Dr. Natale Answered Your Atrial Fibrillation Questions

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Dr. Natale has answered the atrial fibrillation questions that you posted recently over at the Journal of Atrial Fibrillation. You can also post questions there for the next guest expert to answer. Please click on the link below to learn more (the doctors will not be answering comments posted to this blog).

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12 Responses to Dr. Natale Answered Your Atrial Fibrillation Questions

  • dave says:

    i am 71 and have developed afib in last few months. I have been to the er several times. Today my rythmn has been in and out all day but rate is not as fast as it has been 80 -90 – bp 117/70 My question is – how long should I wait before I contact a doctor – when it keeps going in and out of rythym

  • Mellanie says:


    Only a doctor familiar with your individual situation and history can make that judgement call. If you’re concerned, you may want to call your doctor right away. Even on weekends and holidays someone should be available “on call” for you to ask. Good luck.


  • John Parson says:

    Dr Natale:
    I met with you @ CCF in 2005; I am Mario Ionno’s cousin whom you ablated twice. The time we last spoke I was not symptomatic enough. Well I have gone out of rhythm 3 times in the last 3 months. I live in Canton Ohio and would like to discuss the procedure when your in Cleveland or Akron the next couple months. Please advise….

  • Mellanie says:

    B. Garrett,

    Yes, enlarged atria can affect your longevity because of heart failure. That’s definitely something to discuss with your doctor.

    We all walk a tightrope, trying not to lean too far to one side, such as jumping onto ablation or surgery too soon, and trying not to lean too far to the other side, such as by waiting too long and letting our atria get enlarged, making it difficult to even do a catheter ablation or surgery.

    Enlarging of the atria is something to address promptly before it goes too far.


  • MJ says:

    Hi Dr. Natale,
    I have Afib which had become supraventricular tachacardia the last time I went to my doctor feeling unwell. Had an unsuccessful ablation a couple years ago and got pericarditis afterward which still could be heard 6 months later. The test done 3 months after the surgery was inconclusive, showing possibly effusion or scar tissue. During the ablation the machine blew a fuse and was down for 1 /2 hour, so I am worried it was burned. Now I have pulmonary hypertension (reading of 50). Do I see a pulmonologist now or who, to find out th exact cause?


  • Mellanie says:


    Sorry I’m a day late in replying since you’re probably already home now.

    There is always a lot of discussion in the afib community as to whether it’s OK to fly when you have afib, and whether flying will bring on afib. The first rule for me is to stay completely hydrated when flying as getting dehydrated can bring on afib.

    Some folks make sure they have extra medication with them on the plane as “pill in the pocket.” I was on beta blockers (rate control medication) and my doctor said it was OK to take an extra one if I went into afib. I’d be a bit more concerned about doing that with an anti-arrhythmic (rhythm control) drug unless my doctor said it was OK.

    I hope you had a safe flight, and no afib.


  • Elzaan says:

    On patient assesment, what would be the most appropriate questions to ask a patient regarding him having a atrial fibrillation?

  • Beth-ann says:

    My husband was admitted into the ER after being in afib for 2 days on a cruise. The ER admitted him to the hospital where we have waited 35 hours to speak to the right doctor and finally have a clot test scheduled for tomorrow morning (probably 48 hours after admission). Everyone keeps saying that the problem with afib is that if let go too long, it could cause blood clots, possibly resulting in a stroke. My question is..how long is too long? This hospital does not seam to take this condition seriously and has left us waiting in the dark without any answers for a day and a half. Is this proper care or should we not trust this hospital to care for him?



  • Diana L Jackson says:

    Can I fly while being in afib with rapid heart rate too. I’m due to get on a plane tomorrow and I’m in afib generally 14-31 hours long. Ok to fly?

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi Diana,

      Hope that you have a safe and noneventful flight. Please see my response to Jack below – I suggest that you post your question on our forum to get answers from other patients who might have the same experiences as you. You can find our forum at http://forum.stopafib.org/index.php.

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