Published 2019-01-27
Changed 2019-03-12

In 2015, Willy suffered from an irregular heartbeat once or twice a week. “The fast heart rhythm and pulse made me feel scared and anxious. This is why I quickly went to see my general practitioner.” The general practitioner referred Willy to the cardiologist. However, the cardiologist could not detect any problems.

Worried more easily after diagnosis

The heart rhythm was normal when the measurements were performed, so more extensive tests were performed. Willy wore a device for a week, to measure his heart rhythm over a longer period. “During a consultation with the cardiologist I had to perform a cycle test and an ECG was performed. Only after these tests was I diagnosed with atrial fibrillation.” Despite the fact that he does not suffer from irregular heartbeats at this time, Willy has to take a daily anticoagulant. “I have become more sensitive to stress since the diagnosis. I worry easily about all sorts of things.”

Well prepared for an emergency situation

Atrial fibrillation increases the risk of blood clots in the heart. The use of an anticoagulant reduces the risk of clot formation. However, it may also increase the risk of bleeding if the patient injures himself 13,29. “This thought scares me and this is why I have researched the side effects in detail. That made me feel even more anxious.” His partner helps him with this. “When I am with her I immediately feel more relaxed.”

Do you know how you can prepare for an emergency situation?

Download the checklist

“I need to be more careful when crossing the road”

Willy knows that he needs to anticoagulants and he trusts his doctor completely. However, he has made some changes to his lifestyle. For example, he is scared of having an accident whilst cycling, particularly due to the risk of injuries and bleeding. “I have noticed that I have become more cautious when cycling. If I suffer an injury it will take longer for the bleeding to stop.” His partner thinks that he still takes too many risks. “She says that I need to be more careful when crossing the road.”

Anticoagulation Card

Willy always carries his Anticoagulation Card with him in case of emergency. This provides information such as the type of anticoagulant that he is using. . “In the case of an accident, I think that it is important to know what options there are to stop the effect of my anticoagulant. This is also reassuring to my partner.”

A year without an episode

Willy has not had an episode of atrial fibrillation for at least a year. Willy can contact his doctor if he has any questions or concerns. “I have great confidence in him. He gives me tips and gives me advice how to manage my disease. He has a good reputation; I trust that he knows what he is doing.”

Do you recognise this story or do you still have questions about atrial fibrillation? Please contact your doctor.

“What if he has an accident?”

Anna, the partner of 73-year-old Willy, is glad that he is getting more exercise. Willy has atrial fibrillation and is taking blood thinners to reduce the risk of a stroke. They exercise together in the morning and Willy uses his bicycle more often now, for example to do the shopping. The way he behaves in traffic concerns Anna. “Willy should be more careful in traffic. I often have to tell him to slow down when cycling. I tell him that he needs to look carefully before crossing. What if he has an accident?” Anna knows that Willy always carries his anticoagulant pass with him, in case of an emergency. “If something should happen, the healthcare providers know that Willy is taking blood thinners. This is useful information if they encounter any bleeding.”

Do you know how you can prepare for an emergency situation?

Download the checklist

Read more patient stories