The Role of Coffee in Atrial Fibrillation

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Is there anyone with atrial fibrillation who hasn’t been told that coffee and caffeine can cause or trigger atrial fibrillation?

The first step to controlling atrial fibrillation, we’re often told, is to eliminate coffee. Because of this, coffee and caffeine are frequent topics on afib discussion forums.

But there’s interesting information about coffee at the Micronutrient Information Center of the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University.

This fascinating site contains interesting facts, such as that unfiltered coffee can raise total cholesterol and bad cholesterol (LDL) levels. In addition, coffee consumption is associated with decreased risk of Type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and liver disease, and there is no evidence that it increases the risk of cancer. It can increase blood pressure, but most studies found no increased cardiovascular disease risk from moderate consumption.

What was most interesting, though, was the relationship of coffee and cardiac arrhythmias, such as atrial fibrillation. According to the site,

“Clinical trials have not found coffee or caffeine intake equivalent to 5-6 cups/d to increase the frequency or severity of cardiac arrhythmias in healthy people or people with CHD. A large prospective study in the US that followed more than 128,000 people for 7 years found no association between coffee consumption and sudden cardiac death. More recently, two prospective studies in Scandinavia found no association between coffee consumption and the risk of developing atrial fibrillation, a common supraventricular arrhythmia.”

So, according to this, coffee, even 5-6 cups per day, doesn’t play a role in developing atrial fibrillation or increasing the frequency or severity of arrhythmias.

When this topic comes up on a discussion forum, someone will inevitably say that they drink as much coffee they want as long as it’s organic or it’s decaf.

What has been your experience with coffee and afib? Does cutting out coffee or caffeine decrease or eliminate your atrial fibrillation? Or does it make it any difference at all?

How many of us grab some coffee when we’re stressed? Could it be stress, not coffee, that’s the culprit?

185 Responses to The Role of Coffee in Atrial Fibrillation

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  • Dan Robertson says:

    Despite reducing my intake of caffeine by drinking a mixture of 50% decaf on the post cardioversion advice of my nutritionist, I have never found modest coffee consunption to be an a-fib trigger despite the numerous references to it by many a-fib sufferers.

  • Nel says:

    Hi,
    I have stopped all caffeine consumption. That is coffee, tea, and most all chocolate..Caffeime makes the heart raise, so I’m afraid of it…
    Nel

  • Mellanie says:

    Nel,

    Just wondering…do you have the same effect with both organic and regular coffee and tea?

    Some folks with afib say that it’s the pesticides in the coffee and tea that seem to trigger afib rather than the caffeine. They can have organic coffee just fine, but give them non-organic and it triggers afib.

    The same could apply to organic vs. regular chocolate.

    Mellanie

  • shellseeker says:

    Having given up all types of coffees, which was my lifeline, I’m starting to drink teas. I’ve learned how to decaffeinate teas. But, I’m wondering what is the acceptable level of caffeine allowed an A Fib patient? In restaurants it is almost impossible to find caffeine free beverages. How much caffeine is considered safe? Thank you.

  • Mellanie says:

    I don’t think that I’ve seen that kind of information.

    Since some believe that caffeine isn’t the problem, but that the pesticides are, if organic is available, that might be an acceptible solution.

    Mellanie

  • Darryl says:

    A definate yes on the caffeine triggering atrial fib, at least in my case. But there are a lot of qualifications. When I started getting intermitten Afib either adrenalin or caffeine would increase the possibility of an occurance on a given day.
    The mechanism appears (on some people) to be that the caffeine increases the tendacy of the ventricles to pick up, see, or respond to more of the excessive atrial signals presented to it. It is my understanding that it acts the same as any stimulant to the automic nervous system, similar to getting excited, exercising, being fearful, ect.
    I am quite sensitive to Caffeine and that is the way it works on me.
    But now that I have continuous Afib I actually take say a quarter of a Excedrin in the morning otherwise I will be walking around like a zombie because my blood pressure is so low. That is partly because I continue run regularly and that still decreases my “resting” blood pressure.
    Anyway the effect of caffeine was very obvious when I first started getting intermitten Afib.
    DC

  • Rich says:

    My lone A-Fib started at age 39. It doesn’t run in my family and I am in great shape. My downfall is I love the herbal stimulants. I used to take lots of Ephedra and caffiene when I was in my 20’s and early 30’s for enrgy and weight loss. I have never smoked and was never a drinker. After doing a lot of research and talking to many cardioligists and EP’s I am convinced my use of the herbs was most likely the cause. I eventually had ablation and am on Flec as a precaution. I monitor my caff intake and keep it under 300mg daily and do not take any other stimulants. I kow there are no studies proving this, but it just makes sense that stress and stimulants should be minimized.

  • Mellanie says:

    Darryl,

    With you being so sensitive to caffeine, do you find that’s with both regular coffee and organic? Just curious if it makes a difference for you.

    Mellanie

  • Rich says:

    Suggestion to some who are trying to cut back or monitor caffeine. In an effort to monitor my exact intake I bought a bottle of 100mg caffeine tablets. I stopped consuming any caffeine containing drinks and foods. I take 1 100mg tablet 1-2 times a day. The beauty of this is you can monitor your exact amount of caffeine instead of guessing how much caffeine your cups of java have. If you are trying to ween your self off, these tablets can even be broke in half and you can slowly decrease your intake. I was once a 900mg a day person. I have successfuly cut back using this method and I believe I will eventually be off caffeine.

  • John H says:

    With fingers crossed, I’m reporting that cutting out caffeine has had an immediate positive impact on my symptoms. They’ve practically disappeared in the span of two and a half weeks.

    I’ve been trying to listen to my body and to pay attention to my environment in an effort to determine the “cause” for a few years now (even though my doc says that “nobody knows what the cause is”).

    With unlimited coffee at work, I’d started to consume a lot of coffee, just out of habit. Just on a lark, I tried switching over to decaf. I’m lucky in that I don’t get physically addicted to substances, and so it was easy to go cold turkey.

    The symptoms, which had escalated in recent months, immediately abated, and now I very rarely get a flutter, and haven’t had a sustained event (more than five minutes) at all.

    I’m going to hold off refilling my flecainide to see if this theory holds. One thing’s for sure: I’m not suffering from a flecainide deficiency! There has to be one or more causes for this.

    John H.
    Chicago, IL USA

  • Mellanie says:

    John,

    Congratulations! That’s wonderful that you’ve gotten your afib under control and know how to keep it under control. Keep up the good work.

    Mellanie

  • JIM says:

    I am a 21 year old very active and in good shape university student. I am not a caffeine junky but have been known to drink the odd coffee when trying to get an extra couple hours of studying in. 2 weeks ago I got my 1st afib attack and it lasted for about 10 hours then stopped by itself. The attack came while I was hockey and when the doctors asked if I drink excessive amounts of coffee, I responded no, and they said, that wouldn;t have been the reason. But I did have a coffee before my hockey game, and told the doctors that and they seemed to think it would not have been the reason.

    The other day I tried to give coffee another go, and although I did not get an afib attack, It did make me feel rather light headed and I could feel my heart beating faster.

    I would vote for caffeine being a potential cause of this.

  • vicki - april 4 says:

    I have had very light episodes of a-fib all of my life. If they were going to occur it would be just before my ‘monthly’. I was told it was an over active vagal nerve and that some light physical activity, say jumping jacks, would take care of it.
    I have just recently had an episode that lasted for 24 hours but went a way on its own while I hospitalized. That was when I discovered that what I had was a recognized condition.
    I am now on meds which do help. I find my a-fib occurs most often when I am resting or have not gotten enough sleep and am overly tired, or getting ready to fall asleep. If I get up and move about and walk slowly around the house it decreases. If I try to sleep while it is happening it gets worse. I am hypertensive( 130 over 80 with meds) and could lose some weight which I am in the process of doing in the hopes that it will diminish the episodes. I do not have heart disease, stopped smoking three years ago (I was alight smoker) and my arteries a clear.
    I have stopped drinking coffee and I did not know that tea also had caffeine so that is finished. It was difficult to give up my daily glass of wine but I have. I am thinking weight loss coupled with all of the above will help. Anyone have any ideas suggestions or can tell me if I am on the right path?
    Has anyone else experienced a-fib when they were resting or overly tired?

  • Mellanie says:

    Vicki,

    Some folks that have afib when resting find that they also have sleep apnea, which can trigger afib. Please ask your doctor if that is a possibility with you. Afib and sleep apnea often go hand in hand.

    Good luck.

    Mellanie

  • Tony says:

    I was diagnosed in May of 2008 with A Fib and I have been on Lisinopril, bisoprolol, and coumadin ever since and I have no symptoms of A Fib regardless of what I eat or drink that contains caffeine. I am a 43 year old white male.

  • Alan says:

    For me, my two most serious A.F. attacks have been as a result of the deadly combination of coffee and stress.

    In both cases I’ve had a lot of work piling up and deadlines to hit. As a result I downed a few strong coffees in the belief that they would keep me focused and alert until the job was done.

    Since my first attack, I’ve had a coffee now and again, and have also been under stress on occasions, but have not succumbed to an attack.

    BUT, a few days ago, I was silly enough to add coffee to stress again, and was hospitalised for a night, while they attempted to regulate my BPMs again.

    In the end, as in my previous case, a good, restful sleep seemed to do more good than all the beta-blockers and I.V. drugs.

  • Simon says:

    Just diagnosed with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation with episodes of ventricular standstill ( pacemaker job). Asked consultant cardiologist about coffee- told to stop drinking the stuff. I am a doctor, so have looked at medical literature – there is little to suggest normal quantities of coffee (e.g. 3 cups daily) are a problem.
    A study this month from New York shows no cardiac risk from coffee, even in diabetics, and another showed a LOWER risk (J Electrocardiol. 2006 Oct;39(4):421-5. Epub 2006 Aug 21). Before believing advice ask for the published evidence!

  • angga sulaiman says:

    I am 28 year old, addicted to coffee & smoking, in a day I used to consumed about 6 cup double coffee & 2 pack of cigarette. on march 23rd I am experiencing a heart problem. it was unhappy condition for me. the doctor said that nothing’s wrong with my heart it just an ordinary palpitation due to stress, but I know there is something happen with my heart because it feel very unconfortable the beat sometimes felt doubled and sometimes it felt like no beat at all, the ecg did not shown any problem, but in echocardiograph shown that I have a MR trivial & TR 24mmhg.
    when I ask the doctor what cause it, she just smile at me and say :
    “you owe your life a recreation, your soul need to be relaxing, you need to free your mind, you need to jogging everyday 5 KM minimum to train your cardiovascularity system, you need to reduce coffee consumtion and you need to stop smoking, that’s all no medical prescription require”.
    and right now I am very trauma with those 2 stuff

  • kaye says:

    to vicki _
    I have had four episodes of afib this summer. And they were all similar to what you have had. I am 47, tall, with a BMI of 28-29. I considered myself fit and active. Three of the episodes happened at the end of a busy day. I’m resting on the sofa, go half a flight of stairs up to bed at 10pm. Lay down and within a few minutes I’m in afib for the night. I’ve only converted in the morning when I’m sitting at the computer or sitting on the sofa. I’ve started metopropol 50mg/day. No history of heart disease. Previouslly drank 3-4 cups of coffee/day and drank less than 3-4 oz wine a day. Doctor said until I cut out coffee/alcohol won’t put me on anything else.

  • Rebecca says:

    I am a 39 year old female and I have drunk large quantities of caffienated drinks for most of my adult life. Over the past 18 months my coffee intake has risen to about 6 cups a day due to the convenience of the espresso machine at my office.

    Two months ago I started having severe palpatations and ended up in hospital. The doctor told me I have atrial taccycardia. I have no family history and my stress levels have been fine. I am convinced that the large caffeine intake I was having every day triggered these attacks. I also have gastro-intestinal discomfort.

    My condition has gotten much worse, despite stopping smoking and dramatically reducing my caffeine intake. I am waiting for test results to come through before trying Flecanide as I am experiencing afib every day now. I do notice an increase in the afib symptoms even with a small amount of caffeine.

  • Richard says:

    I’m glad to find this discussion! I’m 64, with mitral valve prolapse and a lifelong coffee drinker. About 15 and 18 years ago I had two episodes of Afib requiring chemical cardioversion in the hospital. It was never clear what the trigger was, and I continued to drink @ 3 cups of coffee a day, and one or two glasses of wine a night. Never had any more problems. About 6 years ago I started taking Provigil, an alertness drug, for a sleep-related disorder. Still never any problem.
    Then a week ago I went into Afib and I’m guessing it was an unusual “perfect storm” of too many stimulants: I had taken some Provigil, some Sudafed for a stuffy nose, then had a glass of wine, a beer, and topped it off with an Irish coffee – whiskey in coffee – and the arrhythmia kicked in after that. I think the Afib is slowly resolving, but I learned a lesson. Interestingly, my cardiologists was most concerned about the Sudafed- she said it is more cardio-active than people realize.
    richard

  • Mellanie says:

    Richard,

    It sounds like everything added up to cause your afib, though the Sudafed could have been the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back”.

    Is there a possibility that your sleep disorder could have contributed to it? Sleep apneas are associated with an 18 times higher risk of afib than normal sleep breathing. Here’s info on that: Sleep Apnea Multiplies Risk of Arrhythmias Like Atrial Fibrillation:

    http://stopafib.org/newsitem.cfm/NEWSID/211

    Mellanie

  • Mike says:

    I’m 55 based in the UK and had an ER attack of AF mid December 2009. Looking back I am certain I had quite a number of other attacks before December, just did not appreciate what they were.

    Since the first event attacks come pretty regularly, despite medication, getting to the point where I am reluctant to go to bed because they most often come on overnight.

    Following the first ER event I cut coffee and tea right back but I have long been a heavy coffee drinker and so as the meds had some impact I increased tea/coffee again. The events increased in frequency and my first conclusion was that the meds were not working.

    However, last Saturday I completely cut out Tea and Coffee just drinking water and juice.

    Over the last five days I have had just one three and a half hour event and am able to sleep again.

    So for me at least the link seems to be clear cut.

    I have read the reports that normal consumption of around three cups a day can be tolerated so I will try introducing just one cup to see what happens and will also try organics and post again in a week or so.

    Thanks for the site.

    Mike

  • Adele Tyler says:

    I, too, am quite sensitive to caffeine and have been all my life. My first touch of a fib was in college, after drinking my first (and last!) Irish coffee. In my early 50’s I had my first a fib attack, for real, and went to the hospital for a night. It was brought on by a day of too much coffee, sudafed, and a glass of red wine, plus too much excitement at a rock concert, I believe. Cutting out all caffeine and switching to decaf and eliminating sudafed left me symptom free for 5 years. Now I’m having weekly episodes, after even one glass of wine or a diet Coke. I still drink decaf but have considered eliminating it because it has small amounts of caffeine. I know from experience that caffeine brings on these afib episodes for me, and suspect the alcohol does now, as well. I’m curious to know more about the role of exercise in decreasing these symptoms. I’m a 59 year old female and wonder if my recent return of hot flashes, which seems to correlate with the return of the afib, means hormones are playing a role in this?

  • Shirl says:

    This is amazing.
    I have AF and sometimes feel like I’m stuck
    in 2nd gear but if I brew a pot of coffee and
    drink a half cup it feels like a jump-start and
    then I settle down to an AF that I can cope with.

    On another note my adversion to “mold” can
    cause an increased event of AF….which is
    very disconcerting. Just the smell and being
    in the same room wtih mold is a trigger.

  • Chris says:

    I am mostly in sinus rhythm but over the last decade I have had afib about 18 times due to a virus that attacked my heart and almost killed me. I cut out caffeine from then on except what I get out of decaf. Truthfully, I’m not sure it makes a difference. Lately, after a failed ablation, my afib has been happening about once a month. Neither alcohol or caffeine(I tried it once during this) has ever triggered it. I completely stay away from decongestants though. Honestly, right now there is is no rhyme or reason for my afib except I have IBS alot and I believe it helps cause it.

  • kathy rettig says:

    Just now looking into this. I have had 1 to 2 episodes every day for about a month, lasting from minutes to an hour. My heart is pounding, skipping a beat, not racing too fast (110)–feels very wierd, often have a brain fog with it, and a fluttery feeling. I think have paroxymal a-fib. Things that precipitate– STRESS –my job is stressful and unfriendly. Now I also am wondering if it was the caffeine too. Also going through menopause. I know I should see my doctor, but she always tells me to lose weight, and I think she thinks I am a hypochondriac. I have seen her for some other things recently. But stress can do many things to us. It would be interesting to see if the stress was removed, would the afib go. Unfortunately, gotta work! Thanks for the site.

  • M Hoyt says:

    I was 42 when I first got afib. I am an avid runner and I feel I am in great shape. The day of my first afib, I ran a 5K. I ate a banana and water afterwards and came home and took a shower. After the shower I began feeling dizzy. My wife is a nurse. She listened to my heart and knew exactly what it was. I was put on blood thinners and overnight in the hospital I went back to sinus rhythym. This last weekend, it happened again (2nd time). I ran a 5K trail run and was feeling fine afterwards. After the race I ate a banana and had gatorade. I stopped for drive through lunch on the way home (Chicken sandwich). At home I took a shower and 10 minutes later it happened again. The first time, I used to drink at least 5 cups of coffee a day in addition up to 2 Monster Coffee Energy drinks (equiv to 7 cups of coffee each – equiv 12-19 cups a day). I loved energy drinks. After my afib, I went down to 1 cup a day and NO more energy drinks. In March 2010, I decided to give up coffee for lent. And I did. This last Friday evening, I had a cup of coffee for the first time in two months. I don’t know if it is related, but in the next 14 hours, I didn’t sleep well. I ran the 5K trail race and I go into afib after I get out of the shower. I blamed the first one on the excessive amounts of coffee I drank. The second was 14 hours after not having a cup for two months. The second made me second guess the reason I went into the episode. In both races I had bananas afterwards. (keep in mind, I run races practically every weekend 5K’s to Half Marathons). I am not sure what triggers it. One other option is it could be genetic. My Dad died of Congestive Heart Failure and my aunt (my Dad’s sister) has a pace maker. The only drugs I am on is for Cholesterol and Acid Reflux.

  • Matt says:

    I’m 35 and have had a least a weekly afib episode since mid January 2010. I honestly don’t know if I had it before that. I never smoked, rarely drank, and when I did only in moderation. I think I have a genetic disposition to high cholesterol and I’m just barely overweight. Other than that I’m pretty healthy. I used to consume quite a bit of caffeinated soda and tea. I haven’t had coffee in maybe 15 years. I cut out caffeine cold turkey after the first episode. Now I’m wondering if a little wouldn’t help.

    My episodes seem to happen when I have a lowered heart rate, like when I sleep. I usually wake up with it on the day I get it. I’ve been exercising to convert to sinus for almost every episode since mid February early March. I’m on beta blockers and I used to take another 50ml when I had afib, now I take 50 a day and I’m cutting back slowly to 25, and I don’t take any to convert. I usually convert within minutes after exercising. I wonder if the beta blockers don’t cause me to have more regular episodes since they keep my rate lower. I would like to get off them completely to see.

    I’ve continued to drink soda but only caffeine free and usually diet. For the past week I’ve been unknowingly drinking caffeinated diet soda. I’ve felt quite a bit better than I have in a while and so far I’m a few days out from my normal weekly episode. It would seem that if my lower rate causes my episodes then giving my heart the occasional kick, as long as it is in moderation, wouldn’t be a bad thing.

    Nothing like being a walking experiment…

  • Carol Dister says:

    I have had a-fib for 10 years. My mother also had it. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my episodes, 3-4 a year, are brought on by caffeine. Each time I drink something caffeineated, I get an episode. So no more decafe coffee, or tea. No chocolate, only caffeine free sodas. The last time I converted, I passed out. Very scary. So I am strict about my diet, do not want that to happen again. I am not overweight, have very low blood pressure. Pacemaker has been suggested if I get anymore episodes.

  • linda says:

    I have eliminated any caffeine intake, brisk walk and eat more vegetable. I also drink water and some 2& milk. My blood pressure is normal now and my afrib is settling down. When my son was young he could not drink apple juice from the shelf but could drink “organic” apple juice. I will try the orgainc coffee as the only time I got afrib is when I finished my morning coffee(regular coffee off the shelf).

  • linda says:

    I read in a study that rats fed pecticides showed heart flutters. I know that my son gagged on shelf apple juice but totally fine when it came to organic apple juice (with peas too, organic, garden peas fine). I also know that the only time I got the heart pounding was just after drinking shelf-life coffee.

    I recommend reading a book called “The Natural Food Catalog” by Vicki Peterson especially the pages 7-13 and 145. A lot of doctors then recognized the importance of whole grains and chemicals associated with health problems including the heart.

    My prairie farmer dad could not bring himself to using chemicals on his crops in late 1940-53. In the 1980’s a lot of small famers sold out, now only big farms exist.. CHEMICALS + PRODUCTS = MORE PRODUCTS = MORE MONEY.

    Coffee and other products would be regarded as a money commodity heedless of health issues and treated as an isolated case. I buy organic coffee for the coffee drinkers of the house as I believe pesticides are overused and abused.

    Grow and buy organic as much as possible to weed out the unhealthy pesticide foods just like Dr. T.R. Allinson tried to halt the mills from producing refined while flour. He paid the price by being removed from the medicial field (asked to come back after realizing he was right). Convictions and beliefs with individual health at stake.

  • Jim Charles says:

    I recently went into A-fib after consuming a generous amout of caffeine and then exercising. I have drank caffeinated beverages all my life and have exercised vigorously for about 30 years. But, I don’t think I have ever mixed the two in such close proximity time-wise. This was my first experience with A-fib and hopefully my last. I spontaneously converted after about 11 hours, on my way to the ED no less. I was curious about the relationship between A-fib and caffeine and went searching. I found a book by the Author Stephen Cherniske called Caffeine Blues. Mr. Cherniske has an obvioius and extreme anti-caffeine bias, but makes several good points. He admits that most of the research done on caffeine and its effects on health find little or no evidence to support any negative findings. However, the people doing the research are usually coffee, tea, soft drink or chocolate companies who probably consume caffeine. The articles are written by people that consume caffeine for readers that, you guessed it, consume caffeine. Most, if not everyone, likes their caffeine buzz, so it is going to be difficult to find any double-blinded, controlled research done by disinterested parties. So, to get a viewpoint from the anti-caffeine side is at least interesting. A-fib can be caused by a myriad of things. I’m one of those that doesn’t have any of the obvious causes (Mitral valve disease, CAD, recent heart surgery, scarlet fever etc.) so, in my case, I’m convinced that caffeine played a part. Then once you make that decision, you must do the responsible thing and get off the caffeine. It’s been a week now and I’m pretty much experiencing everything listed in Mr. Charniske’s book. Apparently, caffeine and its metabolic products can stay in your system for quite some time (3 weeks or more). He recommends 60 days to give your body a chance to regain its normal functioning without caffeine. In the meantime, I will undergo a stress echo exam, and a halter monitor test to rule everything else out. I wish everyone the best of luck in dealing with their A-fib.

  • Douglas says:

    Ever since an E.R. experience 2 years ago I have totally abstained from coffee, including so-called decaf. Trouble is, that stuff is in everything, including so-called decaffeinated coffee, and various kinds of chocolate, and it is rarely declared on the package. So I get the occasional surprise – an unknown (and socially unrefusable) cup of tea or decaffeinated coffee will generally be followed in 24 to 48 hours by a day or two of arrhythmia. I would like to know more about why there is this delay. Is the afib triggered by some late downstream metabolite of caffeine, instead of by the caffeine itself?

  • Sufani says:

    I am an herbalist who is experiencing Afib, the butterfly symptoms, and was watching to see if it increased with coffee. That is how I found this dicussion. But I wanted to comment on something above regarding pesticides. The caffeine itself in the coffee beans and tea leaves, etc., are the actual pesticide. Caffeine in a plant or fruit of the plant, whatever bulb it bares, may contain caffeine as a natural pesticide for bugs to ensure the plants survival. So it is a bit of botany that I wanted to explain. Organic means it was not fed and additional pesticide by man but caffeine is a natural pesticide the plant grows. So organic does not mean uncaffinated. It only means it is not fed chemicals but may still have a pesticide in it called caffeine. I just wanted to share some interesting knowledge.

  • peggy lord says:

    i notice that after i eat to much of dark chocolate i get a fast heartbeat & sometimes it skips a beat, I think it could be to much caffein because there is caffein in chocolate.

  • Gary says:

    I am glad I found this site! There’s a lot of us out here. I’m 55, I’m pretty healthy, exercise at the gym 3 – 4 days a week, and walk the other days, am pretty active. Just last week, I had my first afib with S.O.B. that woke me up out of my sleep at 3:30am. Never had this before. Went to ER, they couldn’t convert me with a drug, so I got to experience electrocardioversion. That worked thankfully. The EKG was then normal, and 2 days later I had an Echocardiogram. When the MD learned that I drink 4 cups of coffee a day, he told me…no more, wean off it 100%, and take baby aspirin daily. 🙁 I will be seeing my Primary MD for the first time tomorrow to discuss all this. I am also wanting to learn about alcohol intake. I will be reading everything I can on this site, and I appreciate reading what works, and doesn’t work for others.

  • Bob Conrad says:

    I’m 55years old. Had my first a-fib at 40. No meds. Thought it was a single onset until 50 when I went in to a fib for 3 days. Went to ER. Converted chemically. Was put on Metoprolol. It worked for a couple years then had another episode. Was ok for another year and had another ER visit after consuming alcohol. Converted chemically. Was switched to labetalol. I was told I was not a candidate for ablation. In 2010 I lost 30 lbs, quit caffeine, alcohol, and chocolate, trying to eat more organic foods without pesticides or antibiotics. Was doing great, then yesteday I was stressed, I exercised and then had some tea, about 4 cups. Couldn’t go to sleep after. Slept on back last night and was trying to go in to a fib this morning. Got up, took labetalol, hydrochlorothiazide and 325 aspirin. Walked around the house. In and out but now an hour later seem to be mostly ok with a few “blips” every 10 minutes or so lasting only for a couple beats. For me a combination of stress at work, exercise, caffeine, and sleeping on my back put me in a fib. The culprits appear to be stress and caffeine as I have exercised and slept on my back since losing weight without any a fib. Most of my ER visits for a fib are in the middle of the night waking me out of a dreaming sleep. They also included lack sleep, drinking too much, stress, caffeine, niccotine or a combination of these. I hope this information helps.

  • sandra says:

    I do believe that any form of caffiene contributes to A-Fib. I have been on meds. for about 2 years now. I am taking digonin, and diltizem. to control the arrythmia problems. They are now under some control. I do find that when I drink coffee, colas, and also bananas I will experience episodes of A-Fib again. Definately stress can trigger my problem. I have to have alot of quite time to myself. I can no longer tolerate anyone speaking loud or any loud noises will trigger my arrythmia. I do find that when it starts I chew a baby aspirin, and to my surprize it seems to stop the arrythmia. I can no longer go dancing which triggers it also. So what does a person do if they can no longer enjoy the faster things in life that we take so much for granted every day. One day you wake up a different person unable to work, exercise, and even play with children , and g-children. It is difficult. But, I do continue to limit anything that affects my A-Fib. , and that means drinking caffinated coffee. I do occasionally drink decaf. I can tell the difference if I buy my coffee at a restuarant , and they try,and slip the regular coffee to me. My heart will always tell the truth, because it goes into A-Fib. They don’t think I will know the difference.

  • Jane Thomas Thompson says:

    I ‘m an older American who has had A Fib for ten years. It started when after driving many miles, I got nto my daughter’s Halloween candy…yes, some chocolate! Fatigue combined with caffine. I ended up in the hospital.

    After many years, ex[erimenting with several drugs, and several more trips to the hospital, I know that both coffee and even noncaffinated beverages are not good for me. Yes, I drink a glass of wine each night, but if I am quite fatigued, wine can be a trigger!

    We have to do investigate what we are doing, which helps cause it. Life without coffee and wine, is better than the suffering…..I guess. (Smile)

  • Adam says:

    I’ve been recording my coffee consumption along with the number of heart palpitations and major a-fib episodes I have each day, in a spreadsheet, and so far I haven’t really seen any correlation between coffee and heart activity. For me, stress and lack of sleep are definite culprits, and there are probably others I haven’t noticed yet, but coffee doesn’t seem to be one of them. But everyone’s a-fib is probably different, originating from different parts of the heart, right? So I would imagine that different things would aggravate different people’s a-fib. I read somewhere that coffee consumption actually decreases hospitalizations for heart arrhythmias. But who knows. My experience with a-fib has been quite bewildering.

  • Gayle says:

    I started experiencing problems with skipped beats that would take your breath away and the feeling that your heart is beating in your throat at the age of 34 – it was put down to stress. 8 years later I actually had a full on AF episode at an ambulance training session and the AF was captured on monitor. I have periodic AF. I also have sleep apnea which was diagnosed a year after my AF. I’ve given up smoking, I’ve given up alcohol (not because it triggers my AF but because I’m scared that it will). I was put on Sotalol for the AF which gradually gave me signs and symptoms of a stroke over a 2 year period, and am now on Verapamil. I haven’t given up my coffee as it is my lifeline from giving up smoking and drinking, I do however find that perculated or brewed coffee will send me into AF, so will iced coffee. I’m currently on a diet and have significantly cut my coffee intake from 6 – 8 cups or more per day to 1 or 2, but I have found that by doing this it has given me break through episodes of AF. Exercise will trigger it (which doesn’t help the weight loss), as will walking up inclines or stairs. I also find that going into stores where there are lots of perfume smells like candles, potpourri, or even the perfume section of a major store will set off my AF. Lack of sleep is also a big trigger for me. I currently have DVT’s so I cannot stress enough the importance of daily aspirin when you have AF, I was not advised of this.

  • marc says:

    had an episode of afib 9 yrs ago when i was 38.was a heavy coffee drinker and worked the midnight shift.spent the night in the hospital and converted next morning.doctors tested me for 2 days, stress tests,cardio imaging,the works,didnt find anything wrong.when they asked me about my lifestyle and found out i drank a pot of coffee a night and got 5 hrs of broken sleep a day their eyes rolled…..then went 4 caffeine and afib free yrs and started with the coffee again.1 yr later i was back in the hospital….that was 3 yrs ago with no caffeine and no afib, so nobody can tell me that caffeine doesnt play a big part with afib….for me its POISON.

  • Mellanie says:

    Marc,

    Congratulations on figuring out what was driving your afib and getting rid of it. Many people never figure out what triggers their afib. Hope you stay afib-free forever.

    Mellanie

  • Stephen Carrier says:

    You are wrong, just yesterday I drank 3 large cups of coffee, and by noon, my heart was pounding and I almost went unconscious several times. I was treated for A-fib in the hospital several times in the past and I know exactly what it feels like, I was way into it yesterday. I considered going to the hospital, but, I waited till the caffeine wore off to see what would happen and I was right, my heart rhythm went back to normal after a few hours. I’m sure the caffeine industry wont like anyone saying the truth about their product, but, someone has to. As for me, I’m quitting the stuff, I love coffee, but I prefer staying alive more. Steve C.

    • Mellanie says:

      Steven,

      I’m sorry that the caffeine is an issue for you. It is for some, and not for others. Please remember that everyone is different. With afib, we’re each an “experiment of one”.

      Some folks find that they can drink organic coffee, but not non-organic, which indicates that for them it is the pesticides, not the caffeine, at issue.

      Mellanie

  • Alex Barnett says:

    Mellanie:

    First, let me say, how excited I am to have found this site. I’m 43, in otherwise great health and just had my first episode of a-fib. And, the most frustrating thing is that I can’t seem to get a straight answer from anyone about anything related to a-fib: why it happened, whether it’s genetic (my dad has a-fib), what triggered it, whether I should be on beta-blockers or not, whether I should be on blood-thinners or not, and whether I can drink coffee (or alcohol).

    I just had the episode 2 weeks ago and was successfully cardio-verted. At the hospital, they told me to give up caffeine and alcohol, so I did. I regularly drank 2 cups of black coffee a day, and as any regular coffee drinker will attest, those first 4-5 days of no caffeine made me feel much worse than the a-fib.

    I’m past the caffeine withdrawal now, but I have to admit, I do miss having coffee. It’d be really nice if it’s true that caffeine doesn’t cause/trigger a-fib, so I thank you for your post. And, any other research you have on this topic, please do post/send as well.

    Thanks so much.

    • Mellanie says:

      Alex,

      Thank you.

      Some people are able to have organic coffee without problems, but others cannot, so it’s very individual.

      Have you been through our “Get Started Learning About Afib Guide”? It is at http://bit.ly/9auGY2 and will give you answers for some of your questions. Regarding afib running in families – there is a genetic component and it does run in families, but sometimes it’s an environmental influence the whole family shared rather than being in the genes. Maybe the whole family was exposed to air pollution, chemicals, molds, or some other influence, maybe even items in the diet.

      Good luck.

      Mellanie

  • brothermike says:

    Hiya folks,
    I’m HOT on the trail to identifying and treating the cause of MY A-Fib/Flutter, and, I am about to be really aggravated that my Cardiologist(S!!) didn’t suggest this in the first place.

    two words, Alex……..sleep apnea

    that’s it for me…I know that there are several possible causes but I don’t fit ANY other profile and my cardiologist MUST have known I might be suffering from a complication from Obstructive Sleep Disorder….

    Alex, do yourself a favor and get to a sleep study also known as a ploysomnography.

    It all adds up. When you have the obstructive sleep disorder you’re starving your body of oxygen for unhealthy periods while you sleep. After years of this unknown sleep condition negative consequences may become manifest.

    I’m now using a Bi – Level Positive Air Pressure system when I sleep. It’s only been one week, but along with feeling more energy during the day, one of the results I expect is improvement with my Atrial problems.

  • Omar Anido says:

    Hi:
    Maybe caffeine is not involve in afib, but if caffeine increase your stress level you can trigger an afib that is not associated with caffeine.

  • valerie says:

    I’d like to explain how coffee DOES affect the heart. Irregardless of any studies or research proving coffee does not cause afib, there is something coffee does cause, and thats diuresis. Coffee is a diuretic, and it will pull water along with electrolytes out with urination. Electrolytes, especially potassium, help to maintain the hearts rythm. When your potassium drops even a hair below the normal range, it will cause all kinds of heart irregularities from mild to severe, including Afib. Add to that the fact that coffee is also a cardiac stimulant and you have a recipe for The Perfect Storm…even if your electrolytes are in the normal range but on the low end, it can trigger heart palpitations, afib, SVT’s, etc…the old saying still goes that too much of anything is bad for you, so beware of coffees ability to cause problems with the heart, because it can.

    • Daniel Holland says:

      Your hit the nail on the head Valerie. I had it 3 times. Twice from binge drinking alcohol and recently from going from 8 to 10 cups of half caf to full caf per day. Soon had palps the whole week I started drinking full calf. from the 1st day, the 6th day in the afternoon is when the afib hit. Long after drinking coffee and only had 2 cups that day, but the damage was done the week prior. The extra diuretic in the extra caffeine bleached my Potassium and Magnesium and this time my Chloride was wiped out too.

      All 3 times my Potassium and Magnesium were low, I looked back on my blood work 7 months prior and I was just over the line into the “OK” range on my potassium, I was borderline but no flags were raised, the doc should of told me I was OK but low. That extra caffeine, basically doubling my caffeine bleached the Potassium, Magnesium out of me and evidently I didn’t have enough to regulate my heart.

      I would encourage all of you on this site to ask your doctor what your Potassium, Chloride and Magnesium levels where when you came in with Afib. Most people don’t get near enough of those minerals anyway and the diuretics in coffee, cokes and booze remove those 3 minerals. Orange juice, milk and V* are LOADED with Potassium, sunflower seeds, Spinach and Pumpkin seeds are loaded with Magnesium. Keep those levels up.

  • Milton Showalter says:

    I am attempting to figure out my current A-fib problem. I was officially diagnosed with an “event” in 2004. I always knew I had A-fib but it would never show at the right time….doctor visit. Anyway, I am looking for any input regarding my current situation. Rapid heart rate – comes and goes. And of course never when I schedule a doctors visit. Symptoms. Tired all the time; no energy; recently my chest has had a dull ache, which comes and goes. I have cut out all alcohol which ususally was never more than 1 beer at most, but I do drink about 4 cups of coffee in the morning. My GP right now is no help as I never go into a-fib when I am monitored. Thanks for any suggestions.

    • Mellanie says:

      Milton,

      I’m sorry about your afib. What time of day does your afib start? Could there be clues there as to something that might help?

      Mellanie

  • JIMMY says:

    I HAVE HAD A-FIB FOR YEARS AND ALL THE TIME I WAS TAKING DROPS FOR MY GLAUCOMA. MY WIFE READ THE WARNINGS FOR ADVERSE REACTIONS AND ONE OF THE MAIN ONES WAS IRREGULAR HEART RYTHEM. ALL THIS TIME WE NEVER PAID ANY ATTENTION TO THE PRESCRIBING INFORMATION. I CALLED MY DOCTOR AND HE INSTANTLY CHANGED MY RX. I WENT FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR A-FIB FREE. NOW BEGINNING THIS YEAR I HAVE STARTED UP AGAIN. LIKE CLOCK WORK ONCE A MONTH AROUND THE 23rd. SOMETIMES FOR ONLY ONE DAY AND SOMETIMES UP TO FOUR DAYS. WHEN I GO INTO A-FIB THE ONLY WAY I KNOW IS THAT I GET INDIGESTION AND I AM VERY TIRED AND I JUST DO NOT FEEL GOOD. I DO HAVE SLEEP APNEA AND USE A CPAP MACHINE.

  • Jenny Kenyon says:

    These clinical trials must have been conducted with people who are not sensitive to coffee! It most definitely gives me AF, the more I drink the more I get it, but just one cup will give an effect.

  • Denise says:

    Hi,

    I am writing this from South Africa, where I stay.
    I have had irregular heart beats for awhile now but never had it diagnosed by a Doctor.
    What I have found is that a tooth infection will bring it on. I have had numerous tooth infections in the past and with it my heart would beat irregulary until it was fixed then my heart would return to normal again.
    Recently, however, I have noticed that after even having one cup of filter coffee during the day my heart will beat irregularly, and this can go on for hours!
    So, I do not agree with the foundings of the clinical trials.
    And reading the messages from the posting here, I suggest new trials be done!
    Thank you for this platform! Its great!

  • Tina says:

    Thank you for all these comments. I just had my first experience with A-fib and had to have cardioversion and the coffee issue is front and center for me. I love my coffee and cannot handle the fact our days together may be numbered.

    I had one cup the morning after my “event”. Nothing happened. rhythm remained even and steady. Same thing this morning. I am walking on eggshells about this so thanks for your imput!

  • Sheila says:

    I was diagnosed with atrial fib 1 1/2 years ago after starting to have heart palpitations after even one cup of coffee and then even when I didn’t have coffee. I have cut out chocolate and caffeinated soda and coffee since that time. However, EVERY time I have even one cup of regular coffee, a small glass of caffeinated soda, etc. I have palpitations and get dizzy. I will take an extra beta blocker and within 15-20 minutes I am fine again. I’ve decided it just isn’t worth the risk.

    • Mellanie says:

      Sheila,

      Are you staying fully hydrated? Coffee and sodas can dehydrate you and dehydration may be the trigger, not the coffee and soda.

      Mellanie

  • hi says:

    hello melanie.i am on coumadin for the past 19 years,and yes,i am a member of the club one of the most selective members who frequents the lab for inr check ,weekly or biweekly visits,i eliminated grapefruits,leafy vegies,bananas,no coffee or/and caffeein in my diet,and thank god i dont regret it,it is a small price to pay for living.yes,it is quite a stuggle but i learnt to live with it,and i dont plan to change my best pal coumadin to a new one,we do live harmoniously,peacefully and learnt to respect each other respectfully.
    when and if my current cardiologist will decide to drop the coumadin to a newer version i will fire him on the spot.
    sincerely

  • Daryl McMasters says:

    My AFib started while my wife was out of town and I was home along. I only drink one or two cups of coffee a day and I always have about 20% milk in it. When my AFib started I had just finished a large orange sherbet 7-up float. IT reverted back o its own after about 6 hours, I thought it was just flutter and went to sleep without any further thought of it. I had a heart attack in 2004 so I have a regular Cardiologist. He says the AFib is due to the heart attack, which was caused by a clot which was caused by an NSAID that I had been taking for 4 years on and off. The next time I had a sherbet float, about three weeks later, the Afib hit again. This time I had an event monitor so I hooked it up, transmitted and they told me to go to the ER. Which I did and they gave me a stronger beta blocker than I was already on and a blood thinner. After 2 hours I reverted. Anyway I have had a few sessions all brought on by stress and they all only lasted a minute or two at the most. I drank a Mocha Coffee a week ago and man did it make my heart pound, but I never went to AFib. So I have 2 cups of coffee a day, I average about 4 alcoholic drinks a week and over the last 3 months I have had only the few short episodes I mentioned. I don’t comment normally on sites like this, but it is good to hear all of your thoughts about our situation.

  • Chuck says:

    I am sick and tired of not being taken seriously as to what I am positive is causing my bouts of a-fib. I’ve had a total of 5 episodes now, one when I was 20, and 5 this year (age 34) and the only thing common to all 5 episodes is NOT caffeine.

    The first episode happened while drinking a shake with a caffeine boost from Jamba Juice after an intense workout.

    The second happened in April of this year. I have (up until recently) been an extremely heavy caffeine user in the form of a minimum of 2 liters of soda every day, usually Mt. Dew or Dr. Pepper, both high in caffeine content. In April I was going through a stressfull move and had had three 2 liter bottles of soda, then at about midnight I drank a chocolate milkshake and with the first sip began experiencing heart flutters.

    The Third time is the first time I went to the hospital about it and found out that these episodes were a-fib. Again, I had had a 2 liter bottle of soda earlier in the day, then went to a party that afternoon and had about 8 bottles of beer. Once I was home, around 2 in the morning, I made myself another shake, and with the first sip, as I felt the cold liquid going down my throat, just as it hit my chest, I got the flutters again.

    Since then I’ve cut caffeine from my diet and been put on Metoprolol and have had 2 more (short) episodes, BOTH when drinking a fluid significantly colder than my core temperature. (a slushie from an AM/PM and a very cold glass of grape juice) My doctor, and the cardiologist both chuckled when I said that I thought it was being caused by significantly cold fluids. They both said that it’s more likely that I have been cheating and drinking caffeinated beverages.

    • Mellanie says:

      Chuck,

      You’re hardly the first person to mention cold drinks as a trigger. It sounds like your doctors aren’t listening to their patients, or maybe you’re the first to mention this. But to claim you’ve been cheating and drinking caffeine seems kind of insulting. Sounds like what you most need is new doctors who will work with you to sort this all out.

      Caffeine and alcohol seem to be the standard “excuses” doctors use as the causes or triggers of afib. However, often it’s not the caffeine in coffee, but instead is pesticides or the fact that coffee can dehydrate you. And alcohol triggering afib can often be due to dehydration, too.

      You mention workout and sodas – both can also dehydrate you. And some people mention sugar and corn syrup, both in various sodas, as triggers. So, you may be sensitive to other things besides caffeine.

      Mellanie

  • Jim Maultsby says:

    I was recently diagnosed with afib. I had symptoms on and off for about 2 years. Every time I would tell my G.P. they would do an EKG and all would be normal. I was finally put on an event monitor.I was just about to give up on th event monitor, when I just went to be and my heart went into afib. I drink regular coffee, in the morning. Probably mor that I should, but the afib occurred, at night long after any coffee was long gone from my system. A stress test was ordered. Just as I completed the test and sat down to rest, my heart went into afib. My cardiologist was able to revert my heart back with medication. ( note no coffee this day ) Xray error showed a 70 percent blockage. A cardiac cath proceedure with not blockage at all. Has anyone gone through that for no reason at all? So my question is. if it is coffe related why did it happen when I first went to bed? If I have sleep apnea ( never been tested ) why would it happen when I first went to bed? If your up all day and moving then there is no restrictions. I am now on a medication called multaq. Any info on this medication, good, bad or other wise would be helpful

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  • GAIL says:

    About coffee…I have persistent A Fib and coffee for me is a definite NO. It really makes all of the pounding, skipping and jumping much worse. I had cardioversion in 2009 and was good until this last summer, almost 2 years, so I will be trying it again this month. Those of you who have A Fib that comes and goes should consider yourselves lucky. Imagine having it day after day after day.

    • Mellanie says:

      Gail,

      A lot of folks have difficulty with coffee, though some of them have found that they can have organic, but not non-organic, coffee with no afib issues. But it sounds like it’s best for you to stay away from it.

      Some folks who have afib all the time say it’s so much better than having it come and go, and never knowing when the afib beast will strike. We’re all different in how afib affects us.

      Mellanie

    • patcee says:

      I have often wondered if being overweight could have something to do with A Fib. I have been taking a beta blocker and blood thinner for several years, but I have never suffered a real A Fib attack. Is it normal to medicate for it before anything happens?

  • jerry says:

    I AMGOING TO HAVE CARDIOVERSION ON 12TH. OF JAN.2012 IHAVE BEEN DIAGNOSTE WITH AFIB JUST RECENTLY. I DO DRINK COFFEE, SOMETIMES 3OR4 CUPS A DAY.IHAVE LOST MY YOUNGEST SON AND MY WIFE OF 63 YRS. ALL WITH IN LESS THN TWO YEARS.I THINK MY AF. IS THE RESULT OF STRESS.THAT IS THE TIME MY AF. BECAME ABOUT. 2 YEARS AGO MY HEART WAS VERY GOOD,I WILL BE TURNING 85 THE 18TH. OF THIS MONTH

  • Lorraine says:

    I have had 2 episodes (that I know of) in the past nine years. The most recent was about 4 months ago. It came out of the blue as I was climbing the stairs. That was the same scenario the first time it happened, 9 years ago. At that time I was on too many asthma meds and I think that is what caused it, (I don’t take asthma meds anymore). I have never had a cup of coffee in my life and the only caffeine I have is when I eat chocolate, which is about 4 or 5 times a week. I am on 3 different blood pressure meds (one is a beta blocker) and my BP is pretty much under control, though when I got to the hospital during the last A-fib episode my BP was extremely high. I’m a 64 year old female, 50 lbs overweight and have controlled sleep apnea. It is very frustrating to have this problem looming overhead, because you never know when the next episode can happen. The only thing that they found the last time was that my potassium was very low. I’m taking Pradaxa now, but it is killing my stomach and I’m not happy about being on a blood thinner. When I was younger, I had many episodes of tachycardia, but I was always in normal sinus rhythm. I don’t know about family history, but I think my dad seemed to have some kind of heart rhythm problem. He died when I was 18, so I don’t remember too much. Also, I have had two cardiac caths during the last few years and both were perfectly normal. I’m really baffled as to why there isn’t a better way for doctors to figure this problem out. I feel like a walking time bomb and it’s scary. Anyone else taking Pradaxa?

    • Mellanie says:

      Lorraine,

      Sorry for the delay in replying. I was gone to the Boston AF Symposium medical conference, then a think tank in DC, and then my father-in-law passed away, all within a week. So it’s been crazy.

      As a 64-year old female, you definitely should be on a blood thinner (per the CHA2DS2-VASc scoring system). Have you tried Coumdain or warfarin, since the Pradaxa is causing problems? Or maybe Xarelto?

      Afib is a real puzzle because we don’t even know what causes it.

      Mellanie

    • patcee says:

      My dr. wanted to switch me to Pradaxa but I don’t like the idea of not having regular blood checks to see what’s going on with it. There are some scary stories about it as far as internal bleeding. It seems to me you just take it and hope it is working – without monthly tests to make sure.

  • Mary says:

    It doesn’t seem to matter in my case. With or without coffee, I have a-fib symptoms almost every day (varying in degrees of severity). I have been hooked up to a 48hr holter monitor and it did record several “episodes” however it doesn’t seem to be enough to make my doctor concerned… which kinda concerns me. I’m Female, 26 and in good shape but have a very crappy family history when it comes to Arrhythmia. I’m thinkin’ on getting a second opinion… Any other advice in the meantime??

    • ahme says:

      i am also suffering Afib ,the main causes of this smoking,caff en intake, junk food and not good sleep. try coconut milk or oil daily one tea spoon after meal at-least 15 days then tell me .

      ahmed Khan
      Karachipakistan.

  • Janine says:

    I stopped drinking coffee several years ago, because of irregular heartbeats, and switched to black tea. (less caffine) It took a while, but I got used to it. When the symtoms came back, I switched to green tea. (even less caffine) I do enjoy an occasional latte, but can’t overdo it. I don’t know if I have A-fib. I had tests done by a heart specialist and they were normal. When I have indigestion I get what feels like a slow pounding,

  • Lorraine says:

    Mellanie,

    Thanks for the response. Sorry to hear about your father-in-law. When they put me on Warfarin 9 years ago, I was allergic to it. I just read the new FDA warnings regarding Pradaxa and I am very concerned. What is Xarelto? I never heard of it. I know based on the CHAD score I am a high risk, but I absolutely hate being on a blood thinner and am planning to ask my doctor about the new Bayer aspirin that enters the blood stream immediately. Since I have only had two A-fib episodes in 9 years, why couldn’t I carry this new aspirin with me and take it only when I feel an episode coming on? I’m trying to watch my potassium intake, because I think the low potassium triggered my last episode. I am so afraid of a fall or car accident. It just seems to me that there should be a better way to protect people who only have occasional A-fib. This whole thing so upsetting. Thanks for any other input you may have regarding my situation.

    Lorraine

  • Lyle says:

    I had my first “official” a-fib episode almost 11 months ago. I’m a 48 year old male in fairly good health. I went to the hospital because I thought for sure that I was dying and they informed me I was in a-fib. It took me about 4-5 hours to convert back to normal.
    They put me on a calcium-channel blocker which I hated. It made me feel tired, irritable and like the walking dead. It’s true that I didn’t have any afib but I got really tired of feeling awful all the time. I finally quit taking it about a month ago after I read about the role of magnesium and afib. I started taking a magnesium supplement every day and I really do feel like my old self again. I don’t know how long I’ll go before I have another episode but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
    I had cut out all alcohol and coffee but now I’ve been reading about how one beer a day is really good for your heart and overall health and also how decaf coffee can help prevent type 2 diabetes. I am overweight so these are concerns for me.
    I’m wondering what the risks vs benefits for drinking one decaf coffee and one beer per day are for us afibbers. I’ve tried having a beer a couple of times and, so far, nothing bad has happened. Coffee (even decaf) scares me though because I’ve always been really sensitive to it. Thanks for any input you can give me.

    Lyle

    • Tomatillo says:

      Lyle,

      No beer. No Decaf. Just live. Forget that questionable stuff. You DON’T need it, as much as you DO need your heart.

      JUST REMEMBER THAT AWFUL FEELING OF THE MEDS. How’s that compare to the BS nothing that coffee and beer give you? You had your sunny vacation in coffee-beer land. It was a nice place to VISIT. Come home now and get about living.

      I’m going through the same thing. If I can get out of this without taking Flecainide and other junk every day, I can LIVE. I sure as hell can’t live with it. It’s awful for me. HOWEVER, I CAN live without COFFEE. It’s just soaked bean water. Big deal Easy. Just do it.

      I can’t even believe people are debating it here. If there is the SLIGHTEST risk that it will put you on the table with paddles or needles, PUT IT AWAY. FLIP THE SWITCH. DONE!

      And live.

      Best wishes to all,

      t

  • paul says:

    im 30 and i just started having afib it hits me like 10 to 15 or more times a day i have no insurance and dont know what to do i get light headed and a weird feeling in my chest can a tooth infection cause it or what should i do if you can help e mail me [email protected] thanks

  • cmeyner says:

    I can show anybody that when i drink coffe my heart beat goes to 170-180
    So i am convinced of the existing reation coffe and fibrillation,

    • mellanie says:

       @cmeyner It’s not surprising that your heart acts up after drinking coffee, but the question is whether it is the caffeine, the pesticides, or the dehydration that is doing it. 

    • Drake says:

      Afib hit me 4 mos ago after a nite of Tekillya-feel Ike a bum for drowning my hearth with gallons of gin and beer (together for yrs like a fool) since 1967 . Also I still work like an animal at 6 with my Tools as Mason .I stopped the booze.Coffee just got “fired” from my remaining yrs – it jumped up my Bp & HR couplein ago – bye bye coffee..

  • bpriz says:

    I was diagnosed with Afib y a cardiologist about a year ago, and am on meds.  I’m not a heavy coffee drinker, but had a cup or two in the am and sometimes a diet coke in the pm.  Over the past month, I have cut my coffee to 1/4 caf to 3/4 decaf and have cut out any other caffeinared products.  Very noticeable difference with virtually no episodes in the last few weeks, so for me, I believe it has been an issue

    • wandat says:

      @bpriz – I have only recently been diagnosed with a-fib, and its really difficult for me to make such a drastic change in my life style, although i know its for the better, but i do crave caffeine terribly, and i just had a 1/4 cup, and i feel fine, suppose its not all that much hey, but i know i should cut it out completely, little steps!

  • username2 says:

    I just had a cardio version this past Saturday. 
    Saturday I had way too much coffee, a little over a pot before noon.  Then I decided to mow the lawn with the push mower.  After about 2 hours of this, I came into the house and made a large glass of ice water.  I was about half way done when I knew right away I went into Afib.  (I’ve had it maybe 5 times in the past 2 years  and had one cardio version 6 months ago)
    I use to run about 45 miles per week for about 3 straight years at a fast pace, in preparation for a 1/2 marathon.  That came to a stop after the cardioversion.  Just got worried it was part of the reason somehow.
     
    The previous 5 bouts I had with Afib were all, drinking alcohol releated  as the doctor’s diagnosis.
    After this last one from coffee, I am pretty sure it is a dehydration related thing considering the alcohol ones were always the next morning waking with obvious dehydrations. 
     
    The running….  I’m really surprised nothing happened there but I was noticing odd feelings from some runs, and my shirt would be soaked after each run.
     

  • patcee says:

    What is a cardio version? I have never had an afib incident and have been diagnosed for 5 years. I am wondering if I even need to take the medication or if the medication is preventing the incidents.

    • username2 says:

      @patcee… where the heart is shocked to place the heart back into a normal heart beat or a regular sinus rythum.
       
      You lost me with the ‘never had afib’ and ‘if you need to take the medications’

    • patcee says:

       @username2 I was diagnosed with afib 5 years ago after an echocardiogram and other tests because of my irregular heartbeat. They put me on a blood thinner and beta blocker which I’ve been on ever since, but I have never had an episode where I could tell my heart was out of rhythm. I limit myself to a cup of coffee now and then and feel no effects. I do drink a lot of tea. I just wonder if I went without the medications if anything would happen. I don’t like taking rat poison.

  • wandat says:

    I am a 26 year old female, and was diagnosed with A-FIB about two weeks ago.
    I have had it constantly, and it has been horrible
    My cardioligist has put me on Warfarin(blood thinning) and Sota Hexal, he wants to shock my heart back into rhythm in one month but i am afraid of the chances of a stroke.
    I would also like to know if gym and one cup of cofee would do me more harm than good/

    Any response would be great.

    • Carin Martin says:

      Probably you have had the cardioversion already; in case you have not,if your doctor does a transesophageal echocardiogram first, it will show whether you have a clot in your heart or not; if not, you should be OK with the cardioversion. At least this is what I have read. Of course, your own doctor is the expert, I am not.

  • westwindfish says:

    I have had a-fib on and off for over 30 years. Caffine is  a most definite trigger for me. When I drink 3 or 4 cups a day for about a 2  week period, a-fibs occur.
    The latest cure is as follows…..pradaxa 150 mg twice a day plus 40 mg of sotolol in the morning and 40 mg at night. I followed this protocol for 2 weeks without any relief. After  finally being able to get an appointment with my doctor, he increased the evening sotolol  to 80 mg.  The next morning the a-fibs were gone. Hope this helps..

    • paul carter says:

      I have been on 1.25mg bisoprolol for 6 years, over three years, I had about 8 af episodes, and I noticed a correlation to having one macdonald’s coffee every morning for months,(which is very strong.) after my last episode, I stopped drinking coffee altogether, and up till now I haven’t had anymore af’s. I am now considering asking my doctor to take me off these tablet’s.

  • David McMillan says:

    I am a diagnosed Non Obstructive Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy patient (excuse spelling!) and had AF 2 days ago in A&E went back to sinus 3 hours later having had Rehydration and Magnesium.

    Had half a cup of coffee today and Heart rate back to 100 , not as bad as before but definite coffee reaction..

    No more stimulants for me!

    David

  • phil says:

    Ive had a fib on two occasions 6 years ago (2006 I was 47) and now 2012/3 (53). The first time they said I might have heart disease and may need bypass, stents, pacemaker etc. It turned out my heart was fine it just “jumped” out of normal sinus rhythm. I had 4 weeks of warfarin and an internal cardioversion. Soon as I woke up I was brill, back firing on all cylinders. Its now happened again and after 4 weeks of warfarin (to thin the blood and eliminate the risk of stroke) I have my 2nd cardioversion tomorrow. Not sure what caused it but Ive been taking lots of caffeine, 2 double expressos plus 4 pro plus tablets, this might have caused it? Plus some massive binge drinking around this time?

  • Roland says:

    I had to have a cardioversion just after Christmas, I had over indulged by a lot and to keep going I was drinking heaps of energy drinks everyday. I have now cut these totally out, but I wonder if my excessive alcohol intake was much more to blame. I have allowed back in the odd cup of coffee, and have had no problems yet, but I’m on metoprolol and Dabigatran, so that might be preventing any relapse

  • Ann Stewart says:

    take any kind of stimulant Why would anyone knowingly take a stimulant like caffeinated coffee (or Coke, Pepsi, etc) after being diagnosed with AF when what you are effectively doing is setting yourself up for an increased heart rate? When I was diagnosed seven years ago, the ER doctors warned me then that my caffeine drinking days were over and I took that advice very seriously. (Meds include Metoprolol, Plavix, Aspirin and Digoxin). AF episodes are no fun and if you want to save yourself much pain, stress and aggravation, skip the caffeine. There are excellent decaf coffee brands on the market today that are difficult to tell from regular coffee so do yourself and your heart a favour and switch. Strangely enough, I can drink 2-3 cups of regular black tea daily with no problem.

    • Susan says:

      Thanks for the kick in the head! Your response is just what I needed to talk myself out of having even a little coffee. After this last cardioversion (1 of 5 in the last 20 years) I think I need to try something different. It’s funny how all the doctors I see say a little coffee probably won’t hurt which is just what my coffee addicted self wants to hear. But maybe it will hurt though, and why would I not eliminate it, specially since I have always thought it might be a trigger. THANK YOU!

    • Mark says:

      I have often wondered what exactly, decaf means ? Is it 100% free of caffeine ? I doubt it, and therefore, don’t even risk drinking any decaf drinks.

    • Bill says:

      Decaf coffee is coffee that is at least 97% caffeine free. I buy Melita (an excellent brand) and they’re proud of their natural process which brings the caffeine free level to 99%.

    • Garrett Browning says:

      A cup of brewed tea DOES NOT (according to the Mayo Clinic) have as much caffeine in general as a cup of coffee. Tea has more caffeine before being processed. It depends, of course, on how strong one brews their drink.

    • Garrett Browning says:

      And decaf coffee DOES NOT have as much caffeine as a can of Coke (again, Mayo Clinic) — the difference is significant.

  • marsei new says:

    I had one episode of atrial fibrillation in September of 2012 and have not had another. I take beta blockers and a baby aspirin every day. I am convinced that my 15-cup-a-day coffee habit played a part in the episode, plus the fact that I had been on the phone with someone I couldn’t understand telling me how to fix my computer, plus I was taking Tramadol for a pulled tendon, and on and on. I had the episode around 9 p.m. went to the ER and heart finally converted on its on the next afternoon. I thought I was in the twilight zone when they started talking about shocking my heart, but I’ve learned it’s common.
    I have a glass of wine occasionally, drink two cups of regular coffee in the morning and one cup sometime in the afternoon. I’m sure it will come back someday, but I think my episode was caused by the perfect storm of triggers, stress being the most important. I am obese. Humana won’t pay for an overnight sleep study for sleep apnea but I’ve been told by Ochsner that they’re developing one to do at home and I’m taking a chance and waiting for it. I refuse to spend $4,000 for an overnight one. After reading all the comments here, I realize how truly fortunate I am.
    I refuse to give up coffee. I have given up 12 cups a day, so that’s enough. I think it’s all about moderation and I’m beginning to practice that with eating also and have lost some weight. I think it’s true that we are all different and different things affect us differently. I truly believe stress was the main trigger for me.

    • peter says:

      please check yourself for sleep apnea cause it can cause you a heart attack and physical stress while asleep. It can be done by someone observing u having just an hour or so nap. Maybe your mother/sister/brother/gf.. if your breathing stops u got it and need a cpap machine. Are u tired during the day?

  • Sharon says:

    Ya, I agree, it’s time to quit the caffeine for good. I’ve been doing a great job of it but am so tired after work that I even fell asleep yesterday. Today I allowed myself a diet coke at lunch and then read this… I better not do that anymore.. I did it cuz the Sotalol has my heart rate at 44! that is so slowwww which is why I think I’m tired.

    • Gayle Patrice says:

      I had an episode that really bothered me during a short jog this
      A.M/ I had two cups of strong coffee AND am under alot of stress. Im also experiencing insomnia which seems to increase these episodes. I am also taking neurontin and tenex for anxiety. i wonder if these are contributing/

    • mmoss says:

      Gayle, thanks for your comment. It’s possible those factors contribute to your afib, but we cannot really know. You may be interested in joining our StopAfib.org Discussion Forum: http://forum.stopafib.org. To post or ask questions, you’ll need to register. Instructions for registering and getting started are here: http://forum.stopafib.org/index.php?showforum=25. Lately we’ve been chatting about the possible role exercise may play in atrial fibrillation.
      Melissa

  • Steven says:

    Developed AFIB at 28. With a long family history of it, there wasn’t much suprise when it happened to me. My Cardiologist told me Caffeine didn’t cause my AFIB. He said I can still take in caffeine, just don’t go crazy with it. Caffeine has never caused my heart to go into AFIB. Can say before I got AFIB I had a VERY HIGH caffeine tolerance. Have never really felt any affects of caffeine, regardless of the quantity comsumed. Could drink a mountain dew right before bed and would sleep like a baby. Since my development of AFIB I am extremely caffeine sensitive. One cup of coffee and I get jittery and can literally feel my heart rate increase. Don’t know if there is a correlation between the two or if it’s just a coincidence. Either way since onset of AFIB I now have to monitor my caffeine intake.

  • Brent Cornwell says:

    Simply saying no caffeine was not the answer for me. I am currently 26 and I was first diagnosed with A-Fib when I was 24. I have no family history of the condition and it was deemed idiopathic (No known cause). I was a heavy caffeine drinker, having coffee and energy drinks throughout the day. I decided I was sick of being so addicted to these drinks and wanted to save some money so decided to quit cold turkey. Two days later, I had my first episode of A-Fib. At the time I was in school for cardiac rehab so I knew immediately what the problem was. I went to the doctor, had all sorts of test’s done and was put on Coreg (a beta blocker). My case is unique in the fact that my A-Fib comes and goes, I am not always in A-Fib. Slowly and cautiously I re-introduced caffeine and have found that if I DON’T have caffeine, I go into A-Fib. However, if I have too much too quickly I also go into A-Fib. For me, knowing my body and striking a balance between too much and not enough is prevents A-fib from occurring. That being said, I don’t feel that any quantity of caffeine is the problem, but large quantities, the rate at which it enters the blood stream, and by what mode of delivery, i.e. coffee, tea, or energy drinks, is what dictates the arrythmic effect; for me and case any how.

    • mmoss says:

      Brent,
      Thanks for sharing your story and your perspective. It seems that you are describing that you have paroxysmal afib. Are you on a blood thinner to help control your stroke risk?
      Melissa

  • peter says:

    Well at the time of my diagnosis heaps of coffee/ had severe sleep apnea 70% oxygen levels / family history of AF/ fullon stress with a relationship breakdown/ stress with work …….so i wasn’t going to miss it….age 50.

  • Kevin says:

    I was diagnosed with AF about a year and half ago. Immediately quite all soda and switched to decaf coffee. I will still occasionally have sweet tea. I have had several episodes of AF and even A Flutter since then. Just had an ablation last week. I am praying that got it but only time will tell. I am working on getting in shape, loosing weight, have gotten a cpap – doing all I can possibly do to beat this!

  • Mark says:

    For me, caffeine appears to definitively be a trigger for AF. One of my AF episodes was preceded by me drinking one can of cola and hours later, one small bag of M&M’s. Six hours later, I went into AF. This was not the first time I had correlated the two, but it seemed to really be evident, as I had not had any caffeine or cocoa products for months, and then bam – AF after ingesting these two.

    Also, MSG appears to cause AF in me, if enough of it is ingested. I am pretty confident for me, that the cause and effect of these substances is correct. Stimulants appear to wreck havoc on my nervous system.

    • Robert S. says:

      Ive had pvcs for about 5 years. Most of the time I get a couple thumps every day. Occasionally Ill be bothered by them for hours and rarely a full day. Last week my heart went into afib. At the time I didnt know what afib was . Looking back I think Ive been leading up to this episode. The last couple months Ive sometimes notice a flutter along with my thump. The day before my afib incident I pushed myself a little too hard. I was having pvcs but instead of taking it easy I was out in the sun hiking around some hills on a local farm. It may not be related but I wanted to share that. The next day I did something I haven’t done in a while. I had a big mac and fries for lunch with a coke. I started feeling more flutters and pvcs as the day went on. That evening I went to a party. I was having more pvcs and some fluttering but was thinking it was just one of those days where I had more pvcs than normal. Like I said I wasnt aware of what the fluttering was. Im not a drinker so I only had one beer. I then ate some ribs that had a large amount of dry rub on them. Not long after that my heart went crazy (into afib). I cant say for sure but I think the dry rub probably had a lot of MSG in it. I stayed there for a few hours in that condition and left at 12:30AM thinking Id just go home and sleep it off. Well I pulled off my exit, checked my pulse and then knew it was way different that just a bad pvc day. DId a stupid thing by driving myself to the hospital because I felt really faint a few times. I was in the hospital for a couple days. They were going to shock me back into rhythm but they didn’t need to. After 24 hours of afib and being on drugs to slow my heart down my heart stopped on its own for 4 seconds and restarted to a normal rhythm. That was scarey. I almost passed out from that as the alarm at the nurses desk went off. I’m on thinners and stronger BP meds now. My BP has always been borderline high since I was in my 30s. I am 62 now. I hope afib doesn’t come back. So far just a pvc or 2 per day.

  • bob yeager says:

    It is one in the morning I just had a short episode of AF lasting about one hour. My cardiologist has suggested regular 100 mg flecainide 2 times a day. For the last 37 days I have not taken the med and this is the first outbreak. The only thing I did last night differently was take 600 mg calcium and 400 I.U. Vitamin D3. I regularly take aspirin and 400 mg magnesium. Someone mentioned AF is an individual thing. I agree. I take 4 cups of coffee only in the morning and cannot associate it with AF. I can associate it with alcohol taking only one glass at night will usually kick it off. Mahalo.

  • E. Williams says:

    Age 54, male. My A-fib began after open heart surgery to remove a tumor in my left atrium, in 2004. It comes and goes, for reasons I cannot determine or associate with any particular activity, diet, or physical condition. Flutters are aggravating, but A-fib pulsing, especially when it presents in the jugular area of my neck, is a frightening situation. I rely on caffeine to keep me awake during the day, due to the many medications I take that cause drowsiness. Those meds are unrelated to my A-fib condition. I can’t say that caffeine worsens the problem, especially since my episodes are sporadic.

  • Karen says:

    A friend of mine just died this year. He was 67 and they listed the cause of death as AFib. When he was 55 he went in for triple bypass and it worked, however he was left with AFib. Im not sure I would list that as the cause but may have put, died of surgery years later. He did not take care of his condition and his heart basically raced out of control and stopped.

    • mmoss says:

      Karen, I’m so sorry for your loss. It is important for folks who have afib to manage their condition on a daily basis. It is also common for folks to start having afib after other surgeries. Again, I’m sorry for your loss.
      Melissa

  • Stuart H. says:

    Before being diagnosed with afib, I drank a minimum of 5 cups of coffee a day, often much more. I knew it was excessive, but I truly enjoy the taste. After being diagnosed, I cut out coffee completely for a few months, but missed it every day. I have since found a compromise and have a small espresso cup (2oz) which seems to satisfy my coffee urge. It also allows me to afford the most naturally produced, organic coffee I can find. My gut feeling about my afib is that it is genetic and stressed based
    I never felt any palpitations or other symptoms and only discovered I had afib from a routine EKG. So it is hard to tell how coffee affects me on a cup by cup basis. But I believe, especially after reading about these studies, that a 2oz/day approach is adequate moderation.

  • Mike Shutt says:

    I have had AFIB episodes off and on for years and gave up coffee at my docs advice a few years ago. What I have noticed is a big trigger for me is High Blood Pressure above 145/80. Generally my BP runs much lower around 115/75, but stress, lack of exercise, alot of sugar and caffeine can get it in that range. If you have AFib learning to self Monitor your BP and control High BP may be very useful to you as the causes of HBP can vary a lot person to person but has been widely linked to AFIB. Not to mention in and of itself HBP is dangerous to your health

    • Melissa says:

      Mike, thanks for your insights. Many patients we hear from have issues with caffeine, and many can drink caffeine without problem. For some, it’s the pesticides in coffee that give them trouble. You may be interested in joining the conversation over at our Afib Patient Discussion Forum where folks talk about these issues often.

  • SUSAN says:

    I have been out of hospital since Sunday. At first they thought i’d had a mild heart attack, but since my angio was clear they have said it was a case of Afib. My heart raced at 180 one day and it took 2 days to settle down. I am feeling ok and waiting to go onto warphrin. I am 56, Female with very long term diabetes, well controlled asthma and have high bp, again well controlled on medication. I don’t drink or smoke, i do like my cups of coffee and am overweight. My future plan is to lose weight, cut down my coffee to about 3-4 cups a day instead of 6, I work 4 days a week 8 till 4 for the NHS but i plan to cut down to 3 days a week 8 till 5 as my job can be quite stressful. Is there anything else you can advise me?

  • WAIT A MINUTE!
    “not found coffee or caffeine intake equivalent to 5-6 cups/d to increase the frequency or severity of cardiac arrhythmias in healthy people or people with CHD.”

    Your conclusion to the study is misleading in my opinion. The study says they have not found a connection between developing afib or the frequency of arrhythmias IN HEALTHY PEOPLE or people with CHD.

    This doesn’t look like a study which examines the link between coffee and afib incidents among people who already have persistent afib. But the way you have it on the site, it makes it sound like the consensus is there is no relation, even though the study was not of an afib population, it was the general population.

    • Shawn says:

      I take a lot of caffeine as an Afib patient. For the last 2 years I have taken around 600 mg to 1200 mg of caffeine per day simply because I can’t seem to stay awake during the day otherwise. Turns out I have moderate sleep apnea which is the cause of my Afib episodes, not the caffeine at all. The only correlation is that caffeine crash makes me sleep harder which can cause the apnea to be worse at that particular night.

      Right now the doctors have me on Cardizem which is really good at keeping your heart rate low and pradaxa which is some new fangled blood thinner. Last weekend was my first episode in nearly 3 years.

  • Luke says:

    Hi. My experience:
    When I drink coffee (just ONE drink) I get AF for between 1-3 days and as a result cannot sleep hardly at all for that time. My blood pressure sits around 150/100 during this time, whereas it is normal otherwise.
    This does NOT happen with Coke (or sugary foods) for me. Go figure!?!
    I am a healthy early-thirties male otherwise. No other medical conditions.

  • T. Smith says:

    I have taken Excedrin migraine medication that contains caffeine, also caffeine tablets to work out because of slow metabolism. Now have afib. Question, is caffeine the cause. Excedrin migraine has 65mg of caffeine and tablets has 200mg of caffeine. Taking two to four tablets a day, between 400 to 800 mg a day plus migraine another 65mg. so 465 to 865 to over 900mg two to three times a week. This would be equivalent to four to five cups of coffee. So, this will not cause afib? The lack of energy is a symptom of afib?

  • Zephanie says:

    I drink decaffeinated coffee around 3 cups a day usually after food intake. I have reduced blood pressure to normal after years of afib. But sometimes I get a skip in the heart beating. Does decaf causes it? .

  • marseinew says:

    I have had two episodes of Afib in three years. After the first, I cut back to three cups of coffee a day. I had a 20-cup-a-day habit before that, which was ridiculous. I had another episode while drinking three cups a day but it was after mowing both my front and back lawn and doing five minutes on my stationary bike. I think it was the exercise and had nothing to do with caffeine. I think the problem with coffee is that a cup should be a cup. Measure it. I do. Most of our coffee mugs and cups are actually almost 2 cups, especially the mugs. I think three (Measured) cups a day is harmless and if I’m sleepy and trying to work at night, I sometimes have another half cup. The two things my episodes had in common were not sleeping well the night before and being stressed with work.

  • brent says:

    for the past 5 mornings after a good nites sleep have developed a fib 10 mins after arising ,first 4 morn 40 mg sotalol stopped it ,the 5 req 80 mg

  • John says:

    Coffee and alcohol are stimulants. That’s why they are so popular throughout the world. The “pick me up” with coffee increases heart rate. So why would anyone with a heart condition want to take such a substance? All these studies that say coffee and alcohol have no correlation to afib in my opinion is misleading.

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi John,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You may be interested in joining our patient discussion forum (http://forum.stopafib.org/index.php?act=idx) to connect with other patients who collectively have a great amount of knowledge and experience. You may want to post your thoughts and concerns there, and you may also learn a lot from others who have already shared their experience.

  • Ann Rutkowski says:

    I think fatigue not drinking enough water stress chocolate and drinking more than 1 cup of decaf coffee and alcohol all contribute to a fib episodes for me. Usually one of these symptoms does bring on an a fib episode for me.

  • Deb says:

    I drink coffee every morning. Iced Tea all day long. No problem but two cups of herbal caffenated hot tea and I’m flittering like I have a vibrater in my chest! More than one Pepsi or Coke with caffeine same thing. And lately 10:00 at night after no drinks and i’m flittering. I would love to know why.

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi Deb,

      Thank you for sharing your story and your issues with caffeine and afib. You may be interested in joining our patient discussion forum (http://forum.stopafib.org/index.phphttp://forum.stopafib.org/index.php?) 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. Best of luck to you!

  • david anderson says:

    I myself over the past few weeks have suffered frightening a.fib episodes durin vigorous exersise,I do drink quite a bit of coffee but I’m quite positive the culprit was down to an overdose of nicotine losenges..which has since shocked me into stopping that..after my episode durin pushups yesterday I was lukin for advice about what preventative measures u can take or if I need a period if rest bf I continue with training..n just ease up on the volume I do for now..today I am experiencing light headedness,dizziness n confusion since yesterday..n I’m just lukin for preventative strategies..thanku.

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi David,

      Thank you for sharing your afib story and your concerns. You may be interested in joining our patient discussion forum (http://forum.stopafib.org/index.php) 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. 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.

    • Carol Brammer says:

      There is a great tool for around $100.00. It is called Prince 180B. It will help if you can read EKG, but no big deal if not. Interfaces with home PC, and you can print and show MD

      Great tool!

  • tomf says:

    Buy a personal ECG monitor for your smartphone. NOT all that flutters in your chest is heart (~$75) After my ablation, it is very reassuring

  • Sharlene Capps says:

    Alcohol is not a stimulant; it’s the opposite. It slows down body functions. Even though one drink seems to lighten ones mood, the drug is slowing the body down.

  • donna hartwig says:

    I am 57 years old. have had arrythmia for years, first detected when 20 yrs old. No problem. have had loads of tests but on 24th July had a massive heart palpitation, 138 beats per minute. Hospital Dr. told me it is AF…So now I know what I have it is a relief. I have been a drinker of alcohol in the past. that has stopped now. I’m not a huge coffee drinker, 2-3 cups per day. Doesn’t effect me. So could be genetic. It is in my family. Glad I have found this website.

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi Donna,

      You may be interested in joining our patient discussion forum (http://forum.stopafib.org/index.php) 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. 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.

  • Charles Hayes says:

    I am 76. About three months ago Afib started. but have had only three attacks (for short Periods) since. I have lost weight over past year but have been put on a plan by doctor – drinking Ensure Plus, milk shakes and other drinks containing half&half,whipped cream etc. Would any of this contribute to A-Fib?
    I have COPD

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi Charles,

      Thank you for sharing your afib story and your questions. You may be interested in joining our patient discussion forum (http://forum.stopafib.org/index.php) 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 forum.stopafib.org, 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: http://getinrhythm.com/how-to-register-on-forum

      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 http://www.stopafib.org/news.cfm
      • Patient Resources at MyAfibExperience.org
      • Afib Blog
      • Video Presentations from the 2015 Atrial Fibrillation Patient Event

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

  • Guy says:

    Great site! I was a heavy coffee drinker. After reading this site I decided to quit and only drink one to two de-cafe a day! Well I have not had any AF what I call Attacks since I Quit!!! Can’t believe it!!! Now I am wondering if I need the blood thinner xeralto?? Thank you for this site!!!??

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Thank you, Guy. We are so glad that you have found our site helpful! You are so welcome, and we wish you sinus rhythm.

  • I had my first attack of afib.two yrs ago after seeing the condition my brother was in ,he had alsimers .lived2yrs.Now i have jumping hands,dont know if its connected.I blame it all on shock.What do you think.

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi Angela,

      I’m so sorry for the traumatic events that caused your first afib attack. You may be interested in joining our patient discussion forum (http://forum.stopafib.org/index.php) 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. To do so, go to forum.stopafib.org, 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. I sincerely hope that this will help you with your questions. Best of luck to you.

  • greg killick says:

    I have been in A fib for 2 weeks with visits to the ER they can’t get it to convert back to 70 bpm as i’m 73 and my INA is 1 and they want 2 before ele.stocking and even then they worry for a stroke ,taking 50 mg Metoprololto twice aday and Warfin.
    Cardio dept will not talk to you unless you see your Primary Dr first (insurance ruling) then make an appointment for Cardio with weeks delay .The ER are seperate to both deptments so round and round you go .sitting i run at 115 bpm walking run 138 to 150 and out of breath so i sit .
    The blood thinner make a old war wound on ankle turn into an ulcer and stings all night long when i stop blood thinners the wound heals up .Go figure

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi Greg,

      So sorry to hear about your afib problems with the ER, cardio department, etc. That sounds very frustrating. Please see my answer to William’s post below – I recommend that you visit and join our patient discussion forum, where you can find at http://forum.stopafib.org, to talk about your experiences with other patients. You can share your story, ask questions, and get a lot of important and helpful information and answers from people going through the same thing as you.

      Please let me know if I can help you in any other way. Have a good day.

    • Rico says:

      If you are considered “low risk” AFib, no smoking, alcohol dependent, no high blood pressure, no previous stroke, an aspirin may replace “blood thinner” which is actually “anti blood clot medicine”. Consult your Dr. to determine your “risk” high or low.

  • writerstar says:

    I’ve never, to my knowledge experienced afib but when I went to my new doctor about three months ago, she listened to my heart and said I had afib. She gave me a paper on afib and it said I should cut out caffeine so I stopped drinking my 4-5 cups of coffee a day. I don’t feel any different and since I didn’t experience anything before, I wonder if I can go back to drinking coffee. The doctor didn’t prescribe any medication for the afib. She said it wasn’t anything to worry about. What does everyone on here think, can I go back to drinking coffee? Thanks, Stan

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Hi Stan,
      Thank you for sharing about your caffeine consumption and how it has not really affected your afib. You might consider joining our patient forum so that you can connect with others. It is located at http://forum.stopafib.org/. There you can talk with other patients who 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.
      Please email us at [email protected] if you need any help or have more questions.
      Best of luck to you! Thanks for contributing.

  • Barbara says:

    Coffee definitely puts me in AF especially if I have not eaten or had any other fluids earlier in the day. Cold tap water also puts me in AF. Since stopping both I have very little AF.

    • Brenna Lara says:

      Barbara,

      Thanks so much for sharing your experience with coffee and cold water. You may be interested in joining our patient discussion forum (http://forum.stopafib.org/index.php) to connect with other patients. You may want to post your story there, and share your experience with others.

      You’ll need to join to see and participate in the discussion. To do so, go to forum.stopafib.org, 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.

      Wishing you sinus rhythm!

  • Barbara says:

    I commented earlier. Continued reading on this site and learned more about coffee and dehydration. I am now thinking that I can continue to drink coffee. That I have not been drinking enough other liquids when I drink coffee and have a glass of wine.

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