Persistent and Intermittent Atrial Fibrillation

There are different types of atrial fibrillation. They’re all the same arrhythmia, the main difference is duration. Some people have intermittent (or paroxysmal) atrial fibrillation. This means that the individual goes into atrial fibrillation for a short period of time – maybe a couple minutes, maybe twenty-four hours, but less than one week. Most of the descriptions of atrial fibrillation I have found on the web describe paroxysmal atrial fibrillation.

Atrial fibrillation that lasts for longer than seven days is called persistent atrial fibrillation, and atrial fibrillation that lasts for over one year is referred to as long-standing persistent atrial fibrillation or permanent atrial fibrillation.

Regrettably that is the type of atrial fibrillation that I have. I have just “celebrated” my one year anniversary of persistent atrial fibrillation. I miss sinus rhythm.


The Best Mile Marker

People who are in sinus rhythm most of the time and go into atrial fibrillation only occasionally are fortunate because they get to be in sinus rhythm most of the time, which is basically the hot set up for any type of endurance sports. The disadvantage is that when these individuals to go into atrial fibrillation the effects are pretty devastating, and more often than not they find themselves on their hands and knees wondering what happened. The other bad news for people with intermittent atrial fibrillation is that it may very well progress into a persistent type atrial fibrillation, and of course there is a risk of having a stroke. So it is important to discuss this and formulate an appropriate treatment plan with your healthcare provider.

The disadvantage of being in persistent, but relatively asymptomatic, atrial fibrillation is that you have a performance penalty all the time; but the advantage is that you stabilize, at least I have, and are able to participate in your sport, albeit at a slower pace. It never gets much worse or much better.

Maybe there are some athletes out there who are in persistent atrial fibrillation who are unable to continue to participate in running, mountain biking, etc. if so I would encourage you to share your stories in the comments section.

All unable to discuss at this point in time is my own personal experience.

finish line

Bizz Johnson Marathon – I think I’ve done this one five times


9 thoughts on “Persistent and Intermittent Atrial Fibrillation

  1. Pingback: Mountain Biking and Atrial Fibrillation | A Fib Runner – Distance Running and Mountain Biking With Atrial Fibrillation

  2. hey mike. I’ve had a glance through quite a few of your posts, interesting stuff. I thought I had some sort of heart condition but it’s turned out to be BP. Can you actually FEEL your heart doing something weird? You also mention that, like me, you are veggie. Do you ensure you have enough protein to fully recover after exercise? What about BEETROOT juice? ever tried that? it’s a vasilo-dilator, so helps BP but I think also it might reduce the amount of work your heart has to do )other things being equal). just a thought or two

  3. Atrial fibrillation feels like irregular heartbeat, like palpitations. People who have episodes of sudden a fib may feel terrible and unable to run. When you’re in a fib all the time, like me, it ends up just feeling normal to a certain extent.

    I think, in general, men who are vegetarians, tend to eat more nuts and beans – I think I actually get as much protein as I did as an omnivore.

    I’ve never tried beetroot juice – I’ll need to check it out.

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  9. I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation almost a year ago – I felt no symptoms, but the blood bank picked it up when I went to give a plasma donation. In retrospect, the symptoms started around the time that I stopped eating beetroot regularly. I was put on beta blockers, which were not very succesful. I have now resumed eating beetroot daily, and the atrial fibrillation is now much better – I need much lower doses of beta blockers to stay in a sinus rhythm. (I am still looking for an explanation from a reputable source about why it might work…)

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