AF Association
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AF and Ablation

Hi, I have had AF for 6 years now and over the last 7 months I have had 4 Catheter Ablations, the last one being on 11th November 2014, and to this day I am still having problems with AF. I have irregular beat and also my heart rate will go up to 160 beats pm. These episodes will occur up to 2 times per week. When I am in AF it is very hard as I get short of breath and have chest discomfort.

I am going back to my cardiologist in 2 weeks time. I would be interested in other peoples views on this and perhaps advice on what I should do next. It has been suggested that I could have a 5th Ablation.




16 Replies

Are you sure you had 4 catheter ablations in 7 months ? It usually takes 3 to 6 months to know if one has been successful .



Yes, I have had 4 in 7 months and it is not until I start reading on the internet that I find out this is the case with the healing period. May be I should wait a little longer before I make a decision as to what I should do next. Something I will be discussing with my cardiologist when I see him.


Is that private, blimey waiting list for my first ablation has taken all but 7 months


No not private. Cardiologist considered it bad enough to proceed with further ablations.

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Wow, well good luck going forward

Got my first on then17th next week, very nervous, gord knows what I would be like after four.


Good luck with yours. Ablation is not uncomfortable at all, well wasn't for me. Was nervous for start but is a very tolerable experience.


Can't help wondering if you are talking about full catheter ablation or possibly cardioversion. As mentioned the ablation typically takes three months' healing time. I can't imagine four in just seven months!


I have definitely had 4 full catheter ablations and also one cardioversion when my heart would not revert back to normal rhythm after 3 days at 160bpm. Seems like things are done differently here. I have always wondered about the healing time as my cardiologist does not mention it at all.


Wow. That seems unusual. 6 months is minimum time my EP would even consider another one. Also you mention cardiologist - you are having an electrophysiologist perform the surgery correct?


My cardiologist is also the electrophysiologist that has performed 2 of the ablations and his understudy has performed the other 2.


Crikey Greg -- do you really mean 4 full catheter ablations & not electrical cardioversions in 7 months ?!

They must do them a different way in NZ .



Yes, 4 full catheter ablations in 7 months and also 1 cardioversion during that time. What I have had seems very intense, but you take the experts word for it. Just frustrating still having episodes of AF and still being on Metoprolol after so much. Maybe time will heal.


I've had two ablation procedures and following the second my EP ( who is the Head of the Heart Arrhythmia Unit at Duke University Hospital ) told me he had "burned just about all he could burn" and that I had a very stubborn case. I did not think 4 ablations would be possible, since they are burning and scarring the heart.


I was told the same that I was a difficult case and they were positive they had burned everything they could see that was causing trouble.


Yes, it is possible and unless you are out in the middle of nowhere with an unqualified EP, don't get worked up over this possibility. I had the same situation. 4 ablations in nine months. My EP just retired so as I headed in tosee a new cardiologist with great hesitation - above all as he was a competing Dr and hospital....

Even he was surprised to see my test results and he could confirm he understood why I was taken in prior to the "blanking period" being completed. Reasons were the following:

Rapid AF between every 1-2 days lasting 8-12 hours BPM 150-220

No longer reactive to Flecainide and Metoprolol


The positive health reasons this was recommended:

Good ejection fraction

Good Stress test

No dilation in the left atria

No valve problems

Normal blood pressure

Both confirmed the actual period is two months, although one can have ectopics, PACs PVCs.... and small episodes of AF, but when remaining in full blown AF, and so often it warranted returning before those rogue impulses reproduced like rabbits and I would remain in AF. Six months is excellent if you are having "only" wobbles and bumps as are often mentioned here. I am now waiting six months! I am now in the wobbles, bumps, ectopics....... hope springs eternal!

I've met patients who were refused ablations by my EP, and he had a very long waiting list, so these are not done lightly. The insurance company here would have refused me each time if such was the case as they cost about 25k (swiss francs) each time.

WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT IN OUR AF, as are protocols, doctors, procedures.....

I so hope you find YOUR solution, it is good to keep posting here so you can sort through everyone's experience and then apply or deny it to your own!

Knowledge is power!


Great to see other peoples experiences on here. I have learnt so much in such a short time. As you say everybody has a different experience with AF and a lot of cases can not be compared, although yours is very like mine. Thanks


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