Ablation procedure: I was offered a general... - AF Association

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Ablation procedure


I was offered a general anaesthetic for ablation ,or to keep still for 4 hours,so I opted for being put to sleep, as 4 hours seemed too much.

|Has anyone else done the same|? My EP did say that my enlarged heart might make things difficult , so maybe that's why it could take so long?

Hope I've made the right decision . My first Ablation!

13 Replies

Hi. Mine took 5 and a half hours. I was sedated but don't remember much and definitely had no inclination to move! I would be happy to have the same done again but it may be that your E.P. wants to guarantee your stillness. I would do whatever my E.P. is happiest with personally. X


You have made the right choice. All three of mine were done under GA as my EP wants that. It does mean that recovery takes a bit longer but since you are supposed to rest a lot afterwards that is no hardship in my view. Anything between four and six hours is not uncommon.



My first two were under sedation only, both around 5 hours found them uncomfortable so opted for anaesthetic for my third although totally unaware recovery was much longer. Went on to have pacemaker and then AV node ablation and both done under sedation, totally unremarkable.

I think it comes down to how your EP feels you will cope with it but if in doubt or a worry wart like me would have anaesthetic.

Everyone is different and we all handle it in different ways.

Good luck,

Wendi x

I also had a GA and would do the same again as I am a fidgit and wasn't sure I could lie still for so long. When I spoke to one of the consultants before the procedure he said that being asleep makes it easier for them. All the best :)

I've only had one ablation (so far touch wood) and it took around 5 hours although it was fairly straightforward. I was offered both sedation or a GA but as my EP had originally suggested sedation I went with that. I can't remember anything about it so I'd go with that again if i have to have it re-done.

Sedated both times, 1st lasted about 7 hours, 2nd about 5 ish. Didn't move as they do give you a light paralysis drug with sedation, IF you have an anaethetist, not all EPs do. The advantage of having sedation with an anaethist is that if you do move, they can swap to a GA if needed. I remember a fair bit of the latter part of the procedure, but not much as you drift in and out of sleep.

Getting over a GA can take 2-3 weeks whereas sedation - about 48 hours - no contest as far as I am concerned.

My EP insisted on a GA. I don't want you moving around he said. I also have DCM. My ablations have all been between 4 and 7 hrs.

My EP wanted me to have a GA. He explained that he wanted an anaesthetist to be looking after me so that he could concentrate on the ablation without worrying about me. They had to do a cardioversion during the procedure as my heart started to fibrillate. I knew nothing about this until they told me afterwards.

Always remember that Bob said root canal dentistry is far worse and he's correct!!!!!!

Sorry, but who or what is an EP ?

BobDVolunteer in reply to SNOWHAMMER

An Electrophysiologist. They are the rhythm specialist of the cardiology world.--- the electricians to the ordinary plumbers. In most of our opinions they are the only people worth seeing if you have AF as normal cardiologists don't seem to bother much and just stick you on some nasty drugs. Many don't even bother with anticoagulation!

My ablation was whilst sedated. I was told it could be anything from 4-6 hours, but was all done and dusted in 3. I did feel a little discomfort a couple of times, but when I expressed this I was given a little more sedation. 3 hours passed in what seemed like minutes. As a few people have already stated going under general will make your recovery time a little longer. My wife was under GA last week for a small procedure and it took her a full week to get over the anesthetic. Good luck with your ablation.

I had mine with sedation, but was given the choice. Having had a very nasty 'hangover' from the one GA i'd had before i was keen to avoid it. Although the ablation was only 2 hours it wasn't a pleasant experience and if offered a GA next time (which i've been told is likely) then i will take it.

I have two Ablation procedures and both times I had a GA. Thought it was ok, they send you to sleep and wake up when it's all finished. Apart from feeling a bit drowsy it was fine, and as Bob says you need to keep still and relaxed whilst recovering anyway. The only after effect I have experienced is a slight migraine about two days later after my second Ablation.

If I need another I would go down the GA route again without question.

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