Published 2019-01-27
Changed 2019-01-28

Whilst on vacation in Switzerland, about 10 years ago, Ido developed a pounding sensation in his chest. “I had been playing golf and it was very warm. That night I woke up suddenly with an irregular heartbeat and a pressing sensation.”

Not necessary to end the vacation

As Ido is a retired general practitioner, he was able to make the diagnosis of atrial fibrillation himself. “I visited a general practitioner in Switzerland just to be on the safe side. The general practitioner performed an ECG and prescribed medicines to help my heart rhythm return to normal. The doctor assured me that it was not necessary to end my vacation.” This was followed by a second episode. Again whilst playing golf, but this time at home. “After this episode I visited the cardiologist, who prescribed an anticoagulant to reduce the risk of forming blood cloths.”

Various treatment options

Initially, Ido experienced an episode of atrial fibrillation about two or three times per year. There are various treatment options for atrial fibrillation. “I think that it is important that the doctor informs me about the options and involves me in making decisions about the treatment. Of course, as a retired doctor I already have background knowledge and I know which questions I need to ask, but for others it is useful to prepare for the conversation.”

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Completely stopped drinking alcohol

During each episode, Ido received an infusion that successfully stabilised his heart rhythm. After suffering a fourth episode, the cardiologist asked him whether he drank alcohol. “Yes, I used to have an occasional drink after playing golf. That turned out to be a trigger! So I stopped drinking alcohol completely.” Since then Ido has experienced fewer problems.

Ido has been taking it easy recently. “Apart from not drinking alcohol anymore, I also try to rest a bit more. I also walk less.” Ido now often uses a golf buggy to get from one hole to the next on the golf course. “I am doing much better after making these adjustments. I am feeling well!”

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“Shouldn’t you take it a bit easier, Dad?”

Frits, Ido’s son, regularly worries about his father. Particularly when he has a full day of plans. He is always busy. “I regularly tell him: “Shouldn’t you take it a bit easier, Dad?” His father takes blood thinners and this gives him an increased risk of bleeding. What if he bumps himself or falls? An accident at home can happen quite easily. “Fortunately, my mother studied medicine and knows exactly what she needs to do in an emergency situation.”

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