I have been to the EP specialist and he has booked cryo-ablation for AF in July. Has anyone had this and was it successful? He has said he will look for the orgional pathway first? Also he will do a Transophegeal Echo. I am very scared but also do not want to live on drugs for the rest of my life,I am nearly 60 would you guys recommend this as worth a try? All the risks terrify me but having been in hsp April and May I am living in fear. He has also said come off all the drugs on the day which after will be a bit scary for me in case it does not work, any thoughts please will be helpful.


15 Replies

  • Candy,

    This is basically the same as a standard RF ablation except that instead of using an RF signal to burn and make the scars, The freeze the area to do the same thing. I have read many reports that state a higher success rate with the cryo-ablation.

    The procedure he told you of is called a TEE. They do this to ensure there are no clots in your atria prior to the ablation.

    I'm not sure what you meant by come off the drugs. Is that prior to the procedure? I would not think an EP would take you off of them before knowing for sure that the ablation worked unless it was only for the procedure and then back on them until the result could be seen.


  • Thank for the reply, yes I have been told that after to come off all drugs apart from warfarin for three months that's why I am a bit scared in case of AF happening again I get it really bad at over 200bpm will the ablation stop this happening in your opinion, I also have a fast heart anyway of about 90-100 which increases with wine or anxiety

    Any help much appreciated

  • It will be interesting to see how many others on here have had a cryo ablation. Be reassured that this technique has been round for a few years now, and in some respects it is safer than the RF ablation procedure that so many of us on this forum have had and benefited from. When you make an RF burn, it is instant and irreversible, whereas with cryo they can see the effect of freezing, before you create a permanent lesion. So if there is any unexpected change in heart rhythm, etc, they will see it before it is permanent. I think that is what he means when he says he can "look for" pathways - he can test freeze them before making it permanent - or not.

    There are very few on this forum who have regretted having an ablation, even after sometimes having to have a repeat procedure. Being off, or largely off drugs really is wonderful, especially if you've been slowed down by beta blockers.

    The transosophogeal echo is usually done under sedation, and really gets close to the heart so the EP has a good view of what they are dealing with.

    No procedure is exactly pleasant, but the risk profile for ablation is very good - just think of the possibility of life after drugs and the feeling of being in a regular sinus rhythm!

    And don't expect a completely instant result - the lesions they make take time to form permanent scar tissue so don't think i hasn't worked - it may take a few months of change and inprovement.

    The very best of luck from us all, and we are always here if you need some verbal assurance and tlc!

    Best wishes, Chris H

  • Thanks for your reply it has been informative I have paroxysmal AF so I am hoping for a good result as when it happens it has gone each time over 200bpm and as you said living on pills not good just am very scared but it helps when I know there are plenty of people like you to lean on

    Thanks again

  • Hi Candy, I've had one TOE (or TEE in US terms) and three ablations although RF rather than cryo.. I've been A F free now for four years and not on any drugs for AF feel that any chance to get rid of the demon is worth taking.

    Regarding the drugs, many EPs tell you to stay on them for a while afterwards to allow the heart to heal without the stress of impending AF attacks as it can take at least three months for those scars to form and block the pathways. Some EPs take a different view and I wonder where you are having your ablation done as I have a guess who it might be but won't comment. . As Chris comments Cryo ablation often has better results than RF but again there are some EPs who use a combination of the two processes.

    Try not to get too stressed about the procedure but above all do take things easy afterwards for a few weeks regardless of what your consultant tells you. Better a nice quite slow recovery than trying too fast too soon in my view.


  • Yes I was told that no drugs after ablation only warfarin for three months? Was the TOE painless? Just all very scary would you advise me to have this procedure? I keep trying to talk myself out of it but do not want to live on drugs either or put up with something you don't have too hopefully? I am under consultant who has been named highly in London.

    Many Thanks

  • Hi Candy,

    I have had 3 ablations & 3 TOE's, the last being just 7 weeks ago.The 1st two TOE's

    were done under sedation & the last one was done when I was under GA immediately prior to my ablation. I have to admit that before my 1st procedure I was more worried about the TOE than the ablation -- and that's saying something!! Do NOT worry!You will be sedated & before you know it , it will be all over.It is quite painless.

    My EP took me off my drugs straight after my ablation - so it obviously depends on who is in charge.

    I can only recommend that you ' go for it ' Candy. I had a terrible few months prior to my 3rd ablation , in & out of hospital , DCCV & every drug under the sun. It is so lovely to be drug free & back in normal heart rate & rhythm


  • Thanks that really is a help I have only been recently diagnosed finally after having problems with palpitations for years and just keep thinking is it worth trying if no guarantee but at the same time do I want to spend the rest of my life on drugs I am taking nine pills a day which are not good us either! How do you feel after each procedure and is it at all painful? What about going back to work, driving etc? Thanks again I am in Essex are you close by?

  • Hi Candy,

    You ask how one feels after an ablation -- well i can say that after my first two ablations , under sedation, I felt quite elated , on cloud 9 in fact, mainly because a) I had come through unscathed ( !! ) and b) I was back in normal rhythm . No pain. During the actual procedures , if I felt any pain I just told the medics & they upped the IV painkiller, whatever it was. No problem.My last ablation was done under GA & I have to say I felt a moderate amount of pain when I came around which soon eased with simple analgesia.

    I had no worries about coming off Amiodarone -- I was only too pleased to drop it.In fact my EP stopped this a week before the procedure. I am of course still on Warfarin & will be for the foreseeable future & it is not a problem for me.I use Bisoprolol ( beta blocker ) as a 'pill in pocket' if my heart rate starts to rise. If you are concerned about dropping your meds afterwards , do ask your EP about having a standby of one of your drugs to use as an emergency 'pill in pocket'.

    You are normally allowed to drive one week after your ablation to allow the groin time to heal properly . I believe the DVLA allows you to drive after 2 days though.As for returning to work -- some people go back in 2 - 3 weeks . It all depends on how you are feeling & what kind of work you do

    I'm 68 & have long finished working -- just as well because I wouldn't have been much use to anyone these past few years!I live on the South coast in Worthing & had my first ablation in London at The Heart Hospital & my last two in Brighton ( same EP for all three )

    Hope this helps you a bit.


  • Thanks so much for your reply it has helped a lot. Do you still find that your heart rate rises? I just hope it stops it all,bless you having to have it done three times are you finally free of AF now? Shame you are not closer to me as it would have been great to have a chat but grateful for your help it makes me feel a bit easier. Like anything scary but when it is your heart it is very frightening I think thanks again.

  • Sorry also how about the fear after doing without the pills?

  • Hi Candy,

    My ablation was combined RF & cryo by Richard Schilling. He both made rings in RF and used a cryo balloon around the pulmonary veins. It worked well for me. Is yours pure cryo? There was one vein which had too wide an aperture to use cryo safely, so that was RF only. It might be worth asking him what would happen in these circumstances.


  • As far as I am aware it is finding the pathway then cryo for the AF? Also TOE beforehand. Have you been cured now? How was it all? Thanks for any advice

  • Yes I was cured. It was OK, no real problem. I felt a bit uncomfortable afterwards. I had a back ache that night and couldn't sleep, then my chest was uncomfortable for a few days and I couldn't breathe deeply. Plus I had bad AF and tachycardia for a day or two afterwards. But it all went away. No reason to worry, just go with the flow and thank your lucky stars you live in an age when such things can be done!

  • Thanks for the reply it has helped me glad to know it worked for you.

    Please god I can get rid of it too!

    Thanks again

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