Atrial fibrillation: the patient's view

Jim Kelly

Jim Kelly, 73, is a retired police inspector and lives on the Isle of Man.

“I found out that I had atrial fibrillation in 2009, when it was picked up on a routine stress test. I was really surprised and thought ‘why me?’ I had always kept myself healthy and was pretty fit.

“After I was diagnosed, I started to feel a thumping sensation in the front of my body, but since being on the medicines, it’s much better. I have AF all the time now, but I only feel my pulse jumping around occasionally. Luckily, it doesn’t tend to bother me that much. I have heart failure, too, and I get breathless sometimes, so some days I need to slow down a bit.

“I was put on warfarin straight away and, more recently, I was given a beta blocker to help try to control my AF. The beta blockers make me feel quite tired, but my doctor says I need to give it a bit longer and hopefully things will improve. Generally, I feel pretty well but my cardiologist sees me about once a year for a check-up.

Knowing about my condition helps me have control and stay positive

“I am really interested in the heart and am fascinated by my condition and how the treatments work. I read up on it a lot and always ask the doctor lots of questions! I think it’s my way of dealing with it.

“I find that knowing about my condition helps me to have more control and stay positive. I try not to let it affect my day-to-day life too much. I have to take quite a lot of medicines, which I don’t really like, but I realise how important they are for keeping me well. I have a healthy lifestyle, eat well and am really active.

“I love walking – I do about 50 miles a month. It must come from being a policeman for so many years! I have good days and bad days, and if I’m feeling a bit under the weather, I pace myself.

“I try to have a positive outlook – I really appreciate life. My message is keep positive, enjoy life, relax and keep walking!”

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