Ablation or Medication?

Had my first meeting with EP last week...having been diagnosed since August. One cardioversion in September which lasted one week. I'm on amiodarone 200mg and bisoporol 10mg, warfarin and a diuretic. left atrium measures 5.3. heart rate around 125. Amiodarone worked for six weeks and then I reverted back last week just before seeing EP. Docs up here in my area won't change meds to try others that I have requested. Offered ablation instead. I'm not sure what to do. Can I request to find a doc who will work with changing meds? Can I find a Rhythm Center and an EP more experienced than others? Are we even allowed to ask these questions on this forum? Any help greatly appreciated....and Merry, Merry to all of you!

17 Replies

  • Most of us who have had an ablation have been in your current situation. I will list my reasons for actually agreeing to an ablation:-

    I am lucky to be offered a £15,000 procedure.

    My AF is getting worse. I am only functioning at half rate.

    Am I being poisoned by all these drugs? 4 lots and they're not working.

    I feel like death warmed up half the time. I dare not plan ahead in case I feel rotten.

    Is all this fibrillating damaging my heart?

    I am becoming increasingly unreliable because of my health.

    If I do not take this opportunity then I will live to regret it.

    I have read about others who have had an ablation and one lovely lady actually came to see me. They all lived to tell the tale and were positive about it.

    Whatever you decide, I wish you well.

    Very best wishes.

  • Personally if ablation is an option I would seriously consider it. I have had afib for over 10 years and as it has become chronic, ablation is apparently no longer an option as the success rate falls drastically,

    so I would do it if it is being offered as an option. I envy all the people getting ablations on this website honestly and they all seem happy about it.

  • Spiritji, it's such a personal decision as you recognise. I don't think that an EP will offer it unless there's a fighting chance of success.

    I am 4 months post-ablation and so much better than before. They were surprised at the condition of my left atrium and, long term, I may need a pacemaker. I'm lucky to have that option, it would not have been a choice a few years ago. I will never regret the ablation. I dread to think what state I would be in now had I refused it. Like everyone else, I hesitated before agreeing to go ahead with it.

    Very best wishes.

  • Thank you spiritji and jennydog.....yes, it is making more sense to me as I read everyone's thoughts. Blessed be.

  • Hi Journeyart

    You can ask whatever you like on the forum, as long as it's legal and decent and not abusive.

    Look none of us are medically qualified, but what I would say is that if the CV didn't work and Amiodarone does not work, then the chance of other drugs working is pretty slim. Amiodarone is probably the strongest rhythm drug going.

    Yes you have a right to another EP, easy to Google and find the "famous" ones, couple in London and then dotted around, but please be prepared for the same answer. Ablation sounds like your only choice potentially and going back into NSR with your CV is a good indicator an ablation may work well.

    Be well


  • Ablation is indicated if drugs fail and trust me it is not the terrible experience you might think it is. The sooner the better in my view BUT do understand that it is part of ongoing treatment and you should not think of it as a cure. The recovery period is three to six months following which you may well be symptom free but be prepared that you may need a second or even third procedure over time.

    Merry CHRISTmas to you also.


  • At the Patients Day, EP's said that, statistically, ablations produced better outcomes than drugs, I think by quite a margin?

    My EP changed my drugs 4 times in quick succession to get the one that worked on me. Guess if it's your EP who won't change your drugs, she or he has a good reason? But if you're not happy, ask for a 2nd opinion. On the other hand, if I (and I'm not you) were being offered an ablation I'd pull their arm off.

    Good luck whatever you do.


  • Thank you Koll, Ian, Bob and jennydog! I really appreciate these responses and I see more clearly now. Any clues as to who the superstar ablationists may be? thanks again!

  • The ones with the long waiting lists, perhaps!

  • Sorry. That's unhelpful!

  • But funny! Thanks. One thing i continue to enjoy is laughter.

  • There's nothing better. Merry to you too.

    I think Jennydog's list is well worth thinking about, by the way.

  • Hi Journey

    Always hesitate here, but you might wish to check out the AFA website and look at the "Trustees and Medical Advisory Committe" it would be a good start, but if I were with unlimited funds, I'd probably seek to be treated in Bordeaux. It is however very much personal opinion.

    (Bet the hospital food would be edible :) )

    Be well


  • And the wine good! That glass of the grape with dinner is one thing I miss....jogging as well.

    Thanks for your well wishes, time and interest in helping me and....all of us.

  • You need to choose a conveniently located hospital a you will have to go about 4 times in all. Where do you live? We may be in a position to advise. I was seen at Liverpool where there are 7 EPs working.

  • Hi jennydog. i live in scotland and am in the region (two hours away) of the royal infirmary at aberdeen...

    7 EPs! There must be a large health center in Liverpool.

    I find it difficult to dig deeply into staffing..... and experience of docs from their website. I have been assigned to EP Dr. Jonathan Affolter. I asked how many ablations he had done and his answer was about 200.

    Thanks for your help.....with all of us....

  • That is probably more than my bloke had done when he did my first back in 2005 and he was one of the top men in London.. Remember it has only been around for about fifteen years. All very new science and people forget that.


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