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AFIB after Lapband surgery



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I was banded in 2011. Did okay with weight loss but over the years I put half back but that's still okay because without the lapband I would be 25 lbs higher. I did 2 years ago begin to experience AFIB which is an irregular heartbeat. I need meds to control it as well as a blood thinner.

Just wondering if this could be related to the lapband. I know the lapband is near the vagus nerve in the stomach and think it might be interfering with the rhythm of my heart. Has anyone else experienced AFIB after lapband surgery?

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Hello! Yes, I developed AFib after my lapband surgery. If you Google Gastric Band + AFib, you will see there are many of us. I've consulted with several doctors to see if they have an opinion on what I believe is a link between the band and the arrhythmia, due to the proximity of the vagus nerve. My banding surgeon denies any such link (no surprise there), even when I came in with printed accounts of patients who had experienced the same thing. So I changed surgeons, (not only for this reason; my surgeon was just unpleasant to consult with). My new surgeon says there is a link. She does not do lapbands anymore, for this and for the low success rate of the band.

I had my band emptied completely, just to take the pressure off of the vagus nerve. Unfortunately, once you develop Afib, you have it for life, as the electricity in your heart has been forever altered. I've been on meds since I was hospitalized with the Afib November 2014. I hate them, hate the way they make me feel (tired, fuzzy-minded and depressed) but I'm not yet moving forward with ablation, which would be the next step. I have small episodes of Afib now but nothing like the 3-day episode that landed me in the ER.

I'm sorry you, too, developed this consequence. It's unnerving. Had I know this was a potential risk, I would not have chosen a lapband as my WLS.

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I too would not have chosen lapband if I new the consequences of AFIB. On meds for life I guess. Keeps it under control for the most part.....so far. Not too many episodes. It is nerving to live with....I agree. So you feel that even if I removed the lapband completely....the AFIB could still occur? A bummer. I also am holding off on ablation for now.

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Removing the lapband will not bring your heart back to where it was prior to the AFib setting in. AFib is a chaotic rewiring of your heart's electrical pathways. The AFib permanently alters how electricity moves through your heart, electricity meant to keep your heart it in sinus (normal) rhythm. So even with my band loosened or removed, the electrical currents have been disrupted and that is for life. I "should" have my band removed at this point, since it serves no purpose and can in fact cause other issues (as you have probably read about now that there is a vast body of post-WLS literature on this particular WLS), but I just cannot bring myself yet to go under the knife. Because now with Afib, that's another risk factor anytime you have anesthesia...you can be on the table and go into an episode. Terrific!

One of the self-defensive comments my surgeon said when I asked about the link between the band and Afib was him saying that all "those patients" would've ended up with AFib anyway. In other words, there is no proof between the band and Afib. That's a really convenient excuse for him, as you can't disprove what he is saying.

I know there is a link because my first episode of Afib was undeniable linked to my swallowing food. For three days, each time I swallowed a small bite of food, my heart would go into arrhythmia as the food passed through the band. As long as I didn't eat anything, my heart stayed in sinus rhythm. But one bite of food would set off the Afib. It would calm down after an hour. But another bite, even of yogurt by the third day, and I'd go into arrhythmia. This is clearly an irritation of the vagus nerve, which is involved in digestion. The band, sitting on the nerve, would compress against it as the food passed through.

I'm lucky I went to the ER when I did. When I walked in, they admitted me immediately, once they saw my heart rate and crazy arrhythmia. I saw the chart, upon which was written "ABSOLUTE EMERGENCY". I was very close to having a stroke from throwing a blood clot.

The meds are a drag but like you, I'm holding off on the ablation. You always want to have a "next step" with Afib because it will increase as one ages. So meds first, then ablation, then pacemaker.

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