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Posts Tagged ‘Cardioversion’

Health Update:  For those who haven’t been following my blog for long, I’ve spent most of the last decade suffering from non-continuous Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), which is an irregular and rapid heart rate that occurs when one or both of the two upper chambers of a heart experience chaotic electrical signals.  Basically “AFib” is a fast and irregular heart beat.  The heart rate in atrial fibrillation may range from 100 to 175 beats a minute.  My most common symptoms include: chest palpitations, sweating, a shortness of breath (difficult to fully inhale) and a “feeling” of weight on my chest.  Most of the time my symptoms are brief – a minute to a half hour.  My most frequent symptom is the chest palpitations.  Occasionally, the symptoms double up or last longer.  Rarely, the symptoms go to three and or last more than 90 minutes.  When that happens, I go to the ER.
Just to be clear, many folks live with continuous AFib for decades.  As my cardiologist told me: “Most AFib patients don’t die from AFib.”  They die from blood clots and related illnesses: stroke, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism.  My AFib has been non-continuous.
To make a longer story briefer, on 24 September, about 3am, I woke up with very strong palps.  I take my blood pressure (BP) three times a day.  In the morning, I still had the palps and my blood pressure and pulse were elevated, and my pulse was irregular (in AFib).  That evening, although not experiencing additional symptoms, I went to the ER.  They gave me a top-up on one of my meds and sent me home with instructions to contact my cardiologist ASAP.  I called the following day and arranged for the first available appointment – which was the following week (Wednesday, 30 September).
So we met and he put me back on a blood thinner (to prevent blood clots / strokes) and scheduled me for a COVID test and a visit to the hospital for an Electrical Cardioversion.  An electrical cardioversion is when the doctor uses a defibrillator to zap your heart to disrupt the electrical misfires and set you back into a normal heart rhythm.  In computer terms:  “A cold re-boot.”  This will be my second zap.  My first was back in November 2017.  In cat terms:  I’m on life two with seven to go…
I had the COVID test on Monday and today I got the “all clear / negative” results back.  I am scheduled for the “DFib” on Friday (in two days), so please keep me in your thoughts and prayers.
One thought can produce millions of vibrations
and they all go back to God… everything does.
   —   John Coltrane
From his poem:  “A Love Supreme
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Last Friday (10 November 2017), I entered continuous AFib (Atrial Fibrillation).  This is a condition where your heart has a kind of loose electrical connection, and the top part of your heart (the atria) fails to pump smoothly – essentially it flutters (fibrillates).  If left unattended, the flutter can cause your blood to pool in your heart and eventually the pool coagulates and forms a clot.  Then, since your heart is still beating,  your heart can push the clot to other parts of your body and you can end up with a heart attack (if the clot lodges in your heart) or stroke (if it lodges in your brain).  The clot can cause various other issues depending on where it finally settles.  (Obviously, the is a VERY simplified explanation).
Anyway, I hoped it (my heart) would revert to a normal rhythm on its own.  It did not, so Tuesday (14 Nov 2017) I went to see my cardiologist, who in turn, admitted me to the hospital for electrical cardioversion.  Basically, they hit your heart with an electric charge which “in effect” re-boots the electrical system of the heart.  Yes, it stops your heart, but only for a fraction of a second (everyone hopes).
The procedure (yesterday – 15 Nov 2017) was successful (big shout-out to all the staff, nurses and doctors at John Muir Hospital in Concord, CA) and I was sent home with my heart in normal rhythm.  I’ll be chilling out for the next few days / week to make sure I don’t slip back into AFib and then I have to concentrate on dieting and exercise to lose weight and strengthen my heart.
Knock on wood…  That’s the plan, anyway.  In the meantime, it’s no added salt, adjusting to lots of new pills and it’s back to being a “blood-thinned” hemophiliac.  Still, it is much better than the alternative…  Please keep me in your prayers (if you are that way inclined).
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