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Barry’s Story – Atrial Fibrillation

My journey with Cardiovascular Disease

My journey began on Easter Sunday 2012 whist attending the local gym. As I was 63 years old I wasn’t doing anything too strenuous other than being on the walking machine and lifting a few weights.

As I I climbed onto the walking machine and took hold of the handles the heart rate reading said 120 bpm’s. I’m normally around 60 bpm. I thought it was unusual however proceeded on with my workout. I commented to my wife when I arrived home about the high pulse rate.

The following Tuesday I am at my desk job and was not feeling well at all. As I worked on the first level there was a chemist shop below so I ventured down for a BP check. The chemist said My BP was 100/50 and pulse was 120……..mmmmmmm I thought, low BP and high pulse does not sound right.

As I worked 136km from home I did the blokey thing and drove home without incident. Before I left I rang my wife who works at the doctors surgery to make an appointment to see my GP. (I should have gone straight to the hospital or actually called an ambulance there and then).

An ECG by the doctor indicated Atrial Fibrillation. A referral to a cardiologist at 3pm saw me transferred to Melbourne (I live in Albury/Wodonga) where three blocked arteries were discovered with two being stented.

Arrived back home and commenced Cardio Rehab….the staff were extremely helpful. I still did not feel well and became short of breath and had chest pain. This resulted in an air ambulance ride back to Melbourne where they discovered I was allergic to Plavix….simple change and all is well.

Woke up one night with drums pounding in my chest……ambos and hospital….Tachycardia! Starts to become a habit….endless visits to ED. Medication to try and control that.

I was shopping at the local supermarket when I started to feel unwell. At that stage I had bought a heart rate monitor, it read my pulse as 40bpm. A trip to the hospital ended up being in CCU for four days with the end result a pacemaker.

AF continues with various medication changes to try and control it. The end result is a trip to Sydney in November 2013 for the first RF Ablation. This worked well for 12 months then a second Ablation took place in Melbourne in November 2014………had enough of this!

All was well until June 2015. I was sitting at home when my pulse rate became stuck on 120bpm. I waited for 1 hour then called the ambos, end result was a cardioversion after 4 days continually stuck on 120bpm.

At the time of writing I appear to have everything under control….(touch wood).

I have a visit to the Pacemaker Technician who will download information off the device to see if I have had any ‘silent’ episodes of AF.


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