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ORBIT Study Findings About Women With AFib

The ORBIT Study was just published online. Some of the findings were that:

  • About 30% of women with atrial fibrillation were asymptomatic (didn't feel their afib) vs. about 40% of men.
  • Women generally had a worse quality of life (probably because they were more symptomatic).
  • Women tended to have more strokes, but they tended not to be more deadly.
  • One-fourth of women were still being treated with digoxin, which doesn't do much and has been found to be deadly.
  • Women were more likely to have AV node ablation, which should be a last ditch effort, rather than catheter ablation. (This is not new news!) 

Any thoughts on these findings?


Posted by Mellanie at on May 20, 2016 8:59 PM America/Chicago


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Thanks for the new info on AF and strokes.

Any further details re: a) how long do undetected AF events go on before they become noticeable or do they usually become more noticeable; and b) why men have a higher percentage of deadly strokes?

  • Posted Sat 21 May 2016 04:08 AM CDT
Thank you so much for the info.Just another example of the differences in disease and how is treated between men& women
  • Posted Sat 21 May 2016 09:10 AM CDT
Thanks for the A-fib information. As a woman, I think I was having symptoms prior to being diagnosed but attributed them to anxiety. I have always been definitely symptomatic with an extremely rapid heart rate that is impossible not to notice. I hope that research will better define the differences in the way men and women experience a-fib and that treatment will be adjusted accordingly.
  • Posted Sat 21 May 2016 11:24 AM CDT
A very interesting topic! I was asymptomatic when I learned of my afib thru an EKG. It was only after my cardiologist did a cardioversion and TEE that my symptoms began. He then did a catherization to check my stents. After that, my symptoms began. I often wonder if we hadn't done these procedures, how long it would have taken for symptoms to occur!? The cardioversion only worked for a few minutes. My kid brother just had a stroke, so you can bet I'll continue to take my Eliquis!
Thanks all for the valuable information.
  • Posted Wed 01 Jun 2016 02:42 PM CDT
Thanks for posting this, Mellanie. It tells me that as women, we need to be vigilant and take our diagnosis seriously. If 30% of us are symptomatic it is obvious to me that blood thinners are a must.

I have had periodic anxiety attracts earlier in my life and wonder, now, whether it was AFIB. In any case I have it now and I have accepted that blood thinners will be part of myl life. Stroke prevention is Job One.
  • Posted Wed 08 Jun 2016 02:00 PM CDT
Yikes, that digoxin thing is scary! I'm taking digoxin with rhythmol and it has given me the best result so far! Beta blockers made me tired and depressed, and calcium channel blockers didn't work all the time, and made me too tired to work out. I've been on dig for a year and it's allowed me to stay extremely active. Hope it doesn't cause me any harm.
  • Posted Wed 08 Jun 2016 06:07 PM CDT
Hi Mellanie,
Where could we find the published Orbit study. I have access to some medical databases, as an academic librarian, but did not find anything about the "Orbit" study for women. Does it have a different name, and who sponsored it. I'm interested in what you suggested it says about using Digoxin-- I'm rather newly diagnosed with AFIB-- probably have had it for years. Tomorrow I undergo a Cardiac Cath to determine further information about my heart condition. I was even prescribed a Zoll LifeVest which I've been wearing for 10 days now. So, I know my situation has some serious issues. Thanks for your reply. Kathleen
  • Posted Sun 17 Jul 2016 07:45 AM CDT
Just getting back to the replies here.

Kathleen, The link at the top of the article goes to Medscape (, where the citation is listed.

  • Posted Sun 04 Sep 2016 05:01 PM CDT