Catheter Ablation

Hi All,

I have just joined the website and it is nice to know that I can share my feelings with others who are in the same position.

I had a routine examination at my GPs and was told that my heart was missing a beat. Later in that week I had an ECG and was diagnosed with AF. I read a lot about the symptoms of AF through seeing articles on the internet, eventually I saw the Cardiologist at my local hospital.

A few months ago I had a Cardio version which put me back in sinus r for a couple of weeks. I dont think it had anything to do with it but went on a strenuous bike ride just before my heart reverted back.

On Monday I had a Catheter Ablation at Harefield hospital which took about 5 hours, I was very impressed and thankful to all the medical staff who treated with the utmost kindness and respect.

I am now back in sinus rhythm which is wonderful and I am back on Warfarin and other drugs. As my AF was persistent I have been warned that I may need more C Ablations but I am hoping this may not be the case.

I feel much better and hope to be back at work on Monday, I am checking my pulse regularly to make sure it is still behaving itself ha ha.

I always feel uneasy about taking time off work for sickness and try to minimise it as much as possible but you need to take what you need as I believe your health should come first. All the best David

28 Replies

  • Hi Rainman and welcome

    An uplifting story, welcome to the site, I am sure your experiences will help others.

    Just be careful about going back too soon, an ablation is a real shock to the body.


  • Hi Ian. I will certainly heed this advise. Regards David

  • Hi David and welcome to the fold. I hope things go well for you but must warn that in my view Monday is far too early to go back to work. Just because you do not have a big zip up your front doesn't mean that your heart hasn't had a good kicking. If you knew what they did in there you really wouldn't be in such a hurry. It will take at least three months for the scar tissue which blocks the rogue impulses to form and you may have a few funnies along the way but we are here to support each other. Please take it easy and don't rush back despite what the doctors may have said. When I had my first back in 2006 I wasn't allowed to drive for two weeks. Now they say two days I think. Slowly and softly is best. Trust me.


  • Hi Bob, I will certainly listen to your advise and will be taking things easy. I am fortunate that I work in an office and I dont do anything physically demanding.

    However, I will only do some light exercise such as walking.



  • Hi Bob, the DVLA most recent regs say you may not drive for one week after an ablation, according to the hospital info I was given by the hospital on Wed after my 2nd ablation.

  • That makes more sense as I always thought two days was far too quick. There is also a question over GA as this changes things. Some PVIs are done under sedation whilst all three of mine were under GA thank goodness and GA is a 48 hour driving ban for sure. The point is the slower the recovery the better from my experience.


  • Hiya and welcome from another newbie x

  • thank you.

  • I think it depends on each person. I did go back to work one week after my ablation. That involved a long drive up to Northwich and a stay overnight. It wasn't ideal but when you work for yourself you don't get a lot of choice. As long as your work isn't physically too strenuous I don't see a problem with a week. I note you're a fellow cyclist - I'd stick to light exercise for a month though (walking etc.) and then build up slowly after that not getting back to strenuous work for another month.

  • Hi and welcome rainman, (my spellcheck insisted that should be trainman!) - I'm not in the ablation club so just popping my head round the door to say welcome. And also that a lot of people have said take it easy after an ablation, and I'm sure they are right. You look after yourself, don't do too much too soon.


  • Hi David and welcome

    As I said in another post, I had AF 24/7 and my EP said because of that the ablation was likely to be a success because they would know straight away whether it had worked. He was right and I had 8 years clear of AF and all drugs except aspirin and later warfarin. He said I most likely would need another ablation in 5-15 years and he was right as after 8 years I'm getting something back, but new drugs are keeping me completely clear at the moment.

    Hope your ablation is as good as mine turned out to be.



  • Hi there, I'm always interested to read about folks who have had the ablation, I've got my next meeting with my specialist soon and I know he will say the same thing to me ' do you want an ablation or not. its your choice'. I'm just not sure still. I'm interested when I read of other, on the many varieties of medication, such as Warfarin, I'm not on any of them and am told I don't need to be. My question really is, do you have other heart conditions that has made you need such medication ?.


  • Apart from A.F. I have a really healthy heart and arteries. I had no medication for 10 years unfortunately because then I had 3 T.I.As as a result of clots forming in the heart so now I am on warfarin to stop this happening and flecanide to stop the symptoms of A.F. A T.I.A. is a kind of mini stroke that leaves no lasting effects. As I am sure others will agree it is worth having your stroke risk assessed at least although mine had been assessed and deemed to be ok without warfarin , it clearly wasn't! I don't mean to alarm but it's worth having a talk with your doctor or better still ask to see an E.P.(electrophysiologist ).x

  • Hi steve60,Just interested why if not need to be on any medication do you need an ablation

  • Hi there, it was one of three options he gave me, have an ablation, go on medication (tried Flecanide it did nothing !!), or do nothing. He said everything else is fine, I just have a 'Flutter', my father has lived with it for over 40 yrs on no meds, I told him that and he said, I suggest you do nothing then.

  • I would say that if someone has AF taking the drugs is a precaution that may ptevent a strok e. So if I had not had a catheter Ablation I would be on the drugs at least.

  • Steve, I too was wondering why you might need an ablation but not drugs. If you have an arrhythmia, then drugs may get rid of it at least for some time/years. All I've ever had is an arrhythmia, no other problems (that I know of!). K

  • Hi Steve, I am fortunately in that I have no other heart problems except high blood pressure for which I take prescription drugs. I had an Angiogram and an Echocardiogram and both were fine. The latter showed slighly thinkerning of the walls of the heart due to blood pressure.

    Perhaps the persuading thing in my case to go aheard with the ablation was family history of people having heart problems. Regards

  • Hi Steve,

    My heart is otherwise fine having had an Echo and Angiogram. I do suffer from blood pressure and take medicine for this.

    In my case it was as much to do with high incidences of heart problems in the family that persuaded me to go ahead with the Catheter Ablation.



  • Hi Steve if you have AFib you are 5times more likely to have a stroke, even with 1 episode of AF therefore if nothing else you should consider anticoagulants to protect yourself. My CHADS score was 0, I was advised to still take anticoags. My EP's words were without you risk a stroke which will leave you in a chair, a bed or a box. Much as I absolutely HATE taking them, having read the evidence and studies, I take them.

  • Hi Rainman, good advice from Bob and Beanman. I have an ablation planned too sometime in July/August at Bart's with Professor Schilling on the 'joystick'. I have always been active and have competed nationally and at 2 World Mountain Bike Championships and 3 World Cyclo Cross Championships . Retired now and thought I would have to resign myself to not being able to compete again now that I am in AF. So it was so exciting to hear Professor Schilling say he couldn't see why it could not be fixed with an ablation so I could compete again. I have had two cardioversions, the first one worked for 5 months and I fatigued badly when I went back into AF so much so my manager noticed and I was signed off sick for some months by occupational health. Second cardioversion lasted only a week and ironically after getting used to it again I have been largely asymptomatic which I put down to a regime of global fitness and yoga and 3 part breathing. No one should beat themself up on bringing on AF from exercise/riding their bike after a cardioversion after initial recovery as it is important to stay fit and healthy and in the end the AF would have comes back anyway as cardioversions only give a short term respite and are not long term solutions for the condition. I am on warfarin but I have been told by Professor Schilling that if it wasn't for the ablation I should not take it as with a Chadvasc2 score of zero I am at more risk on it from a serious bleed then I am at risk of a stroke. I have also been put on Amiodarone to help with the ablation. This is a drug I am reluctantly taking given it's known and serious possible side effects. But having every confidence in Proffessor Schilling I am taking it as he said it would help him identify where to ablate me. He described my heart as a boisterous classroom and the Amiodarone would help him identiy who was really making all the trouble by quietening down the the heart with the drug. Interesting he compared my ablation to the reconstruction of my knee afte a sking accident. Stating I could have managed ok with my knee but I had it operated on to improve the quality of my life and so it is with the ablation as I could live well without the ablation and be drug free in persistent AF albeit not be able to compete seriously again. Guess what I reckon I have got a few years left in me and I want a world vet championship jersey and another Three Peaks Cyclo Cross win :-)

  • Prof Schilling did my ablation and it's still lasting 4 years later. He's the best in my view and I take pretty much all he says as gospel. I used to row and I think that was the root cause of my AF - any endurance sport can bring it on.

    Concerning fitness levels, there's a standard loop I do round here on my road bike (including a couple of hills). Pre ablation when I was in NSR I could do it in about 27min 21secs. After my ablation it had increased to 28min 15sec. But that was after quite a layoff. Generally I don't push myself as much as I used to for fear of generating the inflammation that caused the problems in the first place. My peak HR doesn't seem as high as it was originally either. When I went on bike rides, my friends' HR would go up to about 170 on climbs whilst mine never seemed to go above 140.

    I have however stopped using my monitor now, it was too distracting and made me anxious!


  • Rainman in my experience I believe that the self employed and business owners go back to work and drive within a couple of days, Employed persons take longer much, much longer….it's not a judgement but a fact of life IMO

  • Hi rainman and welcome,funny how many of us are cyclists,

  • hi all It's been some time since I last wrote on the forum I still keep reading all your questions and answers. last week i had some great news from my cardy doctor been clear of AF now for the last 14 months so to you all there is light at the end of the tunnel. In the past it was really scary 4 cardioversion later I now feel great. but still on medication. Doc said to take it easy and enjoy life. off on holiday next wek for 7 days, sunsine here I come, booked a cruise at the end of april of this year - so to you all I hope you receive the same good news as me, I must admit that I have learned a lot since I joined the forum so to those who give sound and reliable information thank you.

  • Hello rainman.

    Welcome, you have come to the right place,help is always here When you need it.

    As the others have said take things steady.


  • Hi Rainman I had my ablation at Harefield nearly 6 weeks ago and like you I was in the Lab for 5 hours . I have been back at work for a few weeks now and still in sinus rhythm , I like you was told I may need more but am very hopeful. All I can say is do not be too hasty to go back to work I had 3 and a half weeks off and am so glad I did after my first week back I was so tired I don't think I would of coped with going back sooner. It is a huge shock to the system and just because there is no scar outside there are plenty inside. I hope you carry on feeling well.

  • Its slways nice to know how other people are doing in this situation. I will take it easy. Regards Davie

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