3 bouts of Afib within 10 days of ablation

Had a cryoablation on April 15, I am now in the middle of my third bout of Afib since then. The first started in the hospital 12 hours after the procedure. The second was 5 days later and now (10 days later) my heart is in Afib again. These all lasted for several hours each. Does this mean the ablation failed? I see my E-P on Wednesday, but I know he's already told me that there is nothing they'd do immediately anyway. I'd have to wear a heart monitor again before any decisions would be made. I am discouraged, is there any reason to not be discouraged?

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  • It's still early days, regalone. Everyone says it can take three months to fully settle down. I've had one wobble, which was short lived but very disappointing.

    Even if not totally successful, the work that was done will have had some benefit, so I don't think you should feel it has failed. It may not have moved you as far forwards as you hoped, but give it time. They're getting further apart, which might give you some encouragement. But I do know how you feel. So exasperating, but though you feel back to square one, be hopeful.

    Hope it settles quickly. All the best!

  • thank you for your encouraging words. I'm trying to stay positive, it's harder to do that during an actual Afib episode. They seem to last longer than the ones I had before the ablation, but that could be my faulty memory.

  • Yes, you'll feel better when it's gone. Hope it's not a long one.

    It's a bit Jekkle & Hyde (can't think of the spelling). When in AFib we think one way, and our perspective is different when we're back to normal. Perhaps your EP will be able to give you some sort of an idea of how things may go. Hope so. It's not easy to think positively when you feel AF is dashing your hopes.

  • The worst AF I ever had was after my ablation. It started within 24 hours and I had rapid erratic beats for about 12 hours. Then another one 2 days later, then again and again but gradually reducing in frequency. Then I had a final one after about 2 months and nothing since (4 years now). So your heart will be very irritable after an ablation and wil take time to settle down.

    Mark

  • Regalone this is all very normal to me. You should have been told to expect some breakthrough events in the early stages. It take at least three months for the scar tissue which blocks the rogue impulses to from so anything can happen during that period. Were you not given a contact number for an arrhythmia nurse to ring if you had any concerns? Please remember that jus because you don't have a big zip up the front your heart has had a real kicking and will complain quite a bit. Ten days is nothing and I think you should understand that. Such a shame you weren't warned about the recover period before the procedure as I think it unfair to leave people with unreasonable expectations. You might like to mention this to your EP!

    As has been mentioned above you should not give up just yet and even if you do need another ablation later on you have already made the most important decision by going ahead in the first place. Some people find a "cure" after one procedure but many need additional attempts. I needed three but wouldn't change anything .

    Courage mon brave as Delboy might say and get those questions ready for your EP. Very lucky to be seeing one so soon after the ablation I might add.

    Bob

  • I thoroughly agree with Bob, it is very early days as yet, and as you have been advised they wouldn't do anything immediately anyway. Be patient and don't try and overdo it. Just out of curiosity are you still on meds or did they stop them immediately post procedure

    Eileen

  • Hi, I am still on all the meds I took before and was started on warfarin, 5 mg. So, now I also need my blood tested regularly. I can not tolerate Flecinaide as it makes me extremely lightheaded, so there are no other anti

    AFib meds. that have worked for me. And Xarelto made my bone marrow stop working, so I had to have a transfusion of 3 pints of blood last November when they finally figured that one out.

  • I can't take flecanide or beta blockers. Am on diltiazem which is an ACE inhibitor, as I fortunately have never been able to come off meds. But there are other meds out there. Good luck

    Eileen

  • I had my first post Ablation episide of Afib 5 days after, I had been told in no uncertain terms that if this should happen I should go directly to A&E, do not pass go do not collect £200. Reluctantly I let my husband take me, all the usual tests were carried out, ECG, bloods etc and they rang my EP who had gone home as it was gone 5.00pm, by then, but a message was left. 3 hours after my arrival I was told I could go home as I was not in any pain, all along I felt I was wasting their time as the dept. was incredibly busy. I received a call from my EP the following morning, she arranged for me to collect Flecainide from my GP the same day, but unfortunately it has not done what it says on the tin so to speak and I am now having more and longer episodes than pre Ablation which was 5 weeks ago. 2 weeks after my initial visit to A&E I received an appoinment to attend for a Pre assessment for a Cardioversion and a date, the following week for the Cardioversion to be carried out. Needless to say I was in NSR when I attended so it was not taken further, I was surprised it was on the cards anyway as I have always had PAF. I am now waiting for a further appointment, but I don't see what can be done until my 3 months are up.

  • Five weeks is still very early days, I wander if it was atrial flutter as this can sometimes occur after ablation. But do allow more time for you heart to settle down, it took me nearly 3 months to fell the benefits after my first one.

    Eileen

  • Thanks to everyone who replied to me. I appreciate knowing that sometimes people did have episodes of Afib while healing and then no more. I am going to hope for that, but do understand that certain people need, and get, more than one ablation. I would do it again, and I know it wouldn't be for a few months. I am trying to stay positive, and encouraging words do help. Thanks again!

  • It's really good to see you saying you'd have another ablation if need be, because you weren't too keen at all beforehand!

    Seems like plenty of us need time for the heart to settle itself.

  • I had ablation in november and had many episodes of Af during the next 3 months - one lasting 20 hours which is the longest episode I ever had. However it then started to settle down and have had none for the last 6 weeks or so. I am still not sure if completely successful but if not it is a lot better and if I need a second one to get the last few spots I will be happy to go for it. However having had no episodes for 6 weeks I am hopeful So I would say to you stay positive and hopefully it will gradually show results..

  • Good to read all this, I was holding back so as to not worry you prior to yours.... I've been ballistic with Afib since about one week after my ablation. On more meds than I was ever on before (pill-in-the-pocket in the past). Longer episodes, more often, more intense.

    So the doctor is going to chat this week about when to do the second ablation already- given the strong response I've manifested. There are two schools of thought, sooner than later, or wait for the full blanking period. Will keep you posted on the plan.

    Yes, I will go for the second one too... the worst (the unknown) is past. But I certainly have compassion for your situation. all in good time I suppose! Courage!

  • Sorry to hear this, iris. What a bitter disappointment. Look forward to hearing better news from you!

  • I will post once we have a clear decision for the next one! thank you, you've been there!

  • Hi iris,

    I know its been a few years but just had my Ablation with same response afterwards. Much more frequent much more intense and this is after 2 Months. Have just started on Flecainidacetat 2 x 100mg / day and its working a treat (but thats not what we had the ablation for...)

    Anyway I was wondering if you in the end had a second one (which we are discussing right now to do ) or if it disappeared after all?

    Hope someone still reads this thread...

  • Hi Hertz!

    I'd be happy to respond - don't give up!

    I will sit down to write a proper response! Only with iphone in hand and about to go to bed!

    Will write tomorrow !

    Best- Annie

  • Just clicked on your name and read your whole story

    OMFG. You went through a lot. wow. (I Wonder if it ever stopped for you)

    I only had very occasional (1 x per Month) AFs before treatment but now 7 weeks after Ablation every other day.

    After week 6 started with Flecainidacetat 2 x 50mg without any effect then moved to 2x100mg week 7/8 post ablation and that did the trick. No more AFib for 5 days (whoot!)

    What confuses me

    1) Doctor suggested a second Ablation at week 6 before trying Flecainidacetat

    2) Said my reaction is super unusual (well not so after reading this forum)

    3) He had no clue what could have caused the strong adverse rection.

    Now that since the last 5 days the meds are helping I am thinking of not going back in early but instead wait at least the full 3 Month blanking period (read it takes longer for some people but I am normally a fast healer. No groin pains insertion points healed super fast was out and about after a few days) So for any medical condition to take longer is super unusual for me . Have not been in hospital ever before.

    Secondly at some point I need to come off of Flecainidacetat and am worried about more afib. Question: when to come off? (3 Months or later after Ablation?) COme off all at once or reduce dosage first?

    Anyway as a newb to this whole afib problem which aparently I had for last three years unknowingly am now trying to find answers. Sorry if I am pestering anyone with my ignorance.

  • Hi Hertz,

    I am so sorry to hear of your disappointment. They are very tough passages. I am sure with your personal efforts to be as up to date on all possibilities and persistance with your doctor (s) you will get to the "other side". Information is proliferating at a rapid pace. At the time I started looking into AFib this site was tremendously supportive. There is much more information available now... the difficulty is finding which information applies specifically to you!

    If you read my background, it will be obvious I took an agressive approach, and in hindsight it has proven to be the right one -FOR ME! I have the rare moment of Afib "light", meaning 1x from time to time, for about 15min post meal and it passes quickly. Maximum 120bpm and quickly over. I have not gone into my old routine of every 1-2 days, 8-18hours, 180-210bpm! I require no medication anymore either - none.

    With regards to YOUR blanking period... feel better taking the flecainide?--- take it! One of the priniciple concepts is to keep the Afib from reproducing those points in the heart which will in turn reproduce more- just like rabbits! In MY case, the more I took the flecainide, it did initially stop the episodes (though took between 2-4hours) combined with Metoprolol (beta blocker), BUT, with time about 1 year, my feelings were the more often I took it, the less time I had between episodes. The thoughts of my EP were that I was one of the exceptions who with time the Flecainide became pro-arrhythmic.

    I do not regret a single ablation, done by an extraordinary EP who trained with the French originator of the procedure. It was a long haul, but we got to the other side. You will too, don't hesitate to ask more questions, even get a second opinion or change doctors. It is not unusual the 1st ablation triggered more. The necessary scars have yet to form, so go forward as you think best for you, I know that is hard to define! And all that said, if you don't feel the results you want, then go for the next ablation.

    My EP didn't believe in ablating massively, thus creating too much scar tissue and perhaps reduce the proper function of the heart years later. It is important you trust your EP.

    Anyone on this site has been through similar situations hence - NEVER think you are bothering anyone! We've all gone from ignorance to informed - hopefully. All that said you will also encounter many different opinions... which should be measured wisely by yourself. We do not have the same type of AFib, nor do any of use attack it in the same manner. Learn to trust your instincts... if I had sooner, I might not have needed 4 ablations!

    I had one cardiologist early on, tell me, no no dear, you just have little palpitations. I came in the next morning with the ECG I obtained that night - 12hours at the hospital in 180-200. I didn't want to "bother" anyone... I used to drive myself to the hospital to get the ECG and go home as I was better at home than in the hospital. My meditation practices helped tremendously, and remains to be a great support. Don't ever think anyone meditates perfectly... doesn't exist! Maybe in the Himalayas! Just learn to breathe better and slow down.... it doesn't stop the intense AFib, but you live through it much better!

    Take good care, and don't hesitate to ask anything and everything! Annie

  • Thank you so much for your kind words and information.

    Right now information is all I need to make an informed decision. I have purchased a holter monitor so am doing my own 24h ECGs.

    My frustration is that I had only one mild episode a month before ablation and was living a happy live with it. After the ablation I find myself on this forum which says it all.

    My current thinking is YES I will definitely do the next ablation!

    However as the Flecainideacetate has helped reduce to 1 event per week. I might stick it out for the full 3 Month blanking period and then reasses the situation. Some people on this forum have had improvements later in the process and I am using this forum to try and find them.

    Regarding the breathing I am also a yoga instructor and am obviously very familiar with pranayama but it only helps reducing the peak HR and I can deal with stress quite well but it does not reestablish NSR.

    Thank you again. For me just talking about it helps tremendously.

  • Dear Hertz, glad to be of help. Everyone here has a unique story, even if some sound similar. I look at Afib like childbirth! No one has the same experience. Hence no one can judge your choices!

    Sounds great with the pranayama, so you have the experience to get through this... it has held me in good stead, and yes... it didn't stop the Afib but is sure made it easier to get through - and the doctors don't know what to do with you in the hospitals, they keep waiting for us to flip! Keeps them on their toes!

    Don't hesitate to throw out ALL your questions, it sounds like you've found a wise plan for yourself. TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS!

    If you ever want more details, you can also write a perso note directly to me.

    Take good care, one can get to the "other side"!

    Annie

  • Hi Iris. What a considerate soul considering the feelings of others before posting. All credit to you .So sorry to hear you have had a return of the beast. I will be very interested to hear what your doctor says 're when to go for the next ablation. It is indeed a long journey isn't it? Take care and I will be thinking of you.x

  • Thank you, as always the support here is remarkable. As you say, it is about the journey, and I am doing my best to figure out why I am still on this one! Thank you for the support.

  • Hi Iris, sorry about that, I so get your disappointment.

    I too was far worse after the 1st ablation, the episodes were much more disabling and EP wanted to do 2nd ASAP. Had the 2nd on 5th March and apart from 2 very short episodes, 20-30 mins and 2days of ectopics because I did too much exercise too soon, I have been in NSR and starting to feel much better. Energy levels are still up and down a bit, but so much better.

    One of the worst things was that all friends and family somehow expected me to be better and seemed much less sympathetic! Except for my Darlin' Man. Just wanted to say that we are all warned that ablation can make things worse, well we should have been anyway, but somehow we cling to the hope that ablation will be the answer to taking the AF away so of course feel very let down when it doesn't work first time.

    And sometimes it may require 2 or 3. and sometimes it just takes time to settle.

    Sending best calming wishes from my heart to yours....

  • Thank you CDreamer! I was aware, which is why although frustrating - it is not "disheartening"!

    dis·heart·en

    disˈhärtn verb

    past tense: disheartened; past participle: disheartened

    1.

    cause (someone) to lose determination or confidence.

    Interesting the use of this word heart - no?

  • Good one.

  • My husband has had this surgery twice an heart still goes in an out of afib .iI feel that can't be good on your heart. Dr told him to give it time but it's been 2 months since last surg ? Any suggestions on what he should do now ? He's 54 an in great shape !

  • Had an ablation done 11days ago. Was feeling great and no Afib until this morning. Been in constant Afib since - circa 8 hours so far. Really demoralising.

    I understand that Afib episodes are common after ablation, however most of the 'episodes' I have read about on various blogs etc seem to last only a short time as opposed to being constant for many hours.

    Has anyone here had Afib for many hours following ablation that has subsequently gone disappeared during the 3 month blanking / recovery period?

    Since I was diagnosed some 8 months (by accident) I have had 2 cardioversions; the first failed, the second in tandem with Amiodarone worked and lasted a couple of months - Shortly after failure I came off the Amiodarone as the side effects were more debilitating than the Afib.

    Ablation seemed to be the next logical step but success rates for persistent Afib are only 40% or so for first ablation.

  • Hi nickr. My second ablation for Afib was 15 days ago. Recovery was a dream compared with the first one (but that is a different story).. I was blissfully happy to go from persistant Afib pre-op to totally Afib free for 10 days post-op. Then it started again and so far I have had it every day. I am in Afib as I type this and feeling very disappointed. I keep telling myself that I should ignore anything that happens in the three month blanking period, but I was Afib free for ten whole days. It was bliss.

    I guess I shall just have to be patient and wait out the three months.

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