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AF Association
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What is the difference between AF and Eptopics??

Hi all, I decided to cancel my heart ablation which was due to take place today, I'm going back to speak to my cardiologist as I was just to afraid to risk the gastric problem again.

I have been told my problem cannot be fixed with medications which is very frustrating as I feel awful most of the time. I read a lot about AF on here and wondered what the difference is between Eptopics of which I have many and AF as my symptoms seem to be the same , racing heartbeat, palpertations, slow thuding tired dizzy, and breathless, can anyone clarify the difference for me please

23 Replies

Hi Bev,

I'm sorry to hear you are feeling bad- you don't say what the gastric problems are?

I think you need a lot more information so you can make proper decisions- I'll leave Bob to explain re ectopics as he's very clear about this!!

Hope you feel better soon,

take care

1 like

Hey Rosy, thanks for your reply, I i had never suffered from gastric problems until I had an ablation, it started two weeks post ablation. I could not stop retching and had the most awful burning pain in my stomach, this went on for 9 months, after visiting my doctor and the hospitals and being given countless medications ( non of which worked ) I put my self in the hands of the mental health team as I was told I was suffering from anxiety, shortly after that I had an endoscopy. I visited another cardiologist who told me that it was common for people to have these symptoms, yet not one person had told me , I WS also told that once the ablation has been done they cannot stop the gastric problem you simply have to wait for it to stop,in my case 9 months !!!!!! this was something I couldn't face again, so I am feeling quite down at present


I am sorry for you that you didn't go ahead as now you will never know if you could have been fixed but that was your choice so move on as they say.

Ectopic beats are actually premature beats. Ectopic means out of place. What happens is that the ventricle contracts before there is any blood in it to pump so it feels like a "missed beat" Ectopics are quite normal as everybody has up to 200 a day I am told by those who know these things, They only become a nuisance when they come in clusters and groups but they are not AF and show quite differently on an ECG. Atrial fibrillation is when the left atrium instead of contracting in an organised fashion pulsates or as has been said "writhes like a bag of worms|" An ECG trace of AF shows chaotic contractions with no rhythm and there are other indicators such as lack of p wave.

Ectopic beats will not cause palpitations normally so this may be something like SVT (super ventricular tachycardia ) where the ventricle is beating too fast from signals coming from above.

Again sorry that this isn't working for you .



Thanks so much for your reply Bob and clarifying the difference between the two, it has been very helpful x


Hi Bev, I regard medics like an EP/cardiologist as the emergency crew if things go really wrong but still definitely part of your team. Don't know your whole story but you may have made the right decision.

I have a good cardio but I genuinely think that he believes that Mg, CoQ10 and other supplements/lifestyle changes have no effect on the condition. I have Lone AF and I disagree there is no solution but drugs and ablations. At best, a postponed ablation can be successful as they are improving their techniques all the time.

I spent a lot of time researching (incl here) to learn about the different theories on AF and it's inter-relation with other parts of the body. Separately, I then found Alternative Practitioners (London) I felt semi-confident with and that is when I started to feel progress was being made through supplements to rectify my health rather than the drugs which just block/mask the problem until it or something new creeps out - however this has taken over 12 months!

The sequence was first check out the heart and stabilise it (the medics did this), then moved onto the supplements required, the brain and the gastro side. Lots of cautious supplement introductions ( I will post some results here later this month) and lifestyle changes.

It's a long haul but if you have the energy, interest (important to keep you going) and time availability, why not make a start. Good Luck either way and hope you see some improvements.


Thank you Orchard worker, I will keep on looking for a solution, i will also look out for futher posts from you hope you keep wellwell x


Hello Bev, all any of us can do is make a decision which we feel is right for us. Sorry you are having gastric problems post ablation which have brought you to this decision. However it is the best one for you at this point as you are clear that you could not follow it through.

I do hope your medical team can help you to get gastric issues under control. Take care. You will get things sorted out eventually with persistence.



Thanks Dee, I will be meeting with my cardiologist soon and will talk things over with him.

I am at present free of any gastric problem , hence the reason I decided not to go for he ablation, this caused my problem on the last two occasions, had it not done that I would have been there like a shot as I am very symptomatic with these Eptopics, they are constant .


After your meeting I suggest that you put your reasoning down in writing to your consultant copy your GP giving your reasons for saying so that it is down in writing in case you change your mind in the future or need develops further. That way if one or other of them are not around (or don't remember) then you are not left to the whims of some bureaucrat.


Yes Peter I probably will, hope your OK ?


Thanks - today was one of my better days!!


That's good to hear Peter, hope you get many more like today too x


Never posted before on this very informative site but felt that I should like to share my experience of Catheter Ablation/Gastric situation.

I have been on a CA waiting list since January and immediately prior to that started to experience gastric problems. At that time I never imagined that these would be a problem as there are numerous "prazole" type drugs to reduce stomach acid. Unfortunately none of these have worked and antibiotics to eradicate possible stomach infections had no impact with the exception of dramatically increasing my INR value. An Endoscopy revealed mild gastritis and superficial ulcer together with numerous polyps. I understand that the latter, although not a concern at this stage, are the probable direct result of several years use of Lanzoprazole prescribed for aspirin prior to switching to Warfarin. My GP expressed concern that potential stomach bleeding could preclude the use of Warfarin and this, obviously, concerned me as I regard the drug as normally essential for AF. It is also a demanded requirement before, during and after a CA. My GP recognised the need for answers before the CA appointment and referred me to a consultant Gastroenterologist. It was not possible to get an early enough NHS appointment but I do have a date. Consequently, I self referred to a private consultant and the initial assessment is that there should be no contraindication to continue with the Warfarin or the CA. However, I do await the results of various blood tests and anticipate that further hospital tests may be necessary to examine my digestive system as a whole.

All of this is just a potted background to my events of recent months which have been very uncomfortable and a cause for concern. I am entirely happy with my Electrophysiologist but as many of CA community know, things do not always go to plan and I am no longer certain that I am confident enough to embark on the procedure at this stage and possibly face more complications and discomfort.


Hi Bev, your gastric problems I can kind of relate to. From the moment the ablation was completed and still now (4 months post ablation) I have felt nausea every single day, all day every day. I can no longer drink tea it make me feel worse, so i drink water all the time. I'm hoping it tails off, but currently I have to get anti nausea tablets from my doctor to cope with it. I'm seeing my EP on the 29th May for a catch up and will be talking to him about it. I felt everything and remember everything, sedation doesnt work with me at all and had a moment where a pain shot from my chest to my neck and jaw and that was when the sickness started.

Has your's gone away?


Tired and confused

I'm so sorry to hear you also suffered gastric problems as a result of ablstion, it is awful, Im not sure what to advise you I as it didn't matter what meds they gave me it didn't help, I was told it needed time to heel.

I had my ablation 3 yrs ago and suffered for 9 months after.

I was due to have my 3rd ablation last Wednesday 20 th but cancelled the day before as I just couldn't face going through it all again. Its such a shame ablation seems to be the only option open to us when it causes these horrendous side effects.

I have been advised that medication isn't an option for me either !!, so feel pretty desperate .

At present I suffer with vestibular imbalance caused by a cholesteatoma in my right ear so am feeling pretty low all round.

I will be going back to see my cardiologist to have a talk, not sure what the outcome will be.

I hope you feel better really soon, yiu really have my sympathy x


Bev, It sounds like your situation is much worse than mine. I am fed up i admit. I cant say I feel much brighter than before and initially i thought the ablation was working as i had less episodes but it seems to be rearing its ugly head again. Will see what the EP says next friday.

Hope you get sorted out. I dont blame you for cancelling, I know i will think twice but as you say its our only option and I hope that it works for both of us


Tiredandconfused, I really hope you get some answers when you go Friday, please let me know how you get on, I will have to wait and see what my AP says when my apt comes through, keep as well as you can


Did you ask EP at the outset what was the chance that it would work first time? If you have done some research on the chances and then ask a very direct question most consultants will be forthcoming (though some may over egg.

Depending on where the AF signals are being generated from and the type of AF and the duration the chance of it working first time can be as low as 40%. I was (and am) in persistent AF. I asked the direct question about success rate in my case and said I was quite happy to hear the bad answer(s). Consultant EP said that in my case he thought that there was no chance it would work first time and it would take two or possibly three ablations. It was found to be extensive when they did my first ablation. I went back into AF in less than 72 hours but I was still very pleased I had it done.

I support the decision that Bev made because it has to be right for her.


Thanks for your comments Peterwh, yes I did ask my EP the direct question, I was also quite prepared for his answer which was it may or may not work, we can also not qarentee you won't get gastric problems again, this has left me very frustrated as I feel so awful most of the time , I hope to speak with my EP to ask him how I cope with the situation as it is , maybe one day there will be a more suitable method for treating my problem


The question was raised for both you Bev and tiredandconfused.


I was told that it would have around a 60% chance of working Peter, but as we really dont know how long I have had AF, diagnosed a year ago but possible I have had it for over four years then it was going to be a challenge first time. Initially as i say I started to feel better but as the months have gone on, its starting up again. Realise it can take anything up to a year as they say to be effective but all of my previous symptoms have returned too. I think i'd try another one but the naseau is awful. I dont get acid indegestion though initially i had severe pain every time i ate or drank for about a month, that has gone but he naseau remained. I know of people who had four or five ablations and still have AF, so i guess i just wonder if it is worth it all sometimes.


Ablations can sometimes move one forwards such a long way. I do hope, tiredandconfused, that your EP will be helpful and able to improve things for you.


i think it is. I went back in to persistent AF in less than 72 hours. However I felt better than for some years. However even now although back in persistent AF it is an improvement over before. I was told no chance first time in my case. Some of my previous symptoms like stomach and diarrhoea are much improved. We are all different!!!!


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