AV Node ablation, I've read that much I am lost on the benefit

I only found this site when I was given a booklet from Clydebank Jubilee Hospital when I had my second ablation on 3/2/14.

My brief background, I'm 58, took a reaction under a simple day case general anaesthetic to investigate a lump (turned out to be an abscess) they had to use the defribulator to start my heart, but my rhythmn was screwed up. I ended up with a pacemaker fitted a few months later.

I had paroxysmal AF and was controlled with drugs, I was on amiodarone, but after 6 years I had part of my lung removed as they thought it was a tumour, turned out it was a browny sticky stuff and did not know what it was. About a couple of weeks later it had spread to both lungs and eventually it was diagnosed as amiodarone lung toxicity.

Since I came off the amiodarone, the AF came back, my pacemaker gives the exact time and number of occurrences and for the last year I have been permanent AF.

I had a PVI ablation in August and it lasted 6 days in NSR and same again in Feb, 6 days of feeling great then bang it was back.

I have been on Bisoprolol for 8 years and only over the last year have felt totally lethargic, breathless, lifeless and some days good for nothing. Up to last year I was regularly walking 20 to 30 miles a week. I seen a different cardiologist and he reckons it could be the bisoprolol that is causing me to feel so rotten and changing me to verapraamil. If I still feel the same in a couple of months he is proposing an AV node ablation.

I have been trying to read about it, and searched this site and read all posts but confused when it is said you are still in AF 24/7 after the event and then dependant on the pacemaker to speed the heart up, how does it make you feel better?

I would love to hear a few first hand reports from anybody who has been through this procedure.

I normally take everything head on with health issues, but the AV node ablation just sounds such a drastic, irreversible procedure.



9 Replies

  • Hi Tom

    You're up in my hubby's childhood home area, I see, lovely up there... I feel bad posting because I know nothing about AV node ablation, except that it regulates the heart rate, means you will always need that pacemaker which sounds quite drastic because you're still young. It's supposed to make AF more tolerable, I see reading back through past posts, but I'm surprised they aren't giving normal ablation another try.

    If you're worried about it, why not talk it through with your EP? They should be willing to listen, it sounds like a big step to propose. Plus there are other drug therapies...

  • When they tried the ablations, they had exhausted all the drugs, I don't know why but before the EP did the second ablation he said he would do extensive ablations and did not think he would be trying a third time.

    I will be asking a lot more questions before they go down this route.

  • Hi tom

    I had an AV node ablation in 2010 and it certainly has improved my life. It does not stop the af but does stop the symptoms of it, so although you may or may not be aware of the fluttering if you took your pulse it would be normal as the message isn't getting through to the ventricles to beat faster. Yes you are pacemaker dependant, but depending on who does the procedure you might not be totally dependant on your pacemaker. It won't affect what exercise you do although they do advise that you don't do contact sports. It certainly won't stop you walking. I was 62 when had mine done and I have not been in hospital since.

    All being well you will be able to come off you af meds, but you will be on an anticoagulant for the rest of time. Unfortunately I am still on mine as they are for high blood pressure as well.

    It was not a difficult decision for me as I was so symptomatic,

    Good luck with your decision and feel free to message me with any further questions?



  • Having re read your posy, you fell better cos you are symptom free and you are unaware of the pacemaker and they are so good theses days they adjust to whatever you are doing, see my other post


  • Thanks Eileen, I have a pacemaker already and agree you forget its there after a while. I'm beginning to think the same was as you that since I am so symptomatic the decision is pretty much taken for me.

  • Hi Tom,

    I am 80 years in the making and January 29th of this year I had an avnode ablation. A brief background. I am not sure when my proximal afib started but I was diagnosed with persistent / chronic afib along with chronic diastolic cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure. I was seeing an ep doc at that time he began treating me with various rate and rhythm control meds, including tikosyn over a period of 18 months. None of the mess were successful. He then offered me two options amiodarone or av node ablation and I chose the ablation. I had a successful ablation l started takingshort walks 2 weeks ago and today I walked a mile. I must admit that I stewed over this but in the end I am so glad that I had it done, at this point in my life I feel better than I have felt in years. I didn't intend for this to get so long. Feel free to ask any questions you might have.


  • Alboyne, Has the AV node ablation made a big improvement?

  • It made a huge aimprovement, I am beginning to feel so much better. I am 80 years old and before the ablation I was resigned to the fact that I was going to live out the rest of my days fatigued and depressed.


  • good to hear you feel so well now Edward- very encouraging for us!!

You may also like...