DUSSELDORF, GERMANY. Many afibbers have reported that their episodes often start with a bout of abdominal gas build-up accompanied by belching. German researchers now report that simethicone (Gas-X) may be effective in terminating such episodes. Simethicone (polydimethylsiloxane) is a common anti-flatulent, which effectively reduces gas formation and helps prevent bloating and belching by breaking up large gas bubbles. The drug has no known adverse effects.
The German researchers report the case of a 26-year-old male patient who reported to the emergency room with atrial fibrillation accompanied by extensive belching. The ER physicians gave him 169 mg of Simethicone and shortly after he converted to normal sinus rhythm. Based on further tests, it was concluded that the patient suffered from paroxysmal lone AF. Over the next 12 years the patient experienced 40 more afib episodes, which were all terminated successfully with varying doses of Simethicone. The researchers conclude, "that gastric distension with abdominal flatulence may represent one more possible trigger to initiate AF in otherwise heart healthy patients".
Litmathe, J and Litmathe, AM. Simethicone – another "pill in the packet" in paroxysmal atrial fibrillation? International Journal of Cardiology, December 11, 2008 [Epub ahead of print]
Editor's comment: I have personally found that gas build-up in the stomach and accompanying burping is a potent initiator of ectopics. I have also found that relieving the gas pressure and breaking up large bubbles with the help of Simethicone brings almost immediate relief. The finding by the German researchers that Simethicone may also be effective in terminating episodes initiated by abdominal gas build-up is intriguing indeed and well worth further investigation by readers of The AFIB Report.