October 21, 2014

How Can We Stop Bankrupting Those With Atrial Fibrillation?

I talk a lot in speeches, programs, and articles about the financial toll that atrial fibrillation takes on us and our families.

A new study from The Commonwealth Fund reinforces the burden of rising medical costs in the U.S. on individuals and families. Those of us that have suffered with atrial fibrillation will not find this information at all surprising.

Over at StopAfib.org, you will find an article about the study findings as well as what it means to those with atrial fibrillation and some ideas to help with the financial burden of atrial fibrillation.

Click here for the article…

Once you’ve read it, please come back and share your thoughts and comments here at the Atrial Fibrillation Blog.

Comments

  1. Denice,

    Since you have no heart disease besides the afib, maybe your doctor can prescibe Flecainide for you.

    My afib episodes started when I was 37 or 38 too; they’d last hours. Over the years, they got worse. Flecainide’s the only medication that seems to help me. I needed a couple of dose increases along the way though.

    Good Luck.

  2. Denice,

    Many doctors don’t know all the most current options for treating atrial fibrillation. That’s why it’s important to be a proactive patient so that you know if there is something you are missing out on.

    You might consider seeing an electrophysiologist, which is a cardiologist that specializes in heart rhythms. And keep after it until you find one that will be proactive with you. You don’t have to live with atrial fibrillation.

    Good luck.

    Mellanie

  3. Denice Gatlin says:

    I am 38 and was diagnosed with afib in April 07. I have no heart disease. I was on medication, but was recently taken off as my cardiologist wanted to take a reactive approach (rather than proactive). I began exercising (aerobic), and within 20 mins go into afib. If I stop, rest, take deep breaths my heart recovers. I dont want to be on medications for life, I have really good health insurance, but has never been offered a surgical alternative. Is that not normal?

  4. Richard,

    Yes, from a patient perspective, it makes sense to stop the afib as soon as possible. And we know that “afib begets afib”, so the longer you have it, the worse it gets and the harder it is to cure.

    However, there are guidelines that doctors are expected to follow in treating afib. Fortunately, that whole area is being looked at, and some doctors are calling for procedures, such as catheter ablation and surgery, to be considered as first-line treatment for afib.

    I’m sure we’ll see lots of changes in treatment protocols over the next few years.

    Mellanie

  5. Richard Borowicz says:

    dont you think preventing a fib before it becomes a major problem would be in the interest of everyone,in my case the doctors were relucted to do my four ablations because of the danger but did i have a choice?.

  6. Judith,

    I’m so sorry about your husband’s situation. If there is something I can do to help, feel free to contact me privately by going to the contact us form at http://www.stopafib.org/contact.cfm .

    Mellanie

  7. Margaret,

    I’m surprised that age is an issue – 69 is still quite young. Surgeons generally will operate on patients up to age 80, and sometimes beyond if the patient is in good shape. So I’m surprised that 69 would disqualify you for catheter ablation. It sounds like you need to talk with another electrophysiologist.

    You said you’re reluctant to enter into mini-maze surgery, but you might find it’s not much more difficult than catheter ablation.

    I chose mini-maze surgery to eliminate the left atrial appendage, the source of most clots that cause afib-related strokes, because I had clots with my very first afib episode.

    I haven’t had catheter ablation, but mini-maze doesn’t seem much more difficult. Mini-maze currently runs 1-3 hours vs. 3-12 hours for catheter ablation. There’s a difference of 1-2 nights of hospitalization, and you might want to take it easy a little longer from surgery, but overall I think they are pretty comparable.

    I’d encourage you to talk with another EP to assess your options. If you have questions, or want to let me know where you are located, I’ll be glad to share what I know about EPs and surgeons in your area. Just contact me privately by going to the contact us form at http://www.stopafib.org/contact.cfm .

    Good luck.

    Mellanie

  8. Steve,

    You were in my thoughts and prayers on Friday during your mini-maze with Dr. Beaver. I can hardly wait to hear that you’re afib-free. But please remember that surgery can inflame your heart and you may have afib for a while as the heart heals. But soon, I hope, afib will be just a distant memory.

    Mellanie

  9. Bunny,

    I’m so glad that Dr. Pauly found your afib, and that Dr. Beaver will likely be able to help. I wish you all the best and that you will soon be afb-free.

    Mellanie

  10. Bunny Hedrick says:

    I was diagnosed with AFIB in February, 2007. I am 59years old and have sought help from cardiologists since I was 50. I knew there was something going on with my heart prior to my diagnosis but all I got from the the first 2 doctors is that I was stressed out and needed ant-depressants…prescriptions that I never filled.
    Thanks to Dr. Pauly (who diagnosed me at the ER @ Shands UF) and Dr. Beaver (who I pray will perform the Mini Maze surgery on me) I will eventually lead a med free, episode free life.
    Regarding the finances…I have had to seek help from the hospital as I have no insurance. As far as the future goes I can only pray that our new President will finally implement a feasible plan for us all.

  11. Steve Smith says:

    On Friday, 8-29-08, my theme will be ” Stop AFIB NOW , just leave it to Beaver. ” That’s Dr. Thomas Beaver at Shands Hospital. Thanks to Melanie and Stop AFIB.org I am confident I have found a solution. Mini Maze Surgery this Friday. A solution with no more meds.

  12. I was diagnosed with Atril Fib in Jan, 07 after a heart rate of 191. I also have two stents in heart arteries. Since I am on Medicare, the expense is bearable although parking fees & co-pays add up over the year.

    I recently received a letter inviting me to participate in a clinical study for anti-coagulation drugs, etc. However, once the study rep discovered that I am taking plavix (for a medicated stent) in addition to warfarin, he stated that I was not eligible.

    I then picked up a brochure describing a clinical study at same location regarding Atril Fib. When I inquired about participating in the study, I was asked for my birthdate, so I never received a call back.

    My Electrophysiologist states that I am not eligble for ablation due to my age which is 69. I get the impression that he is not really interested in my case due to my age. It is frustrating. I have seen a cardio surgeon about minimaze surgery, however am reluctant to enter into that. I have atrial fib events every two weeks.

  13. Judith Stewart says:

    My husband was denied long term health insurance at the ageof 65.. He has had a stent and has afib. He has worked all his life; is a retired ARMY officer and people just do not get it.

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