Enlarged heart chamber & ablation

My cardio version last Aug lasted 6 months ,before I flipped back into persistent A Fib this March, so at my cardio 6 monthly appt last week to talk through my options with the registrar , as my cardio consultant was not available, I was informed that my case had been discussed and it was decided that I would be a good candidate for an ablation . Apparently one of my heart chambers is .8 of a mm or was it cm bigger the the average female heart ! Well I zoned out at this stage because this was the first time I have been told this , after many scans in the UK and America where I had a stroke 15 months ago, I was a little freaked out to say the least. He told me there is a definite link to A Fib with an enlarged chamber / heart , and because of that I should have an ablation . has anyone else heard of this please ? I'm trying to get my head round the ablation bit and the more I google the less I like it ! Several hours with no general aesthetic ! Thoughts please anyone


16 Replies

  • I recently had an ablation with sedation only. It lasted 5 and a half hours but felt like 1. The sedation was very effective and I'm sure I was asleep for most of it. My personal opinion is that it is better to go for ablation while remodelling of the heart chamber Is as minimal as yours sounds. Not everyone is of the same opinion though and I'm sure they will post answers as well. It is good to get a range of opinions so you can make a considered decision.That is the beauty of this forum. X

  • Thank you for that . I can't imagine being still for 5 1/2 hours . And I've just read you have to lie flat for 6 hours after ! Did you stay in overnight ?

  • I did stay in overnight and had to stay in bed till the bleeding in my leg stopped but I didn't have to lie flat so it was o.k. x

  • My EP *reluctantly* agreed to give me a flutter ablation with only sedation, because he said there is "severe pain" involved and sometimes people who are only under sedation jerk. I'm scheduled for March. I told him that i'd like to start with just sedation and they can increase the dose if I have a hissy fit.

    Did your EP tell you something similar or did they just start by suggesting sedation? I was a bit surprised at how firm my EP was about having a general, even though flutter ablation is a very quick, straight forward procedure.

  • At my hospital they only offer sedation . There has to be a very good reason to have a general. For my first ablation I was reallyout of it and cant say I remember feeling anything at all. When I had the second I have to admit that it was not quite the same! For some reason I was very anxious and was shaking so much they had to give me sedation to keep my legs from shaking so he could get the catheter in the groin.That calmed me down and kept my legs still but I could feel everything and although they kept giving me more it made me feel woozy but didnt cut out pain so I dont think they had included a painkiller. This was the ablation that had to later be aborted due to complications. If I had the option in the future I think I would ask for a general. X

  • My EP just said , you'll have a GA and that was that . I didn't question it as I just thought , this guy's knows what he's doing . I felt so rough at the time I would have agreed to anything . He was right . Good luck

  • I had an ablation last August with a GA. The EP said that he wanted an anaesthetist to look after me whilst he concentrated on the ablation.

    I had a scan some months previously and there was no mention of a problem. After the ablation the EP said " Given your history we were surprised at what we found."

    It was described as a severly dilated left atrium with fibrosis.

    I have to conclude that they cannot be sure about a heart until they get into it.

    My best advice is to go ahead with an ablation if that is what is advised. I felt I had no alternative as I felt so rotten so often. Currently I am 95% better.

  • I cannot get the edit arrow to work.

    My ablation took about 3 hours Then. I had to lie still for 4 hours and I stayed in hospital overnight following the ablation being done in the morning.

    No bruising and no bleeding, just 3 tiny holes like ear ring piercings.

  • Enlarged atrium is quite common with patients who have long standing AF but the good news is that in many cases this returns to normal once he AF is stopped. Ablation is a doddle. I had three!

  • Hi LIsa, In my experience, the standard of care when you have an ablation is very high and they are very skilled at making you feel comfortable. The time flies by, partly because you might be away with the fairies. Sometimes ablations don't take a long time so don't worry too much about coping with keeping still.

    Some people think that ablation should be a last resort but most of the enthusiasts have had their lives significantly improved and rate the procedure highly.

    All the best!

  • I'm going for my first (and hopefully last) ablation on the 29th of this month and in the pre-assessment echocardiogram I had what was described as "a little bit of stretch in the left atrium". They say it is perfectly normal or rather, exactly as expected from someone who's had paroxysmal AF for a while. Your enlargement is nothing to worry about and as Bob says, is likely to return to normal after your ablation.

  • I had ablation 18months ago under general anaesthetic. Some EPs prefer this to sedation so perhaps you can ask about this. Also, although I had to stay in bed for about 5 hours I was not flat on my back without moving. I was propped up and able to have tea/dinner and read my book, make calls etc. So not really a huge ordeal.

    Was then able to stop all meds except warfarin.

    I too was told I had a slightly enlarged atria but that this was common with AF .

    Good luck with decision making etc..


  • I was flat on my back for about 3 hours afterwards. I suspect that this varies according to the hospital, the consultant and the exact procedure.

    Someone on here suggested taking a proper sports water bottle (the type where you have to suck to get any out). I did and that was brilliant. Much easier than a bendy straw.

  • Re sedation. Don't worry about it.

    I wasn't worried about having that at all. Some months ago when deciding about an ablation the consultant had told me that the actual procedure can be more effective under sedation as the body is in a more normal state, that they get some feedback and also that the recovery after is better. I was actually unaware of anything for the majority of the time and for the time that I was awake the consultant and some of the nurses chatted / made comments. For the time I was awake it was absolutely easy to stay still and the nurses were quite happy to scratch my face when I had an itch!!! I would actually have liked to have been awake more to see what was on the monitors that were around me. For the cardioversion at the end to restore normal rhythm I was fully out.

  • Thank you for the replies, so regarding the size of the heart issue , do you think I have always had an enlarged heart or was this caused by the A Fib ? Will it go back to normal after the ablation if that's a success ? I must ask more questions next time I go in !


  • I was told that for many people they have an enlarged heart as a result of having AF and that often it will get smaller once AF free (for some time") but it depends. Some with AF don't have enlarged heart!! I suppose another case of we are all different and the mongrel condition (as Bob says) that AF is!!!

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