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A-Fib info   Off-Topic Chat

Started Aug-11 by Pirate (PIRATE_SR); 698 views.
Pirate (PIRATE_SR)

From: Pirate (PIRATE_SR)

Aug-11

First, let me STRONGLY say that this is NOT medical advise.  I am simply sharing *my* experience.  You may take this as pure fiction, with a rock of salt, or something to think about.

In 2014, I had a full-on a-fib episode.  I passed out, had a nice ride in an ambulance to the Emergency Room, and had a nice stay in the Emergency Department where, after several hours, I auto-converted.   I was put on (and continue to take) medications to help avoid future episodes.

Since then, I have been paranoidly, super-aware of any time I felt light-headed or just a general feeling of being "off".   At those times, I would immediately lay flat on the ground (so my heart wasn't pumping vertically) and the feeling of being light-headed would pass.   This didn't happen with any regularity but enough times that I was aware of it.

Some time last year (?), I bought a device called Kardia that pairs with an app on your cell phone.  You put two fingertips on the device and the app monitors your heart rate and heart rhythm to let you know if anything is amiss .. as in an a-fib situation.  I  must say that every time I've used it, the result came back normal.  This could have been reassuring, but I really didn't have any idea if this device was snake oil or telling me the truth.

Until last night.

Around 1am, I'm working on my projects.  Being up this late is not unusual for me.  Typically, it's at this time in the early morning that I run out of a certain color of thread or need a new rotary blade but doncha know that all the stores are closed.  :-/    Anyway, it's 1am.  I feel that specific (for me) feeling of being light-headed and waves of dizziness.  I immediately laid down on the floor until it passed.  But this time it didn't.  It got "better" but didn't go away.  I pulled out the Kardia device and ran it through its paces.  

Son of a gun, if it didn't tell me that I had a possible a-fib situation AND my heart rate was elevated.  Ummm ... that's not good.   The device has the option of sending the heart tracing as a PDF someplace, so I elected to send it to myself (with the idea of sending it along to my regular doctor).   On the off-chance, the reading was incorrect, I did another one 5 minutes later.  Same results/higher heart rate.

So, now, instead of going to bed, I deliberately stayed up to run Kardia about every 10-20 minutes.  They *all* came back as "possible a-fib".  While I wasn't feeling light-headed any longer, I continued to feel a "heaviness" in my chest.  No pain, just a heaviness.   I did wonder if I should call the hospital advice nurse but I remembered from the previous episode that I did auto-convert after several hours.   Rightly or wrongly, I went to bed.

Upon waking up at 7:30am, I ran Kardia again.  Dang, if the results were STILL pointing to a-fib, as did the tests at 8:20 and 8:30am.     So .... was the device actually malfunctioning?  or was my heart really in distress?   This time, I did call the advice nurse and after a series of discussions, I was told to come on into Emergency, which I did.

After I parked my car and was waiting for the elevator, I did another Kardia test.   DANG, if THIS test, done at 9:30am, came back NORMAL.    Cripes, right before I see a doctor, I had auto-converted.  Now, it's gonna look like I'm making it up.  :-(   I did consider just going back home .. but I didn't.

Emergency ran their tests .. my EKG was normal .. no surprise there, as Kardia had already told me that. (and my blood work came out normal, too).   At that point, I pulled out my cell phone & the device and showed the Emergency doctor the earlier heart tracings and heart rate numbers.  He immediately pointed to the a-fib charts and said .... oh, yeah .. you had a-fib right there.

To tell you the truth, I was stunned.  This device, Kardia, actually *WORKS*.   In fact, the Emergency doctor said that what I had was the best he's seen at a reasonable price .. that the next step up would be professional level costing thousands of dollars.    Without seeing those heart rhythm tracings, he said that he would have been uncertain as how to proceed and they were of immense help to him.

So.  The *point* of all this is to let all of you know about this device.  It's called Kardia.  It's designed to take a medical-grade EKG anytime, anywhere. In just 30 seconds, detect Atrial Fibrillation, Bradycardia, Tachycardia or Normal heart rhythm.  Do be aware that it  is not tested or recommended for use with pacemakers and ICDs. It does not check for heart attack.  The link to this device is here.   I am NOT selling this device.  I get no kick-backs or benefits of any kind.

This is what it looks like: 
KardiaMobile and iPhone with EKG tracing

You put your fingertips (or thumbs) on the pads and run the app.  The results show on your cell phone screen.  You have the option of saving your results elsewhere (it always saves on your phone).   Although it comes with a sticky-back so you can attach it directly to the back of your cellphone, I was worried that it might come off, so I use a sticky-back pocket on my cellphone and my Kardia lives in the pocket.

This episode had just confirmed to *me* how valuable this device is *to me*.  Without it, there would have been no hard proof that I had just experienced a-fib.  The doctor would have needed to rely on only my description and probably would have come to a different conclusion.  Again, I am NOT offering medical advice or suggestions.  I am merely sharing my experience with you.

If you are in a similar situation, you may want to research this device for yourself.

judyinohio

From: judyinohio

Aug-11

Well, Dr. Pirate, that's a very interesting tale you have just shared with your fellow quiltmakers. 

Thank you very much for telling us about this clever gadget. We are all getting more "mature" and might need things like this as the decades go by.

Pirate (PIRATE_SR)

From: Pirate (PIRATE_SR)

Aug-11

judyinohio said:

Well, Dr. Pirate,

and obviously that is a tongue-in-cheek honorific, as I have never set myself up as being a medical professional.   Anecdotal stories are just that .. anecdotal and are applicable only to the person telling the story.     But, how true that we are all getting more "mature" (such a gracious way to say we're getting older!) and technology can certainly help us.  Or annoy us.  :-)

judyinohio

From: judyinohio

Aug-11

You were educating all of us so you deserved the honorific. (I was thinking in terms of "professor".) I guess I am astonished that your A-fib app does exactly what it is designed to do and can document your recent history in the comfort of your home. 

I suppose this is a good time to admit that I am in the process of being worked up for a pacemaker or maybe an ICD.  My sixteen year history of heart failure is getting worse because (in simple English) the two sides of my heart no longer play well together. I was born with a puny valve and so it is no surprise that after 79 years things are acting up.

Pirate (PIRATE_SR)

From: Pirate (PIRATE_SR)

Aug-12

judyinohio said:

I suppose this is a good time to admit that I am in the process of being worked up for a pacemaker or maybe an ICD.

Dang.  That is *serious* surgery and recovery.   Heart failure is really unacceptable, as I'm sure your To Do List isn't finished yet.  I hope that events work out well for you.  I suppose you could thank your heart valve for working as well as it could for as long as it could ... kinda like the Little Engine that Could!  :-)

Best of luck on the pacemaker. My dad had one for several years and was amazed how much better he felt, more energy, more alert, etc.

Goodness ladies, take care of yourselves.  Pretty cool device.

That's really cool! :) Thanks for sharing!

Medical advice: Caffeine and alcohol can cause your heart to have issues. May be best to avoid em. (that being said, I still drink caffeine and I've 2-3 reasons I shouldn't)

KSCarolyn

From: KSCarolyn

Aug-12

This is exactly why I bought an Apple Watch.  Two years ago I was having afib about every month or so.  I had about 6 in a six month period.  I only cardioverted once.  All the other times I had to be hospitalized and then shocked to get back into rhythm.  With an Apple Watch, you can run an EKG to be sure that it is afib.  It also records it and sends it to my Apple iPhone to email or show it to my doctor.  I finally had an ablation which stopped the afib attacks.  It's been a year since my last attack.  The main reason I got the Apple Watch is that it has a fall detector on it and since I live alone I felt I needed that feature.   Isn't getting older wonderful!  

It sounds like Kardia would be a good alternative for those that don't have an iPhone, plus it is a lot less expensive and it works very well.  

Carolyn

KSCarolyn

From: KSCarolyn

Aug-12

judyinohio said:

I am in the process of being worked up for a pacemaker

I had pacemaker surgery in the morning and went home that afternoon.  There are restrictions afterward about not lifting anything over 10 lbs., etc.  I did find out afterward that I'm allergic to adhesive.  After a couple of days, I had the worst case of seeping blisters and itching pain from the tape they used under the dressing.  

Carolyn

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