Atrial fibrillation to Cardiac ablation

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Cardiac ablation.

Hi, My name is simon and I'm a 39 year old male. I have decided to write this blog as like a lot of you, I was concerned about the procedure and could not find the relevant first hand infomation on the Internet. 

I have been suffering with AF for as long as I can remember. I used to have occasional bouts of what I'd describe as a fast heart beat that would come on after sudden exercise or bursts of energy. I used to be able to control this by simply placing my head between my legs until it passed. This  was until approximately 10 years ago when I had one of these episode's which lasted 45 hrs. As a result of this I was admitted to A&E was was subsequently diagnosed with AF. 

Over the next 10 years I had been taking daily medication  ( beata blockers ) which seemed to control the fast rhythm but I had now become aware that my heart was beating out of sync. This was on and off at first before becoming a regular problem. As a result of this I'd become increasingly tired to the point of not being able to function on a day to day basis.

I finaly decided to see my doctor and I was referred to a cardiology team at my local hospital.

A few ECG's and tests later, I was offered the chance of an operation called a cardiac ablation. It was explained to me that I'd be given a general anaesthetic and during the 4hr op, I have the valves into my heart frozen  to create scar tissue that would block the off set electrical rhythm, returning my heart beat to normal.

This would be done by inserting a cathater into my groin and pushed up to my heart via my femoral artery.

I was assured that although this was a serious operation, there was only a small risk of any complications.

The day of my operation soon arrived and I made my way to Hammersmith Hospital, London. 

I arrived at 8 am and was taken straight to my bed where I'd get ready for my procedure. By 9am I'd been spoken to by the cardiology team, signed my life away and was sitting in the operating theatre. 

The anithatist gave me a dose of his best and I awoke 4 hrs later.

The op had been a success and I was told I'd need to lie still for 6 or so hours which wasn't an issue as I was still doped up from all the meds so the time flew by. I had two small gauze pads, one on each of my legs by the groin. There was a small amount of blood but very little pain or discomfort. I was now in the hands of the nurses who were fantastic. These ladies could not do enough for me. The only problem I seemed to have was an increadable thirst which I was told was normal due to the tube that had been placed down my throat during the procedure .

Later in the evening I was told I'd need to try to walk or the DR'S would not let me go home the next day. This was all the incentive I needed and I was soon shuffling across the ward.

The Dr's came to see me the next morning to give me an echo and once I was given the all clear I was discharged. 

Once at home I spent the next two days in bed and I noticed my leg had started to bruise. This got quite nasty to the point of it covering the top of my right leg. I'd also started to get a sharp pain in my chest when I'd lie down or take a deep breath. This also caused me to cough quite a bit which would also hurt my chest. Day 3 at home was the biggest shock. I woke up in the morning and went to the toilet. It was a this point I noticed that my penis had gone  black and blue and I don't mind admitting this scared the life out of me. Due to the coughing, pains and bruising I decided to phone the hospital for a bit of set my mind at rest advice. The cardiologist told me all the symptoms I was showing were all normal, the pain in the chest coming from the liquid that was surrounding my heart while it repaired it's self, the bruising was to be expected as I'd been yanked about so much and the cough was another response to the heart procedure. I was informed this would all pass in time.

It's now 10 days since my op and I've started to to walk however stairs are still a struggle. I've had no issues with my heart ( touch wood ) but my groin is still sore.

One month on and most of the bruising has gone and so has most of the swelling. I've had a few side effects from the anticoagulation tablets but I've only got three days of those left to take. All in all it was worth having done as I feel 100 times better that I did before.

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6 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Simon, so pleased to hear that you think it was all worth it, I have had 2 ablations and each time my heart improved significantly, I am going to have a 3rd - please don't find this news a negative you may well be one of those where one ablation does the job! - my heart is nowhere absolutely nowhere near as bad as it was back in 1994 and this 3rd one will just be the icing on the cake my consultant says.. he has a very high success rate for 3rd ablations, it's more like a touch up ablation apparently - so really just wanted to say your future looks bright :-)
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    • Posted

      Hi Susan , You say you are going for a 3rd Ablation can you tell me did you feel better right from the start ?? or was the first 3 months a bit bumpy.  I had one Ablation 2009 and was fine straight away and stopped medication.  nearly 5 years later it all came back and I had another Ablation 15th sept this year , I was fine for 3 weeks now I am getting symptoms again and they appear to be getting worse , the last 5 days have been hell
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  • Posted

    Thanks Susan,  

    hopefully u won't need any further visits but if I do at least I know what to expect now!

    Hope you third visit is your final one!

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  • Posted

    That is romising to hear. Don't think I'm at the place yet this would be consider. I am to have a small right under the skin implant pt in Friday that is suppose to see what happening with my heart as I go about my normal daily life. I don't have A-fib all the time, but lately about two times a week. Just hope I can get to the place I don't go into the extreme rapid heart beat I had in E,////////r, three weeks ago. That was very scary and made me weak and nervous.
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    • Posted

      Hello charlotte,

      Best of luck with your treatment, you'll be up and kicking in no time I'm sure. Your doing the right thing in getting it treated at the early stages. Don't do what I did and think "I can control this with medication" just because I don't like the sound of having to go for an operation.  

      I've not heard of the implant your having done but it sounds like a good way of measuring what's going on in there. Hopefully what you have is just a warning from your body and all you require is a bit of a lifestyle change but if it's not, as scary as all the treatment may sound, it's pretty much painless and we'll worth it. Good luck!!! 😉

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  • Posted

    Simon:  There is an MD here in the midwest USA that does a miniminal invasive surgery to CURE  AF .  Yes,  I do mean Cure.  What he does is Two small opening thru the ribcage on Rt and Lt and does an EXPTERIOR  Abalation on the main artery entering the upper chamber of the Heart.   I know of several people CURED .   His name is Dr. Wolf and he is with Community Hospital of Cincinnati Ohio USA   and I believe he recently took another job outside Community.
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