was realeased the next day after several test
    and alot of blood work .now on beta blocker 50 mg day + asprin
    was told to stpo acl. and caffine did so 17 days later in my sleep another attack
    converted on my own in 3 hrs . later since then alot of top heart docs at penn.
    they tell my hearts in great shapeand where gonna fix it . i have a consultaition in 2 weeks for an ablation .
    since then ive had about 10 attacks in my sleep so i went for a sleep study total nightmare barley slept test came back fine (think i need another one where i really can sleep). can u or somebody out there shed some light on my attacks and time of them it would be greatly helpful thank you much.


  • Mellanie says:


    I’m sorry for what you’re going through. You’re quite young for afib, but it is common among young athletes. Are you getting enough hydration along with enough magnesium and potassium? Also Omega-3 fatty acids?

    If your attacks mostly occur in your sleep, sleep apnea would sure seem likely. It may be that you didn’t get a valid sleep study, especially if you couldn’t sleep. Can you do a home sleep study? Home sleep studies are becoming more and more available and could give you more valid results.

    Are you near Allentown? We’re doing an afib patient event there soon. Here’s more info:

    We’ll be talking about all the different options for treating afib.

    Wishing you good luck with your afib.


  • Trent says:

    I’m 32, and was diagnosed with A-fib a year ago. It was brought on by alcohol. I do not drink alcohol at all now, yet, I continue to have episodes. I have noticed anytime I eat pizza, my heart oges out of rhythm (goes out on other occasions as well). What could be in the pizza that I am sensitive to? I am scheduled to have an ablation in January, so hopefully this will end my days of A-fib.

  • Pam Haley says:

    hey…been in a-fib for over 20 years….lone…comes and goes. the supplement taurine has helped me tremendously. look up the research on the web.

  • Michel Malengret says:

    I am a healthy 60 years old and diagnosed with arithmia and fibrilation 10 years ago.

    I don’t drink much alcohol but after a saterday evening of more than usual consumpltion i exercised vigourasly. I think this combined with businessstress was the onset.

    Today I take200 mg of hexarone (beta supressor)
    This helps a lot. However I hate medicine and would like to know if I will ever be able to get off the it.

    Are thereany alternative. I am healthy run 10 kM easily have very low blood pressure but carry a lot of business stress.

  • Mellanie says:


    If your afib is pretty well controlled you might ask your doctor if it’s possible to try a “pill in the pocket” approach where you only take the medication if you have an episode of afib. That way you’d be off the medication unless you needed it. Just an idea.


  • Mellanie says:


    There are a lot of things in pizza that cause food allergies, which can trigger afib. It could be flour (or gluten intolerance), a spice or MSG, sometimes cornstarch in the sauce, lactose in the cheese, or a variety of other food allergies to toppings. Good luck sorting it out – maybe a book on food allergies could help.


  • milissia says:

    Hi everyone.
    I am amazed at how a fib affects all age group. I am a 29 yr old mother of 2. I am currently a medical assistant at an ob/gyn office and at times can be stessful. I had my forst episode when i was about 23yrs old. when i went to get it checked out, i was only told that i had a “panic attack”. i was hooked to an ekg and nonething was found. In 2008, i has just turned 28. A month later, I had another episode. Ofcourse i paniced and called for an EMT. By time they got to my house, my heart rate was back to normal. I went to the doctor the following day, a heart study was done for a month and again, nonething was found.

    Finally. october of 2009, I had the “Big Episode”. This time it did not go away and I was admitted to the hospital. 10 hrs later, I was diagnosed with afib. I was devestated because i thought about my two yr old and three yr old daughter. I was thinking, “my girls need their mommy”. I was also trying to understand why I wasnt diagnosed sooner?. But i guess it happened for a reason adn I am glad to finally get a diagnosis for my problem. But the mystery remains, what triggered it?

  • athony says:

    ii havent been in afib in 6 months but i was on a list a u penn for an ablation is it normal to have afib post ablation and skipped beats please help

  • ged says:

    hi everyone iv ebeen in afib for about 2/3 years now , it was definately brought on with stress i was going through a break up with a long term partner.
    Have had three cardio versions no success

    I m praying i get back to normal , on warfarin and bisoprolol

    Thought it was just stress at first ,if i knew then what i know now as soon as i felt it i would of run up to AE to get cardio verted instead of hanging on

    hope everyone is healthy and well


  • Sebastian says:

    Hi everyone.
    I see I’m not alone.

    I’m a 34 yrs old guy diagnosed with supraventricular arrythmia which sometimes derivate in afib (paroxysmal). I’m being treated with carvedilol and going generally fine.
    In 2004 a holter found the afib. I had then an episode that lasted 10 hs and reverted spontaneously. I really feel when the afib starts. In the last two years I have two episodes. With the last one I got admitted into the hospital and treated with propafenone. Sinusal rhythm returned 3 hs after taking the medication. However, I stayed 20 hrs in Coronary Unit for control and supervision.
    Not surprisingly, a few days before I started a high stress period in my office. I’m sure stress triggers afib. Stress is a nasty mental virus that can explode everywhere in our bodies. Some of us just start fibrillating… The way of walking thru life, the vision we have of things are extremely important too.
    Three weeks later, I moved to another department in my job, a much better one. I’m certain I will be better. I don’t want my afib to install and be treated with anti-arrythmic medication. I just want to be fine with beta-blockers, which are much safer than anti-arrythmics and anti-clotting meds.
    I’m looking for other triggers too. When I eat profusely, I feel extra sistoles that could lead to afib episodes. Sodas and gas drinks tend to contribute too. I drink no alcohol, so that’s one less.
    I hope everyone is fine. Cheers from Argentina.

  • Tommy says:

    Hello everyone, this is my story. I have had palps for years and been to numerous doctors complaint of these palps, every time I would
    get the same answer”it’s stress don’t worry”. About 9months ago I got a really bad episode of these palps and they were harder and faster then usual but they went away on there own. Needless to say it scared the hell out if me and I was back to the doctor. Nuclear stress test, ecocardiogram and EKG revealed that I was healthy and nothing was wrong. Three
    hours later I went to work and ran up the stairs cause
    I was late. When I got to the top of stairs I thought I was having a heart attack. I had never felt anything like this before. My heart was pounding, completly off rythm and very fast. I went home thinking it would go back on it’s own since I was just at the doctors and had every test done and nothing was found. I lasted a hour and went to the ER. My heart rate was 220 when I got there. The doctor gave me fecanide and toporal that night and I went into sinus rythym the next day. I have been taking flecanide and toporal with asprin for a month now. I amiserable that yhis happened. I am 6’3 225pds I went to the gym everyday and always had a healthy diet. I played highschool and college sports and never had a problem. I Sony know whay yo do. I have no confidence in my heart now. I still have palps and weird feelings in my heart all the time. I can’t go to the gym because that triggers it. I literally worry about this all day everyday. I just want to feel normal. Please help

  • beth swartzell says:

    to all a-fibs. check out the pauling protocol. i have been taking it for about a month and a half. i had one a-fib about a year ago. please, please check out the site. it may save your life.!

  • Angela says:

    My a-fib has only started this year and I have only had two episodes. Both occurred during high stress times with school work and extracurricular activities. I am a slightly athletic 17 year old girl.

    For one of my episodes, I had a small cup of coffee 24 hours earlier, while my first episode seemed to have no triggers other than stress. However, I feel that sleep deprivation played a role in both episodes.

  • Demetrios Athenian says:

    Hello, your blog is just great! I am calling from Athens Greece (E.U).
    I am 42, my 1st AF was back in my 30’s after a super stressed day..our weekend cottage was set on fire during a big forest fire and I drove fast to it to check out the situation, hopefully the house was ok but that was the moment my AF got started..and kept for 10-15 minutes and ever since I’ve had occasional incidences over the years until 2005 when I had to get in to the hospital after 2 days of AF to set it right.They gave 2 Rhytmonorms & 1/4 of Lopressure (B-blocker), after a few hours the pulse was back to normal again.
    AF continued to visit me maybe 3-5 times a year no more than 30 minutes..until now and I mean a month ago..I had to go to the hospital again..they gave me Algoron along with Rhytmonrm, stayed for 2 days but until now we’re talking the arrhythmia still exists.. I am taking lopressor 1/4 + 1/4 & 100mg aspirin..I did all the tests (dopplers, tripplex ets..) as I did it many times in the past, my heart is quite normal, there is no problem, my stomach too, I have only a bend for hypothyroidism which is controlled. I do not drink, not smoke..but I am a neurotic person with Panic Attacks for more than 7 years which is controlled taking a small dose of Seroxat & xanax, extremely stressed..just a simple thought (negative or positive) makes my heart bumps like crazy horse..Adrenaline is my middle name..I can swim in it..I am an artist a painter and creation brings a lot of psychological suffer..

    I observed a few things that may trigger my AF:

    1.Stress / Panic
    2.Pizza (generally I am allergic)
    3.legumes (lentil soup)
    4.I am allergic and difficult to use my nose to breathe (night in bed only, no problem in the daylight)
    5.lifting weight
    6. some sudden move

    My phychiatrist says not to worry about, it is very common for my and my type of person..

    I just worry about strokes..a 100mg of aspirin is enough? my cardio says yes..but I heard about sydrome the anticoagulant drug from another cardio.. Moreover I am not willing to do electroshock since I know myself and I will recrudescence.

    thanx again for being out there..looking forward to your answer.

  • Alec says:

    Hello all. Just wanted to share my afib story with you…….
    At around age 15, I would get ocassional episodes of afib if I didn’t warm up before playing basketball, or sudden explosive movements would set it off. The episodes would last for a few minutes, I’d feel like I had a fish flopping in my chest and then it would just reset and Id be fine. At this point, my doctor was unable to identify what was happening because the episodes would end prior to getting an ekg. It wasn’t until I was 32 that I had an episode that started spontaneously, no athletic activity going on, and was sustained, which finally did allow me to get it diagnosed. It lasted about 8 hours before converting on its own. The doc ruled it primary or lone afib and put me on 25 mg toprol-xl daily. I am 37 now and still take toprol-xl daily. I am still athletic and seem to only get afib episodes that last a couple minutes every so often. So it would seem that that the beta blocker is helping to some degree. Nonetheless, it is very frustrating to have to take a pill like this every day and having doctors that tend to blow it off as no big deal since there are no underlying heart or disease processes they can pin it on.


  • Tania Brassard says:

    Hi, I am 40 yrs old and just recently started having Afib and it has been happening once a month for 4 months now. I’ve been cardioverted twice electrically and the 2 other times with medication. I am quite overweight, have proteinuria(protein spills into my urine), and have had problems with blood pressure. I also have bad allergies which causes my lungs to be congested and I need to be on a puffer regularily. I eat quite healthy, I’m a vegetarian(to help my kidneys) and I exercise regularily including yoga which I started recently to help with stress. I believe a major factor in my Afib is stress as my husband was laid off last year and now we are losing our house and my handicapped brother who lives with us, recently passed away from a seizure in the night and I’m the one who found him. I also have had anxiety issues for many years but have never gone on medication. Do you think that would help prevent my Afib attacks? Because now I’m having more anxiety than ever and I know that’s not going to help. Do you think anxiety plays a role?

  • hayley says:

    hi. I started with episodes when i was 20yrs, now 22. I strongly believe they was brought on by stress as at the time i was going through complications at work following a grievance procedure. It took quite a while and loads of tests to finally result in PAF. My attacks finally went down to just 1 every 2months. Whilst trying for a baby i had the occasional fluttering but once pregnant and working full time resulted in more attacks. Finally after giving birth and allowing 3months for my body to settle down again i thought they had disappeared because not even a murmur, so i was discharged. I have now had 4 in a month and am going back to the cardiologist. iam worried about the use of drugs if it is again suggested because of all the side effects. I was treated with a drug whilst in hospital but this was a one off. How often are people getting these attacks for them to be on medication?(In between my attacks my heart is perfectly normal) I have tried to note down triggers. (change to warmer/hot weather and becoming dehydrated, tiredness/stress, and not quite sure but digestion following meals where it sits heavy high up?) do these sound familiar??

    • Mellanie says:


      I’m so sorry for your difficulty with afib, especially at your young age. Yes, your triggers are very normal for many who have afib.

      A lot depends on which drug is chosen as some have more side effects than others. You might ask your doctor how to minimize drug side effects. Since your attacks seem to convert spontaneously, most likely you will receive a rate control medication to slow your heart, making it convert quicker. And overall, rate medications have fewer side effects than rhythm medications.

      Good luck.


  • Sharne Dries says:

    Hi everyone,
    Has anyone considered SULPHITES as a preservative in wine, beer and packaged foods as a culprit that causes AF?
    I belong to the AF club. I have had ectopics and palps ALL MY LIFE, since about age 16. But, I am now 52 and SYMTOM FREE!! (. I had rapid AF 2 years ago, hospitalised, meds prescribed, ablation suggested, but I have lone AF with a normal heart. I was mega stressed at work and home both times, but had a lot of alcohol as well. ) For the last 2 months I have had no symtpoms what so ever and feel GREAT because I have ELIMINATED SULPHITES FROM MY LIFE!! Sulphites are the numbers 220 – 228 in cask wines, white and red bottled wine, and beer. All have ADDED sulphites as well! So does practically every packaged food, mostly dried fruits, chicken stock cubes, powder, soups and even chicken stuffing and chicken salt on your fries. Muesli bars, cakes, EVERTHING. Even foods you consider to be ‘Healthy’. There is NOTHING Healthy about a SULPHITE!! It is a dangerous chemical. Why does our modern, stresed, time-poor, fast- food lifestyle see more people with heart conditions, asthma, skin allergies, anaphylactic reactions to food etc??? Because ITS THE CHEMICALS IN OUR FOOD>>>>>> I have cleaned out my pantry of ALL packaged foods that have numbers on them. MSG (NO: 631) is also known as ‘soy protein’, ‘yeast extract’, ‘HVP – hydrolised vegetable protein. Beware of this ONE. The hidden names on packaging are there to trick you into thinking it’s NOT MSG when it is! Also No635 – ribonucleotides give hives, rashes and other allergic reactions. The ‘Chinese Resturant’ syndrome doesn’t gt this name for nothing. Have you ever had palps or AF after Chinese Food? Food additives could be the missing link to your AF attacks? Try keeping a diary of the foods you eat. To test my theory,I deliberately sabotaged myself and drank wine, coffee, had chocolate, etc and put myself back in hospital with supraventricular tachycarhdia. I KNEW what caused it but the hospitl report stated, “Tachycardia brought on by anxiety’. The doctors thought I was neurotic. WHAT A LOAD OF RUBBISH!! So if you have lone AF, no heart defects and otherwise fit and healthy(many of you I read about are athletes) try eleminating preservatives from your diet, esp dried fruit, muesli which we are told is good for us! Make your own food, buy ORGANIC if possible or check to see the label says NO SUPHITES. THis includes your shampoo, soap, cosmetics. hair dye, cleaning agents that get into your bloodstream via your skin. I hope this information is helpful.
    Sharne NSW Australia

  • Mellanie I am so glad I found your we site now i know that i am not crazy like the drs. wanted me to believe i had start afib in 2003 and it took them until 2007 to say i had afib .they said it was anxiety. i made 6 trips to the er in one day but anew dr young lady tried to tell them it was afib but since she was new they would not listen to her my atrial fib have never been control out of the 7 years so you know withthe fast heart beatsI can close to death to the er dr and his prayers save me never he did would stop that heart heart from racing i just knew it was coming out of my chest but god took car of me and he still is and i have to give him h praise by my rate not being control it has bought on heart failure when i told my dr that my heart was quivering and that the blood was not pump artia like it some they told me that the heart does not quivers i told them my does they say it was not true but i do know everything i told them it has been found on your web site and i know it is true when the heart can’t pump blood right it make others diseases happen like hardening of the arteries my quality of life is so poor that shortness or breath keep me limited and stress do bring on afib when you can’t get dr to listen to you all they to do is give you xanax i tell them to take it because i know what my body is telling me i live in fort valley ga my heart has gotten weaker sometime it pump just right and to fast and then to slow and the metopropol does nothing for me hope to find a some when i started too doing research for my self everything i tried to tell the drs what was happening it it true it is nothing better than knowlege thank again and you are doing a awesome job

  • Carmen says:

    Yes, I believe afib is related to stress. Going through a horribly abusive relationship and not being able to confide in anyone, my afib occured every night when my ex-boyfriend snug out of the bedroom and into his office. While in his office he drank alcohol, watched porn and made dates with anybody who was willing to engage in sex. After I finally broke it off, I would get the afib whenever I attempted to sleep in the bedroom. It took almost 2 years to get a handle on the episodes. The good thing is, I haven’t had an episode for two years and I feel great. So yes, I truly believe it’s related to severe stress.

  • peter nelson says:

    The frustrating thing about “stress” is that there’s no scientific definition of stress that we can apply to this discussion. Everybody has their own subjective idea of what’s stressful. So even if we get 100 people saying “stress triggers my afib” unless we can find the common neurophysiological factor those different kinds of stress have in common, it doesn’t get us anywhere solving the mystery of afib.

    I’m unemployed and I have other health problems and my wife has serious cancer. Stress? You bet! But I’ve never had an arrhythmic event dealing with or thinking about those. I’ve had 2 afib events. One lasted for 2 hours. the other for 22 hours and they both happened when I was relaxed, sitting at the computer working on something I love (writing software), a few hours after returning from a run (I’m a runner). I’ve had other arrhythmias – clusters of PVC’s, PAC’s – but I can stop those in their tracks by going out for a run (or just doing some jumping jacks). But I wasn’t able to stop the afib that way.

    My last afib episode ended when I was having an argument with the nurse – I’d been in the hospital overnight and my attack happened just after coming in from a run, so I was sweaty and dirty and wanted to take a shower and she wouldn’t let me. As my temper rose suddenly I converted!

  • evan says:

    Hello fellow afibbers,

    I was a 9/11 first responder at the WTC and suffer from extreme PTSD. I am a disabled veteran and began having afib at night when waking up from bad dreams. I have daily panic attacks and monthly bouts of afib that went undiagnosed until this year. Has anyone seen any connection between PTSD and afib or doctors who diagnosis afib due to stress. I have no other heart issues and am in good health. God Bless you all …… I hope I can get through this. BTW I am 32 years young

  • In August, 1988, at age 49, I had a triple bypass. The need for it was discovered during an annual physical (there has been no heart attack).

    The atrial fib started with the restart of my heart after surgury.

    I have now had afib 22 years. I am only aware of it because of quarterly physicals and annual EKGs,

    Having survived this long with afib, and being physically fit, am I more or less in danger of a mortal event because of afib?

  • Wes says:

    Adrenaline caused a-fib for me. Once in a close call in traffic. Even watching an exciting movie would cause PVC’s. Since having an ablation this has gone away. The ablation was not fully successful, but Tikosyn (expensive) works well for me with no side effects. I am considering going back for a second ablation in another year or so.

  • Nancy says:

    Definitely stress for me. Work stress has led to a number of problems, including anxiety & panic attacks. My first a-fib wasn’t triggered by stress, but by dehydration, which can still cause an attack. But stress is still in there causing trouble.

  • Helga says:

    I also believe stress is the main reason for A fib, I have it for many years and believe that stress causes mine, also my dad had it. I mostly get it while in bed, and always in the AM. I need to do meditation again to get me more relaxed. I also have problem sleeping, that alone causes me to be stressed out about it. I have found, that when I walk, it will bring me back to normal rhytem, it happened that way to many times. I get all frightened when I have it. I can feel it emidiatly, the older I get the more often I get it. It used to be where I got a break for 3-4 months, lately it is almost every 2 weeks. I used to take Norpace for 15 years, my Cardio guy recently told me that it does no good, so I stopped, but seem to have more episodes now. I need to relax but find it hard to do so. Years ago I did Biofeed back and I was so much better, slept better and was so much calmer, It takes a month or so to get the hang of it, I know it works, but cann’t get myself to comit to the daily practice to sit down and tune every thing out. I heard from afriend ov ours whos daughter sells pharmasuticles that there is a new promising drug coming out.

  • Mary says:

    I have afib, apparently, for years. I went in for a physical and my doctor asked, “Do you have any idea how fast your heart is beating?” Well, apparently, I did not. I assumed many of my symptoms were due to aging (I’m 55). I do not go to doctors frequently and can’t stand hypochondriacs. Well, thank God I decided to have a physical. I was sent to a cardiologist. Didn’t like his story so sought another opinion. I had a successful cardioversion. The first one had to be postponed because I had a clot in my heart! That physical saved my life. I was always tired and often felt my heart racing. I just attributed it to aging and having three 20 something kids that drive me nuts. Plus, my job can be stressful. Since I have been diagnosed, I notice that the only time I have felt afib since the cardioversion is when I am under a great deal of stress. Although lifestyle is certainly an issue ( I’ve lost 35 pounds), the stress is my trigger. Tell everyone bugging you to get lost! Good luck to all. Do not assume you are tired because you are aging. 55 is not old!!!

  • Rusty says:

    I don’t have much to share yet as I am just learning about a-fib. I had my first episode in April which lasted about 4 days and today just got out of the hospital from my second ( this one lasted 3 days). Both times I went into a-fib i was at work… so I would have to agree that stress is the trigger.

    If anyone could suggest some good sites that I could check out to learn more about a-fib…… I would greatly appreciate it..


  • Steve says:

    I’m 44 and I just had my first ablation procedure 2 weeks ago for A-fib. After reading everyone’s response I question if I really have A-fib. My episodes are very sort and they feel more like a cluster of skipped heart beats than the “real” a-fib episodes that are being described here, but they happen many times daily. This past week I have started to experience long episodes of what I believe is A-fib. I can continue to work and function, but I feel a slight burning sensation in my chest and have a very irregular heart beat. These episodes are lasting 3 o 6 hours, and happen about 8 hours after my last dose of tambocor. I’m assuming this is all part of the recovery from the ablation, but my symptoms are very much worse now than they ever were before. But nothing I’m experiencing would make be go to the ER; I mostly just take a warm bath and try to relax.

    • Mellanie says:


      You may have what’s called PVCs or PACs (premature ventricular or atrial contractions). They are usually short and feel like skipped beats. They often precede or bring on atrial fibrillation. It’s not unusual to have all kinds of bumps and thumps of the heart during the recovery from ablation as the heart is inflamed from the procedure. Please let your doctor know about what is happening in case he or she wants to adjust your medication. Good luck on your recovery.


    • Roger says:

      Hi. Nobody here has mentioned the old family remedy for stopping an AF episode. This was told to me by a surgeon. Next time you have an episode, dunk your face in a basin full of cold/chilly water. It makes the capillaries contract and snap you out of AF. It’s called the Diving Response. I’ve known people and pets (!!!!) this works for. Ask your doctor.

  • Sally says:

    Guess I’m not alone in this…
    I’m a 40 yr. old musician. Started afib at 19. I’m athletic, high-strung, sensitive and have chronically poor sleep. These seem to be recurring themes with afib.
    Like many of you I’ve been through the rigmarole of testing and doctors who insist nothing’s wrong, do nothing for me and take my money. I’d like to manage it on my own… without drugs.
    Sodium, caffeine, exercise, and alcohol are pretty much guaranteed triggers for me, but not always. Also I almost always have an attack right before it rains.
    Afib drives me crazy because it’s so inconsistent. Sometimes I’ll sneak a cup of strong black tea and be fine. Other times I’ll have an attack just walking to the mailbox.
    I don’t want to live my life in fear of triggers and I miss the joys of things like wine and espresso.
    My hunch is that the nervous system plays a much bigger role in afib than is ever discussed. If I had the discipline to meditate every day I suspect this would help.
    Good luck everyone. I feel for you and know we can all find our way back to normal.

    • Mellanie says:


      It seems like you have some ideas of ways to keep your afib at bay, so good luck with all of those things. I hope you can keep it under control.


  • Anne says:

    I have always played tennis, am now age 67, and began having heart palpitations about 7 weeks ago that begin while playing tennis. The palpitations go on for 4-6 hours after finishing my match. No chest pain or unusual breath shortness. I have medication changes that occurred also about 6-7 weeks ago. I had an echo-cardiogram and stress test done 6 months ago which showed no issues. If the cause of the palpitations is stress related to my competitive tennis exercise, why is is just recently happening? Is it age related, now? Never had this before 7 weeks ago. Never smoked, drink rarely, weight normal. I take b/p medicine, but all is under good control.

  • Guy Willard says:

    I lived a normal life prior to my tour of duty as a field medic with the Marine Corp. in Viet Nam. I spent approx: 12 months on the front llne and of course withness all the horrors of war. Three months after returning home from Viet Nam tour at the age of 23 years old, I had my first attack of atrial fib.

    The VA has recently diagnosed me with PTSD and I have no doubt that stress not only causes atrilfib but fuels the condtion. Stress causes cardia irritabily and when that happens it’s just like drinking a huge amount of caffiene. Watch out you will likely have an attack. My condition started in 1966.

  • Guy Willard says:

    Ther is no doubt that high levels of stress causes a multitude of illiness and atrial Fib is one. Why are younger patients getting atrial Fib? I bet when a close look at their everyday life you will find that they are dealing with high stress. I began haveing atrial fib when I was 23 years old. Most people do not realize how this problem can reduce your quality of life.

  • Nancy says:

    Which came first, my high stress levels, or my afib? Sometimes when an attack hits it’s hard for me to say. I went into afib last night and stress levels hit the chart. Which started which I can’t say, but I continue to do what I can to lower my stress levels. Here’s hoping.

  • Jonathan says:

    It’s difficult to say whether stress causes AF or is caused by AF. I have a stressful job and never really noticed my AF when stressed at work. However I started noticing that I would sometimes feel stressed for no good reason, even when I should have been really relaxed or happy. Of course this was linked to my AF misbehaving badly which is enough to stress anyone out.

    Stress and AF are certainly linked but I think we are sometimes too quick to say that the psychological always causes the physical when the physical certainly also affects the psychological. Which causes which and how?

  • Yvonne says:

    I found out I had afib 9 months ago. I am under Dr. care and did well, now in the last 3 weeks I have had 2 attacks which frighten me because I am not sure what to do. I can’t take amother ambulance ride, yet at the time it feels like I should. I had all the heart tests and at 66 it seems that is ok. Do you just wait it out, with me it was time for my bp med which is also to regulate the beat, so It did get better in time and went away?It seems from what I am reading here a lot of people go through attacks a lot. what do you do at the time?

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    • I had atrial fibrillation for four years. I had two ablations, and the second one worked. It actually has worked for 3 years now. Two weeks ago, my daughter died suddenly, and I think the shock sent me back into afib, and here I am once again. I will have another ablation in a heartbeat though, because I had so much success with the first one. I can’t take a lot of the meds that are prescribed for afib, and I don’t really want to spend my life on blood thinners again.

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi smokethembaby,

      Thank you for sharing your story. That is terrible news about your daughter and we are very sorry and hope that you are coping well and have found some peace. We are glad to hear that you have had two successful ablations in the past. You may be interested in joining our patient discussion forum ( to connect with other patients who collectively have a great amount of knowledge and experience. You may want to post your story there, and you may also learn a lot from others who have already shared their experience.

  • Paul says:

    I started noticing arrhythmia issues when I was about 30 (about 11 years ago) while in an intense graduate school problems. Episodes would occur for a few weeks, separated by 6 months or longer. I was quite active (running, mountaineering), but the AF symptoms didn’t get in my way back then. With such irregularity, doctors visits rarely coincided with AF events, so doctors never observed anything beyond PVC’s. However, progressively the condition has gotten more frequent, and has taken a more serious toll on my activities. AF or PVC’s now fairly regularly limit my running performance level, and the events can happen at any time (no extended periods without any symptoms).
    Recently, I visited a local arrhythmia clinic. With the greater frequency of episodes, my doctors captured a lot of data with AF in the act, and ultimately recommended ablation. Unfortunately, during the procedure itself, they could not induce the behavior, and hence could not determine the regions responsible for the faulty electrical transmissions. As a policy, the clinic recommended medication before a second procedure. I’m personally against relying on medications (with potential downstream side-effects), so I’m back to square one.

    I’m just now starting to pursue this again – I want to achieve (or exceed) the level of fitness I had before, and also to get a pilot’s license (with FAA medical requirements possibly ruling out AF patients). This site is a great resource! Thank you for your advocacy.

    • Mellanie says:


      Thank you for your kind words. I’m sorry you went through an ablation that really never happened. Good luck sorting out the best options and finding a solution.


  • Dave says:

    I am35 and in good health active etc. My stress and alcohol intake have been fairly consistent since my twenties (no apparent trigger). About a year and a half ago, I received my first ever “flu shot”. Literally two weeks later I had an attack which turned out to be A-fib, for which I am now treating with Toprol. I still get some recurrence every several months with no apparent trigger mechanisms. Any one else have a similar linkage to receiving a vaccine to diagnosis?

    • Terry says:

      Dave, I had my first-ever AF attack about 2-3 days after a mandatory flu shot I took for my healthcare job. I had two flu shots that year and have fought AF ever since. The bad thing is – if you have AF, you need to have flu shots because the flu can be dangerous for cardiac patients and let’s face it – if you have AF, you are a cardiac patient.

    • mmoss says:

      Hi Terry,
      We don’t know if it helps or makes any difference, but our founder, Mellanie, always asks for the single-dose pre-packaged shot because it doesn’t contain the preservative thimerosal (a mercury compound). The large vials that they draw multiple shots from sometimes still do contain thimerosal, or at least they did the last time she looked at a package insert several years ago.

      She is not sure if it makes a difference, but feels it worth the hassle of even driving a distance to where she can get a single dose shot. Thimerosal was being phased out of some vaccines, but for those with allergies or sensitivities, especially seniors, exposure to it really couldn’t be good for us. We’ve seen no proof of a correlation between flu shots and afib, but if there is one, she suspects it could be related to mercury sensitivity.

  • RICHARD says:


    my first attack was at age 22, next one age 50 and three months later

    Always at night and always self limiting. I am scared of Clots but even more scared of the medications most doctors have wante me to take.

    So I have not been on any and I have made it one year since my Last attack.
    I think I may have short 3-5 second attacks every couple of weeks, but that is not often enough for medications. I think I might have the VAGAL form, but mosr doctors look at me like I am crazy!


  • Tom says:

    I was promoted to an executive job I sought in my mid-50’s and shortly thereafter my workload dramatically increased, exercise declined, while consumption of caffeine and alcohol increased. I became very stressed and anxious even without any obvious trigger. Things I once liked to do, like public speaking, made me extremely anxious. I started to gain weight and had no AF symptoms, but was diagnosed with AF in a routine physical. I was also diagnosed with sleep apnea. Drugs and cardioversions alone didn’t work, but a CA and continuing drugs and a CPAP for sleep apnea now have it under control. Now retired, I am increasing the cardio workouts, eliminated caffiene, reduced alcohol consumption and losing weight. Knock on wood!

  • JOE says:


    • hairypatter33 says:

      Hi Joe, I live in England, age 52 and have suffered severe panic attacks and Afib’s since I was around 11 yrs, my first was at school I was badly bullied and the day of my first attack I was in class sat quite calmly when my heart began racing like nothing I had ever felt, I could not breathe and ran outside in total panic and thought I was literally dying, my parents were divorcing and would scream and throw stuff around, so along with the bullying I am 100% certain stress brought my first attack on. I have had wonderful gaps of years with no attacks, then a bitter divorce and more bullying in the workplace brought more on around 5 yeras ago. You will not die Joe, acceptance of the condition is key to realising you are actually ok, and accepting you must avoid all stress, including people who cause this to you, write to them politely but firmly and let eveyone around you who you cae about know your situation, it is surprisng how many back off and often becombe incredibiliy undersanding without being patronising. Find a really good councillor and talk it hrough, or a really close friend or family member, it makes all the difference in the world not to make excuses as towhy you dont want to attend certain events or places, and allows you to breathe and enjoy your life with only the people that matter, your kids being No 1 every time, thanks to all for sharing and I truly hope everyone benefits from witing down their experiences and know they are not alone…………..

  • gerraldine says:

    got diagnosed with af after car crash i was in shock but dr said i was predisposed to af, never had any trouble before the crash had a massive panic attack at the time

    • Kathleen says:

      Same here. I have older family members (late 70-80’s) that have been diagnosed with irregular heartbeat. I am late 50’s. So I think that I am predisposed as well. But an accident 3 months ago has triggered me into early AFib. The doctors think this is nonsense. I had NO symptoms before. In fact had an complete physical 4 days before being rear-ended. Clear bill of health- no issues whatsoever BEFORE the accident.

  • Wilder says:

    The kind of stress that brings my At fib on is the kind when someone behind me in a checkout line or at a stopsign is trying to rush me. I am 82 yrs old and this just started even though I had bypass surgery eleven years ago. Would like to get off the meds (beta blocker).

  • Tom says:

    Just discovered this site – thanks, it helps to read about other A-Fib folks. I`ve been getting bouts for 18 months, usually resolving within two hours. I`m 47, a fit cyclist, don`t smoke, rarely drink…but i`m stressed out most of the time. I`m convinced my A-Fibs come from a mix of stress and diet. I`m prone to long and highly acidic bouts of indigestion and bloating so I was delighted to find that getting my stomach acid and bloating under control dramatically reduced my A-Fibs. I was reading that there could be a strong connection between A-Fibs and irritation of one of the large nerves that follows your Esophagus, I think it it is the Venal nerve (same one that triggers hiccups). Taking a good antacid seems to help resolve faster and definitely eating smaller meals but more frequently helps. I never eat before going to bed as that was previously a guaranteed attack. Good luck to all you fellow sufferers. Tom – Ann Arbor, MI.

  • marty says:

    i am 23 yrs old and was recently diagnosed with afib…..the situation was really scary for me to deal with.doctors ran many test to determine my heart was normal but the symptoms of afib will come and go out of the blue….it is a stressful condition but eliminating things like smoking,excessive drinking can help your over all health with main concern is the risk of stroke so i have also changed my diet…i hope i can still live my normal life with afib and watch my children grow and participate in activities with them…

  • I have only had episodes of af prior to the resent one — once after major surgery– and afterwards at home– however recently went on cruise-(by the way i am 71 and i think full of life) checking in –and the whole procedure getting on board etc , drinks at night etc. that night had bad af — my sister who was with me was worried– didnt happen again till the night i came home getting off again juggling bagsetc– being picked up and getting home (which was -4 hours drive away) I really hate it-it gives me the creaps– i really think it is stress related– i do have a red at night — only 2-3 but i have been doing that for years. will be very intersted in your comments

  • Eileen says:

    I am glad to have founbd this site. So glad not to be the only one going through this with afib. it’s so scary.
    I am 40, had panic attacks after my mothers death in 1993. Since then I had what seemd to me like heart palpitations, occasionally. Mostly with lack of sleep or caffiene. I used to be able to drink a pot of coffee a day in my twenties. I switched to decaf after starting to get the nervous shakes from just one cup by my thirties. I just had my second bout of AFib last month. The first episode corrected itself within a minute but this episode went on for a few hours. They were about to use cardioversion (I believe it’s called) however it finally corrected itself. We had recently moved and I had alot of uncontrolled stress going on. I really feel it’s stress that brought it on. One of my biggest triggers, however is caffiene because it makes my heart ‘jump’. I feel like it’s wearing me out!

  • nancy price says:

    Used to have afib all the time. Then ablation. In last 3 years only three time. One was because my thyroid level was VERY elevated. I am surprised that no one mentioned that high thyroid levels is a major cause of afib. A yr later happened on cruise. I think it was their coffee. Even though it was decaf, it was very strong and I did drink it a lot. That has happened to me before with strong coffee in certain restaurants. Really think that is a trigger. Now, this week had an eposode and I am under stress because I am retiring from a job of 27 yrs that I liked. That is when I began wondering if stress triggers afib. I don’t think my dr would say yes but not so sure now. I definitely know that triggers are absolutely caffine, alcohol and high thyroid levels. Going on another cruis next week. Will not dring coffee, not even decalf.

    • Mellanie says:


      Thanks. We do mention in several places that thyroid issues can lead to afib.

      I’m glad you’ve identified your triggers. Everyone is different, so it’s not always easy to get a handle on it.


  • carol says:

    Had a minor heart attach in 2006 had 1 stynt inserted, no damage done to heart muscle. However, since then in 2009 had 3 more stynts put in when I had initially went into hospital with Atrial Fib, the heart went back into normal rhythm within 24 hrs. In 2010 almost a year later, another admission with Atrial Fib for 29 hours went back into normal rhythm again without medication. Now a couple of wks. ago went into AFib again this time blood thinners and a medication to try and force the heart to go into normal rhythm was administered. It finally did go back into I say almost normal rhythm but it took 44 hrs. this time. Now, all that being said, the last two times I was exercising at the time I went into an attack. Yes, I have high blood pressure, which is supposedly under control, 2006 I started on a beta blocker as well as cholesterol meds. All blood work is good. I work, under what I thought was stress, but guess more than I think. I do exercise 3 days a wk. usually an 1-1.5 hrs. each day. As of last yr. I’d lost 43 lbs., but that didn’t keep the ticker from going back into AFib.! So disgusted, because you do everything you’re supposed to do, and you still have this to go through. Granted I don’t have this as badly as some nor my heart is as in bad a condition as other people. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I’ve stopped eating salt as much as one can do, we don’t eat fast food…I refuse to quit living!
    The meds now are making me so tired, I can work a day and then feel exhausted for 2 days, such a treat! I do have a fam. history of heart/strokes/diabetes so I’m aware of all the signs. What can one do? I know that AFIB is electrical in nature, but can it be fixed without all this medication? Why treat it if it can be repaired. I thought doctors were our mechanics? Can’t our mechanics fix the AFIB problems without just treating with all these chemicals?! The side effects that I have are the minor ones, but I have to say that they are a little inconvenient!

  • Gretchen says:

    My younger sister, age 32 has had several (and i suspect more) episodes of intermittent afib that seem to be stress related in the last 2 years. The first known episode was at a loud concert and she complained to her then bf who is also a nurse that she didnt feel well and he said her pulse was irregular. The 2nd was with me, and as a cardiac RN, it was obvious she was in afib-this was the night before a job interview. The third episode was with her EMT boyfriend when discussing whether to continue their relationship, though she states she felt very fatigued earlier in the day. She feels palpatations during these episodes. She has also had episodes of SOB prior to discovering her occasional arrythmia that she thought was allergies or sinus drainage but both were ruled out. At this time, she does not have insurance. I make her take 325mg aspirin daily. I dont know what else to do right now until she is able to find a fulltime job with insurance. Any suggestions? I am probably unneccasarily worried about tumors in her aorta or heart chambers. Strong family hx of heart issues, but not afib and not this young. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

  • Gretchen says:

    In addition she drinks one cup of coffee a day and never drinks alcohol and only takes vitamins and aspirin.

  • Jenny Kenyon says:

    Does both stress and coffee affect the adrenal glands? Coffee without stress definitely gives me irregular heartbeats, especially Robusta, less so Arabica. But when I start having symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder, which include feeling stressed, even a cup of tea, spoon of honey, or high calorie food and drink, can trigger that nasty bumpy feeling. I take St John’s Wort in the winter for SAD, and that seems to protect me from AF very considerably. I try not to take it in the summer, but when we have days of overcast weather, I find AF coming on again, so I now take St John’s Wort for those overcast days as it really does protect me. I wonder if one cause of AF is too much Adrenalin? But once when I took a Valerian product to help me sleep at night, my heart missed every 6 or so beats for a whole day! My question is, what hormones, or chemicals in the body affect the electoral impulses in the heart?

  • Cleda Cooper says:

    Does anyone have a rapid heart rate when they have Afib? In reading the blogs I don’t believe I saw it mentioned. Also has anyone had a pacemaker for A Fib?

  • Shawn says:

    Hello All, thanks for sharing. I had 5 or 6 episodes of Afib (but didn’t know what it was at the time) over an 18 month time period, and each one lasted less than 36 hours. I’m 39 now and about a year ago an episode came on and I decided I needed to go to the emergency room to see what was going on. After a 3 day hospital stay and several tests later I was discharged with the doctors saying that all the test they ran came back normal, and “perfect” in some cases, from thyroid tests to stress tests. I was referred to a cardiologist who I am very grateful for. One of the first things he said to me was that the goal was to get me off of medication (beta-blockers right now and an aspirin a day) at some point in the future but I had to do my part by losing weight, quitting smoking, quit drinking, quit caffeine, etc. I’ve done everything requested other than quit smoking and losing weight (but I’m working my way to those). I went a year without any new episodes, and glad to say that my stress level during that year had diminished considerably due to better circumstances. I truly believe that long term stress brought on my condition, and that stress triggers it now even being on medication. Over the past 6 years I have had 5, what they call, life changing events not to mention a lot of relationship and work related stresses that were way above and beyond any I have ever experienced in my life. Now in the past 2 months I have been under pretty severe stress and anxiety again and the Afib episodes are returning, along with a diagnosis of spinal arthritis and degenerative disc problems. For me, in my own mind, the stress has taken it’s toll on my body and caused these problems. Thanks again to everyone who has shared their experiences. Reading through your stories has helped be realize I’m not as alone as I thought. Take care everyone and keep your eyes fixed Above!

    • SSD says:

      Yes, I take Pradaxa. It was prescribed while I was hospitalized 2 months ago, along with a cocktail of drugs that I believe could create even more anxiety for me. I hate drugs. I was a person who so rarely ever took aspirin or tylenol, the bottles would expire almost full. I’m looking for other remedies.
      Now my cholesterol has shot up too and the doctor wants to put me on a statin. I was so upset at the advent of that — that I felt sick again that evening. I did not have high cholesterol before I went into the hospital. I don’t eat any differently or live any different way than I was living. I asked the doctor if all these meds could cause that. It just doesn’t make any sense.
      I’ve taken a statin before and it was horrendous for me. I was exhausted all of the time. I decided not to take it and see about finding a different physician. Only trouble is, with no health care here in America for those of us who can’t afford it, options are very limited. But I am not going to just be a lemming and take all of these drugs. Each drug has side effects. I’m on so many now, I wouldn’t know what is causing what anyway. There just has to be a better way to deal with this situation than all these drugs.

  • Chuck says:

    Just found the site and sucks to see so many people have this problem too! I’m a 31 y/o male that has had a-fib now for about 18 months. Started when I was doing an extremely heavy stress day at a fire academy and was hit with heat exhaustion on the fire grounds.

    Originally I was unable to lock down the cause and with only having maybe 1 attack per month I wasn’t overly concerned. Original tests found nothing, multiple ekg, echo cardiagram with stress test, chest x-rays, the works.

    Within the last 7 months it became streadily worse to the point of 2-3 attacks per week lasting for roughly 4 hours per episode. I was checked into a hospital with a pulse of 165, the irregular heart rate, nausea, weakness and shaky jello bowl heart in the chest as I like to refer to it. Tests have concluded nothing apart from a potassium deficiency at the time but that was nothing apparently. I was given Diltiazem and 81mg bayer but no change in affliction. Eventually given Carvedilol and Verapamil (seperate, never together) but neither worked as well. I finished up a summer session at college and poof… no a-fib. I found that over the last 7 months I was under heavy stress by starting a new college choice which has proven to be much harder than my last degree program and it seems once I ended school for a while I was back to normal with no attacks. I’m now less than 2 weeks from starting up again for fall semester and wouldn’t you know… I’m having attacks again, only once a week so far but I’m tracking it and trying to eliminate all sources of stress in the mean time. I’ve also noticed I go into an attack more often when attempting to sleep for the night and lying on my left side. I have a birth defect called sunked chest as well, but the bone constriction is mainly right sided and most likely considered minor or negligible. That aside, I wholeheartedly agree that stress is an underlying cause. No pun intended,… well maybe a little.

  • kate says:

    I was just diagnosed with a-fib. I am concerned with the casual nature of my exam. Doctor looked at the ekg, took my blood pressure, listened to my breathing and then prescribed a beta-blocker and asprin. Heart disease runs in my family. I’d like to know if I have clogged arteries or anything else that may contribute to a-fib. I told the doctor this and additional tests were dismissed as un-necessary. Do I have to wait for a crisis to occur? What ever happened to preventative care? Should I push for more tests?

  • It’s great Melaine mentions certain food and drinks as possible causes of afib. There’s just too much stories about people going to surgery and taking medications for afib. And I’m certain that most of them didn’t try diet change before going to a doctor. I guess most of them don’t know that they can cure themselves by changing their diet, or they aren’t willing to give up certain things in their life (would rather go to surgery instead??).

    I’ve had arrhythmia up until recent but I managed to beat it on my own. You can read my whole story (along with complete medical documentation) here:

  • Russ says:

    I’m a retired high school teacher/coach. I taught for 38 yrs. and am still coaching. I’ve had diagnosed Lone A-Fib for eight years and it’s slowly getting more frequent. Used to occur one or twice a year now it’s maybe two tree times a week. It’s been my experience that overeating, later eating, too much alcohol, stimulants of any nature, and quick entry into any exercise have all been triggers of my A-Fib episodes. Flecinide and Cardizem have been good in the past but I feel their potency is waning. My A-Fib symtoms usually are both rapid heartbeat and skipped heartbeats. It’s really a pain in the butt because of the dizziness and anxiety created by the symtoms. I am going to move ahead now and pressure my cardiologist to work with me on NOT letting this condition diminish the quality of my life by coming up with a new strategy of treatment. People, Be Proactive and aggressive, don’t let this condition OWN you! Do SOMETHING about it !!

  • Michael says:

    I had a car accident five years ago, within a year I started to suffer from both atrial flutter and fribillation. Has any one else started to suffer from AF following a car accident.

  • George says:

    Frustrating – just cardioverted with flecainide and it is the third episode in six years. Happened the day after I biked 20 miles. Any resources to help reduce fib with exercise?

  • pauline says:

    michael you ask if anyone had an accident and after that been told they had afid my car was totaled i was knock into the wall several times by an 18 wheeler almost killed one of the wheel whent up in the air tho of the other wheels was flat on the ground i had never had atrial fibrillation before the accident i know now the tragedy and stress cause my afid

  • David Taylor says:

    I had first palpatations AF when I was late twenties….it only lasted a few hours , and episodes were separated by 6 months or sometimes years…
    In my 30s after divorce and all it brings episodes became longer and more frequent…….now 46 , i have had AF constant for 8 months….can you believe Im still waiting to see a cardiologist under the NHS…I was put on beta blockers over a year ago , was sufferring AF episodes lasting a couple of day each week….I had a ministroke with temporary paralisis of my left arm and the left side of my face, it only lasted less than a minute with full recovery….I was told at A & E that it was nothing but a little turn and sometimes these things happened due to stress!!!!!…..I stopped taking the beta blockers immediately….

    I truly believe 15 + years of stress have caused my condition….I used to notice attacks a day or two after a major stressful event….now in constant AF, when a major stress happens my heart reacts even more intensely immediately….often to the point i am close to fainting..

    without any advice from gp or cardiologist I have recently started excercising again…I feel it has a slightly positive effect on my AF…….The fact that I have been in constant AF for more than 8 months and I my 1st appointment with a cardiologist is in december !…10 months is in itself stressful, worrying , and downright degrading…..a dire advert for the great NHS…In the meantime I take an aspirin a day and keep my fingers crossed.

    I console myself with a reminder every now and again….Things could be a lot worse! 🙂

    David scotland

    • Mellanie says:


      Your having had a mini stroke is frightening. I am so sorry. Can you see a general family doctor who could decide whether you need something for stroke risk (besides aspirin)? I can sure understand that the stress would be making this worse.

      I understand not liking the beta blockers. I hated them, too. But did they help the afib? I can’t imagine that they had a role in the mini stroke.

      If I had had a mini stroke, I think I’d want to be on blood thinner to avoid another. I don’t want to stress you, but please take a moment to read about the CHA2DS2-VASc scoring tool used in the UK for determining whether you need a blood thinner.

      New Stroke Risk Factors for Those with Atrial Fibrillation (AF): Female Gender, Heart Disease, and Age


    • karenpugh says:

      Dear David:
      I agree with Mellanie.  I do not know where you live, so medical might be different than in Ct.  Being on coumadin, and beta blockers or some kind of med. for A-Fib is very important.  All of the people I know who have A-Fib are either on Toprol XL or Sotolol or both.  There are other meds. to for this, but I could not tolerate the side effects from them.  I hope you can get some help and relief.

  • MJA says:

    I am a 37 yr old male (5’11/175 lbs.) I am a lifelong tennis player and have been weight training consistently for about 10 yrs(doing bodybuilding type workouts, but not powerlifting). I have never been a smoker, drug user, or drinker. I was diagnosed last night at the Arizona Heart Hospital with AF. It started at 8:30 am yesterday and went nonstop until it converted at about 10pm last night while hooked up to oxygen at the hospital. I’ve had these before throughout my life (never knowing what it was), but they only lasted for a few seconds to a couple of minutes tops. I always thought it was just asthma trying to occur (which I don’t have), so I always ignored it until my 14 hr episode yesterday.
    Now, they have me on beta blockers. This is weird that I’m on heart medicine at my age, and being so healthy otherwise. Imaging of my heart was A-1 okay.
    So, I’m wondering if I can no longer workout like I used to, or If maybe I’ve crossed a threshold after all these of years of the minor attacks to now where they will be more extended and the days of the brief harmless episodes are over. Can exercising really trigger it? I wasn’t doing anything physical at all when the one yesterday happened. Hmm.
    I think that Sally’s comment at the top is something to be entertained.

    • Mellanie says:


      Rather than exercise, could it have been caused by dehydration from exercise? That may be worth paying special attention to. (And sports drinks are probably not a good choice because of all the stuff in them.)


  • Frank says:

    My Paroxysmal AFIB started when I was 37 while I was going through a divorce – one of the most stressful periods of my life. Unfortunately, since then, it goes into AFIB at least once a week. However, while the frequency has increased, the duration has decreased. It used to last 12-20 hours. Now, it lasts 1-3 hours. I used to freak out whenever it happened at the beginning and think the added adrenaline and worrying made it last longer. Now I take 500 mg of Niacin and 100mg Flecenaide whenever I get it to stop it. Niacin and Flecenaide both seem to help. I also made an interesting observation. When I feel my heart going into AFIB mode, I can usually cause it to revert back to sinus simply by standing up and raising my arms as high as possible and walking around. This only seems to work if I do it within less than 10 seconds of going into AFIB. If I wait any longer, it doesn’t work.
    Some of my triggers:
    1) Sleeping on left side
    2) Waking up
    3) Eating too many carbs
    4) Worrying about something that might go wrong
    5) Feeling guilty about something I did
    6) Grieving the loss of someone
    7) Beer (hard liquor not a problem unless I have more than 3 drinks)

    My AFIB is very rarely triggered while standing up. Almost always it has been triggered while I am laying down or sitting.

    • Mellanie says:


      One doctor told me the reason laying on your left side does it is that you’re constricting or putting pressure on the heart. Thus laying or sitting may be constricting your torso area, whereas standing does not.


    • SSD says:

      This is very interesting. Thanks for sharing your remedies. I believe that my condition is being caused by stress. Every time I get sick for any reason, I can trace it to a negative interaction with someone. Usually, it is someone I thought cared about me. I’ve never been that thin-skinned, but I find that as I get older, I’m worn out from dealing with nasty, negative and uncaring people.
      In the ER the doctor asked me if I’d ever been treated for anxiety. I hadn’t, but I’ve had a very stressful life, which has never been acknowledged. In fact, family members have acted like everything was always fine, when it was and is not. I’ve spent my life acting like a doormat, despite the fact that I appear to be very outgoing and enthusiastic. This is because I have ignored my own feelings for so long, I didn’t even really know I had any. I’ve been taken advantage of, largely because I had allowed it. I thought I had to. Fear of abandonment. But no more. Now I just need to stick to my guns and avoid negative people at all costs. 

    • JohnnyJohnnyAppleSeed says:

      You are very accurate. All the triggers I’ve also noticed. If I jump up out of bed just as the A fib begins I can usually prevent it. But raising your arms makes sense. I am 30 pounds overweight and that seems to “suffocate” the heart as I sleep, especially on my left, so raising your arms can help. I am actively and certainly now losing that extra weight!
      I just discovered Deep Breathing to revert the A fib. Long full-full breaths and hold in for 10-15 seconds about 15 times. As much as your lungs can hold. I think perhaps the extra oxygen in the blood stream may have helped.

  • I to have been experiencing afib to the point of 4 times now being cardioverted in the emergency room, the 1st time i converted with cardizem, the other 3 times it was electrocardioversion.

    I have never been in the hospital or have even had a check up in almost two decades and now in 6 months I’ve been hooked to a crash cart 3 times.

    After the last time and substantial research, I started taking a couple of PM’s before bed at night. I normally get only about 4 hours of sleep a night. Since the last electrocardioversion, I have only had a couple of PVC’s and no afib. We need our rest. The PVC’s alone have brought on panic attacks as well and now the Dr. has me on Zoloft. I’d rather be on nothing. Anyone else have these experiences?

    • karenpugh says:

      Hi Scott:
      I know what you mean.  Every time I have to go to the ER and have a hospital stay, I have awful anxiety.  It is so hard to get back to one’s normal life.  I too have a hard time sleeping, so I do take 2 tylenol PM’s each nite and a muscle relaxer (which is for my herninated discs in my neck).    What else can we all do?  Pray for healing and for strenghten to get thru all this.

  • Theresa says:

    Hello fellow Afibbers: I’ve dealt with this for about 6 yrs. now. I did have ablation. that worked for 2 years, then Afib returned but in a lesser severity. Interestingly it is at the end of October when the problem worsens. I’m controlled on propofanone and Pradaxa. This October-end of month, I started to have break thru episodes of increasing severity. I began to wonder if the change in weather has an effect on the A-Fib. I’m in Indiana where the temps are dropping, wind increasing and winter is upon us. Also there is the issue of stress as the holidays approach. I’m back to wearing an event monitor to evaluate the problem. Any insights are helpfu. Theresa

  • Garry Slatter says:

    Interesting reading everyone’s comment about there episodes of AF. In my own case I first had an episode 2yrs ago and was rushed to hospital thinking I was having a heart attack (not having had an attack of AF before). They got my heartnrate down and after 3days it corrected itself and they told me to watch how much alcholol I drink, which I did. Last year I had two further attacks both lasting 3days before correcting themelves. My cardiologist sent me to see a specialist in ablation at Leicester Glenfield hospital who put me on one 2.5mg isoprolol per day. I asked about side effects to which he said none and you can take them all your life. It is now 13mths since my last attack, I train hard 3times a week, lost 2stone and recently cycled from London to Paris (300 miles) at age 53yrs. Good luck everyone.

  • Brian Wallenstein says:

    DISHEARTENED??? Arial Fib. I was born with a non normal heart beat. Once identified, my elecrical system fires almost opposite of others, good my local doctors know this,but I developed artial fib in my early 40s from a very intense case of Graves disease (hyperthyroidism) I had gone through at least 6 weeks of 200+ heart rate and hit what is called a thyroid storm which put me in ICU for 10 days with atrial fib at a heart rate of 225+. Not having the luxury of time to research and come up with a less invasive method of cure, I opted reluctantly to I131 radioactive iodine to shrink my thiroid thus putting me in a hypothyroid state the rest of my life to be supplemeneted with thyroxine.
    The adjust ment period took years to get the exact dosage right, as i have always run hot, like a hybrid race car, but have managed for 7 years now. Occasiona bouts of Afib come and go with no bother until the last couple of months, brought on by what i believe is a series of factors, stres, unemployment, a relationship that did not develop, and one thing we all must be aware of, drug interactions. I have found my use of Zithromax over the years Ive been in Afib exascerbates the condition. I shy away from most drugs as it is t keep the variables clear but I needed them. My doctor demonizes tobacco, although I only smoke 2-5 at the m ost a day, and have been weaning off them but never a big smoker, I have been an athelete, and ride 60 miles a week on my bicycle and my yearly exam came back stunning, Perfect values for hdl, ldl,blood pressure, all of it. My pulmonary system is great, I can blow the breath of a 6 foot man, in thier 40s and Im 56 5’9″ 138 and very active. I cant stress our suc eptibility to drug interactions and know that love and stress can be disheartening, but there is still no lexicon assembled full enough with drug interactions. I argue with my doctor, its my body, however, Im taking cardizem for now unitl we can either get my body to forget the discord and take up being in sync with itself, or use another drug to keep it in rhythm. Cardezem slows my heart rrate but sthe arhythmya is still present, but like the last time, it all of a sudden weeks away from ZIthromax, resets itself. Just a thought…

    • Mellanie says:


      I’m sorry you have such a complicated situation. Everyone is different, and while I’ve not had any problem with Zithromax exacerbating afib, I would guess that it’s not a totally uncommon situation. On our patient and caregiver resources page ( there are several resources on drugs, and you’ll find drug interaction checkers there.

      Cardizem is a rate control medication–it will control the heart rate, but is not designed to stop the afib. You may want to ask your doctor if you should try a rhythm control medication to get back in rhythm.

      Good luck.


  • Gail says:

    I have had Afib for just over a year, 2 very scary attacks landed me in the hosp, the 2nd time they did the proceedure to check my arteries (name aludes me now) and they said I was clear, no blockage. I used to be in an EXTREMELY verbally abusive marriage, and he was a BIG rage-aholic. When I left him in 2003 I thought everything was fine… until early 2010. When I started to feel the palps, I too thought it was panic attacks. Whenever there is “drama” around me (unneccesary BS), my asthma used to kick in and now the past couple weeks, i can’t seem to take stress at all! I think it’s also the anticipation when certain situations arise (DRAMA). I’ve been telling people to change subject but I think the anxiety has already started the Afib up. I’m on meds, have been recently doubled on my Flecanide. I DEFINATELY think you are all correct that stress brings it on. I don’t want to become short with folks, but I am developing a 1 minute rule with them! If they start getting on my nerves, I shut down immediately and walk away. Don’t care if they get mad at me, they don’t feel my condition!! Well, i hope to only feel this way until I can figure out why I am getting set off so easily… God’s grace to all of you, and know you’re not alone….

  • kay says:

    How do you get a dr to understand you might have a problem. I already have medicine induced SVT but I have bipolar also an during extreme times of overwhelming stress I feel it. But they say its nothing but anxiety or my panic attacks starting. Help anyone

  • beachlady7 says:

    I have to say if stress doesn’t cause it in the first place, it certainly sends my heart rate off the charts, even with taking beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, Coumadin, etc. I literally “cannot stand” some people and situations. There are times when I want to run away. No one “gets it” that my heart is in “race” mode and I don’t need anyone pushing my buttons. As you know, we in some cases “can’t cure it” but we sure as heck could use a break from stress. I vote “yes” on stress being a major factor.

    • karenpugh says:

      Hi beachlady?
      I fully understand what you are saying.  People who do not have this condition, can not understand.  It hard to explain to people how it feels or makes one feel.  I am on coumadin, sotolol and toprol XL, and I still get bouts of A-Fib.  Last Oct. and Nov. I was admitted to the hosptial 2 times at 2 different hospitals, and in the ER for one day at another hosptial.  I finally had to be “shocked” to get back into “regular” rythum.  It is scary.  

  • Joyce says:

    Not only does stress activate episodes of Atrial Fibrillation, I believe it is a major cause of Atral Fibrillation. I have no other health issues except hypo throidism, which is controlled by medication. However, I have experienced tremendous stress for years relating to a bad marriage, deaths of two husbands and serious problems with children, and have had episodes of Atrial Fibrillation for about a year. Medication does not help. I am proceding at this point on another track which includes stress-reduction medications and activities, such as yoga, daily exercise, and avoiding negative people and situations. If it works, I will write a book.

    • SSD says:

      Joyce — Reading your story, it sounds very similar to mine. While I’ve only had one marriage that ended, I have had serious issues with siblings and lost my mother years ago.
      I have found that any time I am surrounded by negative energy, I do not feel well. I’ve gotten terrible flus and such — always after being around negative people (some of which are family members). It can take me weeks to recover, depending upon the situation. 
      I started doing yoga years ago, I eat healthy but have been hypothyroid, which is the opposite of what usually goes along with A-Fib. I am convinced that the stress from a difficult life has caused this condition.
      In fact, my first A-Fib attack came after a stressful visit to a sister who I’ve had a life-long terrible relationship with. Before I left to visit her, she began invalidating me and I immediately caught a terrible flu. I almost didn’t go.
      She never gets sick, however. After visiting her, I wound up in the hospital a week after I returned. The onset of the A-Fib occurred while I was with her, but I didn’t know it. Her uncaring attitude toward me during this time has only confirmed what I already knew. While I was hospitalized, she even continued to try to dump her own problems on my lap. It was unbelievable. 
      In the ER I was asked if I’d ever been treated for anxiety, because other than my thyroid, everything seemed normal. Then I realized that yes, I was anxious. Not treated for it, but being treated unkindly affects me such that I become anxious.
      I am not interested in taking medication, but am on a cocktail of drugs that scares me. I want to get off of everything. I believe in meditation, not medication. 
      I’d be interested in hearing about how you’re progressing and suggest that rather then seek out other medication, look for alternative ways to correct this situation. One way I am dealing with this is to cut off all ties to people who don’t deserve to be in my life.
      Before I got re-involved with my sister, I was doing quite well. In fact, whenever I don’t feel well physically, I can trace it to something directly related to a negative individual. I can go for years without feeling sick at all. 
      I may have had a chance of this happening, but it just seems odd that first I wound up with a terrible flu after merely interacting with her before I left, and then wound up in the hospital after visiting with her.

    • KenSturmer says:

       @SSD I am in a similar situation to yours.  I take a combination of drugs for afib, which I really would rather not take.  I know my afib is brought on by stress.  I have been fine for three years, just had an echo and my heart was fine as well as my EKG.  Then this past week, I put a deposit on a home I am trying to buy.  Whammo!  I have been having short outbreaks of afib.  Today I made the mistake of trying to work outside in the hot sun ( here in Florida ).  I was fine for awhile then while trying to trim some bushes I felt a thump, then another, then another.  By the time I got in the house, I knew I was experiencing a break out afib episode.  I got some ice and put behind my neck, and sat down and did some deep breathing exercises.  Within a short time it stopped.  I’m sure this is from the stress of worrying over this house!  I’d hate to end up in the hospital, because of acheiving the dream of having my own home.  I like you, wish I could find a way to overcome this naturally.

  • veronica Ross says:

    I have to agree that stress is a major factor in AF. I had constant stress all my life, 2 bad marriages, stressfull job and a stressfull family/ life. I was just diagnosed 3 days ago after doctors claimed i had a blockage. I underwent a catherization and no blockage was the result, but what i least expected Af was diagnosed. I would venture to say i had this for at least 10 years or more and nobody knew. I had passed out a couple of times in the last few years and asked my doctor why i felt like i was shaking at different times, but nobody had an answer until now. I was extremely upset about the catherization procedure and a few days before surgury i felt my heart pounding excessively. It pounded right up to the day i went into the operating room and then was classified as AF. I was put on meds and blood thinners. I do not know what to expect in the future with this heart problem. I feel like my life has turned upside down and I must be constantly monitored, which i am not happy about.

    • karenpugh says:

      Hi Veronica:
      I feel the same way as you do.  I starting having A-Fib in 2004, after my father-in-law died in Feb. 2004, my Mom died in April 2004, (she lived we me and we were very close)  then I had gallbladder surgery in July 2004 and went into A-Fib in the hospital,  and then my (“baby”) daughter went off to college 6 1/2 hours away in August 2004.  It was the worse year of my life.  I was also working full time, driving alot and under stress there also.  So I would say stress is a major cause.  I also find if I get too overtired, or do to much in one day, or in a series of days, I go into A-fib.  My episodes usually happen at night when I am trying to sleep or it wakes me up in the middle of the night.  It does control ones life.  I am fearful to travel to far, etc. because I might not be near a hospital.  I always have to make sure I have my meds. with me, etc.  Not a fun way to live.

    • ConnieC says:

      HI Veronica. I had surgery to remove the gallbladder in April 2009. My heart didn’t like it much and went into A-Fib right after or during surgery. Spent several days in hospital, the first 4 in ICU. Wonder about possible connection between gallbladder surgery and A-Fib….

  • Tina48 says:

    Stress I think is a major reason we have so much afib now. Stress is the main reason that triggers mine almost every time. It’s funny no one has mention that you an do deep breathing and calm yourself down when you have a afib attack.

    • JohnnyJohnnyAppleSeed says:

      I just “cured” myself of an A Fib attack, that had lated 17 hours. I began to deep breath. I filled my lungs and held it. Then I tried to suck in a little more air and hold it. I did not hold my breath until it was uncomfortable only for 10-15 seconds and then a long and slow exhale. I repeated this about 10 times or more and I began to notice my heart beat began to slow and regulate. Then to maintain it by breathing in long and deep breath but did not hold it. My A Fib (Thank You God) is revert and I am back in normal sinus rhythm!!

    • karenpugh says:

      Yeah!!!!  Good for you Johnny.  I will try that if I need to.  Hopefully not though.  Keep that A-Fib away from all.
      May God Bless you and everyone here with good heart health.  

    • Annabanana says:


      OMG I have been in A fib for over four months nonstop likely caused by extreme stress. I just tried this and it worked.I may cry here. Thanks for the tip!

    • Jack says:

      Dear Johnny,
      I strongly believe my recent episodes of A/Fib are the result of stress and alcohol. I am a golfer and when I am not doing well at golf I get very aggravated and feel like I want to scream. This creates a lot of stress. When I get home, I will have some wine and later in the evening I will get A-Fib. It lasts during the early morning hours and I awake in NSR. I have never done the deep breathing as you suggest but will try it next time. Thanks for the tip.
      Bottom line is that we should not think we are better than we really are because it creates stress.

    • Chris says:

      Stress definitely seems to be a trigger for afib. I will try the deep breathing technique mentioned for my not too severe afib. My dad is ninety and he believes that gastrointestinal pressure triggers his afib. He takes a gasx after each meal. He also steers away from acidic foods/beverages. This for information.

  • Kate101 says:

    About a week ago I had a very rapid heart beat and was feeling faint.  I had this feeling before but it had only lasted for a few seconds tops when it did happen (I’m only really remembering about 3 times).  We moved about a year ago to a new home.  We have had a lot of problems with it as new homes go, but a day before my big AF attack we had a water pipe break in the wall and water was pouring into our closet and soaking the carpet upstairs.  This is what woke us up at about 5:30 am.  We had five industrial fans running in the house and two large dehumidifiers in the house as well.  That happened on Sunday.  On Monday morning I had just had breakfast and my heart started to race.  I waited for it to go away, but it seemed to get worse.  I felt faint so I got up and went outside to get out of the noisy house and see if I just needed some fresh air.  I was feeling the same way outside and the pounding in my chest wouldn’t subside.  I started to wonder if it was a heart attack, but didn’t feel any pain besides the uncomfortable pounding in my chest and faint feeling.  
    It would get a little better for a short period of time – half minute to a minute- so I figured I would go to the ER urgent care close to the house.  While driving there I started to feel like I was going to pass out.  I stopped at a fire station and asked for their help.  They put me in the ambulance and put me on a meter and saw that my heart was bouncing between 180-240 / min. but blood pressure was actually pretty good.
    They took me to the ER and I was put on an IV and meds.  Dx with AF and was eventually admitted overnight.  From start to finish it was about 13-14 hours before I returned to NSR.  They kept me overnight and observed me and discharged me the next day.  
    Everyone seemed to act like it wasn’t that big of a deal, with no restrictions on anything.  The Dr. only checked off the normal low cholesterol, low sodium, low fat diet between now and my follow up after a month.  I still don’t know when I am supposed to see a Dr. or to get help when I have an attack (which hasn’t happened again yet).  How fast does my heart have to be going to warrant a call to 911 or a visit to an ER?  
    Anyhow, my house was torn up after the leak in the wall and while it didn’t seem very stressful, we had to pay for the water damage people to come out and leave equipment for a week that had to be running constantly.  It sounded like an airplane in my house for a week.  I was thinking the possibility of stress + vibration and noise from the equipment might have brought my attack on.  

  • Linda Flanigan says:

    I have had 2 episodes of intermittent AFib (went to hopital once) and I can sure attribute it to stress (lack of sleep) overeating, sodium and my BP was on the high side. Itake Atenolol, but no Coumadin. I bought a book written by Dr. Sinatra, a well known cardiologist and he recomends taking COQ10, L Caratine along with your meds. I have tried to keep my stress levels down (not always easy), not eat heavy meals, watch the caffeine and this seems to help. Once in a while (like tonight) I was stressed out and my heart started to beat a little fast and irregular (weird feeling) and I imediately removed myself from the stressful situation and relaxed and it went away. Some people dont even know they have AFib, but I can feel it in in my chest right away. It is a scary feeling, but we hope for a real solution someday. Good luck to all of us.

    • KathyMarie says:

      I was just diagnosed with lone AFib; I had a bout that landed me in the hospital, and I finally converted after 24+ hours there, then sent home with meds. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced. I’m searching for answers but have a cardiologist’s appt next week. I do not want to take coumadin if I don’t have to. Please tell me the name of the book you refer to. I see Dr. Sinatra has many. Thanks. I’m happy to find this web page. I wondered if the stress over the past 8 years had anything to do with it, but didn’t find much mention elsewhere.

  • aligriff says:

    Hello everyone, I just found this site. I am sorry that anyone has to deal with this. I started having AFIB episodes when I was 45. I ended up in the hopspital with a heart rate of over 200. I was released after many tests and told that there is no damage to my heart and put on metoporal, aspirin (I refused coumadin), prevastatin (for cholesterol) and fish oil. I got to where I was having an episode about every four months.I have had 7 episodes now in 12 days. So about every other day. It just wipes me out. I work a very high stress job and I have school age kids and am finding it hard to live my life. I am going to call my cardiologist to find out what my options are for a permanent solution because I am so over this!

    • KathyMarie says:

      I’m 58 with my first episode and was just released from the hospital with lone AFib. I don’t know what to look forward to, and I’m horrified that people have to live with this on a continuing basis. I’ve had short “panic attacks” at night in the past year that never lasted more than a few minutes but now I’m thinking it was related to this but I didn’t know at those times. I pray you find a permanent solution. I don’t want to take meds if I don’t have to; guess I’ll have some questions for the cardiologist next week,

    • marshall walker says:

      please check the Cleveland Clinic web site. they were pioneers in developing the equipment and procedure to correct a-fib.
      also UAB in Birmingham is where is went 5 years ago.
      marshall walker

    • CAROLYN lUCAS says:

      Do you know whether you also have sleep apnea? For complex sleep apnea,, you use a machine called a bipap. Since I started using it, my afib seems to be GONE- returned to sinus rhythm! There’s some connection between afib and sleep apnea- just don’t know WHAT YET. GOOD lUCK.

  • Steve Austin says:

    I have carried out a lot of research on myself, and found out that my Afib is caused by statins. I am working through the different types, but ut seems that the synthetic statins, like rosavustatin are to blame.

    • Mellanie says:


      Can you share more details with us about your research? I started rosuvastatin after my afib surgery, and have had no problems with it, and have even been afib-free for 7+ years. But we are all different, so we’d love to know more about how you figured that out.

      Our forum is a better place to share it, so would you be willing to share it there? To post on the forum, you’ll need to register – instructions for registering and getting started are here:



  • PAT says:


  • Fibber McMee says:

    OK. I think I’m on to something regarding triggers. After a cardioversion, I was afib free for one and a half years. Suddenly a week ago, I awoke in the middle of the night with reflux, bloating and almost throwing up. Along with it, my afib came back with a vengeance, and I can’t convert to NSR – even after a cardioversion.

    I lost 65 pounds, and swam a lot, and I think that kept me afib free.

    I won’t bore you with a long story, but essentially I got off track with my plan, and now believe the following to be true causes (again from my research).

    1. Holiday stress

    2. NSAIDs for back pain.

    3. The first alcohol in 2 years.

    4. A spike in my uric acid from missing my antigout medicine, the alcohol, and high fructose corn syrup in the holiday treats. The uric acid/afib connection possibility I read about was new to me

    5. A terrible diet and no exercise, having been immobilized for several months post surgery for something else.

    6. The reflux and the bloating, caused by the NSAIDs and the alcohol (and the holiday treats).

    Which one was the tipping point, I don’t know, but the GERD and digestive track upsets were the final factor. they have triggered them before.

    • CSmith says:

      I hadn’t had an Afib event in months. Several week ago I had on and again today. The event several weeks I believe the triggers may have been the following:

      1: a very heavy meal really late at night and two glasses of wine. The AFIB event started with reflux and bloating.

      The not sure what trigger the event today: two pancakes for breakfast and one cup of coffee (this is some what of a norm). I noticed that I was seeing stars when I put my head done around noon and shortly there after I was in AFIB.

    • Joyce Nash says:

      I have had Afib for about 12 years. Started when my mother who had dementia and my step dad moved in with us. Loved them both but got no sleep and one night after a heavy meal, started with afib. Was on meds for years then started my Afib diary.
      My husband is a vet so he mentioned that horses get problems with heart palpitations when they are low on potassium.
      So, I started making a banana, blueberry, yogurt milkshake every morning. I also cannot eat much at night but I slowly increased my exercise, did not drink at night and felt better. Took two years to get off the meds. I get AFib infrequently now. I also try to keep the high wheat products to a minimum though I love bread and pasta seems to be a problem, ? if gluten is problem too. I feel so glad to be off the meds since I always felt low and like my heart was beating so slowly that I never had any breath. I have a good friend who has just started with serious Afib, but refused to moderate or change his life and what surprises me is that the doctors haven’t worked with him to change.

  • Tom Reedy says:

    July 2013. I suffered A-Fibs for 3 years. Repeated strong bouts now fully cured. Cardiologist was only ever prepared to offer me RF Ablation. Instead, I got our holistic family physician to do a 100 food type allergy test (blood test) through Alletess Medical Laboratory, Norwell, MA Tel (800) 225 5404. Everything fell into place. I discovered strong allergies to gluten, malt, eggs, almonds and a few other things. My diet was causing me fore years to have frequent acid reflux, and also a “sore” oesophagus. Whenever I ate, I`d get bloating, reflux, belching and several hours of A-Fibs. In addition, work issues were stressing me out. I got right off all of the allergenic foods and I started a stress reduction program with regular accupuncture. After two weeks, my reflux dissipated, my sore oesophagus slowly recovered and my energy came back. The bouts of A-Fibs melted away. I researched my suspicion that somehow the reflux and sore oesophagus were likely affecting my Vegus Nerve. This nerve follows the oesophagus for a lot of its routing. The Vegus Nerve is crucially important in maintaining our heart rate and rhythm. It is connected to the nerve sinus node on your right atrium…which if “disturbed” causes A-Fibs to happen. As my oesophagus settled down, so did my vegus nerve, and so did my A-Fibs. When I told my cardiologist about the connection between my stomach, acid reflux, sore oesophagus and A-Fibs he very reluctantly admitted to a known connection.
    Conclusion: if you get A-Fibs, spend the $100 on the food allergy blood test. Get off those allergens (competely.!) and reduce your stress. Get rid of your reflux (forget antacids, changing your diet is the only remedy – Damn I had to stop drinking beer!) and I guarantee that most peoples A-Fibs will slowly cease as their stomach digestion, reflux and oesophagus recover. Good luck folks. Tom Reedy.

    • Jeff N. says:

      Tom, that is great news. I am in that boat. Having been on acid suppression (prilosec) for over a decade, due to sore esophagus and reflux. Now diagnosed with A-Fib this past April. Have lost much of my appetite, and since not eating so much I’ve stopped the Prilosec, but will see how much that helps. Also been taking magnesium as prilosec blocks the absorption of that, and that is linked to A-Fib!

      During the bad bouts I’m ready to schedule an ablation. But will look into a food allergy test. Stress does not seem to be a factor and actually when I am stressed or exercising, I notice I am in a sinus rhythm. It’s eating, or after exercising that my heart takes off.
      Anything else you’d suggest? Thank you for posting.

    • Joseph Manganaro says:

      Tom, thank you for your insight. About eight years ago every time I swallowed food my heart would skip beats when it passed a certain spot in esophagus. Right by Venus nerve. Doctors never could put two together. Thru stress reduction it went away eventually . Lately started to have frequent skip beats. Never connected what happen 8 years ago. Heart monitor showed nothing serious doc said to relax not life threatening. Wake up one night shortly after in full a fib. Taken in ambulance to hospital. Thought that was it. Scariest moment of my life. Put me on blood thinners and changed beta blocker. Still getting skip beats and waiting for next bout. Venous nerve makes so much sense Got to get off this blood thinner. At least I have direction to go . Thank you. Will update in a month if this is main cause. Joe

  • demihan says:

    I have had af for about 15yrs,I put it down to stress I can actually pinpoint the time it started,it was job connected,but of cause stress elevates the blood pressure,I have had a bout of shingles so had to rest the bp was totally normal no af’s and I felt relaxed,coffee always gives me ectopics if I over indulge,plus tea,too bigger meal can also do it,So I suppose its lifestyle we are talking about,also I am a baby boomer,my father died of a coronary,so I have to start to think seriously about lifestyle and relaxing more ,great site this I have learnt so much from it ,daphne mihan

  • ipvinder says:

    Thanks everyone for sharing your valuable experience. My mom 60 yrs had two episodes of A Fib. Knowing the progressive nature of this disease has left me anxious. Looking for more valuable input in living and handling this.

  • kibrom says:

    Ihave sudden some time and for 20 year when i was 20 years happening Heart Atria fibrillation at the present i taking pre day always but now day to day increase the problem os please support me how to sulve the problem.

  • Elaine says:

    Diagnosed with lone AF on Sept. 30th. I was walking downtown on my usual errand route when my heart rate shot up. I called 911 and the paramedics told me my heart rate was 210 bpm. After I failed to convert on adenosine, I was taken to the local hospital and admitted. I converted chemically four hours later while eating dinner. Most terrifying experience I’ve ever had. Here were my stressors in the months leading up to that event, in no particular order:
    *Losing a job when my boss retired abruptly. Since I was an indepdendent contractor, filing for UI insurance wasn’t an option.
    *Nearly losing my car and apartment due to job loss.
    *Lack of sleep from all the emotional stress.
    *Taking on a job in a grocery store; moving large trains of carts several times a day, for hours on end. Lots of walking, lifting of heavy items. No chance to physically recover between shifts.
    *Catching the flu a week before the afib event.
    *Continuous emotional stress in the months leading up the event: job loss, death in the family, financial stress, GERD, poor sleep.
    The docs in the ED told me I was low on potassium and magnesium. I received 3 grams potassium, 2 grams mag by IV, along with other drugs.

    ECHO came out normal, and of course, ECG was a mess due to afib.
    What scares me about all this is that I may have had an episode during a heat wave last summer, but wrote it off to anxiety. It eventually passed, but I have tow wonder…was it afib?

    Hoping to never have another episode. I have no risk factors, other than my stress level and GERD. The treatments for afib terrify me. Hoping to pursue food allergy testing and accupuncture if I can afford it. I’ve stopped doing a lot of the things I love because I don’t want to end up in the ED again.

    I really hope researchers can nail the the cause of afib soon; I’m terrified most of the time now.

    • Karen Weisbaum says:

      I have had a-fib for over 5 years and go in and out about every 3 months or so. Don’t know whether I have sleep issues but do know stress has been related in one way or another: bumpy plane ride, loss of eldest son, arguing with other son, theme park ride, and finally exam for school.
      I was on meds for it but it made me severely anemic. When I discontinued the meds I had a stroke a few weeks later. I refuse to go back on drugs as when I have any surgery I need to stop them thus I am at a risk of stroke.
      I have to take migraine medication to ward off headaches and rarely drink anything with caffeine. Keep my sodium as low as possible also.
      I leave it up to God!

    • Jerry says:

      Wow, sounds very similar to the on set of my afib.
      I lost my mom on her 71 birthday, job loss, eviction, divorce, bankruptcy, and 4 trips to the ER all followed in a 7 month span. I can no longer do the things I enjoy…bike riding, community theater, dancing, etc. I never know when an episode will strike…my cardiologist feels strongly it is anxiety related, along with genetics.
      I currently engage in yoga and deep breathing exercises which seem to help somewhat.

    • Daniel Holland says:

      The low Potassium and Magnesium is what set it off. Those two minerals are responsible for maintaining normal heart rhythm. I had it 4 times over the past 15 years, every time it was low potassium from the diuretic in my BP medicine. Also too much coffee.

      I notice people don’t mention potassium and magnesium. When those are low, your heart loses rhythm.

    • Francesca says:

      Exactly my problem, as well as taking Potassium and Magnesium now I eat bananas and tamarillos which have a calming effect so does exercise, I also need to watch my water intake which helps blood pressure. My afib is always when I am trying to unwind and sleep usually when sick or stressed and lying on my left side triggers breathlessness which then brings on the afib and uncontrollable waterworks, overall a frightening experience.

  • Dan says:

    I am more convinced now that stress is a huge factor for afiv. My first episode occurred in Nov. 2013 and as many others, I had lots of stress at work. My superior was very demanding and what was worst, he is bi-polar and would have mood changes daily. He would forget what instructions he gave and would expect us to do things immediately if not sooner. My episode lasted a week and the chest pressure was present, I would loose my breath even when showering, climbing 6 steps to my front door was a task. I would work out 6 days per week and when this condition surfaced, I could only exercise for 5 minutes and would be out of energy.
    My boss threatened my job every chance he had and I feared him being in the building with us. I wish that employers would get better educated and the only way for this to happen is by having the government mandating training for the employers (mangers) and their HR departments.

  • I
    I am suffering from AF as you call it at the moment. I started a new job last summer and have struggled to pass my probation, which I have now done, thankfully. I should be less stressed and think I am but am left with this AF. I am overweight and feel quite frightened, want to drop the excess weight as its not doing me any good. Wondering about Bach Flower Essences. I have quite a triggering boss and this makes me very fearful. I intend to get back to swimming and I am doing more walking. I hope it’s not storing up more trouble for the future. I do find these times stressful due to all the means by which we are supposed to be available to people electronically. Anyway, I am feeling relieved to have found a forum to be able to share these thoughts on. Bach Flower Essences does a blend for emotional overeaters which I want to purchase and I have been imbibing the one for those who feel terror. The triggering boss takes me back to terrors of my childhood unfortunately. Thanks for reading this if you have.

    • mmoss says:

      Hi. Sorry to hear you’re suffering from afib. Some people do feel some relief with weight loss. You may be interested in joining our discussion forum to talk about this afib-related issue and many others. To join in on the discussion, go to Instructions for signing up are located in the top section, “Getting Started & FAQ.”

    • Rhonda says:

      Lots of fear with this…lots of worry. I hear you. I’m trying to slow everything down and react less and gave more patience with calmer responses. Quite the challenge.

    • Nina Post says:

      Philippa, I tryed the Rescue remedy by Bach flower to calm my anxiety that turns into A fib.Usually use it at work, as it is the most stressful environment for me. It seems to help. Few times it aborted the Afib. Would be nice to know if anyone else tried. All the best

  • Jackie says:

    I am currently in AF. It started last night when i went to bed. I ended up taking extra medication to see if that would calm it down. It did for a while, but it has come back. I think the trigger for this bout is that I have had a bad cough which I think is stressing my heart. I am currently at work waiting for my doctors appointment. Hopefully I will not need to go to the hospital. I dread that.

  • Kelly says:

    Hi,I just came across this web site. and it is nice not to be alone in this.2 years ago I went to bed and woke up in AFib.My. heart rate was 300.I had been fine before this.Well it was caused by my Thyroid,I have Hashimotos Thyroiditis.That started it.A couple of months ago,my cardiologist asked how was I feeling and I said fine.Seems I had gone into fulltime AFib,don’t know why but because of that ,I had to go on Coumadine.Not happy about that.So anything
    can put you in it.
    I wish they had safer drugs to treat this, can’t take any of those new drugs like Pradaxa.Zarelto,etc.
    Pluse they r not that safe.Well just thought I would share…

    • It’s a great help to read the comments of fellow sufferers. I have had AFib the last 7 years but did not know the medical term for this until fairly recently. I am a female of 63, a marthon runner and certainly not overweight. My very slow heart beat was attributed to my fitness levels but where I live at the moment on a game farm in Botswana I am no longer able to train for long distances. Yet my heart beat remains under 50 and the AFib has become worse. There is no clear explanation for these symptoms as I am the picture of healt. My biggest fear is that I will suffer from a stroke and become unable to run and walk and pursue the active and positive lifestyle I enjoy ao much

    • Jim Gass says:

      I hear you. I’m a 62 year old and have been a very competitive marathon runner for 35 years. Out of the blue this afib shows up and there are times I can’t run a mile without stopping. I wake up in the morning hoping it was all a just a bad dream. Some days are good and others aren’t. My HR hovers in the 45-55 bpm range and have always had great BP. Never thought I’d be a cardiac candidate, but here I am. Thought I was doing everything right.

    • Rhonda says:

      I hear you. Thought I was so very healthy too and then one night woke up into a nightmare of afib. I just had ablation done and am holding my breathe that it worked! Trying so hard to stay calm and not worry but it kind of takes over your being! I hear you all and understand….too bad we don’t have a support group we can attend in person. Have looked around and see no such thing. This is good way to connect also.

  • Patricia K Nabours says:

    More confused than ever reading these. I was diagnosed in 1975 with ventricular tach and aFib. I was a super athletic happy kid, no drugs, alcohol or stress. Meds helped for years but cardioversions never keep me in rymthm . during surgery threw a clot through my heart and became pm dependant after av node ablation and defibrillator in 2005. Left vent quit in 2011 so new pm/defibrillator and third lead replacement. Last summer AFib returned with a vengeance and the last six months have been a struggle to maintain a normal life. Work full time, have a family and was active. A second ablation has been suggested. Echo and TEE revealed a spot on my left vent. Negative cultures for endocarditis. Constant sob, lethargic, dizzy, miserable, cannot pin down what makes it worse but sure that nothing makes it better. CHF and ejection fraction are horrible, I keep moving and fighting but it has become a miserable time ,,,afraid to drive afraid to be alone with grandbabies, swim, exercise, ridevhorses or be alone, exhaustion is never ending. I have never been afraid before but do not want my babies in danger!

  • Evan Howell says:

    I am going to see my Cardiologist this morning. I have the new phone app that takes my EKG, so I am ready to experiment with meds, stress, exercise, wine, sex, diet etc and see how the EKG changes. I have come to the conclusion that all of these things are good with moderation and the middle way. The Chinese herbalist gave me a mixture to drink, that includes dried earthworms, and I have seen an improvement in my EKG when I triple the dose, There are promising studies on the Chinese herbal combination Xin Wen Keli, and in my concoction he says has that and more. I think the flecaidine increases my heart rate, but it seems to have worked also. Causes for me have included stress and my manic lifestyle, with the work hard party hard mentality. So now I strive for calmness and patience, and have developed the mentality of work and party in balance and determined calmness. I still do the things I have done, with some exception, but with greater calmness and less flittiness. I was a social butterfly. Funny, all those words sound like flutter. Now I am becoming a social horse or something with a calm heartbeat.

  • mike4 says:

    hello everybody was diagnosed with artial fibrillation 8 days ago woke up out of my sleeep heart was racing got up to 140 bpm i thought it was anxiety come to find out i was wrong they put me on a asprin and medication and the side effects are horrible im scared to go to sleep depression is starting to set in they keep telling me at the hospital that i have nothing to worry about but the symptoms are making me think otherwise keep getting bubbly feeling in my chest then a big burp comes out i dont know what to do what other options do i have

    • Nick says:

      call your doctor and change your meds. I was taking metaprolol and it made me feel like crap. Changed to cardizem and feel much better.

    • Melissa says:

      You may want to see your doctor about your afib specifically. Afib generally is described in one of three categories: 1) lone afib, or a singular event; 2) paroxysmal, or intermittent afib; and 3) Persistent or permanent afib. We cannot know which kind of afib one may be experiencing, so it’s best to ask your cardiologist or EP.

    • Eddy says:

      Hi try to ovoid medication I have been doing yoga and it helps it. I just had a trigger lasted 4 days is I crap feeling but I did take the blocker codoron but I only take the dose if the trigger doesn’t go away I try sport during the stage biking swim or running all slow pace the can trigger normal again

    • willbrick4 says:

      Mike, examine the stressors in your life over the past 2 years and see how many changes you have gone through. Are you facing any major decisions in your life. Do you like your job. How is your relationship with your wife, family, friends, co-workers? Stress and over exertion can trigger an episode. I too have had irregular heartbeats and skips. When I get them they are due to overexertion or stress, but i have learned how to reset the button and relax. By meditating and being aware of the stress connection it is possible to regulate your heartbeat…

  • Micheal Pugh says:

    I have Afib (found in August 2000)(Lone Atrial Fib( I have rare incidents (1-2 times a year) up until 2005-7, I was having them every few months. I started out with Cardizem, than they upped the Cardizem (worked till about 2009). I have been on Multaq and Pradaxa since 2009 and the episodes are about 1-2x a year again till recently, I just had 2 attacks in 2 months.
    My attacks always happen at the same time, upon waking up, I have never had it happen any other time.
    I am currently trying to find a device that I can wear 24×7 to see if I am having episodes at night. There is an Iphone device, but you have to manually use it. I would like to have something that I can wear at all times and have it linked to my phone or my home computer and track my heart.

    Just wanted to share my story


    Hi Everyone

    Well just had my first attack EVER on Tuesday early morning . Wife rushed me into hospital where they did all the tests and xray of chest and cane to the conclusion of Afib.

    So where did this come from

    Now I know I always had this in mild form but put it down to wind.

    Last two weeks had terrible cough

    Never been so stressed in my life as opening new business , finally opened on Saturday with massive success , on Monday night said to my wife I feel so much happier now , early Tuesday morning got Afib LOL.

    So last two days meds not ready still (beta blockers ) starting to feel but better so might not take these

    Docs want me to go on blood thinners ? Think I will give that a wide berth.

    Stopped the smoking straight away

    Going to get a full heart scan to see if anything in there not right , ASAP even if it costs me

    Your comments would be helpful,


    • Melissa says:

      Brit, thanks for sharing your story. Congrats on your business. That is a stressful endeavor to begin, but it sounds like it’s going well. You may want to look into your stroke risk to understand why your doctors are interested in your taking anticoagulants. The CHA2DS2-VASc seems to be the most accurate stroke risk calculator we have available to us.

      You may also be interested in joining our afib patient discussion forum. Instructions for how to sign up are here. Our active forum is full of others who have been managing their afib, and they may be happy to share with you their experiences with afib.


    • Steve Shilkin says:

      Regardless of what the experts, cardiologists et al may say, it seems that stress is the trigger. however after 12 years of High blood pressure that seems to have no cause other than stress, having had a renal ablation procedure, every drug ever I finally got put on a paraxatine- serotonin reabasorber and the BP dropped. however after 3 months of stress and inordinate amount of long haul airtravel AF struck big time! [had small bouts before] this time it wouldn’t go away. theory; its sugar and stress. the sugar from alcohol and food [ one drinks more when traveling?!] then the system causes more urination to get rid of the high trglyceride level and with it goes sodium and potassium. The docs think I am crazy when I say that a banana and half a teaspoon of salt fixes it in about 30-45minutes. I remembered that when I played a lot of sport I was super susceptible to cramps through loss of salt. I also believe that the vegas nerve may be a bigger contributor to AF than realised. this can be affected by neck and shoulder injuries. any thoughts out there?
      Steve S 61 yr old bloke; ps exercise seems to stop my AF?

    • Melissa says:

      Thanks for sharing. Many people have shared similar stories regarding stress possibly causing or contributing to their afib. Exercise also acts differently for patients. Some go into afib while exercising, and others come out of afib while exercising. It’s certainly perplexing. You may be interested in joining our afib patient discussion forum. You can find details for getting started here.

    • DonnaQuixote says:

      Wow, Steve, your experience seems to be like mine. I too find rehydrating and going sugar free (tough for me), bananas, and sugar free electrolyte drinks, and salt to be helpful. Anything dehydrating is harmful (sodas, diet and regular), tea, coffee (even decaf). And although my afib has left me very intolerant of exercise (my heart immediately races and becomes irreg) sometimes when I have to keep going even though my afib is bad…it gets better. Also I believe the vegus nerve to be involved. I sometimes gently rub circles over my abdomen when in afib and it seems to help. And there are connections between the vegus nerve and the eyes, nose and carotid areas so not surprising shoulder and neck injuries would be problematic. When will this ever all be explained?

  • K.jagwani says:

    Red wine and yogurt are possible triggers for paroxysysms for Afib.
    I just got paroxysysm after 4 years lasted approx 5 hrs.self terminated.Possible trigger chicken legs marinated in yogurt the night before.Am on metropolal low dose and pradaxa =blood thinner.Am 71 and working

  • muhammad farooq says:

    whole info on A,fib was indeed very knowledge bearing particularly personal experience exchanged through replies were equally rewarding.

  • Kay Bast says:

    I have had very mild A-Fib for many years, but really just diagnosed recently by a specialist. I am hypothyroid and think that plays a part. Also stress and caffeine. Dr thinks I need ablation treatment. I am 80 and in good health otherwise, I just retired in July. My husband also has A-Fib and is having trouble with memory. We are strong and have a solid relationship and faith. I am currently on some meds but have a terrible time at night. No A-Fib, but really crazy things going on in my body. Tingling and numbness of ankles and feet. Surges of heat and pressure in upper torso…..etc. Help

  • jesper koppel says:

    I´m living in Denmark and I have for the last 15 years suffered from panic anxiety and always Afib just after the attack. I have never afib without panic anxiety and the afib last for 2-24 hours after the panic. I´m 58 years old, in very good physical shape and my heart is perfect. It has been examined several times.

    I have attacks every 6-8 weeks and it is always between 18:00 – 22:00, when my arousal is high. I build up my arousal between the attacks, I can observe this very precisely, and that is very frustrating. I take beta blocks (25 mg.) but that does not prevent me from these annoying attacks.

    I´m sure that I become more and more stressed and tensed up to the attack and the attack does not develop during hours but during weeks. I have been in cognitive therapy, that has been very successful, and I live a normal life working and not concerning about my attacks at all. However, I still try to optimize my conditions so I may prevent the panic.

    I have tried mindfulness at that helps, but I rather prefer to analyze what causes my attacks, has anybody tried something that helps in similar situations.

    Best regards and thank you for a very fine homepage about afib

    • sharon says:

      Have you ever been told you could have, shaky hand syndrome(essential tremors) it is genetic in my family?

  • Alan Kendall says:

    My AFib started about a month after a heart attack 4.5 years ago. Initially controlled with Sotalol and then about a year ago due to an increase in episodes my consultant added Flecainide. Have seen an improvement since then but I do still get increased episodes which seem to coincide with stress at work. Other triggers for me are alcohol and I suspect chocolate as well. AFib certainly can be a killjoy !! My consultant has kept me on aspirin but also added rivaroxaban to the daily drug cocktail. Episodes are most frequent at night but not exclusively so. Trying to sleep on my left side during an episode makes it worse.

    • sharon says:

      sleeping on your left side can put pressure on your heart, I found that out the hard way not fun.

  • Rose Myers says:

    I was rushed to the hospital two months ago and was told Afib – 220 beats. I’ve been on a beta blocker for thirty years I’m 67. I was put on a blood thinner, Which I hate. That morning I had taken Tylenol for a headache and was at a basketball game for my grandson. It was halftime and I was nervous about something. As I trotted to my seat, it happened out of the blue for eight hours and irregular. Haven’t had another episode, therefore I’m going off my blood thinners…could be a mistake though,but I feel awful on them. I have faith in God and I pray I’ll be ok. I’m staying away from Tylenol and chocolate frosting donuts, along with too much excitement, I believe the cause. Fingers crossed. RM

    • muriel says:

      Rose arnt u afraid u will get a stroke? The thinners r what is keeping the blood flowing. Just like that u take yourself off did u tell your doctor? That’s really scarey dear.

    • Mark says:

      I’ve had to have procedures done, and they “bridge”me with lovenox, a fast acting, short duration anticoagulant. I’ve had paroxysmal a fib, in and out, for about 25 years. I’m going soon for an ablation .

    • Kathy says:

      At least take low dose aspirin. Stroke is something you just don’t want and A fib can definitely cause a stroke.

    • Anna T says:

      Never not take your anti coagulants if you have atrial fibrillation, it is the one extremely effective guard against stroke. That is the current medical protocol, you ignore at your peril.

  • Sheilagh says:

    So anxious just been diagnosed think stress has been the main source of this would like to no the link between underactive thyroid

    • Jacqueline DI Giorgio says:

      Sheilagh please don’t be anxious it will only make matters worse. I have suffered from AF for 2 years. Previous to that I had underactive thyroid which also gave me Graves Disease. After 2 years my thyroid was returned to normal but within a year of going off thyroid medication i had AF. I initially I thought my thyroid problem had returned because symptoms were similar. I am now on solotol and a blood thinner. My AF has been kept on an even keel and I feel great. In a couple of months I will need a knee reconstruction and will need to go off my meds for a few days. Hope there is no effect. I have no idea what the trigger is as I don’t believe I have been that stressed. I do notice though that I usually get it overnight and it lasts for approx. 24 hours.

  • Ralph Verdieck says:

    Diagnosed with afib in 2012. I havery been cardioverted three times and just had my second long afib ablation after passing out with a hr of 244. I am so anxious every second I can’t work or function I am so paralyzed with anxiety and fear. I don’t know what to do.

  • Kyle says:

    Hey .. I have been investigating Afib for a number of years and I felt to share this with you.

    I do think that Afib is the most stupid medical condition ever and ironically, doctors and scientists and others can not find a definite answer/treatment for it.. ..what a shame!

    As AFib is a heart rhythm disorder ( i.e heart electrical circuit disorder) , besides medical knowledge, it must be dealt with/ looked at based on a deep knowledge of electricity/electrical system(s). This means that when our body/system in electrically balanced mode, then our heart, reverse system etc. will be in good shape.

    The disturbance of electricity in our body comes from the food and the drinks we have, the cloth and material we use and the most importantly from the environment (i.e. electrical pollution, radiation etc.). Bear in mind that every individual is susceptible to electrical disturbance in different way. However, it is believed that urban area are more exposed/susceptible to electrical pollution/noise ( electrical unbalance) than the country/rural one. perhapse Afib is the product of the advanced technology and “modern rhythm of life” which have brought all modern mobile devices, communication, electronic tools etc.

    I believe that a serious support is needed to carry out such a serious research in this field based on the above concept in order to provide a definite treatment for Afib. ….Best

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi Kyle,

      Thank you for sharing your story, thoughts and concerns on afib. You may be interested in joining our patient discussion forum ( to connect with other patients who collectively have a great amount of knowledge and experience. You may want to post your story there, and you may also learn a lot from others who have already shared their experience. I hope that you are able to find others to connect with there that can give you advice, suggestions and hope. There are many resources on living with afib that you might find helpful. Best of luck to you!

    • george says:

      have afib was put on leave no pay by employer caused heavy stress had stroke is that the cause of stroke

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi George,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and concerns on afib and the relation between afib and stroke. You may be interested in joining our patient discussion forum ( to connect with other patients who collectively have a great amount of knowledge and experience. You may want to post your story there, and you may also learn a lot from others who have already shared their experience. I hope that you are able to find others to connect with there that can give you advice, suggestions and hope. There are many resources on living with afib that you might find helpful. Best of luck to you! We wish you sinus rhythm.

    • Tom says:

      Hav had afib on and off for 8 years had ablation done in Oct of this year feel better now but worried that it will come back . Have nights that I wake up and cannot catch my breath have mild sleep appear but unable to use machine is this sign of afib returning . Tom

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi Tom,

      Thank you for sharing your story, thoughts and concerns on afib. We are glad to hear that you are feeling better after your ablation. You may be interested in joining our patient discussion forum ( to connect with other patients who collectively have a great amount of knowledge and experience. You may want to post your story there, and you may also learn a lot from others who have already shared their experience. I hope that you are able to find others to connect with there that can give you advice, suggestions and hope. There are many resources on living with afib that you might find helpful. Best of luck to you! We wish you sinus rhythm.

  • margo says:

    Many thanks to Tom Reedy! I could identify with all you said about the vagus nerve being involved and GERD…sore esophagus, eating wrong foods, and too much food too. Have found that my episodes have followed my GI upsets..and I’ve been taking pepcid for a long time. But try to eat less food at evening meal and one that isn’t irritating to my esophagus. Try not to lay on my left side nor back..AF most often happens during the night or very early am.
    I have also tried telling my MD about this..and they don’t seem to want to make the connection???? maybe this has become a big business to treat??? hate to say that, but as with everything else??? Also emotional stress seems to make me more prone to an attack. After an altercation with family member it comes on. Well..we put out lots of adrenaline and acids into our stomachs when we get upset…so it makes sense that the acid once again irritates that vagus nerve which directly affects the heart rhythm.
    I like your idea of food allergy testing and acupuncture. Will try.
    thanks!!! I can identify.

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi Margo,

      Thank you for sharing your story and thoughts concerning the relation between your afib and your GI upsets, as well as the possible connection with emotional stress. You may be interested in joining our patient discussion forum ( to connect with other patients who collectively have a great amount of knowledge and experience. You may want to post your story there, and you may also learn a lot from others who have already shared their experience. I hope that you are able to find others to connect with there that can give you advice, suggestions, and hope. There are many resources on living with afib that you might find helpful. Best of luck to you! We wish you sinus rhythm.

  • Tony Tomasello says:

    I have been dealing with bouts of afib for about 4 years and I agree that stress is a major trigger for me. My afib attacks usually happen from once a month to once every three of 4 months. Two weeks ago my told me that she is leaving me at the end of the month and taking our 10 yr old son with her. Since then I have been having afib attacks nearly every other day. The duration of these recent attacks has been anywhere from 5 minutes to 7 or 8 hours. There have been no changes in my life, diet, work routine, schedule changes, etc….just this news and the all the worries associated with it. This is definitely stress related.

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi Tony,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and concerns regarding your afib and the correlation with your stress. I am sorry that you are feeling more stressed recently, causing you to have more frequent episodes. You may be interested in joining our patient discussion forum ( to connect with other patients who collectively have a great amount of knowledge and experience. You may want to post your story there, and you may also learn a lot from others who have already shared their experience. I hope that you are able to find others to connect with there that can give you advice, suggestions, and hope. There are many resources on living with afib that you might find helpful. Best of luck to you! We wish you sinus rhythm.

    • Albert Patalano says:

      Hi Tony
      I am going thru the same thing only with my grown children. Last yr I was bitten by a tick that carries Babesosis. I was life starred toYale New Haven hospital. Kidneys were failing, lungs were filling with fluid and had to be intubated and my heart was fibrulating. Was unconscious for 3 days and spent 31/2 weeks there. Upon my release I was on lots of Ned’s. My afid went away. Recently my wife and I have gone thru unbelievable stress, depression and anxiety with our daughters. Had to get a pre surgery physical and the EKG showed afid. Heart Doctor put me on Eliquis. Asked him if I had to be on for rest of my life. His answer was a simple yes. Am devastated with this remark. My question is did u get put on a blood thinning medication and was it for life?

  • John Rocco says:

    My doctor put me on Bystolic 2.5 mg about 5 yrs ago. it relieved my skip beats & heart flutters. he told me that andreline makes my heart beat fast & I then have irregular heart rates especially during exercise & stress tests. I get checked every 6 months. recently I had a bout of Afib big time. prior to the Afib moment, I was under a lot of stress. I was taking an over the counter nasal spray for a head cold and I drank a lot of coffee. no wonder my Afib came back. my cardiologist put me on eliquis and wants to see me in 4 weeks for tests. my primary care saw me and said in addition to taking bystolic 2.5 mg in the AM, take another 2.5 mg in the PM. he also gave me a prescription for Ativan to help me relax. the bystolic counter acts the andreline effects & the Ativan helps me relax & not produce any extra andreline. I feel a whole lot better, my heart rate is normal & I am not out of breath. I am looking forward to running all this by my cardiologist. John Rocco from Philly. Mar 2017.

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi John,

      Thank you for sharing your afib story and your symptoms. You may be interested in joining our patient discussion forum ( to connect with other patients who collectively have a great amount of knowledge and experience. You may want to post your story and questions there, and you may also learn a lot from others who have already shared their experience.

      You’ll need to join to see and participate in the discussion. To do so, go to, and click on the big red button that says, “Sign Up”. Once you sign up by registering your email address, your preferred username, and a password, you’ll receive an email to confirm your interest in joining the forum. Click on the confirmation link in that email, and you are ready to go. You’ll be able to log into the forum, read the discussions, and participate.

      I hope that you are able to find others to connect with there that can give you advice, suggestions, and hope. There are many resources on living with afib that you might find helpful. Best of luck to you! We wish you sinus rhythm.

  • Jason says:

    Hi all,
    I’m sitting here in ED and I have been since 4.45am. I’ve had my first afib starting around 4.20am and it’s now 8.53am.
    I’m 36 years young, I have a 4 yo son and 2 yo daughter.
    I work in a health service in a very stressful environment. My wife and I have just sold our house and bought a new one as well. We move it and into it new home in 4 weeks.
    I have been struggling with a back injury since Jan 2017, I have chronic Achilles tendonopathy and only 2 weeks ago I fractured my scaphoid for the second time in 12 months.
    Since Jan this year I have started to drink a coffee in the morning and I’d say at least one more during the day. I have started drinking a glass of wine of a night time and maybe at least 1 or 2 whiskeys during the week as well.
    Reading the above you can probably understand why and how I ended up here.. none of it sounds healthy at all, but I’m a very active person. I’m an ex personal trainer, I play football, train most days and live a very active lifestyle. Not only that I have notice my heart flicker before but have never thought much more of it. As long as I can remember I have always noticed my heart flicker but it’s only ever lasted for about 10 seconds. Nothing really serious.
    Last night was the real first time it lasted for 10sec. I was in afib for at least 60 or so minutes.
    Last night my wife and I were up to our 2 yo daughter from 3.20am. She cried, I got anxious and grumpy. I was grumpy with my wife as I thought she wasn’t handling it well and then at 4.10am I got up to my daughter, held her and laid her back down very much settled. I then went back to bed, laid on my phone for about 3mins and that’s when I noticed my heart beating out of whack. So here I am, wondering what has caused this?? I personally think I have caused this to myself. I gave up on myself and went into a dark place. I’ve given up on my family, friends, work and football. But more importantly myself.
    Laying here this morning with my heart bounding, shitting myself and thinking I may never see my wife, beautiful kids and family again. I thought I was going to die.

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi Jason,

      Thank you for sharing your afib story and your symptoms. You may be interested in joining our patient discussion forum ( to connect with other patients who collectively have a great amount of knowledge and experience. You may want to post your story and experience there, and you may also learn a lot from others who have already shared their experience.

      You’ll need to join to see and participate in the discussion. To do so, go to, and click on the big red button that says, “Sign Up”. Once you sign up by registering your email address, your preferred username, and a password, you’ll receive an email to confirm your interest in joining the forum. Click on the confirmation link in that email, and you are ready to go. You’ll be able to log into the forum, read the discussions, and participate. I hope that you are able to find others to connect with there that can give you advice, suggestions, and hope.

      You can view a how-to video here:

      There are many resources on living with afib that you might find helpful.
      For more information on afib and afib management, we have many resources available to you.

      • News Stories on afib
      • Patient Resources at
      • Afib Blog
      • Video Presentations from the 2015 Atrial Fibrillation Patient Event

      Best of luck to you! We wish you sinus rhythm.

  • Melinda says:

    I had a major heart failure from afib in ER they pumped me with different medicines & one was very painful all over my body I felt it and I couldn’t talk or breathe but doctor stood over me telling me to breathe because I knew I could just let go and die. I had been under extreme stress for a year an a half . That happened in Oct of 16 and it’s July 17 and I still have stress and afib but doctors thinks if the stress goes away then the afib will to . But it’s cause me to have so much problems! I’m on medication for it but I still have it often. I hope it does go away . I have a small son who needs me & this afib is horrible!

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi Melinda,

      Thank you for sharing your afib story and your experience. You may be interested in joining our patient discussion forum ( to connect with other patients who collectively have a great amount of knowledge and experience. You may want to post your story and experience there, and you may also learn a lot from others who have already shared their experience.

      You’ll need to join to see and participate in the discussion. To do so, go to, and click on the big red button that says, “Sign Up”. Once you sign up by registering your email address, your preferred username, and a password, you’ll receive an email to confirm your interest in joining the forum. Click on the confirmation link in that email, and you are ready to go. You’ll be able to log into the forum, read the discussions, and participate. I hope that you are able to find others to connect with there that can give you advice, suggestions, and hope.

      You can view a how-to video here:

      There are many resources on living with afib that you might find helpful.

      For more information on afib and afib management, we have many resources available to you.
      • News Stories on afib
      • Patient Resources at
      • Afib Blog
      • Video Presentations from the 2015 Atrial Fibrillation Patient Event

      Best of luck to you! We wish you sinus rhythm.

  • Diane Demura says:

    My a-fib began after I was struck by a car last summer while in a cross-walk and sustained a severe injury to my ankle and foot. I still have PTSD from it. My cardiologist says there is no way to prove that the accident was the trigger. But I find it more than a coincidence.

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi Diane,

      I am so sorry to hear about your accident last summer, and your injuries and now afib that you are experiencing. Thank you for sharing. You may be interested in joining our patient discussion forum ( to connect with other patients who collectively have a great amount of knowledge and experience. You may want to post your specific questions there, and you may also learn a lot from others who have already shared some questions and answers.

      You’ll need to join to see and participate in the discussion. To do so, go to, and click on the big red button that says, “Sign Up”. Once you sign up by registering your email address, your preferred username, and a password, you’ll receive an email to confirm your interest in joining the forum. Click on the confirmation link in that email, and you are ready to go. You’ll be able to log into the forum, read the discussions, and participate. I hope that you are able to find others to connect with there that can give you advice, suggestions, and hope.

      For more information on afib and afib management, we have many resources available to you.
      • News Stories on afib
      • Patient Resources at

      We wish you sinus rhythm. Please let me know if you need help registering for the forum or if you need help with anything else at all.

  • Charles Drinkwater says:

    I have had bouts of vertigo for years. They would occur 3 or 4 times a year initially and the time between kept getting shorter. The vertigo was transient and I never was in a medical environment while they occurred. When the vertigo was at the weekly point, the VA put me on mezaclizine. It’s an antihistamine for motion sickness. I took the stuff religiously for several years and the time between events went to several a day. They assumed I had Menare’s do to hearing loss in my left ear. My job has a massive amount of stress. I was on a cpap . I had almost completely cut off alcohol consumption and drank a large amount of tea. The breaking point came at work. I had a bout of vertigo and I sat to let it pass. I got a pain in my jaw and it spread to my chest. I thought heart attack took an aspirin and a ambulance. The EMT said it was an SVT and did a conversion. The relief was immediate. They put me on beta blocker but it was not brought under control. Almost every event from that point till my ablation was triggered by stress or me allowing myself to become upset. I learned to let go of everything, gave up on alcohol, tea, coffee, and anything with caffeine. I have not had an event since the ablation 4 years ago and hopefully it will stay gone.

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi Charles,

      Thank you for sharing your afib story. So glad to hear of your success after your ablation. You may be interested in joining our patient discussion forum ( to connect with other patients who collectively have a great amount of knowledge and experience. You may want to post your story there, and share your experience with others! I’m sure it would help someone.

      You’ll need to join to see and participate in the discussion. To do so, go to, and click on the big red button that says, “Sign Up”. Once you sign up by registering your email address, your preferred username, and a password, you’ll receive an email to confirm your interest in joining the forum. Click on the confirmation link in that email, and you are ready to go. You’ll be able to log into the forum, read the discussions, and participate. I hope that you are able to find others to connect with there that can give you advice, suggestions, and hope.

      You can find additional instructions here: StopAfib Discussion Forum: Step-by-Step Registration Directions

      We wish you sinus rhythm and continuous health!

  • Marcia says:

    I had electrocardioversion yesterday after four months of afib which was irregular slow not fast heartbeat. I was so scared of the meds and electric shocking. But the electrocardioversion was a cakewalk even though I woke up sobbing and hearing several people ask me to stop crying. I finally could. But I didn’t want to tell them that my heart was breaking in another way.. I believe that the stress from my husband ‘s (of 25 years ) lying and cheating and telling me I’m too old and he doesn’t want to be a caregiver …all contributed to my afib. Now I hope and pray I will be strong enough to gather my wits and focus on meditation. It’s so hard to be happy when the person you thought was your perfect love becomes your torturer. I keep hearing his words and feel so angry and scared.i really wanted to write this to help others so I will just finish up with..yes stress is a demon..and don’t be afraid of cardioversion because you really will not know a thing and even the skin burn I got on my back is no big deal. Be strong..i’m sure you are loved…Marcia in Modesto

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi Marcia,

      I am so glad to hear that you had a successful cardioversion. I am so sorry about your relationship with your husband and how he was contributing to your stress. Thank you for sharing that insight into your life and your afib story. As for sharing with and helping others who might be going through the same thing, you may be interested in joining our patient discussion forum ( to connect with other patients. You may want to post your story there, and share your experience with others.

      We are thinking of you. Continue to be strong!

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