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To have ablation or not?

Hello there - I have PAF which started 11 months ago & have had 3 episodes with the first 2 getting me to A&E but the last one I visited my own GP who recorded the event on ECG. I have been referred to an EP who is very willing to do ablation but has really passed decision to me - help how do you decide!!

I am a 58 year old woman & have history of heart problems (mitral stenosis & heart attack)' I am on warfarin & beta blockers.

Any advice from fellow sufferers?

10 Replies

I am a great advocate of ablation BUT this is a very personal choice to make. When I was first offered one I turned it down as I was too frightened but as my AF got worse,,, and it will,,, the decision was an easy one to make. Just be aware that the recovery time is longer than people tell you and you may well need a second procedure to tidy up. I needed three but that is me! Always greedy. LOL



I was in the same situation 2 years ago -was offered an ablation got frightened mainly because it wasn't totally affecting my lifestyle at that stage but as Bob says it will get worse. I am now hanging out for an ablation and unfortunatley have to wait. Should have had it done 2 years ago Brian


Like Bob I would recommend ablation everytime.Although I ended up with a pacemaker and an AV node ablation I wouldn't have done it any other way


I am notunderstanding why the recovery time should be so long.? My ablation was done in Mallorca; A highly skilled team came over from Spain to do mine and one other's catheter ablation. It was totally none traumatic, I had a mild sedative. went home the same evening, and was AF free for several years; Unfortunately the problem is returning, same as before,starts with discomfort in the braband area,left side, till I have to remove my bra, then the Af starts, I get out of breath sometimes sometimes worse than others. I doubt if the consultant will do anything about it,he has been 'putting me off' for 14 months. I cannot do the treadmill test due to COPD, and a severe chest infection last winter. Should I ask for an MRI scan do you think? Dirose


It takes at least three months for the scar tissue which blocks the rogue impulses to form. Then your heart has recovered and you can tell if the ablation has worked. Nobody explains this normally and it took a top US EP at Eurpoe AF in London last November to tell us that.


I agree with the idea that AF got worse by time and you may reach a point that ablation decision is easy to take

Since you are now on those medications I dot think anything more can be done , it depends on the symptoms you are having and on the way you are managing your life style with it

Like what Bob said even ablation procedure looks simple and easy but the recovery based on my and others experience may take about a month to feel better and you may need another ablation later

In my case I had it 4 weeks ago and no more AF showed up to date but I had another type of irrethemia ( new brand lol ) which require second ablation

I advise you to choose a good doctor who has enough success experiences in this regard , I think it is a major factor of. Blatant success

Wish you will take the right decision soon



How do you decide -

My own decision was fairly easy to make , at the age of 62 and being otherwise fit and still involved in active sport . With the A FIB symptoms having become persistent , to the extent that I could not continue my sports activities , I took the view that I was ready to take any opportunity to effect a solution , despite the risks.

I jumped at the chance to have a catheter ablation , and on the day of operation was advised by the e/p that the had a new laser balloon ablation tool , only a few hospitals in the uk have this , and he asked if i wished to have it done this way . The laser balloon method uses slightly higher current and he observed that the initial results were encouraging , in that ablation was a little more thorough , the operation was quicker and that they were having to do less repeat procedures. There was a small difficulty from the patients perspective of having to get a temperature sensor down my throat and I was sedated and unconscious for the whole procedure.

I am a week after ablation and feeling much more normal than before , did a couple of hours gardening yesterday and could easily go for a good walk or play some golf , however it is clearly too early to comment on long term outcome.

You may wish to look into both catheter ablation and laser balloon ablation and discuss them with your advisers before arriving at your decision. Video of both procedures are available on the net.

No advise in intended and you must form your own opinion , which ever way you choose to go , good luck.


I had a freezing balloon catherisation in 2008 for PAF and it took a little while to settle with a couple of flutters/episodes. Since then I have had 2 episodes about a year apart so I think that I would consider this a success (hope I haven't tempted fate).

I am careful of not overdoing the alchol -just a couple of glasses at any one time, and leave strong coffee alone.

Hope this helps.


Thank you for your response, I think I had exceptional medical care for my ablation, as I said I went home the same day, and carried on as normal! dirose.


Hi Walke, I think your EP is possibly not being very fair with you. Yes, ultimately it is your decision to proceed with an ablation or not, but what you need is some help in the form of sound considered advice from your EP and/or your GP in making that decision. This should be based on your specific health situation, spelling out the associated risks with what is being proposed vs the chances of success (bear in mind everything we do in life has some level of risk associated with it!). Success rates will be dependent on a number of factors (age, how long your AF has been present etc). All of the factors must be weighed against each other in coming to the decision, but you need help from "the experts" who can guide you through the process.

It is difficult to put a "score" on quality of life, but that was the deciding factor for me. (I am listed for an ablation but have not had the procedure yet). I am a 65 year old male and like to think I have a few more good years in me! I do not want to spend them feeling permanently exhausted, and gasping for breath every time I go upstairs or exert myself in any way. With Ablation I am told I have a 70-80% chance of "1st time success".

Wish you the very best of luck with this decision, but whichever way you decide it will ultimately be the right one for you having considered the options and outcomes.

kind regards, Mallet-head


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