In from the unknown...how I found out about AF

Before I get underway I'd really like to hear from you, particularly if you've had a successful ablation.

It began for me in 2009 when visiting a Urologist he checked my pulse and advised I see a cardiologist. I was diagnosed with Atrial Flutter and was explained risked and the reason for some side effects.

I now need to take you back to 2007, not sure what time of year, but I recall waking up and catching my breath - it was quite frightening at the time but I had no idea what was going on. I carried on with life, the daily commute which was train or cycling, general exercise (I like being active) but I found myself falling asleep when I shouldn't and found myself unable to finish some runs or run at a good pace.

I went to my GP explained my tiredness and was put through lots of blood tests - al returned healthy.

So it was the Urologist who found the culprit in the end and only because he too had AF that he checks his patients.

I underwent a Cardioversion in November 2010 and felt fantastic after a particular run. It was short lived and found myself undergoing another Cardioversion in May 2011. That too failed and I decided on a Catheter Ablation which I had in February 2012.

Now, for those in the know, Atrial Flutter is corrected by ablating the right atrium, a procedure that lasts about an hour (I think) and you're in and out same day - I'll refer back to this shortly.

In May 2012 it was announced to me I was cured of Atrial Flutter - I felt great and relieved. Back to urology, I was due an operation middle 2013 and was found to be in Atrial Fibrillation - if I was honest with myself, I was suspicious.

The upshot is I am due another Catheter Ablation on 10th Feb 2014 and this procedure I am told takes about 4 hours and requires an overnight stay.

Please can you tell me your experiences. I am hopeful of success but I have been told 40% will have to have a repeat.

My medication currently includes warfarin and amiodarone.

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  • Hi Cob

    You asked for feedback from people who had had a successful ablation so here goes. I had severe AF 10 years ago (couldn't stand at times), put on drugs which kept it under control but had weird side-effects. So had an ablation 8 years ago. It was very straight-forward and immediate 100% success. I had the groin wound so had to take care with that of course, but other than that I just took it easy for a few days but even managed to work. I was told to expect the AF to continue for up to 3 months after the procedure, but it didn't at all, it just disappeared. So I was off drugs for 8 years and totally normal, but now something is returning and that has to be dealt with. Just been put on some new drugs which have worked very well, and awaiting the next move from my EP, probably another ablation.

    I also had another ablation (sort of), a year or so ago, but the AF had gone away, so they didn't do any ablating. Again, only the groin wound to contend with.

    First ablation was done under local which was fascinating and a breeze, second I was put out for the count. Had to stay in hospital 2 nights on the first ablation because I got a slight infection in my wound. 2nd ablation went home the following morning. Couldn't drive for week which is a requirement I believe, or was.

    It is worth noting that my AF was 24/7 and the EP said that because of that we had the advantage that they would know whether they had got it or not and his words came true. I get the impression if you are not in 24/7 AF, then it is more likely they may miss a bit and need to repeat may be quite soon afterwards. I don't know what I'm talking about, but that's what I have picked up.

    Good luck

    Koll

  • Hi Koll, thanks for coming back to me. Interestingly I am in AF 24/7 but by comparison I haven't experienced the severe side effects as you. There's general optimism but circled with caution.

    My weakness is the advice that BobD offers below in that I'll have to keep my exercise under control in the short term.

    Good luck with the next round of treatment, I'll post my outcome in due time

    Cheers

    COB

  • Hi Cob, I was diagnosed in 2004 after many years of missed opportunities (GPs are remarkably thick sometimes - it took a house move and change of GP and yes her mother had it so she knew about it.) I had my first ablation in 2006 which failed and a repeat in 2007 which worked for about 8 months and my third in 2008 since which I have been AF free. I still get ectopics and occasional tachycardia but not AF. All three of my RF ablations were done under general at Royal Brompton Hospital in London even though I live in North Devon. 4 to 5 hours is about right usually as they have to cross the heart to the left atria . The worst thing is lying flat for hours afterwards but all being well you can go home so long as somebody is with you. I did tell them once that my wife was waiting in the car park but forgot to tell them it was Tiverton Station car park. Started to regret that about an our into the three hour journey so take it easy. and plenty of rest for a couple of weeks regardless of what they tell you. It takes about three months for things to settle down so don;t worry if you get some funnies along the way. The driving thing seems to vary as last time I was told 48 hours but frankly you wouldn't want to anyway for a week.

    Bob

  • Thanks BobD, my weakness is exercising too soon so I shall heed your advice - I've pretty much jumped into running and 5-a-side after my previous procedures.

    I hope your wife forgave you!

    I'll write up my experience post op

    Cheers

    Adrian

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