Discovering an abnormal heart rhythm
While in hospital, Alan had a number of tests including an ECG, which confirmed a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation (AF).
His doctor decided to treat his AF using medicines called anti-arrhythmics, which are used to help get an abnormal heart rhythm back to normal. This is also known as chemical cardioversion.
I was worried but the doctor explained it would be a big help. I talked it through with my wife and we agreed it was for the best.
Unfortunately, this treatment for Alan was only temporary. He continued to suffer from the symptoms of AF and was admitted to hospital a few more times.
Deciding to use a pacemaker
The next form of treatment was an electrical cardioversion, which involves using a defibrillator to give your heart a controlled electrical shock to help it return to a normal rhythm. This also wasn't successful, so Alan's cardiac specialist suggested that a pacemaker would be the next best option.
Getting back to normal after heart trouble
Alan's pacemaker was fitted in June 2006. It took a few months for him to feel comfortable in his normal routine, but now he is back doing the things he loves.
He's a regular at the local gym, and walks his dog every day. He's also an active musician, playing the piano and singing as part of the local philharmonic and operatic societies.
What is atrial fibrillation?
Atrial fibrillation is one of the most common forms of an abnormal heart rhythm and a major cause of stroke. An irregular pulse could be a sign that you have an abnormal heart rhythm. Roughly one in 100, mostly aged 55 or over, have AF.
Others living with atrial fibrillation
Here are stories of others living with atrial fibrillation:
Philippa's AF and cardiomyopathy
John's successful ablation
Ian's atrial fibrillation
Support life-saving heart research
One of the first things we ever did was provide funding for pacemaker research at St. George's Hospital. We're continuing research into the causes and treatments of abnormal heart rhythms to help people like Alan but we need your donations to carry on. Donations provide funding for the research that helps us fight for every heartbeat.