Chronic Atrial Fibrillation and Cardioconversion

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Seabush

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Has anyone had electric cardioconversion after valve replacement surgery to correct atrial fibrillation problems?

Thanks

Crystal
 
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Mb

Guest
Hi!
My husband had MVR and AVR on 10/3.
He is in chronic a-fib. (at least ten months). He was cardioverted on June 1st, and it did work for four days. But gosh, he was SO bad when it returned that we visited the ER. His surgeon said he coud TRY to get cardioverted again in about 6 months, since the valves are now replaced, but didn't hold out much hope for his staying in sinus rythm. The cardio says he could try it as well, but that he felt that it had a VERY slim chance of working. AND, not to try before six months. I do not think my husband will opt for trying to have them concert him. It is very stressfull (for me, not him, heehee). Doesn't take long, but a pretty bad butrn on his chest afterwards. I don't know if this helps, but I thought I'd post what his DR's said, just to help. (By the way his Dr's are at Mass General, Dr. Vlahakis did his surgery.....the man is a genius.)
Best of luck to you. I know how much being in a-fib effects the hearts' efficiency. - Marybeth
 
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Seabush

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Mom

Mom

Marybeth,

Thanks for the response. My mother has been in chronic a-fib since the surgery. She had a problem before then but she was mostly in sinus rhythm. She took and still takes coumadin because of the a-fib. Her cardiologist thinks that the valve problems may have caused the a-fib in the first place and getting cardioconverted could result in her being in sinus rhythm and eventually getting off coumadin if she stayed in sinus rhythm 6 months to a year.

Crystal
 
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Andy in Montana

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Cardioversion

Cardioversion

With regards to your question about cardioversion:

After my valve repair in June 2001 I was in atrial fib/flutter - I was put on coumadin and my INR remained above 2.0 for over two months - then I was cardioverted and with one electric shock my heart went back into sinus rhythm. I was cardioverted around 11:00 a.m. and was released at about 12:30 - was a pretty easy procedure for me. Did have a sunburn on my back for a couple of days - where the pad was. It did itch that night. I was taken off coumadin about a month later - and now take an 81 mg aspirin a day - along with Amiodorone a heart rhythm drug and Digoxin. I'm sure glad I did the cardioversion. Another friend of mine was cardioverted and they shocked him five times - but it did not work. Some people can go for years in atrial fib others can't. The other alternative is a pacemaker. Al in all it was a pretty easy procedure - they put you to sleep for about five minutes.
Hope this helps.
Andy
 
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Mb

Guest
It is my understanding that cardioversion will work on folks whose hearts have been in a-fib for a short time period. The longer the a-fib, the less likely to come out of it. Also, like my husband, even though they may be able to shock your heart back into sinus rythm, it doesn't last long, if you've been in a-fib for a long period of time. People in a-fib loose about 15% of the heart's efficiency, and then add to that whatevern disease the heart has to begin with.....and you've got a pretty tired person. Coumaden hasn't been that tough, and if it keeps a person from having a stroke.....hooray! The procedure itself isn't tough on the patient at all......slight burns yes, but if it works being in sinus rythm is a really good thing. So, our advice for anyone, is to go for it. Almost nothing to loose and a great deal to gain!
 

sylviayasgur

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hi crystal!
sorry to hear your mom is in afib. my husband, joey, had a few bouts with afib prior to his avr and was actually (successfully) cardioverted in 1996. a few intermittent bouts lasting less than 3 days thereafter, but nothing a little coumadin wouldn't take care of. the cardioversion was really uneventful, considering i was a total wreck!!! joey didn't even remember it and asked me if i'd be there when he woke up (it had already been done!).

he was put on preventative meds (sotolol/betapace) which were very effective until after his surgery when he went into afib and the sotolol wasn't working any more. that's when they put him on amiodarone (short terms- for about 3 months). it has been working very well and he will be coming off it in about 3 weeks. we are both worried for him to come off the amiodarone, because although afib is not life threatening (as long as you are on coumadin to prevent clots), it is scary to us. (my dad has a st. jude's and lives in chronic afib and on coumadin for both. doesn't bother him at all_ still plays his golf , etc)

marybeth is right.... joey's cardio once told him that the longer you stay in afib, the harder it is to convert the heart to sinus rhythm.

hope this helps. please keep us posted as to what happens. i wish you both well and God bless,
sylvia
 
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Bill Hall

Guest
Crystal - I was afib after surgery for one month. They did the cardio-vert when I was still in ICU, but it lasted only five hours. I was scheduled to return to Cle, but the heart went back to normal rhythm using Amiodarone. No afib since then. I was planning to make that my final try at cardio-vert since giving your heart an electric shock did not seem to be a good idea if repeated. They told me I could live afib, don't worry about it. An 80 year old man in the hospital was afib for ten years and told me it was no problem for him, just take the medication.
 
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Mb

Guest
Nancy:

Could you explain why/reason Joe got the pacemaker? Was he also having ventricular arrythmia????? Does he take meds to slow his heart rate down, and then the pacemaker kicks in? As you know Wayne is in chromic a-fib, and his Dr.'s do not think he will convert. However, they have not mentioned a pacemaker. I thought the pacemaker was for ventrical issues, not the atrials.
Thanks!
Marybeth
 

Nancy

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upstate New York
Here's what happened.

Joe had several faints caused by a slow heart rate, he also had afib and had an extremely fast heart rate at times. So the rhythm was all over the place. Whenever he went to the emergency room, I hated to watch the heart monitor, it was like watching a rollercoaster.

After these episodes, they put him on a calcium channel blocker which helped the rapid heart rate, and then installed the pacemaker to keep the heart from going too slow. The pacemaker also luckily kept his heart in a regular rhythm. He is now off the calcium blocker, and his heart seems to be in normal sinus rhythm.

He goes for his pacemaker checkup this week, so hopefully things will be just fine.

I'm not sure about the atrials vs. the ventricles, we didn't delve that far.

The cardiologist had the group's cardiology rhythm specialist consult on the case and this is what they came up with as a solution.

I know the pacemaker works very hard.

So far, so good.

Every time I ask the cardiologist if Joe's heart is in normal sinus rhythm, he says that it is and is probably being paced.

He's been in afib for many, many years, and I think if it weren't for the fainting episodes, they would have left it alone.

The cardiologist said a long time ago that people live with afib, quite well. But of course when it becomes a life threatening thing then it's time to do something.
 
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Mb

Guest
Nancy:

Thanks for the input. Wayne does not have a problem with his heart beating too slowly, just too fast. With the triple dose of attennenol, his resting heart rate is AOK at 80-90BPM. However, with very moderate exertion it goes up to 140-190 and his cardiologist says it shouldn't go higher than 120, as then the valves do not work properly. - I think we need to see how it all comes out in the long run. - Marybeth
 

Nancy

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I reread my answer and probably didn't take enough time to be more clear, little puppy had to make a quick trip outside.

Joe's problem has always been characterized as afib, by any cardiologist or other doctor that has examined him.

That's not to say that he might not have had something else going on in addition.

But they have not mentioned anything else.
 
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Mb

Guest
Hmmm......thanks Nancy. We will see what the next weeks bring with the heart rate. You are a doll!
 
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Brade

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Cardioversion

Cardioversion

I had my MV repair surgery at CC on Nov. 8th. I went into A-Fib the next day and they did a Cardioversion that morning. It worked for about 5 min. They then did another one and I have been ok ever since. I didn't have any red welts or burns from ether one. It was really a piece of cake.
 

sylviayasgur

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wow brad,
i am so glad that you are no longer in afib and that the cardioversion worked. unfortunatley, that isn't always the case.
my husband, joey_when he had his cardioversion in 1996 presurgery_ didn't have any burns or marks.
i think it is certainly worth a try. ask me again, though, after he's off the amiodarone! hopefully, it won't be an issue.
good luck and be well,
sylvia
 

hensylee

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My brother was in a-fib for a LONG time, but he had not had surgery for any heart issues. They finally did the cardioversion, after he was dosed w/coumadin, and so far it has held since June, 2001 and we pray it continues. I do know that often it fails, tho. God bless
 
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David Copson

Guest
I'm smiling because I am in in sinus rhythm after ten months of a-fib. I was in a-fib before my surgery April 5 and have been since until two weeks ago. A cardio version shortly after surgery worked for all of two hours. I had a Catheter Ablation November19 which seems to have worked. A-fib is no fun. I feel so much better now - I had forgotten what regular rhythm feels like.
 

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