A LOT of pain after ablation!: I had my first... - AF Association

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A LOT of pain after ablation!


I had my first catheter ablation on tuesday afternoon (less than 48 hours ago) and am now at home in a LOT of pain. Especially when lying down it is genuinely agony. All over my chest, upper back, left shoulder and arm. I have just spoken to the Heart Nurses at Liverpool Chest & Heart hospital who have said not to worry too much and use coedine and paracetamol to try and ease the pain.

I also have a swollen and sore throat from which I am coughing up lumps of phlemy blood, which I am presuming is due to having a tube shoved down my throat during the procedure which was done under GA.

AND (sorry to go on & on) my groin is still seeping blood where the three catheters were inserted!

Has anybody else experienced these post ablation issues?

25 Replies

Sorry to hear you are in pain- no experience of ablation to offer but I suggest you keep in touch with the hospital and keep letting them know how you are feeling. I'm sure others on the site will let you know of their experience. I hope the pain eases soon,

best wishes


Hi Andy, Pain is difficult to quantify as we all have different thresholds. Yes I had pain. like a stake through my chest for a day or so after all my three ablations but it soon passed. Likewise my groin was sore and swollen for a few days and it took several weeks for the bruise to fade to grey. Remember that just because you have not got a big zip up the front you really have had some serious stuff done inside. .I'm not sure that I would be happy about the leaking mind you and suggest that you talk again to your arrhythmia nurse or get a taxi to your doctor or hospital to get it checked out. After my first ablation I had a femstop (large G clamp) on me after the procedure and the nurses on the ward found me lying in a pool of blood so it can happen. No problems with no 2 or 3 in that respect.

Most important thing is not do do much over the next two weeks and particularly do NOT lift anything heavier than a bag of sugar.


Hi Andy - Get yourself off to A&E to check that all is ok. Better to be safe than sorry! I've had two ablations and after the last one in June I had a brief period of pain in my chest (about 15 mins) where I thought I was having a heart attack. No pain at all otherwise. I can't see how you should be in so much constant pain. Please go and get checked out at A&E. Perhaps ring the 111 number first for advice.

Let us know how you get on.


Maitha in reply to jeanjeannie50

Hope you feel better now

Keep thinking about you

Have spoken to the Heart Nurse as stated before and the Recovery Advice Line, both of which have said don't worry and bear with it. Both said this is not unusual and the pain is from my heart being bruised and swollen after the op, and rubbing against the 'sack' the heart is contained in. Apparently this is why its worse when I'm lying down or taking deeper breaths. As far as the blood seepage goes both have said to keep an eye on it, but again a bit of blood is nothing to worry about.

So I am going to stay in bed until tomorrow (not that I could get up & about even if I wanted too) and see how things go.

I really appreciate your comments and words of encouragement though!


Bit of an update. Feeling much perkier this evening, down to a dull ache in chest when sitting still and sharp stabs if I breath deeply or cough/hiccup. Coedine is taking the edge off, but generally improving I think (fingers x'd)

Juat need to aleep sitting up tonight as lying down still too painful.

Bleeding from groin also improved. No 'seepage' (apologies if you are eating!) for 10 hours now, mind you I've hardly been out of bed.


Glad to hear you are improving, it's scary when your'e not in hospital especially if you are in the house alone. I think AF can make you feel so isolated.


Good to hear you are a little easier now- take care

Thanks Rosy :-)


I had ablation in March, and found it uncomfortable to lie down to sleep for about a week or so. It also hurt to cough or do any upper chest movements. I had slight pains in heart/back/shoulder/lower oeosophagus for quite some time. All normal as Bob D mentioned, as the heart has taken a bit of a battering and needs rest to recover. DO NOT rush to get up and about and back to normal.......Ann

Thanks Ann. I certainly won't be in a rush to get back to normal strenuous life, but with a young family and a new baby due next month I could do with recovering sharpish.

At least when the pain & bleeding have eased & you are feeling better you will have peace of mind that you will not have to cope withAF and .... be able to enjoy lovely baby. Do let us know how you are from time to time

Hi Andy - So good to hear that you are feeling a little better. The more you rest, and I would take it easy for a good two weeks, the quicker you will recover. Wishing you well.


I also had quite a lot of pain in my heart after my ablation. I couldn't lie down easily and had to take short breaths. I took paracetamol. It lasted 5 hours as the EP had to do a lot of work. It eased off after 3 days and was a lot better after a week when I returned to work.

I had a femstop on for over 4 hours after my third ablation but mine was because of the scaring on my groin. When they did let me go they gave me extra strong big leak proof plasters and pads and told to stay as still as I can for 24 hours. Keep a close eye on it and keep away from lifting anything heaver than a cup of tea. I have been told that if your bruising is bigger than the palm of your hand in your groin /leg get it looked at especially if it is not fading.

Be Well



I've had 2 ablations and apart from a bit of discomfort around the groin, I had no pain or even any feeling at all from either op.

Funny how we are all different. Also interesting how advice on recovery between hospitals varies. Feeling quite perky but tired now. Won't be lifting anything heavy for a while.

My bruising is about 3 inches across already, Stopped bleeding altogether 36 hours ago. I was told I could end up with bruising right down to my knee and up stomach.

I have now been 72 hours since op with no AF, which is the longest period of time this year! So am quite optimistic.

That is really good news

Hello I had my ablation done on 24th came out of hospital on 27th due to a small bleed around heart. Like you I am having quite bad pains it's like a real bad burn in my chest back and a bit in my shoulder now also neck , I feel the need to keep burping all the time to relieve it then it is back again , iam taking solphadole just to ease it off a bit . Also it did hurt when I swallowed but that not so bad now . I mentioned it to ep and he said there has been a lot of prodding around in there .

I drank a lot of water trying to ease pain . It is getting better , so hopefully yours should ease soon , I'm off to see my doctor tomoz and shall ask about these pains , and I will let u know of any helpful advice she gives me . Hope your pain eases off soon .

Hello again just realised this was 3 months ago lol. How did things go with pains , Im asking your advice now


For people reading this thread.... There is one serious side effect of cardiac ablation for AF that should be mentioned - irritation of the pericardium, which can cause a fluid buildup in the bag your heart is in. It should contain 5 to 15 ml of fluid. If the pericardium gets a little burned, it can fill up with more fluid than normal. Nine days after my ablation, they went back in and drained 750 ml out of my pericardium. symptoms of the problem were:

o pain and/or discomfort when lying down, particularly when lying on the left side.

o sharp chest pain when taking a bump, like sitting down hard or hitting a bump while riding in the car

o difficulty breathing at times - a feeling of breathlessness

They told me the pain was normal too. If you think you have this problem, you will need a cardiac ultrasound to confirm it.

Good luck,


I had an ablation yesterday and I also am in severe pain in my chest .cannot get comfortable and a fib also. I did not sleep at all last wonder and wonder how long it took to feel ok ?


I would advise you to contact the hospital. You should have been given a contact number. Failing that, your GP

I had afib ablation this passed Wednesday. Had to be readmitted because if severe pressure in my chest. Had higher enzymes but tests showed no heart attack. Was explained to me that heart doesn't like the invasion and rebels with pressure and discomfort. It c omes and goes when I change positions. I have no energy and have some shortness if breath. Very disappointing because I'm normally very active. The pressure is scary.

I had a very sore throat after my second ablation under GA. In fact the back of the mouth was black and cut a little. I think you'll find you had something called an asophageal ultrasound to make sure there were no clots etc in your heart and also to aid the mapping. Most times it's easy but like everything else, sometimes it's more difficult and they have a struggle. It clears up soon but you might need antibiotics.

It seems that ablation is very varied, like most things, so the pain must be scary. Hope you find it all settles down soon.

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