Case study ( 6511 views as of April 26, 2019 )
George, a 68-year-old man with a history of normally well-treated high blood pressure, comes in to his doctor's office with a one-week complaint of intermittent irregular palpitations that started when he was walking his dog. He has had no chest pains or shortness of breath with the palpitations, but nevertheless he is concerned about them. Other than his high blood pressure, he is healthy and normally quite active with no other chronic medical conditions. He only takes a diuretic (water pill) to control his blood pressure. He has no drug allergies.
An examination in the office showed George has a blood pressure of 170/90mmHg and an irregular pulse of about 90-95 beats a minute.
George is sent for an ECG that is interpreted as showing atrial fibrillation. George is quite concerned about this as he has heard that atrial fibrillation causes strokes and may also weaken the heart. He is wondering if there is anything that he can do himself to treat this and what he needs to do next? He has a number of questions to ask.
George could benefit his condition by asking his doctor for a referral to a cardiologist and a neurologist who could review his stroke risk with him. George may also wish to consult with a registered dietitian to understand the effects of his diet on his blood pressure, and could consider massage therapy as a means to lower his blood pressure.Author: Dr. Graham Wong, VGH