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Atrial fibrillation as a athlete.
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Hi all ,hoping get some peoples experiences with Atrial fibrillation occurring during or post exercise. This just happened to me on Thursday ( or the first one I was aware of) after a swim workout. Now I have been pouring over Pub med and a few podcasts on the subject and am coming to a few conclusions with my episode ,but want to hear from others regarding how it happened the lead up and if it was during ,before or post work out. Also if you solved it with diet , medical intervention or training changes.
My story. I have been training for Ironmans on and off since 1990 and have never had any health related issues. I have not always eaten well and thru the early 2000 raised 2 kids ( with my wife) so training was inconsistent. Started back training consistently in 2016 using a polarized model but the last few yrs spent more and more time in the pool while keeping the same bike, run ,gym volume. The month leading up to Thursday were high volume swimming and increasing in Swim ,bike ,run ,gym hours. The A fib started after the swim session when my wife and I were sitting for breakfast and it lasted 12 hrs ,i did see a medical professional and am in line for a ECG but that will probably show little of why it happened. From the what I have been reading and what I have listened too this is what I have come up with. Inflammation is a probable cause ,a large volume of work with little recovery ,high carb diet , too much caffeine , using fish oil supplements are all things I did that I think triggered this event. This below is a 2 part podcast with a person who has gone thru it and researched AF its very interesting.
https://podcasts.apple.com/...9275?i=1000504660749
https://podcasts.apple.com/...9275?i=1000504660748
So if anyone has had it or it’s a ongoing issue I would love to hear your take on your experiences.
All the best.

"Be your best cheerleader , not your worst critic.”
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Re: Atrial fibrillation as a athlete. [Kirch] [ In reply to ]
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I was just in A fib for the first time a week ago Friday

Woke up at 4 AM. Heart beat a big BOOM followed by nothing then regular beat. Over and over

Went to fire Dept at 9 AM. They do free EKGs. At first they said pulse was 80 but EKG showed 175. First thing they said was it looked like I was dehydrated.

Wanted to give me cadizen drug to convert me and take to emergency. I opted to drive 10 mins home and have my wife drive me.

I took the EKG test strip with me.

By the time I got to the hospital I was converted. All sorts of tests Blood pressure high at 152/90.

Blood test showed high BUN and something else high both indicating dehydration.

Thought back over the past few days. Urine was a bit darker. Was wearing a wetsuit while swimming in a pool. Drank a ton of water but obviously not enough. Swimming I was getting my heart rate to 160, I am 60 years old

Biking inside the last few days hours on end. At a Low heart rate 120 max. But swearing more than usual Morning heart rate had been a few beats higher than normal.


I had a followup visits with the cardiologist yesterday
So here I am calcium test scheduled.

Stress test scheduled

Echocardiogram scheduled

Lipids blood test scheduled

Pulse is back to normal but
Have pounding heart feel for hours at a time
Blood pressure ranges from 135/83 to 107/73

I bought Kardia from Amazon for $75 it is a home EKG test for A Fib. Cardiologist said it is reliable

I stopped all caffeine and extra salt hoping it will help. Feel shaky and anxious as the day goes on

Swam 1200 yards yesterday and today kept heart rate below 130. Usually do 4200 4x/week. But it didn’t feel easy doing just 1200

Still leery to go back to biking

Dr says no need to severely limit salt said I can have coffee and can go back to exercising as I was. But I am very hesitant to do that

Sleep has become bad. Waking up every couple hours with pounding heart feeling. Check heart rate, EKG and blood pressure. All are good but still pounding heart

I was diagnosed with sleep apnea years ago but couldn’t figure get mask to stay on.

Now I have disciplined myself to sleep on my side so am getting a cpap machine next week

Getting 5.5 hours of sleep since the incident VS 9 hours before all of this

Emotional and me I feel completely fine for most of the day. But the last few days I was feeling scared, depressed and anxious and shaky. don’t know why as I really have a stress feee life

Retired, financially set for life, great marriage. Great relationship with my grandchildren and children so I don’t know what is causing this

Hope this helps

BTW how do you know you were in Afib?

How did you convert on its own?
Last edited by: MrTri123: Feb 26, 22 13:18
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Re: Atrial fibrillation as a athlete. [MrTri123] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks for the reply and i wish you all the best. Yours sounds scarier than mine but the dehydration rings true ,I was peeing very dark on Wednesday after a 5000m swim and 1.5hr bike high cadence. My wife gave me the gears regarding my pee and i just laughed it off. I did take Friday off as it is my usual day off and did 1 hr light bike as my wife did a 2 hr heart rate was low >90 bpm. My head is still out of sorts Feeling like i dont want to go too hard ,but from what I’ve read and listened too people seem to think it is volume related and not so much intensity.
Good luck.

"Be your best cheerleader , not your worst critic.”
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Re: Atrial fibrillation as a athlete. [Kirch] [ In reply to ]
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Thank you

How do you know you went into A Fib?
Last edited by: MrTri123: Feb 26, 22 15:21
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Re: Atrial fibrillation as a athlete. [MrTri123] [ In reply to ]
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Funny you asked that ,as the more I am reading and from your account of your own Im starting to doubt it. First when I was sitting for breakfast after our swim I started to feel a tightness in my chest and what felt like a elevated heartbeat . I used the app on my Apple Watch and it said I could be having a A-fib episode but I did not have a elevated heart rate. I went about my day all the while i could feel this tightness in my chest every so often. I went to our urgent care center they did not have a ECG but took my vitals ,had high blood pressure 160/89 but HR 60 which they sort of discounted ( my usual blood pressure is 125/75 )The doctor said my heart beat was definitely irregular but said she couldn’t make a for sure diagnosis there. About 1/2hr later i felt it release and that was it.

"Be your best cheerleader , not your worst critic.”
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Re: Atrial fibrillation as a athlete. [Kirch] [ In reply to ]
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Hope you don’t have anything like that again but if you do maybe check and see if your local fire dept will do an EKG (am I saying it wrong is it ECG?) for free

The coupe times I gave gone they were very happy to do it And very nice and friendly
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Re: Atrial fibrillation as a athlete. [MrTri123] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks for the advice I’ll have to check. I dont see a lot of people talking about it but from the literature it seems more common in 50+ age group. I will be waiting for my Dr appointment and my ECG for hopefully a more definitive answer.

"Be your best cheerleader , not your worst critic.”
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Re: Atrial fibrillation as a athlete. [Kirch] [ In reply to ]
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an N=1....i had a bout of Afib in June 2018, in Aug 2018, I had heart surgery to repair torn mitral valve.
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Re: Atrial fibrillation as a athlete. [jeffp] [ In reply to ]
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Sorry for my ignorance ,did the A fib create the tear or the tear created the A fib. Also are you back to racing ,training or relaxing.
Thanks

"Be your best cheerleader , not your worst critic.”
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Re: Atrial fibrillation as a athlete. [Kirch] [ In reply to ]
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Kirch wrote:
Hi all ,hoping get some peoples experiences with Atrial fibrillation occurring during or post exercise. This just happened to me on Thursday ( or the first one I was aware of) after a swim workout. Now I have been pouring over Pub med and a few podcasts on the subject and am coming to a few conclusions with my episode ,but want to hear from others regarding how it happened the lead up and if it was during ,before or post work out. Also if you solved it with diet , medical intervention or training changes.
My story. I have been training for Ironmans on and off since 1990 and have never had any health related issues. I have not always eaten well and thru the early 2000 raised 2 kids ( with my wife) so training was inconsistent. Started back training consistently in 2016 using a polarized model but the last few yrs spent more and more time in the pool while keeping the same bike, run ,gym volume. The month leading up to Thursday were high volume swimming and increasing in Swim ,bike ,run ,gym hours. The A fib started after the swim session when my wife and I were sitting for breakfast and it lasted 12 hrs ,i did see a medical professional and am in line for a ECG but that will probably show little of why it happened. From the what I have been reading and what I have listened too this is what I have come up with. Inflammation is a probable cause ,a large volume of work with little recovery ,high carb diet , too much caffeine , using fish oil supplements are all things I did that I think triggered this event. This below is a 2 part podcast with a person who has gone thru it and researched AF its very interesting.
https://podcasts.apple.com/...9275?i=1000504660749
https://podcasts.apple.com/...9275?i=1000504660748
So if anyone has had it or it’s a ongoing issue I would love to hear your take on your experiences.
All the best.

Kich, sorry to hear about what you have been through.
Without wanting to come across the wrong way, which I know this probably will, as much as you can do your own research into why this may have happened etc, there is a reason that cardiologists like DTOCE (and MDs like myself) spend decades becoming experts in their respective fields. By all means google away, but there is so much more information required from a proper assessment and specialised testing etc before you can even start to put a cause behind all of this (and sometimes, the cause is all but an intellectual process as it may not change any future management).
As I said, this probably comes across the wrong way, which is not my intention, my intention is just to tell you to be cautious and await proper specialised assessment before overthinking too much about what could have caused all of this etc.
Wishing you all the best.
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Re: Atrial fibrillation as a athlete. [Amnesia] [ In reply to ]
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No I appreciate your response . Im not looking for a self diagnoses its just interesting to hear other peoples experiences. I will be getting a ECG and follow ups with my doctor so just going to be taking it easy till then.

"Be your best cheerleader , not your worst critic.”
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Re: Atrial fibrillation as a athlete. [Kirch] [ In reply to ]
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Have you searched through ST about Atrial fibrillation , sometimes mentioned as Afib?
Lots of responses and experiences unfortunately.


Like Amnesia said, go see a good cardiologist, the best would be someone also know about endurance athletes.

-shoki
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Re: Atrial fibrillation as a athlete. [Kirch] [ In reply to ]
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I'm going through this now and would have to echo the sentiments of the cardiologist above. I have a number of friends who have also had issues with a regular heartbeat and in each case the etiology and treatment was vastly different. It seems like the afib could be a standalone electrical problem or a symptom of a larger cardiac problem or heart failure.

The testing process ends up being pretty long because you schedule an individual test at some point in the future and then it seems to cause the cardiologist to order additional test so settle in and find someone you are comfortable with because it is sort of a marathon.

Good luck, most people I know with it are doing fine, seemingly I'm not, alas.
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Re: Atrial fibrillation as a athlete. [Kirch] [ In reply to ]
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Dr. Mandrola has many useful insights and a good website : https://www.drjohnm.org/atrial-fib/
Let us know how things go after your complete cardiac assessment. All the best.
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Re: Atrial fibrillation as a athlete. [Kirch] [ In reply to ]
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was told afib was likely a symptom of the tear. back to racing..............not really, still ride and occasionally try to train, but the mind hasnt come to terms with racing at 75-80% of former level which is all i seem to be able to output. was a cyclist only, TT primarily. LVEF is only 45% these days
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Re: Atrial fibrillation as a athlete. [rosegarden] [ In reply to ]
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Thank you for the recommendation . I have heard of the book ( the haywire heart )he co-wrote, my coach has read it so im sure he has some insights for me.

"Be your best cheerleader , not your worst critic.”
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Re: Atrial fibrillation as a athlete. [Kirch] [ In reply to ]
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I went through something weird with my heart when I was doing high tempo intervals running. Had the ECG in the office with no signs. Wore the monitor for a week and did my best to recreate things to trigger an event. Nothing. Bought a Karida off Amazon and carried that with me. Eventually I was able to record a new event on the Karida. Diagnosed with AVNRT and told not to worry about it.
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Re: Atrial fibrillation as a athlete. [Amnesia] [ In reply to ]
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Amnesia wrote:
Kirch wrote:
a large volume of work with little recovery ,high carb diet , too much caffeine , using fish oil supplements are all things I did that I think triggered this event.

be cautious and await proper specialised assessment before overthinking too much about what could have caused all of this etc.
Wishing you all the best.


So much this.

I've been battling afib the past several years. Got it diagnosed on this forum and then confirmed by cardiologist. I was in persistent afib 24/7 for 1.5 years before getting a cardioversion. No hint of it for 7 months then it came back two days after an intense 100 mile ride with a hard crash at mile 65. Off and on for next 4 months and my EP wants me to have an ablation. But then it subsided and as of today have only been in afib for 8 hours in the past 3 months.

Get some real info. We all speculate on triggers and causes, but we don't really know.

I got off all caffeine, which make sense, but studies have actually shown less afib with caffeine, so who knows.

Meat is supposedly a known trigger, the keto diet specifically has shown correlation to afib, probably because it has been shown to increase inflammation. But who knows if that's significant, there's so much uncertainty. I still eat meat and will until they pry it from my cold, greasy hands.

Have not heard of high carb causing afib. The low-carb people claim carbs cause all the problems in the universe and saturated fat will forgive all your iniquities and heal all your diseases, so I'd check the source of that, but maybe it's true.

At this point all the diet and lifestyle connections to afib are somewhere between weak correlations and speculation.

There's lots of info out there, some of it solid, some of it goofy with an agenda. I have several afib books, but the one I'd recommend is Restart Your Heart by Aseem Desai (https://draseemdesai.com/ ).

Keep pestering your doctors. I went to a cardiologist. He was going to schedule me for a cardioversion but my next visit I was not in afib and he was like "great, you don't need to see me for a year". A week later I went back into afib and was in afib continuously for months and kept contacting him and he told me all was good because it was "well controlled". As I read more about it, it seemed afib begets afib and it's not good to stay in it. Finally he transferred me to an EP who had me get a cardioversion.

A colleague who just walked past my door had an ablation two months ago and is doing great. I think of that as a last resort, but maybe I shouldn't be resistant. But again, I've been in sinus rhythm for all except one night the past 3 months.
Last edited by: HardlyTrying: Feb 28, 22 9:20
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Re: Atrial fibrillation as a athlete. [HardlyTrying] [ In reply to ]
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HardlyTrying wrote:
Amnesia wrote:
Kirch wrote:
a large volume of work with little recovery ,high carb diet , too much caffeine , using fish oil supplements are all things I did that I think triggered this event.

be cautious and await proper specialised assessment before overthinking too much about what could have caused all of this etc.
Wishing you all the best.

So much this.

I've been battling afib the past several years. Got it diagnosed on this forum and then confirmed by cardiologist. I was in persistent afib 24/7 for 1.5 years before getting a cardioversion. No hint of it for 7 months then it came back two days after an intense 100 mile ride with a hard crash at mile 65. Off and on for next 4 months and my EP wants me to have an ablation. But then it subsided and as of today have only been in afib for 8 hours in the past 3 months.

Get some real info. We all speculate on triggers and causes, but we don't really know.

I got off all caffeine, which make sense, but studies have actually shown less afib with caffeine, so who knows.

Meat is a known trigger, the keto diet specifically has shown correlation to afib, probably because it has been shown to increase inflammation. But who knows if that's significant, there's so much uncertainty. I still eat meat and will until they pry it from my cold, greasy hands.

Have not heard of high carb causing afib. The low-carb people claim carbs cause all the problems in the universe and saturated fat will forgive all your iniquities and heal all your diseases, so I'd check the source of that, but maybe it's true.

At this point all the diet and lifestyle connections to afib are somewhere between weak correlations and speculation.

There's lots of info out there, some of it solid, some of it goofy with an agenda. I have several afib books, but the one I'd recommend is Restart Your Heart by Aseem Desai (https://draseemdesai.com/ ).

Keep pestering your doctors. I went to a cardiologist. He was going to schedule me for a cardioversion but my next visit I was not in afib and he was like "great, you don't need to see me for a year". A week later I went back into afib and was in afib continuously for months and kept contacting him and he told me all was good because it was "well controlled". As I read more about it, it seemed afib begets afib and it's not good to stay in it. Finally he transferred me to an EP who had me get a cardioversion.

A colleague who just walked past my door had an ablation two months ago and is doing great. I think of that as a last resort, but maybe I shouldn't be resistant. But again, I've been in sinus rhythm for all except one night the past 3 months.

Thanks for the details
When you said the dr made you get a cardio version I looked it up there are different kinds

What did you have done?
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Re: Atrial fibrillation as a athlete. [MrTri123] [ In reply to ]
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MrTri123 wrote:

Thanks for the details
When you said the dr made you get a cardio version I looked it up there are different kinds

What did you have done?

I had electrical cardioversion, which is the only kind I'd heard of. Googled it and apparently there's a chemical cardioversion as well.
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Re: Atrial fibrillation as a athlete. [HardlyTrying] [ In reply to ]
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  1. Thanks for the reply , When I was mentioning High Carb a podcast I had listened to had suggested high carb diet leads to increased inflammation which could cause a a-fib episode. It’s interesting to me as I hear about how many different triggers could cause a episode. I am hopeful the doctors appt will shed some more light on it.


"Be your best cheerleader , not your worst critic.”
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Re: Atrial fibrillation as a athlete. [Kirch] [ In reply to ]
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here's the short version of my experience with afib:

went into it one day randomly while sitting at my desk - absolutely no prior symptoms. ER visit yielded a very erratic beat - b/w 30 and 180 while sitting in a bed. They tried every drug to get it under control to no avail, electrically cardioverted the next morning (now I know why Michael Jackson liked propofol so much...). Kept on drugs (forget which one) to keep it in check, but they KILLED my energy levels and I work in consulting so I weaned off within a couple months, at the cardiologists' chagrin. Went back into afib with 4-6 months, again drugs didn't work, cardioverted again and began discussions for an ablation. Did that - they found 30-something spots that were trigger points - and really no ill effects since. Tired for a couple weeks post op but back into training/racing after that and haven't had any confirmed afib since.

Take this with a grain of salt, as my wife also had an ablation for SVT and now has a pacemaker thanks to her surgeon fucking up her AV node, so that's fun. Do your research.
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Re: Atrial fibrillation as a athlete. [Kirch] [ In reply to ]
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Kirch wrote:
  1. Thanks for the reply , When I was mentioning High Carb a podcast I had listened to had suggested high carb diet leads to increased inflammation which could cause a a-fib episode. It’s interesting to me as I hear about how many different triggers could cause a episode. I am hopeful the doctors appt will shed some more light on it.

Just listened to the podcasts you posted. Quite informative. Thanks.
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Re: Atrial fibrillation as a athlete. [mattyboy] [ In reply to ]
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WOW eye opening story and sorry to hear about your wife. Thanks for sharing.

"Be your best cheerleader , not your worst critic.”
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Re: Atrial fibrillation as a athlete. [Kirch] [ In reply to ]
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How does fish oil and high carb diet (for non sedentary person) cause AFib?

http://www.coupleofathletes.com
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