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DrHelen, Doctor
Category: Cardiology
Satisfied Customers: 61
Experience:  UK Family doctor with special interest in Palliative Medicine
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3.10 pm Sat 7th Sept 13HelloRe Atrial FibrillationI am

Customer Question

3.10 pm Sat 7th Sept 13
Re Atrial Fibrillation
I am 61, and am an outdoors person walking dogs on my farm, and fit and not overweight and enjoy organic food and healthy diet.
However, I retired (financial services) at Xmas, and am selling our family home farm - i.e. quite stressed out - and fainted (first time ever) one evening - only for a few seconds, in front of my wife and dropped to the floor dazed - soon after retiring, and have been diagnosed with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation.
I am asymptomatic, since I do not know when I am in AF, and for this reason may have had an irregular heartbeat for many years.
Looking back I believe this has been caused by stress, though my father had a heart problem from age 59, and took drugs including Warfarin until he died, after several small strokes, at 82.
I have been prescribed 2.5 mg Biosoprolol, which I did not take at first (in May), since I do not like drugs.
Instead, I researched on the internet, and changed my life style and took constitutional supplements. Thus, I stopped drinking my one whiskey per day, and over 12 cups of tea (which has amphetamines) and say 1 cup of coffee to reduce caffeine, and changed to non-fluoride toothpaste, which I understand inhibits magnesium absorption, a significant mineral for the heart. I am also taking antioxidants, DHA and EHA fish oil, ginger, garlic and magnesium/calcium/zinc tablets, and homeopathic Arnica – all of which have favourable supporting – real life – AF patient testimonies.
My blood pressure is sound – lower than the normal 120/80.
However, I then had a 6 day cardiac monitor test, and was advised by my cardiologist (2nd visit - 10 days ago, who I advised fully the above account) – that my paroxysmal AF was now more persistent – reaching into 145 +beats /minute, and I must take this beta blocker drug and increase it to 5mg after a week, and if my heartbeat is still irregular to have a Cardiac Version in 6 weeks’ time to try and regulate my heartbeat. To prepare for the CVersion, I would need to take Warfarin for 4 to 5 weeks prior to this – i.e. now, so as to avoid potential clotting as a result of the electrical stimulation.
Nevertheless, should the drug therapy work meanwhile, then the C Version would not be necessary – since both the drug therapy and/or electrical shock treatment aim is the same, namely to put the heart back to a normal sinus rhythm heartbeat.
2 days ago, I had an ECG check-up, and was fortunately back into normal sinus rhythm, after taking the drug for less than a week.
My GP has phoned me to say the CVersion as a result will now be cancelled, and no Warfarin is thus needed, but that I should stay on this dose for life, without needing for the present to go to 10 mgs/day.
I said to him, that I had discussed with the Cardiologist that should the drug work, could I wean myself off it after a few months, to see if my sinus rhythm is still maintained. He said yes, since once the heart beats regularly, e.g. after a CVersion, then often this will last for a few months or several years before another C Version is required – especially for younger patients than me – though because I was fit, I also stood a good chance.
My GP agreed but said to take it for say 6 months, since I did not seem to suffer any side effects (e.g. lethargy, weight gain, numbness and nightmares/sleeplessness), and this might help the heart to effectively get used to the normal electrical pathway to control my heart beat again.
I intend to continue with my holistic remedies and life style changes as summarised above, and hopefully have a good rest and long family vacation once I have sold the farm – so as to completely let the stress out, and to continue with a good exercise regime, e.g. swimming once a week and daily outdoor walking, tennis etc.
Given the above, my question to you is as a cardiac specialist – from an orthodox medicine viewpoint, would you draw my attention to the use of other drugs e.g. Flecainide - used to treat arrhythmias within the heart (where there is no degenerative problem diagnosed with the heart itself), such as myself. I say this since an article in the press described its use by Prof. Schilling of Barts and London Bridge hospital for an Olympic British rower – suffering from a fast heartbeat, who went onto win gold.
Also are you happy with using holistic remedies to complement the orthodox approach.
Is there anything else you would do in my shoes.
Thank you.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Cardiology
Expert:  DrHelen replied 4 years ago.



I hope I can help you with your queries.


The changes you have made to your lifestyle are one of the best things you can do to help your heart.


In terms of other drugs such as flecainide these would normally be used as a second line treatment if you were resistant to the bisoprolol. This seems to be working very well for you so no other drugs are indicated at the present time.


In terms of the holistic remedies the arnica is the one that concerns me.

There is some evidence that oral arnica can have an adverse effect on the blood pressure and therefore the heart.

You can read much more about that here:


but as you will see from this article it is banned in some countries.


I hope this helps guide you in your decision making.

Best wishes.