Clutching at Straws

Had a lovely chat with Vicky with AFA today and we were discussing the fact that it's the AFib episodes that causes enlargement of the heart. As a result of our chat, I'm going to ask about having another Echo as one of the consultants when I was in Glenfield Hospital last November told me that my heart was slightly enlarged but it was reversible. I'm guessing it's not as simple as attacks stop, heart reduces, and all this goes away, lol?

I wish.

My plan is to hopefully get through the next 6 months without an incident then see my Cardiologist about referring me to an EP for CA. If I have another attack before then, go straight for an ablation. I'm guessing, Bob, that you suggest having one sooner than later to minimise long term damage?

My Cardiologist told my on Sunday, that as I'm relatively young, (47), I'd have a 75-80% chance of success. Any thoughts gratefully received.

Thanks again,


16 Replies

  • Hi Nige, I think your right Bob would give you sound advice, in fact ..... I think most people on here might say go for it sooner than later.....the longer you leave it the chance of going into permanent AF wishes


  • I think you are right about reversal- my understanding is that the size reduces if the AF stops.

    Decisions re ablation are often made on whether the symptoms are causing problems- best to research all the literature (loads of studies of ablation on line)- and get several medical opinions about ablation, and then an opinion based on your own clinical position

  • A lot depends upon how frequently your episodes of AF occur. If it is something that is once or just a few times in a year, your echo may reveal no further enlargement of your heart. Moderate exercise is important to help keep your heart healthy and keep it from becoming enlarged also. I've had paroxysmal AF since 2001 and every year my echo shows no enlargement and an unchanged ejection fraction (a measure of how efficiently your heart is pumping) If you have a low burden of AF symptoms and episodes, the risks of ablation may outweigh the benefits. Everyone is different. You and your EP/cardiologist need to make your very individualized plan.

  • I've certainly got to do something. I've had 6 attacks in 5 months. The latter 2 needed a DCCV to convert me back to sinus rhythm. Nothing else worked. So far, I've followed strictly the rules re the 48 hr window and I feel so much for those in continuous AF.

  • Hi Nige

    Wrote a long reply and site crashed (hope it wasn't the reply). Anyway a valuable lesson in being succinct.

    By all means hope and plan for the best, but prepare for the worse, please don't get too disheartened if your AF has other ideas (mine did I had a number of false dawns where I thought I'd cracked it last year). Please ask to be referred to an EP now, as it will probably take 12 weeks to get a first appointment anyway. They are not just for ablations they are the heart rhythm specialists, and will be able to discuss and advise the options and your best course of action (drugs as well as procedures).

    A successful ablation does offer such promise for symptomatic and drug free life as it used to be it is hard to resist. See how your symptoms pan out and take to your EP, it depends on many things.

    I hope you manage 6 months free of AF, please pop back and let us know if you do (and how) :-).


  • Thanks Jo. I'm sure it wasn't your reply that made the site crash but you certainly put a big smile on both me and my partners faces. Just feeling a bit sorry for myself at the moment as this thing seems to be accelerating way out of control. Re the EP, thanks and I'm on to it. Going to phone Cardio tomorrow. Today I've gone in and out of sinus too many times so whilst I've got to stay optimistic, I currently feel it would be a miracle if I stay in sinus for 6 weeks, yet alone 6 months.

    Time will tell and I'll keep everyone posted.

    This forum is amazing. Thank you so much, everyone :-)


  • So can I ask what happens to the heart of people who have persistent AF.

  • My untreated persistent AF caused me to have Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) After a successful - for 14 mths- 3rd ablation and 3 years of meds that diagnosis changed to Diastolic heart failure, as my heart was now normal size but still not performing well. Now I have been back in AF for a while and my heart is enlarging again. Hope ablation in Feb knocks that on the head!

  • Hope so good luck

  • Fingers crossed Barb

  • Please can I also ask what happens to the heart in those of us in permanent AF? How would we know if our heart was enlarging?

  • They discovered mine was through an Echcardiogram

  • Thanks NJ47 - did you have any symptoms to suggest your heart was enlarging - or was is just identified by chance when you had the echo? I am in permanent AF and have no real symptoms - just the very occasional strange feeling in my chest/ chest vibrating/very few palpitations - not sure what I should be looking out for - or is it something that can only be seen on an echo?


  • They told me about after an Echo last November but because my heart had enlarged they wouldn't let me try the pill in the pocket approach. I wish you well on your journey, Marion, too:-)

  • I think you'd need another echo Marion.

    Also, (guessing) think it would depend how vigorously your heart was fibrillating as to extent of enlargement- which is muscle build up.

    We've got our monthly meeting tonight so if I get chance I'll try and ask our medical lead if my guess here is on the right lines

  • I would like to know what's an EP a DC a CV and a CP. Normally I know that CP is chest pain. Please enlightened me thank you anybody


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