Sunday, December 28, 2014


Took the heart fell walking in the Lakes. Beautful weather for a change. I was planning to keep my BPM below 140 but got a bit competitive going up Fairfield and ended up in the 160 range. Still, no problems but it took a long time to regain resting pulse after getting back to the van.  I'm guessing he's still feeling a bit bruised after being poked and frozen just over five weeks ago.

Suspecting that I might have a problem, I kept a log of AF symptoms for 12 months prior to getting diagnosed. See below:

St Sunday Crag

Dove Crag and High Street in the background

Dollywaggon and Helvellyn

 AF Log

July 2013. Got strange ectopics starting a walk from the top of a cable car in the Alps. Only lasted a couple of beats (big ones) but made me stop in my tracks. Same thing happened  the next day. For the rest of the trip started walking very slowly at the start of the day.

23/07/2013. Fractured back L3 in climbing accident.

August 2013. While recovering from back injury developed multiple ectopics whenever heart rate got above 120bpm. Went to see cardiologist (Dr Swan) privately in Rochdale. He did echocardiogram and said no problems. He also did tread mill test, ectopics kicked in at 120. Test was stopped and cardiologist said I might have coronary heart disease. Went to see my GP in Aviemore with letter from DR Swan. Arranged to have follow up tests locally on NHS. Symptoms did not reoccur

December 2013. Got AF symptoms in gym. Felt like ectopics every other beat. HR jumped to at least 20 above what I would expect for exercise level. (Did not actually know it was Afib until 9/07) Warmed up very fast because feeling fit. Lasted a few hours.

April 2014. Went for treadmill test to NHS Raigmore, Inverness. Managed to stage 5 of Bruce Protocol without any problems. Some ventricular extrasystoles in stage 2 which abated as exercise went on. Dr Clarkson said he was confident I did not have coronary artery disease.

May 2014 Had a couple of strange episodes first thing in the morning. Felt dizzy, faint and agitated. I could feel ectopics. One of which caused a panic attack. Went to health centre but ECG was normal. Was told to lay off coffee and alcohol.

15/05/2014 Got AF symptoms on treadmill at gym. Warming up too fast. Lasted 3-4 hrs.

31/05/2014 Cycling on logging tail with Pat. AF symptoms started with a flutter. Kept cycling over Ryvoan to Dorback. Seemed to ease during the ride. Lasted 3-4 hrs. Suspect coffee at Druie was the cause.

03/06/2014 Tuesday night ride up Meal a Bhuchaille. Very steep start from cold. Heart rate went up very fast. Got suspected AF. Lasted until 10pm.

15/06/2014 Felt very tired and dizzy in morning. Went for walk, which helped. Felt better in afternoon and had bike ride with Pat.

16/06/2014 Had big training day. Gym, run in woods, cycling with Pat. Felt fine but started with multiple ectopics in the evening when cycling up steep hill. Might have pushed heart rate too much too soon a start of the ride.

18/06/2014 (Had two pints as test night before). Went for run up ‘The Hill’ in the morning. Got spike in heart rate as it reached 150-ish after around 20 mins of running. All the usual feeling in chest and dizziness. Thought AF was going to set in but it settled as soon as I turned back downhill.

09/07/2014 Went walking/running in Cairngorms. Got an AF attack half way up the March Burn 2.5-3hrs out. Heart rate around 140 at the time. Hadn't drunk or eaten much. Happened shortly after a 10 min rest where heart rate would have dropped to normal and then been pushed back up very quickly. Decided to continue up rather than come down, hoping it would pass. By the time I reached level ground heart was above 180bpm. Felt grim. No phone signal. Eventually walked very slowly up to MacDui path and headed back. Heart still between 186 and 160bpm. Took a couple of hours to get back to the car park. Went straight to health centre who confirmed AF. Suspect I might also have had AFlutter at that point. Night at Raigmore, converted to NSR around 5am with help from amiodarone.

The Following Week. Had some ectopic/PVCs/PACs (not sure which) everyday but gradually feeling better. Woke with what might be A- Flutter on a two mornings, disappeared in less than a minute in both cases

15/09/2014 Over the last few weeks I have had minimal ectopics during the day or before going to sleep. I have been exercising up to about 150bpm which seems fine so long as I warm up VERY slowly. Walking up hills from cold brings on a feeling of pressure in throat/chest followed by faint ectopics. Almost feels like my heart won’t respond to the increased demand. This is the feeling I got back in August 2013 when I went to see Dr Swan. See Alivecor printouts.

Had two further AF attacks, both exercise triggered with where converted with 'pill in the pocket' propafenone.

Stayed very quiet on the exercise front not wanting to induce AF prior to my procedure at the London Bridge on the 19th

Thursday, December 18, 2014

First Ski

Took the heart out for a short test run at The Lecht. I skinned up to the ridge behind the tows to where you can view magnificent terrain rolling out towards Ben Avon. Really didn't think I would be back in the hills so soon even if it was a very modest excursion.

Everything seemed to be working well (touch wood). In fact, without pushing my BPM above 130, I don't think my whole cardio system has felt so relaxed for years which makes me think that the short circuit that caused AF had been hampering my fitness for a long time before it developed into full blown AF attacks.

Something else that's changed is my resting BPM is back up to 60ish as opposed to 50ish pre ablation. I'm pretty sure that's where it was back in my early years when I was really fit. I wonder if the substrate that develops to transmit the unwanted electrical activity from the pulmonary veins had been suppressing the natural rhythm of the sinus node for many years. Hopefully the rouge cells will have a ring of scar tissue encircling them soon.

A Becks and a fag at the Lecht