AF episode symptoms post ablation

For my curiosity, here's a question to those who have had successful ablations and have been AF free for say 6 months or more.

You'll know that many folk find that laying on their sides (usually the left it seems) can bring about an AF episode. It's guaranteed with me, every time. It starts with an increasingly uneasy feeling in my upper digestive tract then, in less than a minute, unless I respond by turning onto my back, I'll drop into AF.

If you previously had this seemingly ubiquitous pre-episode symptom, what happens now when you lay on your sides?

15 Replies

  • Nothing. I am post ablation 12 months. It took me 3 days to stop taking my pulse because I couldnt 'feel' my heartbeat, this was especially noticeable at night and I could lie on my side and not have any consequences , very strange to begin with. Don't even think about it now.

  • Hi,

    Pretty much the same as CDreamer.Nearly eight months post Ablation...No difference which side or how I sleep now even able to sleep face down which was impossible prior to Ablation...Carol.

  • Thanks for that you two (and any subsequent posts). I guess there's a pattern emerging and I'm really looking forward to my ablation! Oh to be able to lie on my side again......heaven!

  • More a follow up question than a reply - my first post on this forum which I discovered a few days ago.

    My question really is for all 3 (AnticoagulateNow, CDreamer and caromia) and anyone else who is kind enough to answer.

    How long did each of you persist on a medication based regime before deciding on an ablation ?

    My situation is that I am newly diagnosed (Jan this year) - I had 6 weeks on Amiodarone and now I am in my 6th week of Fleccainide. The "laying on your side" comments resonate with me, 4 hrs of AF last night, commencing at 4:00 AM - I thought I must be overreacting when I put it down to simply rolling to the right , but now I see others suffer the same way.

    My current preference is to stay with the medication and work on the lifestyle factors but I have to recognise that this may not be ideal and would be very interested knowing whether each of you tried the medications and found they didn't work or whether ablation was your first choice.

    Thanks so much for any replies.


  • Hello.

    I was on the medication route at the start almost three years ago now...I had always been atheletic and lived a healthy lifestyle apart for an over indulgence in Alcohol at times probably and being a Physical Therapist for 20 yrs and manipulating footballers and rugby players had to be fit and physically strong.

    I went along the medication route for approx 18 months although had terrible side affects visual problems,fogged brain,tiredness etc..

    I was sat chatting to BobD post Dinner at the conference in Birmingham and remember saying "how will I know if I need and Ablation" he replied with only " you will know"

    Six months later the Af had progressed so rapidly I was literally on my knees at times...Blacking out on several occasions.

    I had an appointment with Dr.Grupta at Liverpool but on that visit I changed my mind and told him I didn't wish to go along with the Ablation but carry on with meds.

    On leaving he didn't look up at me but as I was walking through the door he quietly said "if I were you I would have an Ablation " his remark kept playing over and over in my head and after another week or so of considerable chest pain and the embarrassing moment passing out in Laura Ashleys ( forgetting to mention I was by then at times unable to control my bladder) I rang the Hospital and said I had changed my mind...Four months later (last August) I had the Smart touch procedure...

    I was taken off all drugs apart from Warfarin and given Bisoprolol and Flec only to be used if symptoms got so severe I could not tolerate I think I used them once although I had about four bouts of Af post Ablation or what I perceived to be Af...

    Looking back I didn't rest enough post Ablation tripping off to France and then Cape Vincent as well as resuming my work within a matter of days after...

    Eight months down the line I don't have any Af Symptoms (touching wood here) although it has taken me a full eight months to recover...

    I am grateful for the meds even with there horrific side affects they worked for a while and no doubt probably kept me alive...

    I am now completely meds free apart from Warfarin and at the end of everyday I count my blessings and thanks for being offered the Ablation...


  • Thank you so much Carol.

    Based on your feedback and that of AnticoagulateNow, I will begin preparing and investigating so that when the time comes ( sounds like it's "when" , not "if") I can access the best possible provider - hospital & specialist standards vary considerably here in Australia.

    All the best for your continuing good health, Ric.

  • For me Ric the decision was based on a simple premise. AF doesn't get better - it gets worse. Oh, there may be some exceptions out there - but if there are, they are very few in number. I was first diagnosed in 2009 with a second episode twelve months later but the gaps between my episodes became shorter and the episodes themselves became longer so a few months ago I decided to go for an ablation. I knew that I didn't want to be in permanent AF with the tiredness and effort that would have brought. I tried lifestyle changes, lost a lot of weight and upped my exercise regime. A better person for it undoubtedly - but it made not the slightest difference to the progress of my AF. No firm date for the procedure yet but probably in June. I am doing a group long distance walk in early May and I want that out of the way before the ablation so my EP and I are negotiating on the dates for the procedure! A fine fellow. He hopes one will be enough and so do I but if it takes be it.

  • Thank you so much Anti, that's very very helpful. I'll watch my frequency & duration and make decisions on that basis. All the best for your procedure, recovery & it's effectiveness. Ric

  • My EP said that lying on the left side makes no difference at all - you are just more aware of your heart beat, that's all. And sure enough, as soon as I was told that, I found that it does indeed make no difference to me. Previously I was quite convinced it was a trigger.

  • It won't be the same for everyone and you're lucky if it's not a trigger for you. But believe me, your EP is wrong to generalise. An awful lot of people really are directly affected by their horizontal positioning. In my own case, I have no awareness of my heartbeat as I lie on my left side - just a growing queasy and bloated feeling in the stomach which, if I allow it to continue, culminates fairly quickly in arrhythmia - every time.

  • Lying on my left side definitely does bring my A.F. on. Before medication and then ablation , if I went for an E.C.G. and it showed up as N.S.R. , I could lie on my left side to bring it on and then it showed on the E.C.G. No arguing with that! To answer the other question though. I had A.F. for around 11 years before medication was suggested. I was put on flecanide which worked perfectly for about 9 months. It was only when my heart was normal again that I realised how debilitating my A.F. had been and indeed how much it had progressed. I had gone from 1 episode every 6 months or so to being in A.F. for 70% of the time. After 9 months I started to get breakthrough A.F. so my dose was increased and then I started to have unacceptable side effects such as visual disturbance. My E.P. offered me an ablation but as I live in South Wales and not many ablation are performed he said he would have to present my case to the hospital board. When I was accepted I thought I had better grasp the opportunity with both hands! I had my ablation 9 weeks ago and so far so good. I too was very aware of having something done before my A.F. became persistent as that does affect success. X

  • I too have had 3 fast AF attacks after turning onto my left side. ? Coincidence I dont know because it doesnt happen all the time and I still turn onto my left side. Im having my ablation this tuesday after having AF for 4Years.

    Im really nervous as others on here will verify but if it helps keep this AF at bay for a few years Im going to give it a go.

    Everyone has different triggers it seems but sooner or later this horrid heart condition gets worst.

    I have promised Bob that Ill write up my experiences good or bad, once its over so others can make their own minds up about having an ablation

  • Yes Bridget , AF almost always progresses unless maybe one has a one off alcohol fueled event in your youth. Many people are wrongly very scared of ablation fearing all sorts of bad things but trust me when I say that even I, a devout coward, had three and would go again if ever needed. Better a few months recovery than a lifetime of very nasty drugs. Ablation may not be a total cure but it sure as heck improves quality if life.


  • After my ablation I had no symptoms of any type no matter what I did. I stayed like that for 8 years then gradually an arrhythmia came back. For the first year or more, I really can't remember, I couldn't feel my heart at all.


  • I was in persistent AF when starting down my AF road.

    My GP's view was that whilst CA is never a cure for AF if you can be free from some drugs for years or possibly life then that is a much better option. In my case drugs did not hold heart after a cardioversion and Consultant EP said only realistic option was a CA (and that he thought in my case no chance of working first time due to amount of AF activity). I thought long and hard about that and did research on here and other sites and decided yes. Had CA two weeks ago and I was in lab for almost 6.5 hours. Unfortunately went back into persistent AF in less than 72 hours later.

    I will not hesitate having a second or quite possibly a third CA and even though I am back in persistent AF I feel better than I did before the CA so blocking a lot of those rogue AF sources has definitely helped.

    Also told by EP and read (and mentioned in some posts) that if someone has CA(s) before becoming persistent then the success rate is higher.

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