Monday, November 21, 2016
Two weeks ago today, I got home from the gym feeling a bit odd. Chest was tight, and felt unusual. On the next day, I went out to run, and within 200 yards, my pulse on my garmin was around 134, and within ten minutes, over 150. Now normally on a run it takes me about twenty minutes to get my heart rate above 120, and I have to push really hard to crest 150. So I knew something was odd and I quit after about twenty minutes. I hit the gym a couple more times, and tried to run, but nothing was working quite right. On my birthday last Monday, I had an appointment to give blood and see the skin doctor, After I gave blood, I asked to see my doctor for a minute, and he saw me and I explained my problem, and he did an EKG. He scheduled me for later in the day for a visit to the cardiologist. When I got there, he gave me an echo cardiogram and said I was in persistent A-fib. Persistent means for longer than 48 hours. My upper chambers were beating three times as fast as my lower chambers. He put me on blood thinners to try and prevent a stroke, and scheduled an appointment for Nov 28th for another EKG, and if I am still in A-fib, will follow up with an electo cardiac diversion where they stop your heart for three seconds and then restart it to try and get your sinus rhythm back. This generally works almost all the time....the problem is that it doesn't necessarily last very long. There is an 80% chance that you will return to A-fib within an hour to a year. If that probability occurs, the next step, which is about 85% successful is ablation, where they put a catheter inside your heart and burn the nerves and tissue that are trying to take over your heart's normal rhythm like Peyton Manning yelling "Omaha Omaha". If I need that procedure, there are two places in the world that do the most.....Penn hospital and Cleveland clinic. I will head to Philly and Billy and Kwonnie for the procedure. I have two issues that make it doubtful that the A-fib will remit for long after diversion.....my left atrium is 6.2 centimeters, and when it grows over 5, A-fib usually arrives. Second, the right side of my heart is small either from congenital reasons or having rheumatic fever as a child. In the mean time, taking short walks, eating my blood thinners, and just taking it generally easy until I get shocked to life. Will be on blood thinners for a month after the procedure, whatever the outcome. If the A-fib returns, want to get to ablation as soon as possible, as the longer you screw with this, the more your heart tries to model in such a way that these signals are perceived as normal.....want the Peyton of my heart to also retire!