Atrial Flutter...What Next?



  • MrM2MrM2 ✭✭✭
    Hi Redjeep, Thanks for dropping in again. Hope that you can get the ankle problem sorted out soon. It is frustrating when you get advice from someone you would want to trust, and it is so obviously bad advice; prejudiced or ill-advised. Out of interest I looked up the results page from today's North Beach Parkrun, in Durban, South Africa, earlier today. (I ran there last year.) Almost 2000 runners, and many in their 70s, and a few in their 80s! At 50 I was only a couple of years into my running, and at 73 I'm still looking forward to another decade (?) Having said that, I've been having a bit of foot/ankle discomfort in recent weeks. It didn't stop me from running the Thames Meander Marathon four weeks ago (4:17) although it was slower than I had hoped. And I'm not expecting much better tomorrow at the New Forest Marathon. Any way, enough from me. I'll report back next week, and will look forward to hearing how you progress.
  • Hi there MrM2 and friends. I stumbled across this forum whilst looking for events. First I would like to say it's great to see that having heart procedures isn't the end of life as we knew it. I am only a fun runner but I do enjoy running 2-3 times a week. Last year I underwent a quadruple heart bypass. The op was a success but whilst in hospital recovering I experienced AF. The surgeon put me on a pile of tablets to control The Af and I've not experienced it since coming out of hospital but I'm still on some of the meds. I'm now training for the Birmingham half (the first half in 10 years). I will also add that Redjeep mentioned a pain in his Achilles tendons, I suffer from Achilles but I think some of the meds that I take may play a part in it ! I will keep dipping into this forum from time to time. Keep up the great posts
  • MrM2MrM2 ✭✭✭
    Hisnibbs, Welcome, and thanks for telling us about your situation. 'quadruple heart bypass' Glad that it was a success! All the best as you prepare for the Birmingham half.
    Yesterday's marathon was quite an effort.If I tell you that at half way I was easily on for 4:10, but actually took 4:24 (!) you can tell what sort of second half I had. I'll put it down to poor preparation; trying to rest a niggling foot, and notch up miles at the same time was never going to be successful. But position 413 out of 738 would give an indication that many runners had a tougher day than I did. (also oldest runner in the event; the only 70+) 
    Redjeep, talking with some other runners during yesterday's marathon, the subject got around to advice from GPs, and I voiced my reservations, as per previous post, only to find that I was talking to a GP!
    Have a good week; mine will be a hard recovery one.
  • well done MrM2 on your marathon. even at 4:24 most "youngsters" would be happy. I only did one marathon (London) and that was a distance too far for me, although I did enjoy the event. hopefully if all goes well I will continue with the halfs. On a different note, does anyone know if taking Beta-blockers has a adverse affect on running ? I'm on Bisoprolol and i'm curious to know if i would benefit from skipping these prior to a race ?
  • MrM2MrM2 ✭✭✭
    Thanks, Hisnibbs,   Sorry I can't contribute any wisdom to the question of Betablockers, but I'm sure there will be something if you search the forums. 

    I mentioned a 'foot discomfort' earlier; it all started 8 weeks ago when I had to abort an easy 6 mile run. It has almost cleared up, sufficiently to run two marathons in the last 5 weeks (with no discomfort), but I started to wonder if I could have a stress fracture. Long story short,,,I had an x-ray this morning, and there is no evidence of a past or present fracture. I know that this is somewhat inconclusive, and that a scan is a more reliable detection. However, I was told that if I had given myself a stress fracture 8 weeks ago then there would be some indication on the x-ray. So, having given myself a ten day rest I'll gradually pick up the running again, and see if I can be in shape for an October marathon; possibly Bournemouth, which is on my doorstep. Will start with a few miles on grass tomorrow. Hope your training for the Half is going well.
  • RedjeepRedjeep ✭✭✭
    Hi Hisnibs and welcome.

    Hope all's well with your foot Michael.

    I think that one of the meds I was on after my op was a beta blocker. I spoke to my consultant and the pharmacist about their effects on running and was assured that they were okay. Why not speak to your GP or pharmacist ?

    I'm hoping that i'll be running again soon. I've now been out since May with an achilles problem, but i finally went to the physio and now feel much better.

    She used dry needling which is basically very thin acupuncture needles that she pokes into the skin and then uses a rodding motion, a bit like cleaning out a drain....

    Anyway the first time there was a dull ache and it was painful for a day afterwards. The second time it was excruciatingly (as in breaking into a cold sweat) painful, but was okay the next day. I'm now walking without any pain in my ankle and the only time I notice it is when I first get up or after sitting for too long.

    I have another session on Friday.

    I'm hoping to get out this weekend for a very short & slow run. 
  • MrM2MrM2 ✭✭✭
    Good to hear from you again Redjeep. Glad that there is some improvement for you, and you have the prospect of getting back to some running. Can't say that I fancy the needle treatment, but my physio session (just three days before Bournemouth) was hardly enjoyable. He said that a muscle had locked up, and wasn't allowing the full movement of metatarsals(?) and toes, causing me to use the outside of my foot......Well, it was just comfortable enough by race day, but felt well used by the end of the marathon. My predicted time was 4:15 but came in at 4:20 (after a fairly ambitious 2:03 first half. My time was good enough for 3rd out of 8 in the 70+ group, and position 901 out of 1029.

    Signed up for Valencia yesterday, so I'm partly recovering and partly preparing! which isn't easy. Seeing the physio again in a week or two, and hope to have 'everything' sorted.

    The end of this month marks 3 years since my heart procedure, and all is still good. Can't tell you how thankful I am that It did the job and that I can still enjoy getting out three or four times a week. Did a track session this morning; 5 x 1000m with 200m/2min recoveries. managed my target time of 5 mins. Don't ask me what that has to do with Marathon preparation! but it was good to work the legs a little faster, and see how realistic it might be to get back to nearer 25 mins for the parkrun; most of my results recently have started with 26...but then it isn't easy to keep the speed work and the long runs going along together.   All the best, Redjeep, and hope the run goes well.
  • MrM2MrM2 ✭✭✭
    Sorry, should have been 901 out of 2029, at Bournemouth.
  • Hi Michael and Redjeep and hello to Hisnibbs,

    Just dropped in to say hello after a long silence of more than 6 months. It's been a very mixed year for me after a good winter and early spring. I was getting quite fit again in May/June - getting to 26/27 mins for the local park run and getting back to some interval work when I developed a calf problem, followed by a broken rib on one of my first orienteering events after my recovery! Between them I lost most of the summer but acquainted myself with speed walking a way of getting aerobic work. September and early October went well and I began to run much faster (under 7 min miles on occasions). But I now have to report a fairly major AF setback. I started to experience minor breathlessness in the last few weeks and my pulse has dropped from 40/44 to just over 30. Two weeks ago I had to abandon a Parkrun feeling dreadful. I did another park run last Saturday to see if it would happen again and could only get round by running slowly but I was aware of tightness in the chest, breathlessness and nausea lurking in the background. In other words the old AF symptoms were back. I saw the GP today and he agreed that it could have returned (it can reoccur in up to 30% of cases) and I'll have the standard ECG tomorrow and the 24 hr ECG early next week. Apparently a reoccurrence can happen if the ablated area recovers too well and regenerates a new barrier or it could be that the surgeon missed a little bit which has grown larger in the last 18 months. Either way I find myself hoping that is either one or the other and that the procedure can be repeated, as I don't fancy the pace maker alternative.

    I haven't lost my running motivation and reading your posts has helped a great deal. Well done to you for keeping up your level, I am very impressed with what you are able to achieve in races and in training.

    As soon as I have anything to report, I'll post again. In the meantime my doctor friends have advised me to keep trying to run but to allow for a much longer warm up.

    Best wishes
  • MrM2MrM2 ✭✭✭
    Howard..Good to hear from you again, but sorry that you are up against AF once more.
    It's a few years since I could do 7 minute miles!
    You certainly have had a patchy year; calf, ribs, and now the heart. Hope that the ECGs over the next week will provide all the evidence needed, to get you sorted out soon.
    Yes, I was warned that the ablation area could regenerate. However, very thankful that, to date (three years and two weeks post-ablation) there are no signs of that happening. So I continue to enjoy my running, and am looking forward to Valencia, in six days' time. Only six weeks since Bournemouth, and so it was a case of some recovery time, then a re-build, and leave myself a two week taper. Managed two 20' runs, and really enjoyed them. Went out for eight miles yesterday; really easy 4' out, then a couple of faster miles with strides, and a mile that was supposed to be close to 9mins, but turned out to be 8:16! There was some wind assistance, but I didn't expect that pace. I'll need to be a bit more disciplined in Valencia! (I have indicated a target time of 4:10)
    All the best, Howard. Glad that you have the doc's OK to keep running.
    Not clear until middle of next week, but will write a brief report.  Michael.
  • Hi Michael
    Many thanks for your news, comments and support. I hope you have a great run in Valencia. I'm very impressed with your training mileage and mile speeds. Given good weather, you could get under 4 hrs. Whatever happens it's great to get your news - it's a great encouragement for the rest of us.

    My news is that the GP arranged an ECG very quickly and it was done on Tuesday. He could see straightaway that the atrial flutter was back from the tell-tale saw-tooth pattern of the heart waves and the HR at 35 bpm. The data has now been passed on to the cardiologist and I shall contact him on Monday to arrange to see him asap and get his verdict and proposed action. The GP is confident that the procedure can be repeated but we will have to wait for the cardio to give his view. Timing wise I am guessing but I think it may happen again in Feb/March.

    (BTW The condition is very intriguing. I hope the cardio can explain why I went from running really well mid/end of Sept to suddenly nosediving into flutter again. It's unmissable now; on the gym treadmill, I struggle to run comfortably at speeds I found very easy not long ago.)

    As always these things happen when you have some good plans in the pipeline - a week's orienteering competition in Portugal next February and a week's walking in the Spanish Sierra Nevada in March. Oh well..

    Enjoy your last few days of tapering before Valencia and good luck on the day. I look forward to your report.

  • MrM2MrM2 ✭✭✭
    Hi Howard, and anyone else who likes to drop in and share AF issues. 
    Last week marked 3 years and 3 weeks since I had a catheter ablation procedure which successfully sorted out my Atrial Flutter. I know that not all procedures have the same outcomes, and I do feel for those who struggle to get back into their running. 
    Howard, glad that you have had a good response from the GP. Hope that the cardiologist will be able to keep things moving for you. Sorry that your trips to Spain and Portugal are going to be affected.
    Valencia was a great experience. The city really does pull out all the stops for running events, and particularly the marathon. Free transport for everyone on race day..until 4pm.
    The expo/registration/start/finish location is spectacular. Organisation is very good. The events (10k and Marathon) start at 8:30 while it is still cool (about 12C). The 16000 marathon runners are set off in waves. Being in the 4hr + group it was 8:50 before we got under way. All you have to do is follow the gold line, and tick off the kms! There were plenty of supporters along much of the route, (Name printed on bib really helps; didn't know there could be so many ways of shouting 'Michael'). Good, regular drinks stations.
    Decided to take things at a comfortable pace, and not risk being too ambitious. Had hoped that I might have got close to even halves, but gradually slowed in the second half which took me five minutes longer than the first half. (I have done better, but have also done a lot worse.) Averaged about 9:15 pace up to half way, but finished just over 9:30 o'all. Only miles 25 and 26 took me over 10mins (10:10) and I certainly didn't have a sprint finish! Time was 4:12:11; 9th M70 out of 30.
    (There was a new course record; Kenyans finishing in 2:05:15 and 2:05:30)
    Recovery is going well; did very little on Mon. but enjoyed a 6' on Tues. before packing. Even went to the track today, to start working on km reps.. May do Parkrun in the morning, just to set a marker, and try to prepare for the local, Boxing Day 10k. Well that's plenty from me.   Trust you can all enjoy the season, whether running or not. Michael.
  • Michael

    That sounds a great effort at Valencia. Many congrats, and you have clearly recovered well. My news is that the return of the flutter has been confirmed by the cardio and a procedure agreed upon in the New Year - a wait of up to 20 wks on the NHS or less if my wife has her way and persuades me to go private. Right now I can put up with it until the op as I can orienteer at a reasonable level and I can jog through a park run at c.29 mins. I have also noticed that my bpm has gone up from the dreaded lower 30s to mid 40s as I maintain more regular aerobic training, and it is not such an effort to get my pulse into the 120+ range when I'm running. So I am back on fitness maintenance until the next ablation. I'm hoping for some milder weather over Xmas to get some fresh air as opposed to the gym treadmill.

    All the best
  • MrM2MrM2 ✭✭✭
    Howard...Good to hear you sounding positive, now that you have an indication of when your next procedure will happen.
    29 mins for the Parkrun keeps you in touch with a lot of other runners. While waiting for my ablation I only once got under 30 mins.
    Sounds like you enjoy the orienteering events; it has never really appealed to me. Same with obstacle runs, and 'mud' runs; I like to keep it simple.
    I'm still working on shorter runs and some track sessions in preparation for my next 10km. Meanwhile, Parkrun times are going in the right direction; but only just scraping under 26 mins..
    Agree with you about milder weather. Don't want too many of the zero degree mornings like we had last Saturday. 
    Keep up the good work, and hope all goes well in the new year.       Michael.
  • Hi all, thought I'd check in again after a very disappointing summer. Well done Michael on Valencia. I still believe that I'll never do another marathon again which is depressing me. Howard I hope that you get sorted soon.

    Anyway onto some better news. After the summer suffering with my achilles and getting odd random episodes of skipped/ additional heartbeats I seem to be back on track a bit more. So much so that I did my first event today in over 2 years. It was only the local Parkrun and I struggled to get around at an average pace that was just under a minute per mile slower than my marathon pace (27 minutes for the PR). I still felt great for finishing.

    I've been having the odd occurrence with additional or missed beats which feels totally different to the initial a-fib. The a-fib used to feel like your drunken uncle on a drumkit at a party, this was still rhythmic, there was just the odd extra beat in here or there. I've started taking a few supplements (Magnesium, Arginine and Taurine) which may be helping. I also noticed that they seem to come on the days after I'd had a few G&T's, so have cut those out for now as well and it's been stable for a while now.

    I'm hoping to keep up with the Parkuns as I was really impressed with it. I'm also planning to start back in the gym in the New Year like I normally do for 3 months or so until the evenings get light enough to run. 


  • MrM2MrM2 ✭✭✭
    Hi Redjeep, Good to have you dropping in again, especially with the encouraging news of your Parkrun; 27 minutes probably puts you in the middle of the field.
    Great to hear that some of your issues seem to have eased off, and also that you have some ideas on how to keep them at bay(!) Well, it is time for resolutions.....Not that I make them.
    TheBoxing Day 10km went well; couldn't have expected to do much better than 52:43. That gave me an Age Grading of just over 72%, and I'm always pleased to see anything over 70%. Then on 27th I was feeling good when I went to the gym, with my wife, and did a brisk 5k on the treadmill. Yesterday the weather was just too good to not run, so I went out for 10 miles. Today my knee was reminding me why I never do three consecutive days of running! So perhaps I do need to make a resolution; to keep to my own rules for 'injury-free' running!
    Let us know how your new year goes, and the Parkrun.
    Best Wishes for 2018 to all AF contributors and readers. Happy running.
  • Thanks Michael, I'm not sure if the supplements do anything. Or indeed if the quinine in the tonic water is contributing to anything, but there seems to be some belief in Magnesium.

    I thought that it was worth a try and then I can always phase it out and see if it comes back.

    Good luck in the New Year. I'm hoping to ramp back my training to something like I was doing a couple of years ago. The good news is my Achilles does seem better now, finally.
  • Hi Michael and Redjeep

    6 months on and I finally have a date for my flutter redo - June 4. About time too as I am getting increasingly breathless when I run, so running is more of a slightly uncomfortable plod - like an engine on 2 cylinders. But I can run and generally the experience has not been as been as the first time round when I had dizziness, lethargy and swollen ankles. I can still struggle round a parkrun and orienteer at a modest level whereas before I had to give up both entirely.

    I hope you both are having a good year and that your plans are working out.

  • MrM2MrM2 ✭✭✭
    Hi Howard...Good to hear from you, especially with news of your procedure coming up in one month!! Glad that you have been able to continue with various activities, even though you are not firing on all cylinders.
    My own fitness level has continued to be something to be thankful for. My only marathon this year has been Southampton, two weeks ago. I found it hard going..Guess it was a mixture of factors, including temperature, restricted first lap with all the half-marathon runners together, plus an ankle that plays-up. (I wont bore you with the rest of my excuses!) So, I missed my target time by about 25 minutes. Even so, with a 4:37 finish, and being the only M70 in the event, I was surprised and delighted today with the delivery of a little prize package! So life is good.
    Now back up to 10' runs and some speed work, so hope that the Dorchester marathon (27th May) will find me in good shape. Keep in touch.  Michael.
  • Hi Michael
    I had my second ablation last Monday and it seems fine so far, but of course it's early days. My pulse is constantly in the correct range and I have no problems walking around, ie no evidence of breathlessness. So now it's a question of going through the rehab. I plan to walk gently to start with - I've been out for a coupe of short walks already -, increasing towards jogging after 2-3 weeks. Can you remember how you did your rehab and od you have any tips to pass on?

    Hope you are well and in shape.

  • MrM2MrM2 ✭✭✭
    Hi Howard...That's great news! 
    Don't know what advice you were given (re getting back to running...) but all I was told was to have a week without physical activities. So, I gave it ten days! Like you, I was walking to start with, and then some cautious 'running'. But as soon as I was confident that everything was behaving I moved forward quite quickly. The bruising took some time to clear up, but there was no hint of a problem with the heart. So, in the second week of running my runs had extended to 10' and also a gentle Parkrun. (I think it is all documented at the start of this thread.)

    YOU are probably the best person to set the pace (of your runs and your return to full efforts). I did keep a close eye on my heart rate; checking after every run but rarely during a run.

    It's well over three and a half years since my procedure, and I'm enjoying every run. Ten days ago I ran the Dorchester marathon (4hrs20min and placed 193 out of 608 finishers) It was a hilly course. Wasn't sure how well I'd recover, but things looked good and so I entered the Yeovil marathon which is now just four days away. I'll let you know next week whether or not it was a good idea!

    Keep us posted on your progress. All the best. Michael.
  • drell2drell2 ✭✭


    I am a 38 year old runner, training for second half marathon although I have been running consistently for over 10 years.

    I have been experiencing upper quad pain on sprint sessions but feel fine on tempo and long runs. Is it safe to continue tempo and long runs or is this a warning sign?

    any advice would be much appreciated.

    PS- i'm sorry that I couldn't figure out how to start a new thread
  • MrM2MrM2 ✭✭✭
    drell2... I have attempted a new thread for you; 'Quad Pain on Sprint Sessions'....hope you get some responses.
    When I look at your situation I would want to know what your training week looks like. Also, what stretching and cross-training do you do on a regular basis? You say that you have been running for ten years and have already done a half marathon. So what has changed? How long have you had this pain? A physio would probably put his finger on it straight away, but my feeling is that your sprinting is trying to engage muscles that are not responding, or have not been prepared. Have you tried massage? or foam roller?   Hope you get some help soon.
  • MrM2MrM2 ✭✭✭
    Today I'm celebrating 4 years since my catheter ablation, to correct Atrial Flutter. So it is an opportunity to re-visit this thread, and give a little summary of how the 4 years have gone.
    Thanks to everyone who has contributed over this period....How is everybody?
    When I opened the thread I had no idea what would happen to my running post-op, and asked the question, 'What next?'. In an attempt to be objective about my 'before and after' results I opted for Age Grading to be the judge as to whether I got back to previous levels of performance. 70% was the general area of my results over ten years at distances from 5k to marathon, so that is what I used.
    Over the four, post-op, years, I have run:
    60 x Parkruns, averaging 70% but with a 72% two months ago.
    8 x 10ks, averaging around 72% but with a 75% in June.
    3 x Half Marathons with a best of 70%.
    15 x Marathons with a range of gradings, but a best of 72% this month.
    (six marathons last year and five so far this year, with Malaga still to come.)
    I hope that this will encourage anyone who is facing a heart procedure. Needless to say, I am extremely grateful to be enjoying my running as much as ever. I also accept that heart- procedures are treating a range of problems, and not all will be as simple as mine. 
    Thankfully, I have had no hint of a return to AF, and have had very few days of illness or injury during this time.
    (Not everyone will give value to the AG system, saying that they get easier as you get older, or they favour the older runner. I can only say that they seem to give a useful guide over quite a wide age range, and are very helpful for runners in their senior years; giving them something other than times by which to assess their achievements.)
    Happy running.
  • RedjeepRedjeep ✭✭✭
    Hi all, but especially MrM2.

    I thought that it was about time I checked back in again. My running has continued to be very erratic and  I was out from around April last year until now, due to a cartilage injury in my right knee which I had operated on in September.

    I think that the injury was unrelated to running. I slipped on a pavement and twisted it, when out on a weekend away in Spain with a couple of mates. (No alcohol was involved !)

    All in all it's meant that I've done very limited running since before my ablation 3 years ago (after recovering from that I had an achilles injury that took all of the summer of 2017 to fix).

    I'd say that I've ran 6 times since April, but at least the most recent was today :smile:

    I'm hoping to gradually build my base again over the next few months and want to get back to Halves by the summer. I need to be careful that I don't try and build too soon and risk another over use injury. 

    In other news, I've just started working for the company that makes the enabling technology for the likes of the ablation operation we know so well (along with a lot of other medical procedures).

    I really feel that I'm on a personal crusade....

  • MrM2MrM2 ✭✭✭
    Hi Redjeep, good to hear from you again. You've had a rough ride since your ablation! And nothing heart-related, which is good. Yes, come back slowly; you don't need any more set-backs. I'd be climbing the wall by now!! Let us know how the running comes along; I always keep an eye out for any comments on this thread. I really only add anything if anyone pops in. Having said that, my last entry was a summary of my 4 years, post-ablation running.
    'Halves by summer' looks like a realistic target. All the best.
  • MrM2MrM2 ✭✭✭
    Exactly 5 years since my Catheter Ablation (heart procedure) to sort out Atrial Flutter. So, a brief re-visit and up-date...
    Thankfully, still running without any heart problems. Continue to favour the marathon distance (only two so far this year, as a Vet 75) but also run other distances down to 5k.
    I find Age-grading a useful 'performance indicator' and 70% is usually achievable.
    A number of runners have contributed to this thread in the past, with similar heart issues. How are you doing?
    NHS will be debated, heatedly, in the run-up to the general election. Want to re-state my appreciation for the excellent job that they did on me, five years ago, at Bournemouth.
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