Summit Treestands
hunting elk with atrial fibrillation
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
btb 18-Aug-16
drycreek 18-Aug-16
Jon E. Silks - SO 18-Aug-16
btb 18-Aug-16
bowriter 18-Aug-16
Jon E. Silks - SO 18-Aug-16
JordanMOFLCO 18-Aug-16
Jon E. Silks - SO 18-Aug-16
dr. bob 19-Aug-16
bowriter 19-Aug-16
scndwfstlhntng 19-Aug-16
Thornton 19-Aug-16
dr. bob 19-Aug-16
Florida Mike 20-Aug-16
Jon E. Silks - SO 20-Aug-16
Moben 20-Aug-16
dr. bob 20-Aug-16
Jon E. Silks - SO 20-Aug-16
Thornton 20-Aug-16
Zim1 20-Aug-16
bowriter 21-Aug-16
btb 21-Aug-16
ohiohunter 22-Aug-16
buc i 313 22-Aug-16
buc i 313 22-Aug-16
WVarcher 23-Aug-16
mainbrdr 23-Aug-16
lewis 24-Aug-16
lewis 24-Aug-16
lewis 24-Aug-16
LaGriz 24-Aug-16
Jon E. Silks - SO 29-Aug-16
Thornton 29-Aug-16
Bownut 17-May-18
lewis 17-May-18
TD 17-May-18
lewis 17-May-18
ground hunter 17-May-18
Bowriter 18-May-18
BULELK1 18-May-18
Scooter 18-May-18
Castle Oak 18-May-18
Lost Arra 18-May-18
Paul@thefort 18-May-18
jjs 18-May-18
buc i 313 18-May-18
Bowriter 18-May-18
bowyer45 18-May-18
Ben 18-May-18
stagetek 18-May-18
Treeline 18-May-18
From: btb
18-Aug-16
I have atrial fibrillation and I am 69 and still hunting elk. I run out of breath fast and have to take breaks to let my heart slow down, but other than that I am strong and can hike for miles and shoot my bow. I am on a bunch of medications that drain my energy.

Anyone else having this problem? How do you deal with it?

From: drycreek
18-Aug-16
All that you described but I don't elk hunt. Had a pacemaker for about eight years now and on coumidin plus many other meds. It stinks, but it is what it is !

18-Aug-16
Hey Bruce, I have been dealing with it since 2008 when my first Afib experience hit and they stopped my heart twice to get it under control, which didn't work by the way! Basically just had to calm down - thought I was going to die! My heart was also doing over 200 bpm while I was lying on the table. Anyway, I have to watch my carb intake or my heart will go crazy. Same symptoms...run out of breath fast, have to take lots of breaks, etc. I tend to eat very differently (worse) whenever away from my home and that means lots of carbs. The meds also basically put me in a coma any time I am not working out and the struggle to keep my weight down has been a losing battle - a steady 60 pound gain since 2008. The answer for me is going to be an ablation. I'm a big chicken when it comes to stuff like that but I am just worn out from the fight. I need to get off those meds and enjoy life! Now, I still work my tail off, drop some weight every year and go elk hunting but I am not the hunter I could be if Afib was not part of my life... Keep plugging away - you just have to work harder than anyone else!!

From: btb
18-Aug-16
Thanks, Jon. I know I have had it for many years but my doctor made me see a cardiologist about 1 1/2 years ago and that is when the pills started. I have the opposite effect form the pills, I am not hungry. I am 5' 10" and always weighed about 170 - 175, I now weigh 150.

From: bowriter
18-Aug-16
Started having A-fib 1994. Went into permanent A-Fib 2003. Had one ablasion procedure which failed, never quit hunting, still going today, Just have to take it slow.

18-Aug-16
Holy smokes...I have only ever heard of people gaining, not losing. Maybe I need the meds you are on!At rest my heat beats between 38 and 45 bpm...I can fall asleep anytime, anywhere.

From: JordanMOFLCO
18-Aug-16

JordanMOFLCO's embedded Photo
JordanMOFLCO's embedded Photo
Here I was worried about bleeding out if my nose starts spurting again........Got this installed yesterday and take it out tomorrow evening. Hoping I can keep everything moist and avoid another bloody blowout. 4 so far this year having never had them before.

Be safe out there regardless of the challenges you face!

18-Aug-16
Wow John, I had no idea. Its the writing that got to us!!

From: dr. bob
19-Aug-16
Have had afib for the last 40 years, rate has been high as 400, had valve surgery a year ago seems to be a little better.

From: bowriter
19-Aug-16
At present, my BP is about 125/65. Resting HR about 55. I can walk 1-2 miles at a 4.0 pace and do okay. But, if I get above 6500ft elevation, I can't turn over a sleeping bag without getting out of breath.

When I went into permanent arrythmia, it took my body about three months to get use to it. Now, I don't even notice it unless I exert myself. Far better than when I would go in and out. The ablasion just about killed me. I went into arrest and dang near didn't come out.

19-Aug-16
I shot an elephant in my pajamas. What he was doing in my pajamas, I have no idea. Groucho

I didn't know that elk had atrial fibrillation. I bet it would slow them down a little and they might bleed out faster when shot if on Xarelto

From: Thornton
19-Aug-16
How is that possible dr.bob? You would not have been conscious or alive for that matter. I have worked in ER for over 10 years and have never seen a rate over 180's.

From: dr. bob
19-Aug-16
if I was in vfib yes iI would be dead, in afib it just vibrates, gets to be a pain in the ass if it goes over 8hrs.

From: Florida Mike
20-Aug-16
Thanks guys! Somehow my 2 heart stents and angina and repaired Achilles and plantar faciitus and bone spurs that split my other Achilles don't seem that bad now! LOL, Most of us have physical issues to deal with as we get older. We just need to slow down and make the best of it. 2 months after I had my stents installed me and my son(24) were hunting mountain goats in the crazy mountains in Montana on foot, no horses. I was slow but steady. My son hurt his knee and we had to terminate the hunt. We just have to hunt smart as we age. Mike

20-Aug-16
Very true Mike - most of us do seem to have more and more issues as we age, although I do know a few super humans that seem the same at 40 or 50 as they did at 20 and 30! I am a stubborn person, however, and will not give up on the dream of being able to do whatever I want when it comes to hunting. I will continue to fight it until God just ends the possibility in some way (death, pacemaker, whatever). I do some form of exercise every day - now some days are extremely minimal to give my body the rest it needs, but many days I work hard. In fact, I am the most active and athletic round person I know! Lower carbs seem to help some with both the afib and the weight but the bottom line is that the meds, afib and tachycardia (sp?) have to go so I can attain my goals. That is why the ablation is on the radar. Hopefully it doesn't almost kill me like it did John (sorry you had that experience John) and it only takes one instead of two or three like it does for many people. I am 48, just like Cam Hanes :-) , and I feel like there are quite a few good mountain summits and elk hunts left in me!

From: Moben
20-Aug-16
There are heart surgeons now that go in and stop the afib at the source. My cardiologist just returned from a year of training to perform this technique. Might want to check this out.

From: dr. bob
20-Aug-16
with afib most likely it will not kill you just got to get use to it, my problem is vertigo its hard walking around when its hard to stand up and I can't walk after dark, but I still go and Im 74.

20-Aug-16
Moben, that new procedure is known as Focal Impulse and Rotor Modulation (FIRM). I have been waiting for it to obtain approval, however, only parts of the procedure have made it (mapping) so far and I heard they were having some issues with the actual ablation of the rotors. It sounded so promising to begin with...I hope it gets worked out and into the mainstream if it is indeed as effective as advertised.

dr. bob...74? Awesome - that is inspirational! Keep Hammering!

Jon

From: Thornton
20-Aug-16
If it was "vibrating" then it definitely wouldn't be perfusing nor would it be a rate. Never heard the term "vibrate" and if I did, I would associate it with a code and CPR

From: Zim1
20-Aug-16
At 57 I'll be doing my first elk hunt in three years. Started with atrial flutter requiring a cardio conversion. Then an ablation procedure. Finally a pacemaker. Luckily I am recovering well to where my MD just took me off Lipidor and soon Eliquis. I'll be drug free. He Just OK'd me for the elk hunt. As a result of all this and major plantar faciittis, I've never been so out of shape in my life. I don't care. I'm going even if it's reaaaal slow.

From: bowriter
21-Aug-16
"There are heart surgeons now that go in and stop the afib at the source. My cardiologist just returned from a year of training to perform this technique. Might want to check this out."

It is called ablasion. Sometimes it works, sometimes not, usually dependning on the severity of the a-fib. I had it done at UAB Medical center and it dang near killed me. The doc that did mine was, at that time, the preminent expert on it in the US.

From: btb
21-Aug-16
I watched my atril valve on an ultrasound, the valve would open, close, flutter, sometimes it would flutter, flutter, then open, but all the blood was not getting through. I listen to it in bed with a stethoscope, I guess it will always be like that. My cardiologist does not want to operate, just more pills. They make me tired, dizzy and drain my energy, but I am still going to hunt elk.

From: ohiohunter
22-Aug-16
The new valve replacement procedures are nothing short of amazing. They basically core out your old valve like an apple.

Are you on a heavy dose of a beta blocker?

From: buc i 313
22-Aug-16
Have two stents 2003, 20012, an ablation procedure 2014, cancer 2015. Still get A-Fib once in a while. Not as intense or last as long. I just stop and wait it out. Nose bleeds, to many meds. UGH !

All this said I'm getting ready for the up coming WT season !

Ordering new FMJ's, practicing, need to get stands hung. My eye is on a big one I have been after the past couple of seasons.

At "73 past" time may be a little shorter than where I've come from to when I'm going.

But hey life is grand and i'm not letting up.

The young fellows I hunt with wouldn't allow it ! :}

From: buc i 313
22-Aug-16
Should have added to previous post trying for next elk season :}

From: WVarcher
23-Aug-16
I'll stick to my cancer, anything with my ticker scares the crap out of me.. and I've been a nurse for 20 years. Everyone take care and have fun hunting while you can! Wvarcher

From: mainbrdr
23-Aug-16
I developed a-fib 6 or 7 years ago and had an ablation 3 years ago. The ablation worked well and have had only a few episodes since. Once was after a two mile hike up to our bivy camp with a pack. the altitude coupled with the afib nearly finished me. I went completely numb and couldnt move for quite a while. I was only thinking of what my son was going to go through getting my body down off the mountain since we had no phone service. Incidentally, the surgeon that did my ablation said that heart rate of 250-260 even with afib=dead.

From: lewis
24-Aug-16
Have dealt with it for years had the ablation at Vandy last yr.kinda worked but slowed my heart down to the 30s ended up with a pacemaker in Nov.It is a pain in the ass Good luck Lewis

From: lewis
24-Aug-16
Have dealt with it for years had the ablation at Vandy last yr.kinda worked but slowed my heart down to the 30s ended up with a pacemaker in Nov.It is a pain in the ass Good luck Lewis

From: lewis
24-Aug-16
Have dealt with it for years had the ablation at Vandy last yr.kinda worked but slowed my heart down to the 30s ended up with a pacemaker in Nov.It is a pain in the ass Good luck Lewis

From: LaGriz
24-Aug-16
btb, I know just what you are going thru. I hunted last year while in atrial flutter. I was in Atrial fibrillation on a rifle hunt in 201o that was much worse. In both cases I was on blood thinners. Always a risk being around broad-heads and skinning knives.

I must recommend a procedure called "ablation". It was performed on me in October of last year. No more blood thinners either. Medication intake is now down to the following: one aspirin a day, blood pressure pill, fish oil, Co-enzyme Q10, and a Metformin.

You will need to speak to an "Electrical Polarity Specialist" on the procedure. They run a catheter up a vein in your leg to your heart. Then they map the current that controls the beating rhythm. They send a "hot or Chilly" charge and burn the location of the stray current. I awoke in recovery in a Sinus-Rhythm! Fought this condition for 16 years and I now forget about it pretty often. Your family will feel a whole lot better about your travels once you get this corrected. Best of Luck to you!

LaGriz

29-Aug-16
LaGriz, I have started the testing and paperwork for my ablation at Cleveland Clinic. My afib is controlled with medicine but quality of life is an issue. Hoping to get off the meds after 8 years of being so tired I feel like I am one step away from a coma. Just out of curiosity, how long was the procedure and how long were you in the hospital?

js

From: Thornton
29-Aug-16
An ablation is where they go in an "fry" the area of the heart which is usually an electrical node that is demanding the extra beats.

From: Bownut
17-May-18
I was just diagnosed with afib although I suspect that I've had it for a couple of years already. I'm on meds with ablation in the future. The information here provided makes me feel better about my condition and continued bowhunting which I love.

From: lewis
17-May-18
I would think long and hard concerning the ablation I had it slow my heart ?? down to in the 30s ended up with a pacemaker aka turbocharger.I actually went back out a couple of weeks ago I’m back in now.My brother and sister also are lucky to also have a fib both had ablations two times each.If I had to do it over I might not have done it but I’m one of the systemic lucky ones that it just puts me in the dirt so I cannot second guess myself.Im 71 and will be elk hunting in Az.this year. Good luck ?? Lewis

From: TD
17-May-18
Lewis, make sure you and Danny keep your meds separated...... =D Good luck to ya both.

From: lewis
17-May-18
Thanks appreciate that Lewis

17-May-18
I was real lucky, I had it, but it was later shocked out of me,,,,, had a double by pass last October, and it was the result of the surgery,,,,,, funny you mention the Cleveland Heart Clinic, ,,,,, the bypass I had was done, by a heart transplant doctor, who was free that day,,,, the Cleveland Heart Clinic is part of the Froedert Heart section in Milwaukee

They took me off the stroke meds, last week,,,,, but said to me, a fib is a funny thing, and can come back,,,, told me to drink no alchohol, and to keep swimming,,,,,, I swim 200 or more minutes a week, doctors told me, it was better than most medicine, doing that,,,,, so if you can, swim

I never was short of breath though,,,,, going after elk this Sept, doctors told me, to keep going, life is short, go hunt................

Also a fib is affected by diet, too, not for everyone, but I only eat wild game and fruit and vegetables, no beer, booze, beer, brats chips nothing,,,,,, at 68 (this Sat) I feel really good,,,,,, lucky I am,,,,, good luck to all

From: Bowriter
18-May-18
I started having bouts of a-fib in 1994. I have been in permanent a-fib since Dec. 13, 2004. I do okay here at 350-feet above seas level. If I get over 6,000 ft. I am toast. I have been on Coumadin since '94 and some other stuff but seldom even notice it anymore...as long as I stay out of the high country. I killed my last elk in 2005. I went, against doctors advice, and felt pretty lucky to make it back. I shot the bull at just under 9,000 ft and thought I was toast. I am 74, now, and am in better shape than I was 10-years ago.

From: BULELK1
18-May-18
I totally dropped taking any Big Pharma med's like 8-10 years ago. Oils and natural herbs now.

When my heart starts that rapid almost overlapping beats, I just slow down for a few seconds and it goes back in rhythm

I have found that if I try and keep the same 'pace' as I hike up/in, I do just fine.

Good luck, Robb

From: Scooter
18-May-18
I had a pacemaker put in in 2010.... ( cause my heart rate dropped to 28 beats per minute ).. That cured that , got back to normal heart rate... Than back in July, 2017 , developed “A Flutter”; slightly different than “A Fib”, but similar.... In the middle of bow season, Mid October, they tried Cardioversion, “ shocked my heart “.. That worked till January, 2018.. Than back in “A Flutter”, again.... April, 2018 had the “Ablation “ done.. It was a piece of cake, in and out the same day, noticed a difference immediately, easier to breathe, and felt like I was getting more air.. I’m still on blood thinners, Eliquis, twice a day.. Probably will be for long while..Can’t take cumadin, my blood values go haywire..This A Flutter thing kept me out of the woods a little last year, but I’ll be back this year... I’m pushing 70 this year, and feel great... Don’t be afraid of the Ablation, as my heart doc said to me just prior to doing it, it’s “ Easy Peasy “......

From: Castle Oak
18-May-18
After suffering with A-fib for several years, I decided to have the cryo ablation. Had the procedure on Jan. 3 this year. Took me about 8 weeks to regain my endurance and now I'm back to training for this year's elk hunt. I still have some irregular beats that last 2-3 seconds-Dr. said this is normal and will happen for up to 6 months post-op. I, too suffer from low heart rate mainly due to working out my whole life, but, unlike a previous poster my heart rate increased slightly after the procedure-45 bpm to 52 bpm. I no longer have to take anti-coag drugs and I feel great and according to my wife I look pretty good for a 60 year old man.

From: Lost Arra
18-May-18
Be careful with that skinning knife

From: Paul@thefort
18-May-18
YOU GUYS MAKE ME FEEL LUCKY AS ALL HELL. Good luck, Paul

From: jjs
18-May-18
My son was diagnosed with it in 2015 Dec and was found dead by his brother Jan 2016, ME couldn't figure if it was caused by antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease but the heart stop right after he log in on his job from his home.

From: buc i 313
18-May-18
Jon,

Belated condolences over the loss of your son.

From: Bowriter
18-May-18
Being in permanent A-fib is much better than sporadic bouts which almost killed me. I had two tries at ablasion. Neither worked, both dang near killed me and I'm not kidding. Took several shocks to get my heart started again. Since going into permanent A-fib, life has been much simpler. Today, I can walk two miles on the mountain peak program on a treadmill, at 15-minute mile, pace. What I can't do, is tolerate thin oxygen. When I had the last ablasion procedure, the doc told me I had at least 36, faulty circuits and the ones in the, (some word I cannot remember or spell.), were untreatable. Understand this: There are many forms of A-fib. No two cases are the same. Find a reliable cardio doc you trust, and do what he says. The sporadic episodes I had, were debilitating and almost killed me as did the ablasion procedures. I am at high risk for stroke and take Coumadin, daily. That must be considered in all activities. Other than that, my heart is in great shape. BUT!!! I must stay below about 6,000 feet above sea level. Altitude and strenuous activity, will kill me. Right now, as I type this, my BP is 122/66 at 58 bpm. Yes, they are irregular beats but I cannot tell it unless I feel my carroted, (sp), artery...the one in your neck. Other than that, I feel perfectly normal.

From: bowyer45
18-May-18
I got an ablation done on me 5 years ago and my pulse is steady and smooth I'm 72. ask your doctor. Yes i still am packing my own elk out!

From: Ben
18-May-18
I had A-fib when I was 40. Was in the hospital for 3 days and they got it back in the regular rhythm. I have taken medication since then and have it under control ( Inderal and digoxin). I take it everyday and have no problems and I am 67 now. I've elk hunted several times over the years. One trip we covered 63 miles according to my GPS in 7 days at 10- 13,000 feet. God has smiled on me and I feel extremely fortune. My doc told me a couple years ago I may have to have a heart valve replaced and 1 year later, shook his head and says my heart is even better.

From: stagetek
18-May-18
I was diagnosed with a-fib 3 years ago. This year I went "out of rhythm" in early Feb. I had an ablation April 3rd. It went very well. But, I do tire easily (and I'm not hunting elk). It's just something I deal with. I'm 66. I would rather be tired and rest, than push myself into a heart attack or stroke.

From: Treeline
18-May-18
Jon, I second buc i's condolences. Losing a child has to be one of the toughest things to deal with on this earth.

I have had some heart issues due to heart murmur and low O2 after a surgery - living at 11,500 did not help!

Good news I am seeing here is that some very scary issues can be managed and even fixed to allow us to keep doing what we love the best.

Glad to see so many of you have overcome such serious health issues and are continuing to bowhunt for life. Thanks for the encouragement, guys! Keep getting after 'em!

  • Sitka Gear