AF Association
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Ablation Fears

I had pre op today for an ablation scheduled for 11th Dec and it's all getting a bit real! I still can't believe there is anything up with my heart and keep expecting someone to say they have made a mistake.... That said I want my life back and want the proceedure. I currently take warfarin and Sotolol (Bisoprolol didn't work for me) And I'm coping quite well most of the time but recently getting bouts of a sharp "pinching" chest pain and like an electric shock down my arm lasting a split second but makes me fearful and sweaty! Does anyone else have this? My ECG today was entirely normal. Sorry for length of post, I'm new and a bit frightened again. I'm 44, otherwise fit and healthy and my ablation will be almost 12 months to the day when I collapsed in the street thinking my heart was going to burst out of my chest. Finally, any tips on keeping my INR in range, as I do t want to get geared up for it to have it postponed.... Oh, and will I be up to cooking the Christmas dinner??? Thank you

12 Replies

Hi, I know just how you feel I had my ablation 2 weeks yesterday and

I can hardly believe how well I feel, and Im 77. Im on bisopopol so I

cannot help with the warfarin question. As regards cooking well Im

back in the kitchen but I must admit that after making Sunday dinner

I was glad to sit down. Its far more involved making Christmas dinner

unless you have helpers. Im back doing my normal household jobs

but taking plenty of rests in between chores. Try not to worry about

things and just go with the flow. Good luck, Shirley.


Hi Shirley, thank you for your reply! I've got too teenage girls who are a great help and I've explained I'll be tired but as a single mum, I'm used to rushing around and ignoring my own needs. im normally quite stressy but not this year! Take care and I'll follow your advice and rest. X


Can I just deal with you last question? Will you be able to do Xmas dinner exactly 14 days post-ablation? The answer is "yes" provided that you do a substantial amount of preparation pre-ablation. Do as much shopping as possible now, get stocked-up. Post-ablation you are going to have to pace yourself as you will have bouts of fatigue and you will need to rest as much as possible. It takes at least 3 months for the heart to heal.

I haven't met anyone who regrets having an ablation. Good luck.

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Great advice Jennydog. Preparation is all. W have done the Christmas cake and made the mince for the mince pies and sincee we always make or own stuffings that is the next job for next weekend. Cheat like mad and use Aunt Bessies roast potatoes and parsnips and her yorkshire puddings as well if you have to. We do but then make work for ourselves by doing sprouts the hard way. Do rest plenty for at least the fist week and then please pace yourself.


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I'm heading for the long walk to the Cath lab next Wednesday. I know what you mean about thinking that there is actually nothing wrong. Despite a few earlier episodes it was only July when I was confirmed with AF and like the typo I just made I really wish it was FA but ignoring it won't make it go away. All the research I have done suggests that early intervention is better than leaving it to develop particulaly as you're so young. There are lots of great post on this forum about pre ablation worries which will give you confidence. Good luck!


Hi, yes my EP said the same about early intervention and I don't like being dependant on the medication so this is the right choice for me and I feel so unfit and unhealthy now and want to swim again !!!! I am nervous but this forum is very helpful in alleviating those fears. Thank you and take care. X


Hi, I had an appointment with my E.P today, and have agreed to have an ablation, waiting list is around 3/4 months so will be in the new year. but I appreciate you feeling nervous.

I'm sure it is the right thing to do, I think we know deep down that getting to the source of the problem is what we really want, and to be honest, listening to others experiences,ablation does not sound to bad. Always a worry hearing the risks involved, but they have to be open with them.

Hope it all goes well for you.


10 years ago I collapsed with AF whilst Christmas shopping (total stress for me!!!) and eventually had an ablation. It was brilliant and worked immediately. Felt a bit funny for a week or so and had to be careful with the groin entry point; showering, keeping clean etc. I had mine under local and I was apprehensive, but it really was a breeze. I'd go as far as to say I actually sort of enjoyed it. It was fascinating. Time went by very quickly. I remember feeling a pain when they started ablating and the word "morphine", then that was that, out like a light and next thing woke up in bed.

Also no AF since to speak of, except I've got something else now being dealt with by drugs at the moment.

I had a 2nd ablation to try and nip a small amount of AF that was returning, and my INR dropped out of range but they went ahead anyhow. They asked me to get between 3-4 and I dropped back to 2.5 just before the procedure.

I wouldn't hesitate to have another, under GA or local.



1. They don't offer an ablation to people who don't need one

2. INR: I had trouble and had a couple of postponements because of dropping out of range. I led a very dull, regular life for 6 weeks. I ate no greens and as little vitamin K as possible and tried to keep things very similar from day to day. No salads. No parsley. No alcohol. No mango, ginger or chickpeas. Also (obviously) no cranberry or grapefruit. The veggies we had were beetroot, aubergine, sweetcorn, mushrooms, and butternut squash. Monotonous! It helped that my other half was on a strict low fibre diet at the time. I walked the same number of miles each day. My INR still wasn't stable, but it stayed in range for 5 weeks and that was long enough. It did in fact leap up in the four days before the ablation - I can't explain why unless it was stress - but they didn't mind.

3. Christmas Dinner: Maybe you will feel fine, but why not be organised as jennydog says and take a supervisory role, letting the family do the bulk of the work?


Great advice above, the rest as much as possible - do as I say not as I did! I felt so great 2 days after the ablation I was spring cleaning the house, BIG mistake. Take it very, very easy for week 1, remember you will not be able to drive for 7 -10 days (legally for 7). Then gradually, very gradually you can safely increase your activity. Your heart will be swollen and will take time to heal, although you won't feel much. I found that doing the slightest bit too much physically gave me ectopics and other types of arrythmias for about 12 weeks so listen to your body and stop doing and rest before you think you need to, hard but essential.

The unknown is always scary but it really is a breeze, far less traumatic than having dental work!

Keep posting and let us know how you get on.

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I am 4 weeks post ablation, the first 2 were the worst with AF jumping in and out. So did not do a great deal the 3rd week was awesome and did a lot more, only to overdo it and set myself back to AF.

I guess doing the lawns and whipper snipering is off the cards for a couple more weeks.

My point is that like you I didn't feel so bad and thought I really didn't need the op, however now that I have had it I am not sorry, yes there is pain, yes there is tightness in the chest, yes there is AF that comes and goes in the first couple of weeks and can go up to the 2 months.

But having seen the light at the end of the tunnel I am still positive that I made the right decision.

Good Luck, but you wont need it.


Reading all the above makes me realise how lucky I have been. I have had 2 ablations under local anaesthetic this year (February and September). The first lasted 5 hours, which was a bit of an ordeal, and I have to admit that it was painful at times. The second (to clear up some remaining flutter) was only 1 and a half hours. It was still painful during the procedure itself, but not afterwards.

I have had no subsequent pain or problems, and my heart went into and remained in sinus rhythm straight away. In fact, they let me go home the same night after my 2nd ablation! I didn't really feel particularly tired after the first day or so, and was able to look after my husband, who fell ill just before my op, and was supposed to have been looking after me!!

I'm 56 years old and am on warfarin, bisoprolol and amiodarone. I see my EP next month, and I think that the telling thing will be how I react once he takes me off amiodarone. I have been told I may need more ablation(s) in the future, but I may not!

So, we are all different. Recovery takes as long as it takes, and we have to listen to our bodies.

Finally, I don't know if this is common, but my INR went up from 2.6 to 3.6 after the ablation. I presume that this is due to the extra anticoagulants you are given during the procedure, but just bear this in mind!

Good luck !


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