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Atrial fibrillation

Rupert, 78, is a theatre director and regularly goes to the gym. In 2007, he was diagnosed with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation.

Rupert is a theatre director and regularly goes to the gym. In 2007, he was diagnosed with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, but because he has no adverse symptoms, he goes about his life normally.

“It was after a gym session a year ago, when I took my pulse, that I realised something was wrong.

“I was quite surprised at the irregularity of my heartbeat. It went boom, boom, boom-boom-boom boom. I was concerned, so I saw my GP and he referred me to a consultant cardiologist.

“The consultant did an angiogram, a thallium test (which shows how well blood flows to the heart) and an electrocardiogram (ECG). My heart appeared to be in fairly good condition, but the ECG showed that I had an irregular heartbeat. I was diagnosed with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation.

“I was prescribed warfarin to lower my risk of getting a stroke, but no other medication.

“Then I heard about the heart charity Arrhythmia Alliance. They put me in touch with the Atrial Fibrillation Association, who were particularly helpful, and I learned a lot about atrial fibrillation through them. 

“Unlike many other people with atrial fibrillation, I have no adverse symptoms, which is puzzling. Apparently, different people react to arrhythmia in different ways. I’ve no idea what’s caused my atrial fibrillation, but I'm being treated for high blood pressure. I have a check-up with my GP every month.

“Atrial fibrillation hasn’t stopped me from working as a theatre director. In fact, it hasn’t affected my life at all.”

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