Persistent AF

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There seems to be lots of people coming onto this site when they are ill. I was hoping for some more post treatment information on how successful it was.

I am now 41. I had my first bout of AF in 2002 on waking up one morning. It stated as 4 hours of tachycardia, but then became an irregular rhythm. It did not go away on its own and I was successfully DC cardioverted six months later. The tiredness and malaise was quite severe and I was partly off work and partly on light duties.

In 2006 I had a second bout, and it was nowhere near as severe as the first one, I again went on light duties. I was given Amiodorone for the first time and it definitely improved my symptoms, but I did not autoconvert. I was successfully DC cardioverted in a private hospital a few months later.

This March, I suspected I had AF again as my pulse was thready and irregular and went to A&E. They confirmed it was indeed AF again, and it is the mildest I have ever had it. Not so bad, an inconvenience I thought. Also I was lucky that I was able to get on a consultants list and get it done quickly.

Well I just had the DCCV again and it did not work. I did not ever consider that it would be unsuccessful and I will now be referred for Ablation. There is alo the possibility of another DCCV before then privately, but having one failed already, is it worth it.

It is also by no means certain that I will be considered suitable for ablation either. But will abaltion work for what looks like it may be a permanent condition? It looks like Imay have permanent and lone or idiopatic AF, as I do not have any real risk factors, as I excercise, I do not smoke or drink excessively. (I am slightly overweight by BMI standards, but the n nearly everybody is!) I have mild hypertension, which is well controlled, and is in the upper end of the safe range when checked regualarly, but I suspect there maybe spikes when I sleep.

So now I am losing weight as fast as I can in prep for another bout of DCCV and/or ablation, and avoiding any other risks.

This has affected my life quite seriously if not medically. I am in a job I don't care for, but it doesnt bother me , but in my spare time I am an Army Cadet Force Instructor, and it is near impossible to fulfill my role with this condition, especially if it is likely to become permanent or severe.

I find it very depressing and every morning now I wake up sad, thinking that ny life is all down hill from now on, and I don't think I can face it if this is permanent sad :cry:

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4 Replies

  • Posted

    Hello Andrew --Don't be so down on your condition smile . I have had AF diagnosed now for 2 & half years and it took 11yrs before they could find anything wrong with me. I must say I was terrified at first of my condition which is now controlled reasonably well with Sotalol & Aspirin.

    I have just retired now from a job I didn't like very much and have just been for a 7 week holiday to Australia & Thailand. I was very worried about going on this holiday incase I felt unwell while I was away and almost cancelled at the last minuite. The moment I got onto the plane I felt much better and was fine during the whole of my holiday. It has proved to me that a lot of it can be mind over matter!

    It seems to me that [u:ab967f91e1]my condition [/u:ab967f91e1]becoms a problem for me when I am under STRESS or worry. So now I just clear off down to the greenhouse and I seem to forget all about it.

    I will probably have to have the ablation op one day when the drugs don't work for me anymore. They tell me that it is a very sucessful operation in most cases and fairly straightforward. In the meantime I am going to try and enjoy my retirement! :lol: So cheer up now I have!! :lol: Jean

    [color=darkblue:ab967f91e1][/color:ab967f91e1]

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  • Posted

    Thanks for your positive reply. Has anyone else got any stories successful outcomes to catheter ablation or successful DCCV despite previous failed attempts?

    I am worried I may be denied any further procedures

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  • Posted

    I had three ablations in a year. The first one was for atrial flutter and then they found atrial fibrillation. Had an ablation for that and thought I was cured, blissful sleep with no palpitations. However, it returned after two weeks with a heart rate of 120. I was put on tablets and had another ablation last July. Apparently it is not unusual for the ablation to work for 30% of people first time but the other 60% need another one. I am now cured and thankful I had the three ablations. They are not a problem. You are awake throughout but you don't feel anything. The palpitations were getting very bad before I had the first ablation and all the tablets they put me on just made me feel lethargic and I put on lots of weight. I was on Warfarin after the ablations but not jsut take dispersible aspirin. So glad now and I would advise/urge anyone with similar problems to go to their doctor, get referred to the consultant and press to have the ablation.
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  • Posted

    Hi Andrew,

    I know it won't help if I just say cheer up, but I do want to get across to you that all is not lost, there IS a solution. I was in my early 40's and at the height of a fabulous career when it got me, and I must admit I have been very depressed about the effect on my life, BUT 3 ablations later the palps have stopped. I had to stop too though, and whist I was very depressed about this, its given me the opportunity to follow a dream I'd never have gone for if I hadn't been forced to get off the career-treadmill.

    Ablation does work, so I would go for it while you are young. Also once it's done, you'll stay out of hospital and you'll have no problems with travel insurance, whereas it can be hard to get insured if you've had a cardioversion more than once.

    Why ablation? The trouble with AF is that it causes [i:92f44680c5]more[/i:92f44680c5] AF so the longer your heart is allowed to do its thing, the more likely it is to continue. This is because the heart's electrical circuits work like the brain's and the electrical patterns set in and become habitual. However, one thing you could try before an ablation is [b:92f44680c5]quitting that job you don't like[/b:92f44680c5]. That might sound a bit OTT. but it's not nearly as OTT as getting really ill. As Jean pointed in her post, stress makes it much worse - and a job you don't care for [i:92f44680c5]is[/i:92f44680c5] stressful. I sometimes wonder if I could have avoided a long and complicated medical history if I'd just listened to my distressed heart and quit the damned job as soon as the problem started.

    In my view there are two caveats with ablation; (1) it works, but you may have more than one arrhythmia and you may need more than one ablation. (2) you must be vigilant afterwards and insist on being taken seriously if you think there is something wrong. It's a low-risk fast-recovery op, but any procedure can result in complications.

    I wrote a long post (called 'AF, Ablation, Warfarin and PE' or something similar, you can find it easily) which explains a complication I have lived though. I don't want to put people off having an ablation, but I do want to alert folk to what can happen if a complication is ignored.

    Finally I doubt very much you'll be refused further treatment; the very fact that you've needed several CVs should make you more likely to be offered an ablation.

    Good luck with moving forward on this. Truly it is not the end, and for you, like me, it might even be the beginning ;-)

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