AF Association
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is it normal to be breathless after ablation

I had my ablation just over a week ago. The puncture wounds have healed beautifully

but still have a lot of bruising, I am getting the odd flutter from my heart but the worst thing is the breathlessness when going up stairs or walking is this normal after ablation?

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Hi KK - Yes I believe it's normal. I had my second ablation 5 weeks ago and felt washed out for at least two weeks each time after both of them. I don't have stairs in my house so don't know what I would have been like if I did. I worried about so many things in those first two weeks and at one time even thought I was having a heart attack because of pains in my chest. It was all unnecessary, but there you go - I couldn't help but worry! Were you breathless going upstairs before you had your ablation?

Jean

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Hi jean, Yes I did get breathless before the ablation that is what is worrying me but reading the forums you can still get a-fib for some time after so i'm relying on that theory. Karen

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I had my ablation 7 days ago. I get tired easily and am out of breathe doing steps of any kind. My heart still races at 120 bpm just resting, all day. I had an ekg on day 4 and everything was normal. Iam still getting palpatations though less frequent. My cardiologist put me on toprol xl to slow down heart rate but it doesn't seem to be working. He says it just takes time for the heart to heal. Today is day 8 and i am experiencing chest pains a s fatigue. I know i just need time, but it is hard not to be anxious.

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You are absolutely right about it being hard not to be anxious. Today marks 3 weeks since my ablation and every time my heart rate is higher than 80 I get epigastric pain that radiates to my chest just like I got prior to rapid AF episodes but I tell myself my heart is healing to get thru it. Take the advice from this amazing group and rest while your heart is healing. Hope all will go well for you and this is the only ablation you will need

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Are you taking flecenaide?

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Hi jeanfeannie50 I am 10 days post first (hopefully last) ablation and sailed through the first week. Then 8 days in I was up most of the night with pains in my chest and like you thought it was a heart attack. It really hurt to breathe and bad pain upper part of chest. Is that how it was with you? I have been very tired ever since and sleep a lot but no more pain

I have found the forum so very helpful and it was largely due to all of you that I had the ablation. I learnt to be much more relaxed about the AF which helped enormously and being just one year in and intolerant to Flecainide and Amiodarone it seemed worth a go My thanks to all of you Penny

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Hi Penny - My heart pains were around the 5th day after my ablation and were very much the same as you describe. I've also spoken to someone else on this site who had the same thing. Did you have a general anaesthetic or sedation? The tiredness can be overwhelming for around two weeks following the ablation, after that you should gradually start picking up. Don't forget it takes 2-3 months for the heart to heal and form the scar tissue that will block those rogue electrical pathways. I thrived on Amiodarone, but unfortunately it was damaging my thyroid - have to go for a blood test next Monday to see how it's doing now that I'm just taking Warfarin. Yes, I've been greatly helped by everyone on this site too and give my thanks to all who post advice here.

Jean

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Hi Jean It is really interesting that you and another had a similar experience. My cardiologist suggested it was muscular but that doesn't hold up since it appeared after I went to bed, went within 12 hours, and I hadn't been lifting heavy furniture! It is strange how some thrive on one medication whereas to others it is a disaster. I am now just on Sotalol and Riveroxaban, the Warferin never reached therapeutic levels and I stopped Digoxin after the ablation so I feel there is progress. I had sedation and knew absolutely nothing. Sorry about your thyroid, I hope the tests are good. We just have to be patient Best wishes Penny

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Hi KK

I had my ablation 9 weeks ago and still get episodes of breathlessness from time to time .Often without reason e.g sitting still watching TV. Also get episodes of AF but only 2 that have been bad the rest have trailed off quite quickly and nothing like before the ablation which were severe and almost daily . I was told to expect this and it doesn't mean that the ablation has not been successful.

Fi

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Overall, are you feeling more normal? Energy levels good enough to exercise?

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HI KK, as a three time ablatee I can say yes it is quite normal. I must stress that it takes up to three months for the scar tissue which should block the rogue impulses to form so it is open season on all kinds of funnies during that time. Some people are very lucky and have no problems whilst other suffer for some time. Consider this. When the bruising in your groin and thigh has faded to grey then your heart may be starting to heal.Just because you do not have a huge zip up your front doesn't mean that the poor old thing hasn't had a good bashing! Please take things easy for at least two weeks and then slowly start getting back to normal. Time heals.

BobD

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I have just found this site. I had a catheter ablation 4 days ago. I have been stopped all previous heart medication except the Warfarin which remains a constant. As we are at the beginning of a weekend now, when there is typically no help available, I find myself SO out of breath, far more so than I was before. I had to go to London, yesterday, something which would not have floored me even when I was in AF. I missed three trains because I could not get up the stairs quickly enough. I have NEVER felt such breath-lessness, even in AF when my medication was too low. It is scary. Nobody said I could expect this - only that I would have a resurgence of energy, which hasn't happened because I get out of breath so very quickly and my knees turn to jelly and my hands are constantly trembling. Is this to be expected? As I have said, it is the beginning of a weekend and there is no way I can get any answers now. I am really distressed.

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Jossikins, Maybe you are doing too much to soon. Your heart needs time to heal. Wish you the best

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It could be a symptom of silent Afib. Hopefully it is just your heart adapting.

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go home forget work and heal. my dr told me just because you cannot see a heart scar down the chest doesn't make heart surgery any less. this is my 4th Ablation and I feel much more breathless, tired, bruised, it took 4 hrs and complicated. so rest up.

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I had an Ablation 2weeks & 2 days ago and after reading the experiences below suddenly feel quite lucky.. I was told that I could exercise fully after 1 week but to rest for 48 hours after the procedure. I rested For 4 days to be safe. I didn't exercise for 7 days and then just went for a 1 mile brisk walk. 1.5 miles next day and then last 4 days ago added in some light running so ran and walked intermittently for 5k. I wear a pulse strap and keep to below 170BPM (pre opp I used to push to 186 max)

I get breathless episodes not all the time sometimes I feel fine in fact 2 days ago I ran 5k at a good pace and felt fine. Today I couldn't complete without walking and eventually stopping for a rest at 3.5k

I know why I am breathless I now get periods wher my pulse goes as low as 30 BPM I not on any mess. Had the Ablation as mess that slow the heart were not an option as I have a naturally low pulse. 30 though is extreme. I wear the pulse belt periodically to monitor my progress.

When you get breathless. Check your pulse for slow or missed beats if it is slow or missing 1 in 3 etc. a sharp few coughs can sort it for a while.. Mine is getting less frequent. Today is a bad day but still better than some I had in the first week

as I say until I read this forum I was beginning to wish I hadn't had it done. I had a coping system for the AF AN FELT THAT I WAS NOW WORSE OFF. I will give it time now. But if your breathes as well it could be missed beats or sustained very low pulse as it is with mine now. Has anyone else tracked their own heartbeat over time I"d be interested to compare results

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Exercise should be avoided for at least 3 months post Afib. The heart needs a lot of time to heal. Make sure to change your diet. Preferabbly to a plant-based diet, eating smaller meals. Eating uses up a lot of the heart's resources. Try fasting for a few days. Water fasting has been known to promote faster healing in the body.

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According to my consultant the phrenic nerve, which controls breathing may, only may, be damaged but will heal itself within one year. My ablation was in Feb this year and the breathlessness came on slowly until I felt that I couldn't even walk 20 metres without getting terribly out of breath. However, I have recently been to Berlin and had to tackle several overground stations with 2 and 3 flights of steps to climb to get to the platform. After 3 days I was, and still am, feeling that normal breathing is finally coming back. Breathlessness is par for the course after ablation so don't despair, try a little exercise every day and you will notice the difference within a week.

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Hello everyone, I had my first ablation two weeks ago. and for the past three days I've been feeling chest discomfort, difficulty breathing and general fatigue and shortness of breath. On a really bad day I have no energy whatsoever. Is this normal? My doctor said that he had to cauterize several spots in my heart, I was under general anesthesia for 5.5hrs.

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I had atrial flutter ablation on Monday, Wednesday afternoon, I started feeling chest tightness, pain to breathe. My husband took me to the ER later and after 4 hours, I was diagnosed with the beginnings of pneumonia. Chest pain was an expectation after the ablation so I waited until the pain was unbearable before I went to the ER. Don't do that to yourselves.

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It may be the drugs you are taking. Flecainide always make me feel weak and anemic.

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ouch, Ncernaa. I developed cardiomyopthy from taking Flecanide too long. It kept my heart rate too slow for too long and damaged the muscle.

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