My experience my Ablation of Atrial Fibritation

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I am suffering from AF since 20 month. The first time it appeared was in holidays, I was swimming for 30 minutes in chilly water, suffered probably a bit of hypothermia, had some coffee, a hot shower, some alcohol the days before, I was laying in bed and then my heart started to beat wildly and fast, and I was very scared. At that time I didn't know of the existence of chronical AF, so I continued drinking loads of coffee and working under a lot of pressure, and the symptoms appeared more frequently. After a year or so I went to the GP, then a specialist in the Royal Free Hospital, and ended up in the Heart Hospital, waiting for my ablation in a couple of days from now on.

I was very scared of the operation until a few day ago, when I came to this website, and read some post of others having undergone ablation. I am looking very much forward to do the procedure, as it is such a small amount of suffering compared to what I am suffering now.

AF is rising not only rising the risk of Stroke, but the Atrium enlarges with time, so it is damaging the heart slowly, but I heard this process can revert when it is caused by AF. Anyway it is really best to do the ablation as soon as possible. My symptoms start when I am tired and try to relax, lay down or sleep. And I can stop it by taking beta blockers and exercising: Just a few minutes of cycling will be enough to go to sinus again, and I will always try to stop it to avoid further enlargement of the atrium. Last night I went to bed at midnight, Af started, I got up cycling, it stopped immediately, I went to bed again, woke up at 3:30am with AF, went cycling to stop it. So I really prefer ablation to that kind of torture.

I would like to help people to take their fear from this operation and share my experience with them, that' why I am writing this. I want to keep others informed ablout ablation.

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  • Posted

    I promised to report my experience about my ablation. Unfortunately, the procedure has been cancelled due to illness of staff, so I will have to wait a couple of weeks. I just talked to the staff (everybody was so nice and helpful!), and a guy who just came out of the surgery. He was immediately fit afterwards, and we could have a a conversation. There is very little pain involved in the procedure, only if they go from one heart chamber to the other, and you just have to ask for more sedation, they will stop and give you until there's no more pain.

    More to come hopefully in a couple of weeks.

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    • Posted

      hello im considering having an ablation but im scared. you said you wrote this article to alleviate fears about having an ablation but you gave me more fears. you said you feel pain if they go form one chamber to the next but all you have to do is ask for more sedation. i told my dr this and he said you will be asleep, there is no pain. who do i beleive? and you said oyu have to have electric shock which hurt. i want no pain. i cant even handle having blood drawn for warfarin testing one month prior to ablation. ive never had an iv, i bet that hurts having needles in back of hand. and i heard anasthesia makes one feel like crap when you wake up. and im scared during the ablation the dr will damage me. so i will probably just change my lifestyle to stop the

      ablation. drs never discuss lifestyle or thoughts. not nice. cant eat leafy greens on warfarin? how be healthy prior to ablation? doesnt make sens. dont trust drs. they too often injure. hospitals too.

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    • Posted

      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.

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    • Posted


      You've had a rough go!  Thank you for sharing your story.  How's the recovery been since you last wrote?  I'm a 40yr old male in good health.  I've had heart palpatations/skipped beats/ectopic beats for 20 years.  They would only come a few times per year so I never thought much of them.  In November of 2014 I went into full on Afib for 2hrs and had to get cardio averted.  At that point I was in daily afib mixed with other strange beats and tried Flecanaide in varying doses for a month which caused vertigo like effects and switched to Rythmol which works better, but still have some afib episodes a few times a week.  Matropolol was added to slow my heart rate.  I finally opted for the ablation as this was rediculous for a 40 year old in good health to be in 3 different meds daily and STILL having afib symptoms.  The ablation went similiar to yours.  Hurt a bit when they pulled the 3 sheaths out.  There was also a lot of blood in my urine for 3-4 days after the procedure due to trauma in the urethra during catheter insertion.  I'm not sure how gentle they are once you're knocked out?  Anyway, got home and felt good overall, minor chest pain and elevated resting heart rate of 90-100. I felt this was rather high to be at this rate all day everyday, but doc said this is "normal" for post ablation.  I had read that an elevated pulse rate is normal, but once you're approaching 100 it seems a bit high.  I'm now on day 5 and woke up in Afib.  Took a Rythmol and it went away in 15min.   Average heart rate is 110.  Do you or anyone else reading this have any experience with a rate this high for extended periods of time?  I asked the doc if I should take a beta blocker and he said no.  It seems most Dr's don't worry much regardless of symptoms until they become severe.  I would prefer to be proactive and not wait for something to get out of hand.  I'm under a bit of paranoia/stress as well after the ablation with these symptoms.  Hard to know what normal really is?  Thanks for your help smile

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    • Posted

      Hi Simon,

      Your experience is very common. I'm writing this from the hospital, I had my second OP Ablation done yesterday.

      The first was back in September to fix AF, my doctor told me I'm advance that most probably I will need a second one as well.

      After my first Ablation I experinced most of what you describe. Climbing two steps of stairs will have me feel like after a marathon. Same thing with the broozing. I felt lots of back pain due to long time (5hours) in the OR without moving under complete sleep.

      For those of you that fear pain, no worries, you will be completely out and will wake up after all is done. The week after is uncorfortable and you might feel some chest pain, rapid heart but and even Afib or flutter but this is common.

      I was put on Flacanaide, Xarelto and Metropolol. The last made me feel a bit dizzy and a few month later I started having strong episodes of almost blacking out, like you are about to faint. They put a heart monitor for two days followed by a 30 day event monitor. They managed to see that I started to have A Flutter something that maybe was there for long time but could not be detected due to the Afib or was caused after the Afib (a bit confusing I know). They noticed that my black out episodes where caused when my heart was Pausing to get back to normal sinus. Due to the fact I'm only 38 (male) I didn't pass out but for an older person he would most definitely pass out.

      They stopped my Metropolol and these episode never came back again.

      Today I'm a day after my second ablation to fix the flutter and retouch what was done back in September. According to my doctor it went well. This time I feel great, no shortness of breath when I walk, bearelly any bruises but my heart is raising at 120-140! I don't feel it but they decided to keep me for an extra night and gave me Cardizem IV dripping to slow it down. As I'm writing this im down to 80-100.

      I hope this time is the last one.

      If you suffer Afib or SVT I would recommend this option, the risk is minor and the technology improved much in the past 5 years. Growing older with AF has many side effects, one of them is Dimencia!

      Now I need to wait 3 month to know if it was successful, promis to update it.

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    • Posted


      I'm due to have ablation for af next Thursday. Here in New Zealand it is not performed under general anaesthetic but only with a local in the groin area. I am not looking forward to lying awake for 2-6 hours while they do their job

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  • Posted

    Here I am just back from the hospital. This time, waiting was much less frightening, as I had done at least the waiting once before. It was a bit scary then when they came to get me, but in the first couple of minutes they start with the sedation, and immediately I lost all my fears. The procedure was during three and a half hours, but I was sleeping at least two and a half hours of that. Yes, there is some pain when they make the holes for the catheter and much later start the radio frequency waves, I did wake up a couple of times, but after saying it hurts they immediately give a bit more sedation, and I dosed off again. It is quite funny to see the catheters in the heart on the monitor, and I have to say I do really admire this kind of advanced technique, the room full of computers, monitors and the MRI technique and so on.

    When they were coming to the end, I heard the doctor saying: You had a very positive ablation. There is a 90% chance we solved your problem. In other words, they found all the wrong electrical pathways and destroyed them. Now I only have to way another three month to see if anything regrows, so fingers crossed. I will let you know in a couple of month and post more on this website.

    Everybody who is still worried I have to say that there is very little pain involved, especially when you see what you could gain with a successful ablation, a life without AF and the risk of stroke or liver and bone damage from years of medication. Go for it!

    I feel so thankful to the team that did the operation, and that I was lucky and the first try gave me positive results. I entered the hospital with AF, and yesterday, after the operation, was the first night fro about a month without AF. My heart is a bit fast, but that should be normal in the next weeks. It is like they gave me a new life, I now might have again the chance to get old and enjoy life without the restrictions of AF.

    I wish everybody a successful ablation and a very positive experience as mine was.

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  • Posted

    Back I am, so still I want to add some more information.

    about five days after my ablation I had very strong palpitations, very likely because of the operation, that is quite normal. Though, it was so strong that some blood clots could form, I was not back on my protectiong level of warfarin, and I had symptoms of a TIA (mini stroke). No damage to my brain fortunately. Another problem occurred (CAN OFTEN HAPPENA AFTER HEART SURGERY): left atrial trachcardia started, that is basically an nerve impulse that goes round and round in the heart, making the atrium beat very rapidly, I think much more than 200bpm, with a resulting pulse of 120 bpm. That is not dangerous, I just need to have a general anestetic and a defibrillation via electric shock. It is very annoing because I am not private, and I have to wait 6 weeks before they can do it. Afterwards everything should be ok.

    My reccomandations: Take it EASY after the ablation, don't take a week of work off, take TWO WEEKS, and if you are a builder or something similar, six weeks are much better.

    Careful with lifting anyting heavy, ANS ESPECIALLY STAIRS!!!. No sport for at least six weeks, and, DO NOT OVEREAT, your stomach wil press on your heart, and it does not feel good, I think thats where I got my palpitations from.

    Be prepared, it takes a while to get better, don't over do it !!!

    so all the best for you!

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  • Posted

    After an ablation it is possible to become atrial trachcardia, especially in the first three month, which means there is a nerve impulse going around in the atrium, making it beat at up to 320 bpm, resulting in a heart rate of 117 in my case. This is stable and cannot be treated with medicine, just an electric shock will help. The only problem was I had to wait for three month to get this treatment.

    So on friday they did a cardioversion. I had a short genaral anastetic and got one electric shock to the heart, that was absolutely suffcient,

    I have got a normal heart rate since then, and I hope it stays.

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  • Posted

    [color=orange:a693e0bc03]No more problems with irregular heartbeat since cardioversion.

    I am cured. It is like getting a normal life again, and a good life expectancy as well.

    Thanks to the experts in the heart hospital and the nhs!!!

    regards C[/color:a693e0bc03] :D[color=red:a693e0bc03][/color:a693e0bc03][size=18:a693e0bc03][/size:a693e0bc03][size=24:a693e0bc03][/size:a693e0bc03]

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    • Posted

      Hi Guest, I had cyro ablation on Monday 24th July 2017 and I feel like I have no energy, my breathing hasn't improved and I generally feel unwell.

      ?I thought my breathing would improve imediately. Can you tell me how you felt after your op and how long was it before you began to feel better

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  • Posted

    After about 10 month in sinus I got tachycardia again. I had another cardioversion, which was successful but changed back to tachycardia after two weeks. I had to wait about three month for another ablation which then took nearly 4 hours. It was very successful, I am in sinus now. I am feeling very normal two weeks after the operation, I even took the bicycle to go to work. Next week I will start to do a little exercise.

    It seems to be quite normal to have two ablations. The do a bit more burning the second time. It was a little painful, but nothing to worry about. I was very scared before the operation. This time I was wake all the time.

    In my experience ablation is far more effective than drugs.

    I would be interested to hear other peoples experience with ablation as well, did it work with you? How many times did you have to undergo the procedure?

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    • Posted

      Hi, I had my ablation awake 15 years ago and have been symptom free until 2 weeks AF is back with vengeance. When I had my first op I understand ablation was relatively new so it's good to hear more common now.hopefully I can have the same procedure soon, although I need to go back and see my doctor yet
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  • Posted

    Hi thank you for your post on your condition which was very informative, I have yesterday 23rd Feb had catheter ablation of the left hand side of the heart, the procedure took about 3 hours. I have since the procedure had a number of ectopic beats occuring every fifth beat then sometimes every other beat I am also in quit a bit of pain. The doctor told me this is not unusual (the ward nurse did not seem as confident it was that common). I had already previously had 2 cardioversions and taking Amioderone to keep me in sinus rhythem I was running 4 miles twice a week. I was wondering if you new of any links to other people that had the procedure as I would like to talk to someone who has had the procedure.. good luck Graham Norton
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