How did your cardiac ablation go?

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I have a cardiac ablation scheduled next week.  A bit nervous over possible complications that I understand are rather rare such as clots/stroke, esophageal damage due to TEE scope, heart damage etc.  I'm a 40 year old healthy male and have had random afib (a few times per year) for several years, but recently I've been in and out of it daily over the last 3 months.  My cardiologist placed me on 2 different anti-arythmia meds and the current one works well, however I have daily afib episodes that last a few minutes and then I'm back in NSR.  The meds give me minor vertigo like symptoms and it simply feels as if I've got something synthetic inside me.  The doc has recommended an ablation at this point.  I'm a pilot and can't go back to work until this is resolved so it looks as though this is the best option for me.  Does anyone know of someone or personally have had complications during or after this procedure?  I'm quite confident all will go well as it's a top end hospital/electrophysiologist, but it's good to be mentally prepared in the event something happens.  Thanks for your input!  

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  • Posted

    Hello everyone!  I had the ablation done yesterday, stayed overnight in the hospital and I'm home now in recovery.  Lots to tell, but if any of you have further questions or comments just let me know.  I was actually a bit excited for the procedure the morning of.  Arrived at the cardiac unit at 9am and got "prepped".  Shaving hair from the groin sites and chest.  I preshaved myself  at home as I heard horror stories from others about dull hospital razors the cut them.  IV was given and the waiting began.  The ablation prior to mine went 2.5 hours over so I sat in waiting from 9-1230.  Got rolled into the abation room where my memory ends.  They gave me Fentanol for a light sedation and tried to induce an arythmia via synthetic adrenaline while I was awake after a while they were not able to induce it.  So I was put under and he ablated the areas most likely to cause arythmias.  Procedure lasted 4 hours.  Woke up feeling good.  Hurt a bit when they pulled the sheaths out of my groin.  1 in the right side and 2 in the left.  As the day progressed the pain/pressure in my chest has increased.  They placed an intibation breathing tube down my throat while under general anisthetic and my neck hurts a fair amount as they must have moved it around a bit to get things in place.  Other than that, just have to be careful to not rupture the wound sites in the groin where they entered the veins.  I'm on a blood thinner, an acid reducer and anti-inflamatory.  You definitely feel a bit frail after this much time at rest on your back on a bed (8 hours).  Hopefully this one ablation keeps the afib at bay for several years as I wouldn't want to go through all if this again anytime soon.  The procedure itself is nothing as your sedated.  All the post procedure stuff is the difficult part.  My heart rate has increased post ablation.  It now averages 90-95bpm whereas before it was in the 70's.  The doc said it's normal to sever a nerve that controlls the speed of the heart during the surgery and eventually the heart slows down when the scar tissue properly forms.  Now it's time to relax and heal.  Stay in touch all of you and thanks for the encouraging words over the last few weeks.  
    • Posted

      Really good to hear how you got on, parts of it sound a bit difficult but so pleased you seem to be on the mend. Now it's my turn - had my preadmission appointment today and have to be there at 7.30am in the morning for the cryoablation. Took your advice and have done my own shaving prep - good idea! Am not looking forward to the length of time I will have to spend on my back as I have an old back injury from lifting a patient whilst nursing some years ago. Also have an arthritic knee which won't like it either, be good if I am knocked out during the whole thing. Every EP seems to do it differently, today my EP said he favours not inducing an arrythmia but just cryoablates the most likely places round the pulmonary veins. Ah well we're in their hands and have to trust they know best!

      Take it easy and wishing you a speedy journey back to your old self. Do let me know how you progress.

      Very best wishes Maggie

    • Posted

      Thanks for keeping me up to date on your procedure, Maggie.  I know yours will go fine.  Correct, all EP's are different.  Even the ones that are part of the same hospital practice seem to operate in different manners.  I think a lot of it has to do with whom they studied under as a student/fellow as to what techniques they adopt.  Glad you pre-shaved.  They told me not to do that again as they couldnt be sure of the sterility of my shaver at home.  I'll pre-shave again if I have another procedure.  As to your back and knee injury just remember you'll be frail overall and moving very slowly.  Take things at a slow pace and don't strain to do anything as those first 2-4 days are critical for proper healing.  We have a 6 month old baby and my wife refuses to let me pick her up and I'm on day 4 of recovery.  They say not to lift more than 10lbs the first 3-4 days.  Good on you for having the courage to move forward with this.  You'll be glad you did.  Praying all goes well for you.  When you're home and recovering do let me know how things went smile

      -Shane Allen     

    • Posted

      Hi Shane,

      Well I'm now 3 weeks post cryoablation. The procedure seemed to go smoothly, I was awake throughout despite being given Fentanyl and Midazolam. EP didn't induce AF but just went for the most likely spots. He also did a bit of RF ablation at the end because one pulmonary vein wasn't quite round to fit the cryoballoon. It took 2 1/2 hrs followed by an hour on back before sat up a bit then another 3 hrs before had a walk. They were really good during ablation, making my knees and shoulder comfortable with pillows so no problem there. Couldn't do much for first week - slow, short walks and afternoon naps! Chest soreness and cough lasted 3 days. Since arriving home have been fine except for yesterday - had done too much the day before, thought I felt able to! Yesterday I had same chest soreness I'd had in first 3 days and felt miserable - took panadol had long sleep, now fine again and learning to be more patient!

      Wanted to ask how you are and what you're doing about your medications, are you still on same ones? Did they give you instructions as to how to decrease them? I have an appointment with my EP 3 months post ablation but I thought I would have to be off my antiarrhythmic pills by then so that they know if ablation has worked. I guess they all do that differently as well.

      Do hope it's all gone well for you and you're making a good recovery. Cheers Maggie

    • Posted

      Congrats on your procedure going well!  Very happy for you.  Like you, my EP couldn't induce AF so he ablated the most likely areas.  My post procedure symptoms were very similar to yours.  As for meds I'm on a blood thinner called Eliquis.  Apparently it works because I'm still alive!  Dr told me to stop regular use of the Propafenone rythm drug and see what happens.  I use it as a pill in the pocket for now.  I had 2 episodeds of AF within a week (took propafenone) after the procedure and for the first 2 weeks had daily pvc's and skipped beats.  No AF since that first week and it's been almost a month.  We shall see in a few months if it all worked!  

      One odd thing has been my elevated pulse rate.  It's averaging 90-100 beats per minute while at rest.  Dr said this was normal and it should return to my normal 65.  My pulse and heartbeat are much weaker and faster than before.  Is your pulse quicker?  Best of luck to you, Maggie and may the Gods of normal sinus rythm be with you always!   

    • Posted

      Thanks for that, so comforting to know your symptoms were similar - I googled too much and the other day thought I was getting a Transoesophageal Fistula (usually fatal!) My EP didn't give any real instructions regarding stopping meds, sort of left it up to me when I did it. Feel quite apprehensive as I always had really bad symptoms when went into AF, but I guess I can use my Flecainide as a pill in the pocket. Good idea. I'm so pleased you seem to be progressing well. I haven't had a higher pulse rate but I just googled it! and it seems to be very common and normal. In fact one doctor said he'd observed higher success rates post ablation in those who'd had the higher pulse rate. So there you are, see it as a positive thing! May the sun also shine on your AF triggers!

  • Posted

    Hi Allen, thank you for sharing your experience of the procedure. I hope you are recovering well and getting the rest you neeed. It sounds like there were moments which you could have done without! but overal glad to hear it was a successful procedure. So it seems like it 's just a matter of resting and waiting and I hope your heart rate regulates itself as soon as possible.  Keep a positive frame of mind, which know doubt you are already doing and focus your energy on a positive recovery. 


  • Posted

    Hope you are resting well and taking it easy. After my Ablation my rate never went back down to the same but with beta blockers it helps. See my surgeon soon . Just wishing you positive energy and a speedy recovery but remember patience.
  • Posted

    Had radiofrequency PVI 3 months ago for paroxymal afib.  Used local hospital/EP.  In the three months that followed, my condition has deteriorated so much that I am no longer able to drive or go to work.  I now have horrible episodes of tachycardia (160bpm +) that last for hours.  I'm certain my heart was damaged by this procedure.  Any significant exertion causes arrhythmia.  It looks like the ablation has put me into permanent afib.  Other than stroke or death, this is the worst possible outcome I could have imagined.  Local EP support was minimal.  Prior to the ablation I was not taking any anticoagulent or antiarrhythmic drugs.  Now I am on both - probably for life.  I have abandoned my local EP and just saw a new EP at Brigham and Women's in Boston.  I now have an appointment for a second ablation.  He seems pretty positive that he can help me.  I hope so; the first ablation effectively ruined my life.
    • Posted

      Hi Mike,

      That's awful news to hear your ablation made you so much worse. I think your wise to see a different EP and ask how many procedures they have done successfully. Even verify with a couple of cardiac clinics who they would send you too if referring. I hope you have good emotional supports, as I know this is a very very stressful time for you. I really do think stress is the key to why AF occurs or worsens.

      I had 2 procedures with complications, and would never have a 3rd unless things got much worse, even then probably try all alternative measures possible. I was a very fit and active 50yo ran, hiked, swam, danced and kayaked to name a few activities. Travelled all day in a car for a new job and had a very hot summer here in Vic, Australia. Was going through menopause so continual sweating drinking 3-4litres water and very stressful position as well as rushing constantly. I had PAF for over 15 years with minimal symptoms, never diagnosed properly until caught it at docs 2 years prior. This one day was rushing in AM to get to work and while driving felt big heart thump and shift as I do but this was a bigger thud than usual, had a bit of a cough as it always makes me slightly breathless, then within seconds was unable to concentrate enough to drive and became severely breathless, hypoxic. Rang ambulance for myself and ended up with first cardioversion.

      I had my first cryoablaion nearly 2 years ago which I woke from with severe chest pain thinking it was normal after such a procedure. I was blue and very weak when I went home the following day. I was in AF straight after procedure and off and on the week prior to seeing EP. He then put me on small doses of atenolol and flecinaide and I took it for 3 months. I then had the 2nd which was a cryoablation with trans esophageal echo. I ended up with esophageal complications which thankfully I lived through. And found out I had a lung lobe collapse and who knows what other complication.. Now I still take the pill in the pocket of 1/4 to 1/2 atenolol and flecinaide and been in AF 8 times in the last 6 weeks otherwise was only about 5 times in last 8 months.

      I have had to quit my job recently due to stress and travel. Now looking for something less stressful and in semi retirement until I can work up my fitness level again.

      I have seen discussions on other threads and am trying to work out what the triggers are. Coffee may be a trigger, alcohol seemed to have no effect and a glass of wine kicked it out of AF once when I was out, I think cause it relaxed me. Not that I would drink it often especially after having the esophageal complications. I take 2 magnesium every day, and another 2 if I go into AF and need the meds. I do think electrolytes play an important role. I feel triggers are anything that can elevate your heart rate as then AF can kick in so am careful to relax when these times occur. I have also had it kick out on its own when had a hot relaxing bath.

      Perhaps time is helping to heal, Mike as much as Id hate to be in your position I would go for the 2nd ablation and be asking alot of questions, demanding answers. Im a nurse and I should have asked so much more than I did, went through it all by myself noone to assist. Its very stressful and you need an advocate to help you get through and ask what you cant. Pre plan, be assertive but somehow be positive about it all when you decide your action. Then rest rest rest for weeks after, do whatever makes you happy and exercise when they say you can but dont over exert at any time.

      Goodluck Mike. I wish you well and hope my long story has helped you somehow. ☺smile

  • Posted

    I had mine done on the 10th august nothing to worry about but when they start burning it does hurt but they stop and give you morphine I was worried but they were great
  • Posted

    Hi Allen had my EP Ablation for Tachycardia Tues. 3 days ago. 5 hour procedure nurses joked I was stubborn, becuase it took so long. My surgeon was Electrophysiologist in state of the at Carido center. The regular heart surgeon referred me to Electrophysiologist. I skipped the meds and all other procedures and went strait to Ablation. They enter the left and right groin. It is a "Piece of Cake" no pain I did not even take a baby asprin!! I worried for nothing.  The hard part is taking it easy when you feel so good. The entrance to the groin is so tiny that it is tender but pain free. CAUTION not to lift anything or you can bleed out through the main vein they use in your groin until it heals shut. I would do it all over again. I can breath easier so the problem could have been hampering my breath work. Stop taking all supplements and herbs 7 ot 10 days prior to surgery to avoid bleeding or compications. ( E makes you bleed) Thankful for the opportuinity of Ablation. I do not like meds. It will SAVE your Life !

  • Posted

    Hey guys l had my cryo  ablation one week ago in Geelong Victoria. Zero issues with pre tests or the actual procedure. Resting heart rate now at 58 bpm, was 45 pre a fib. The heart has tried a couple to times to go into a fib and miss beats I got up to 100 bpm for a couple of minutes but things settled quickly nothing like the 230 bpm pre proceedure. No thumping or other other carrying ons! Well I did have really have sore roof of mouth it was tripped raw and bloodied nose thanks Aneathestist. Funny how these side issues are the only complaints eh.  Still on anti acid and elqis and a reduced ditiziaem.
  • Posted

    Has anyone had any complications from ablation/ Scared to death to submit to one. 
    • Posted

      Hi Betty yes there can be complications of the proceedure and anesthetic . They are rare of course. This site discussed those complications as should your doc. Ask your doc about his or her experiences and number sof complications per proceedure they have experienced. For me the crap feeling of the AF not controllable by drugs AF was worth taking those 1 in 1000 risks. There is nothing life changing about having a pace maker if thats what is required if the node is damaged.  yes my digestive system got mucked up for 5 weeks so toileting was very unpleasant but thats small  potatoes.   I ma having my second touch up proceedure tomorrow and I am looking forward to it !

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