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One Old Man's Atrial Fibrillation
Mason A. Clark last update: February 2017
My story begins with:
(1) After five days warning, a disabling weakness upon awakening.
(2) The emergency ward, then in hospital January 27-28, 2016.
(3) The discovery of atrial fibrillation, but no certainty as to the cause of my emergency.
(4) After leaving the hospital an inflammation lab test (ESR and C/RP) showed record-breaking high numbers. I suspect this was caused by an undetermined inflamation -- the cause of my problem.
Since then I have taken more than 2000 30-second ECG's using a hand-held meter.
(note: "ECG" is the American exception to the international "EKG")
First, here is my understanding of what I think I see on these ECG's
The graph below is part of my AFib history. The numbers of bad heart beats is plotted over time. Never mind the details but note these:
A dramatic change about April 4, for the better. The black line is a running average of number of flaws to dramatise this.
Fibrillation and Flutter
Flutter is caused by a circular path, fibrillation by random disorderly paths. I do not feel either of them. Only the ECG tells me they are happening.
Here is Flutter March 1, 2016:
The Flutter has 4 or 5 neat sawtooth-shaped bumps easily seen in a missing beat.
Here is Fibrillation. See the "noisiness" of the baseline (June 25, 2016)
A ventricular beat (PVC). I've recorded 5 or 6 in a year.
The heart rate may be displayed and this indicates times of serious arrhythmia by the instrument's confusion. This displays a range of heart rate, an ambiguous number. The instrument is also confused by bad connections and body movements, showing a false spike in heart rate.
A heart-rate problem (e.g. tachycardia, bradycardia) would be displayed.
Appendix A -- Two Useful AFib Instruments
Note: It is difficult to get a good recording using two hands. Beats are shown but no details. Connection by two-hands or two close pads, as used by some monitors is not reliable. A connection near lower, left rib ("three inches below left nipple") is imperative.
Here is a recording made over-night on the CMS 50D oximeter:
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Bibliography -- Support GroupsThese and other groups as well as many articles may by found by searching the internet. Participation in such a group may prove valuable, both for medical information and for friendly support. -- and you should contribute your own experience. Beware of commercial conflicts: selling books, drugs, procedures, supplements and the like.
My Afib Experience forums
My Afib Experience
Atrial Fibrillation Blog Valuable site; not a forum:
DoctorJohn Mandrola; cardiac electrophysiologist, cyclist, learner