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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Can anxiety cause atrial fibrillation?

    I recently have had a traumatic event, and have been anxious (low level) and stressed recently (not medicated).
    I started feeling random palpitations and in the EMergency dept at hospital was diagnosed with PAF. the longest episode has been 40min and has happened 4-5 times total over 5wk period.

    Cardiologist performed stress echo, and concluded heart had no problem. he medicated me with Flecatab and Cordilox as in the follow up appointment I told him that I had been feeling massive anxiety (10 x greater than ever), at random times while waiting the week waiting for the appointment. He said that the anxiety Coould be more af episodes that I simply hadn't felt consciously.

    Now at random times I feel quite breathless.

    So my question is please

    is it possible that AF was only anxiety / traumatic event as echo was all good. Or is it a massive co incidence, ie AF is AF and anxiety is separate.
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 15

    Thanks

    Dr John Mahony

    Cosmetic Physician

    Dr John Mahony studied Medicine at Sydney University 1980-1984 graduating early 1985. Internship and residency years followed in the Illawarra, covering general medical and surgical … View Profile

    Firstly, not everyone with anxiety gets AF, and not everyone with AF is anxious, *but* if you have PAF then anxiety might bring on an attack. (A similar sort of relationship exists between anxiety and asthma).

    Secondly, a stress echo is not the final word in assessing your heart. You have AF therefore there is a conduction/re-entrant “electrical” problem in the atria - and this won't turn up on a stress echo. You might need an electrophysiological study: EPS.

    Thirdly, you need to learn to take your own pulse during these anxiety episodes to see whether you have AF during (and perhaps only during) these episodes. If your pulse is “irregularly irregular” whenever, and only whenever, you are having an anxiety episode, then clearly the AF is related. 

    Fourthly, if your symptoms are worse since starting the Flecatab, then maybe Flecatab is not the right drug for you, and you need to tell the cardiologist about this.

    Bottom line is you need to see your GP promptly about all this, and/or your cardiologist, and sort it out.

  • 6

    Thanks

    Dps4fx

    HealthShare Member

    Thank you for the response. Responding back so to help others reading this post.

    The anxiety was triggered from Vent Ectopic beats, unreleated to the AF.  The Flecatab did nothing for the Ectopic or the AF.

    Cardiologist changed me to Sotalol, (Beta Blocker). Ectopic beats are FAR less, but an anxious feeling is still felt when they are present.

    AF is being controlled by the Sotalol.

    Even though AF is a worse problem than Ectopic beats.  The Ectopic beats were driving me crazy - literally.

  • Dr John Mahony

    Cosmetic Physician

    Dr John Mahony studied Medicine at Sydney University 1980-1984 graduating early 1985. Internship and residency years followed in the Illawarra, covering general medical and surgical … View Profile

    That sounds much better.

    Glad things are now under better control

    Keep in touch with your cardiologist.

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