When to visit the Emergency Department.
At our most recent meeting, we had a visiting speaker, Kellyanne Kinsella, a Research and Arrhythmia Nurse from Jersey, who helped to answer the above question.
Although an episode of troublesome AF can sometimes be scary and cause concern, Kellyanne suggested asking yourself the following questions before calling a doctor or 999:
1.What type of AF you have?
2. What are your symptoms?
3. Are these your usual symptoms?
4. Are the symptoms manageable?
5. How do you know this is due to your AF and not something else?
6. Are you able to identify a trigger?
Often, the feeling may pass without intervention relatively soon.
Suggested strategies include a temporary increase in medication, pill in pocket, distraction, controlled breathing or exercise.
Discussing a “what if” plan with your GP or arrhythmia specialist will reduce anxiety around the unpredictable nature of an episode.
However, if you notice any of the following red flags, it’s recommended that you seek medical advice:
Symptoms are getting worse, despite self-management plan
Unable to breathe comfortably
Blackout or faint
Chest pain (more than slight discomfort or tightness)
A strong feeling that something is wrong, do not usually feel this way