Struggled with heart palpitations for several years

For several years, Rolf Johnsson had struggled with heart palpitations. He could suddenly wake up in the middle of the night and feel his heart racing, an experience that was both frightening and anxiety-ridden. Despite repeated hospital examinations, nothing abnormal was found.It wasn’t until Rolf tried recording his heart activity over a longer period using Zenicor-ECG that his doctor discovered he was suffering from atrial fibrillation, one of the most common causes of stroke.

The heart normally beats 50 to 100 times a minute in adults. If the person is worried, under stress or has exerted themselves physically, the heart beats faster. But Rolf’s heart could suddenly start to beat violently for no particular reason.“It all started a few years ago. Having an experience like that is really tough, and also terrifying. Sometimes it helps if I lie down and rest for a while – my heart rate returns to normal again after about 20 minutes. But sometimes, it hasn’t helped – at worst, the palpitations have lasted up to two hours.”

Despite being examined using a 24-hour ECG, the doctor could not find anything wrong with Rolf. Nor did recording his heart activity over a longer period provide any signs of a deviation.

Thanks to a tip, he found out about a research study at Halmstad Hospital. All residents aged between 75 and 76 in Halmstad municipality were given the chance to take part in a screening programme, with the aim of detecting atrial fibrillation.

“I’m glad I was included in the study. Using a handy little gadget that takes an ECG using the thumbs, I could record my heart activity myself over a two-week period and have the results analysed remotely by a cardiologist.During these two weeks, it happened again.

Rolf’s heart was racing, and the palpitations woke him up. He quickly got out his Zenicor-ECG to measure his heart function. This time, the doctor was finally able to confirm that Rolf suffered from atrial fibrillation, one of the most common disruptions to the heart’s rhythm and the underlying cause of Rolf’s palpitations.

“I’d been going around with atrial fibrillation without even knowing it, and I wasn’t aware either that I had a greater risk of having a stroke. I’m now being treated with medication to reduce this risk, and of course, this feels great. I wish more people had the chance to take ECG measurements over a longer period,” says Rolf