Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 52 total)
  • Joining the heart club – SVT(AFl), AFib, enlarged atrium caused by…
  • Premier Icon beej
    Full Member

    Over the years I’ve read about various heart issues on here and it’s certainly helped me become more aware of possible problems, so I thought I’d share my story. (TL:DR at the end)

    August Bank Holiday Saturday I went out riding with my local shop group (hi to the Banjo Cycles rider(s) on here – there’s at least one).

    I was on the tail end of a 3 week cold so decided to go out with a slightly slower group than normal. First climb I put in a bit of an effort, it felt hard but nothing I wouldn’t expect. Second climb I did the same then noticed one of those funny readings on my Garmin – 180? – so backed off. My max is about 175 so this was a bit odd, especially as it kept going up, hitting 230 and staying there. I wasn’t breathless, no chest pain so I wasn’t sure if this was interference or genuine.

    At the next junction I felt my pulse and… yep, it was real. I had a couple of choices – back off a little and ride back with the group, or call for help. On stopping the rate dropped to about 120ish, so I carried on after letting a couple of people know I wasn’t feeling great. Up it went again, moving between about 180 and 230. I was still keeping up and made the decision that it would be quicker to ride to our local hospital than stop and wait for an ambulance. As we got back to town I peeled off from the group and rode to our minor injuries unit.

    After a brief argument at the reception desk (“you can’t bring that bike in here”) I presented at the desk and managed to jump the queue to get seen within a few minutes. ECG, yep, something odd here. Doctor takes a look, calls an ambulance and I’m shortly on the way to our nearest A&E, blue lights flashing, dodging the queues through the M4 roadworks, straight into the resus bay with a bunch of people running around me.

    By then my rhythm had settled a bit – I was in AFib, so irregular beat at about 130bpm. Some beta blockers were bringing my rate down a little and the A&E doc (actually a covering cardiologist) wanted to do a quick ultrasound before giving me something else.

    At this point things changed a little – the ultrasound showed a significantly enlarged right atrium. This needed investigating so I was admitted into the cardiac care unit for further investigations. Overnight my rate dropped to ~90, but still in AFib, right until the consultant walked up to me Sunday morning to discuss rebooting me. At which point by heart went back into normal (sinus) rhythm, right in front of her. “Did I just scare you back into sinus?” she asked.

    Two days of boredom followed as all the tests I needed to look at the enlargement couldn’t happen over the bank holiday. Tuesday came along – echocardiogram, profusion and ventilation test, cardiac MRI – and Wednesday morning the cardiac consultant came around to reveal…

    (dramatic pause)

    …I had an atrial septal defect, AKA a hole in the heart. Between the two atriums (atria?) there’s not meant to be a hole yet I had one and it was described as “significant”. The sizing from the echo put it at 28mm by 24mm, so about 2p sized. The enlarged right atrium was due to my heart compensating for the big hole as all the lovely oxygenated blood coming from my lungs was mixing with the used stuff coming back from my body.

    I was a little surprised to say the least. 48 years old, I’d been born with this thing and I’d had no real symptoms. Maybe more ectopic beats than normal (hard to say), maybe a limit to my cycling at the top end but I’ve done a load of big, tough events (Haute Routes, Marmotte, Mallorca 312, 12 hour MTBs). All endurance though and I’ve never liked short fast stuff.

    So, how do you fix a hole in the heart? Well, I needed some investigation into the electrics, so an electrophysiology study was done a week after I was released from the cardiac unit. This was looking for atrial flutter rather than fibrillation as that was the initial dodgy rhythm. It’s done via a tiny cut in the groin with the femoral vein used to access the heart. The EP study didn’t manage to trigger anything strange (they try and stimulate arrhythmia) but the consultant did some ablation on common AFl pathways anyway.

    Next – the hole. There are two ways. Femoral vein access to deploy a device that covers the hole, or open heart. I was a bit of an edge case due to the size of the defect, but thankfully they went for the non-invasive method. That was done last Tuesday night, using a 33mm diameter device (they only go up to 40), overnight stay and home the next day.

    So… I’m now patched. Echo check-up next week, only gentle exercise for the next 3 months and after that I should be better than new!

    TL:DR: I discovered I’d had a large hole in my heart for the past 48 years. It’s fixed now.

    Any questions?

    Premier Icon perchypanther
    Free Member

    Any questions?

    Yep.

    Did they take your bike in the ambulance?

    Premier Icon Flaperon
    Full Member

    Really pleased to read through that and find a positive outcome at the end of it.

    Did you get your bike back from the Minor Injuries unit? 😉

    Premier Icon willard
    Full Member

    That’s a good result! Glad you are fixed, but please do take it easy with the rest and healing… I got diagnosed with AFib about 20 years ago and had it fixed 10 years ago. I’m not sure that I really gave myself the best shot at resting after the op, so please listen to the advice and rest properly.

    Premier Icon Yak
    Full Member

    Great work, and good too see you are patched up.
    So the bike – at minor injuries, then to A&E? Or do they store it for you? Bikes in hospitals…whadyado? 😉

    Premier Icon beej
    Full Member

    Bike – good question!

    Called Ms Beej – we only live a mile away from the local hospital so she came and collected it, she got there before the ambulance arrived. It was quite a worry, £lots of road bike left leaning on the wall outside.

    Willard – will do. I’ve been off work for a week then will work from home for a few days. As the consultant said, it’s only 3 months of rest to give you 30+ years of improvements.

    Premier Icon Superficial
    Free Member

    It sounds like you got it sorted in good time which is great news. It also sounds like you got great service from the ED – very few places would have picked up the ASD so quickly!

    Premier Icon hooli
    Full Member

    That sounds like an upgrade, enjoy the performance gains 🙂

    Premier Icon ton
    Free Member

    glad you are sorted Beej.
    it is a very good feeling feeling getting a serious heart problem sorted.

    good luck.

    Premier Icon big_scot_nanny
    Full Member

    Bloody scary, great story, glad the bike is OK. Is disappointed its a road biking story 😉, but otherwise wishing you the best!

    Premier Icon DezB
    Free Member

    Great story and bloody well written, I must say! I couldn’t even remember anything except TIA (off here!) after I’d been through my first set of tests. Someone at work had to tell me what AF stood for.
    Bit jealous that you’ve got fixed. I ride anything remotely hard and it feels like my chest is gonna explode… so I say “come on then!” and push harder, which the doc informed me the other day will result in heart failure (“sounds more dramatic than it is” Lol!) in 10 -15 years. **** it eh.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Full Member

    I need a cardiologist tbh. Negative effects of coffee getting worse.

    Premier Icon ton
    Free Member

    Negative effects of coffee getting worse.

    the surgeon who cracked my chest open told me coffee was fine.
    most AF is started through exercise whilst run down/tired. holiday heart is what he called it, brought on by daily boozing combined with tiredness.

    Premier Icon bonni
    Full Member

    beej: I love a happy ending – great result! Good luck convalescing.

    DezB: ever tried or considered e-bikes? My Dad (80) is in permanent AF (since his early 60s) still gets out twice a week on a Cube ebike – loves it.

    molgrips: Dr Fong Leong’s your man, if in Cardiff area.

    Premier Icon DezB
    Free Member

    DezB: ever tried or considered e-bikes?

    Of course. But I ain’t giving up yet 😉

    Premier Icon bonni
    Full Member

    DezB: too right!

    Premier Icon longdog
    Free Member

    Glad you got a positive outcome from that and quick investigations too.

    I’ve been waiting for a cardiac MRI since May to narrow down my heart issues, hopefully get it done by Xmas!

    Premier Icon beej
    Full Member

    Ton – your postings were some of the ones that alerted me to AF, so thank you! This was my first ever instance of SVT/AFl/AFib, possibly brought on by exercising post-virus. It could have been complete luck that it led them to find the ASD.

    In theory I’m upgraded – the hole was allowing deoxygenated blood to mix with the freshly oxygenated blood coming back from the lungs. Resting heart rate has dropped by a few BPM since the patching according to my fitness tracker.

    Over the next few months they expect the right atrium to shrink back to normal human size.


    @longdog
    , part of the reason for keeping me in the cardiac unit for the weekend was so they could run the tests I needed as an in-patient the week after. They said if I went home it could take weeks to get the tests done as an out-patient.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Full Member

    the surgeon who cracked my chest open told me coffee was fine.
    most AF is started through exercise whilst run down/tired. holiday heart is what he called it, brought on by daily boozing combined with tiredness.

    Interesting. Too much coffee gives me AF in short 1 second bursts, and ectopic beats if I exercise hard with too much coffee.

    It got much worse during a period of lots of strong coffee, lots of riding and also lots o Coke Zero, all of which seem to make symptoms worse. But if I abstain from these things for a week or so it gets better but I’m still more susceptible than I was 5 years ago.

    In theory I’m upgraded

    That’s pretty awesome tho.

    molgrips: Dr Fong Leong’s your man, if in Cardiff area.

    Fab thanks.

    Premier Icon db
    Full Member

    Question – are you like a superhero now its been fixed and your muscles are getting proper oxygenated blood? I mean can you jump tall buildings and run <1min miles?

    If not has it just been a bit of a waste? 😉

    Premier Icon PJay
    Free Member

    I’m a new member of the Heart Club too. As mentioned elsewhere on here I had a heart attack while out cycling on 8th October. I’m getting mixed messages about recovery but if I understand things correctly I’ve lost about 40% of my heart’s ability to pump and I think that this is permanent (although I have had suggestions that it may improve).

    It’s good to hear that you’ve had such a positive outcome but all the comments on here and on the thread I started just goes to show how common heart problems are (at 52 with a lifestyle risk calculated as under 5% it was a surprise).

    Any questions?

    Yep.

    Did they take your bike in the ambulance?

    I’m rather in my Wife’s bad books as instead of calling an ambulance straight away, I called my Father and waited for 45 minutes for him to arrive (so I wouldn’t have to leave my bike) and then called an ambulance (with hindsight this was bloody stupid).

    Premier Icon beej
    Full Member

    Question – are you like a superhero now its been fixed and your muscles are getting proper oxygenated blood? I mean can you jump tall buildings and run <1min miles?

    We’ll find out when I’m allowed to train again. Hopefully.

    I’m pretty sure I was once on a “Torq Development” team of randoms with @Molgrips at one of the Torq in Your Sleep/Gorrick 12:12 things a few years ago. We came 11th. Imagine… we could have been top 10!

    Premier Icon DezB
    Free Member

    I called my Father and waited for 45 minutes for him to arrive (so I wouldn’t have to leave my bike)

    Here – it’s not a bad thing, it’s just logic for us bike owners! I called my brother so he could put my bike in his boot. Then I called my nurse GF, then I asked STW… Hospital came much further down the list 😆

    Premier Icon nicko74
    Full Member

    Any questions?

    Yep.

    Did they take your bike in the ambulance?

    Awful, but my first thought too. Glad to hear you and the bike are doing alright!

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    By ‘eck op, sounds like an exciting journey.

    My father was in AF, in hospital to recover and have the old restart of rhythm thing. Wired up on wireless heart monitor.
    All of a sudden, as he was walking down corridor, an alarm went off, a nurse grabbed a wheelchair and the matron all but rugby tackled him into the chair….

    The battery for the monitor ran out – cue flat heart rhythm on the monitor…

    😅

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Full Member

    I’m pretty sure I was once on a “Torq Development” team of randoms with @Molgrips at one of the Torq in Your Sleep/Gorrick 12:12 things a few years ago. We came 11th. Imagine… we could have been top 10!

    Strewth.

    I remember doing one of those development squads at Bristol Bike Fest and doing well. I don’t recall the Torq in your sleep unless it was in erm.. 2010?

    Premier Icon beej
    Full Member

    2010, sounds about right. I’d trained for a 12 hour solo and got roped into the team of 4 on the morning of the event.

    EDIT – yep, 2010. I was writing a blog then.

    http://www.dislocatedmtb.com/2010/09/planning-is-overrated.html

    Premier Icon DenDennis
    Free Member

    Good one you spotted it and got seen in time. Hopefully in not too long you’ll be back up and charging around.
    My addition to the cardiacs on the forum is I’m due to have a Loop Recorder reveal device implanted this Friday. Long story too but over a year ago I ended up with an aterial blood clot in my arm. came on randomly a few days after a week’s cycling in the mountains… Agony at the time. Docs still not sure of cause but most likely something to do with heart.
    I’ve had just about all other heart tests there are since, including live TOE video of bubbles in blood put back through heart to show no leaky valves.
    Anyone had a reveal device fitted? its kind of a permanent HRM and it would be awesome if its Garmin – enabled but I doubt it!

    Premier Icon ton
    Free Member

    an aterial blood clot in my arm. Agony at the time.

    in my 5 year battle with heart problems I ended up with a DVT in my calf, then rising to my knee area.
    never known a pain like it.

    Premier Icon Alphabet
    Full Member

    Well done for getting it diagnosed and sorted in time and welcome to the club. 11 months today for me since I had my open heart surgery to replace my aortic valve. I’m so glad chicks dig scars…

    Premier Icon codybrennan
    Free Member

    Glad you’re ok.

    Out of interest- have you ever suffered from migraines?

    Premier Icon firestarter
    Free Member

    Nice one mate, I thought I was in the heart club the other week but thankfully i got the all clear

    I’d collapsed while out running and an ambulance man happened to be passing and was concerned when I was hooked up to ecg , I went to see doc and they sent me for a further ecg and bloods, bloods came back high potassium so doc gave me all sorts of horrors like kidney dialysis for one , emergency bloods done but they were clear , ecg showed bradycardia , hooked up to a 24 hr tape ecg and was told it was mobitz type two and I’d need a pace maker, no more job if that was the case, cardiologist saw me in two days for an echo and thankfully said heart looked big and strong and it was mobitz type 1 but i only miss heart beats during the night and its absolutely normal for someone whose fit so not to worry, I did pap myself mind, collapse was probably 15 miles in hot weather with no food or drink when I was a bit under the weather
    Glad your sorted it must have been a worry I was dropping bricks 🙂

    Premier Icon beej
    Full Member

    Codybrennan , never. I’ve had the “aura” about 5 times in my life, mainly low blood sugar triggered, but never a migraine.

    Lots of heart stories coming out – I’d read P-Jay’s thread too. My lifestyle risk was very low – blood pressure consistently 115/75, cholesterol 2.7, never smoked, don’t drink more than 2-3 beers a week. One of the cardiologists mentioned there are probably loads of people out there with defects that won’t get discovered until later life.

    I’ve been really lucky – the discovery and how they were able to fix me. The NHS cardiac unit in Reading were amazing, huge respect for the staff there.

    Premier Icon fossy
    Full Member

    My BIL (late 50’s) is getting the run-around with outpatients. He’s had on and off AF with racing heart rates and ‘funny turns’ for a couple of years. On meds, but was booked in for the heart stop/start procedure, but his AF had settled down. Still getting problems and has had quite a few funny turns. Stupidly he has decided to wait for his upcoming outpatients, where they did nothing other than a brief monitoring which showed anomalies.

    I’ve suggested to SIL, that the next time he has a ‘turn’ insist and cart him down to A&E as this ‘toughing it out’ (he isn’t really just scared shootless at going in), isn’t going to get it sorted.

    At least if he’s in hosptial when he has problems, he will be hooked up for some full checks, not at outpatients that often gets cancelled, and might not be there when he is having problems.

    Premier Icon DezB
    Free Member

    I’d read P-Jay’s thread

    BTW, it’s PJay, not P-Jay 🙂 hyphen is a different STW user (I know, I spend too much time on here)

    Premier Icon DenDennis
    Free Member

    ton

    Member
    an aterial blood clot in my arm. Agony at the time.

    in my 5 year battle with heart problems I ended up with a DVT in my calf, then rising to my knee area.
    never known a pain like it.

    Aye. Same here. This was like having your arm crushed in a vice whilst simultaneously having the funny bone repeatedly banged with a lump hammer…..

    Premier Icon TiRed
    Full Member

    Awful, but my first thought too. Glad to hear you and the bike are doing alright!

    Errrr might have been my thought too. Heal fast and take it easy. Welcome to top-end sprinting now you have the upgrade. A friend had the same, without the 230bpm as she’s not a cyclist, just was very tired and run down despite being a very keen walker.

    Premier Icon outofbreath
    Free Member

    most AF is started through exercise whilst run down/tired. holiday heart is what he called it, brought on by daily boozing combined with tiredness.

    Interesting. I get AFIB about once a month, always when I’m asleep – it wakes me up.

    I haven’t been able to identify a definite trigger but I’m convinced coffee reduces the likelihood and alcohol increases the likelihood. It seems to be almost exclusively the night after a day when I’ve exercised.

    I’m also convinced that the fitter I am the more it happens. Pretty sure I get Ectopic heartbeats when I’m fitter as well but I’ve never been able to catch one to confirm that IYSWIM.

    I’m kind of hoping it just stops happening one day of its own accord.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Full Member

    I was told by a nurse with a specialism in arrhythmia that short flutters when resting are caused by the heart growing in response to exercise. The electrical pathways change as the muscle develops, which causes the sporadic flutters.

    Premier Icon bonni
    Full Member

    outfbreath: it’s not uncommon to have an episode of paroxysmal AF start at night after exercising. Apparently it’s down to stimulation of the vagal nerve.

    Unfortunately AF episodes tend to get more frequent/longer over time in most cases. To the point that it becomes permanent. There are interventions, like PV ablation, that work in people with non-permanent AF. When it’s permanent, it’s very difficult to resolve. Apologies if you know all this already. I don’t want to be condescending and I’m not a medic, but I would seek a bit of advice if I was in your shoes.

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