There can be a cure for AF!

I have always been told that there is no permanent cure for AF, and accepted that over the past twenty years. I saw Professor Schilling today, for my three month post ablation check, and he said, quite specifically, that he considered me to be cured, and did not expect to have to see me again.

For many years I had been suffering from an increasing frequency of bouts of paroxysmal AF, which Flecainide, Sotalol and Bisoprolol were failing to control. Somewhat reluctantly, I underwent pulmonary vein isolation by way of cryoablation, and it seems to have worked. To say that I am delighted is an understatement.

I know that there are many others with more complex types of AF, and that I am one of the lucky ones, but nevertheless feel that it is good to put the positive side to show that a "cure" is possible.

I am going to try to stick around, rather than be one of the many who disappear once their AF is cured, but would like to thank all of the contributors who have helped me so much on the journey.

Best wishes to all,

Peter

13 Replies

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  • Interesting how people change Peter. A few years ago I asked Richard Schilling about the term "cure" and at that time he told me that if after five years a seven day monitor saw no evidence of AF then he might consider that a cure. Must wind him up about that next time I see him.

    Bob

  • Excellent news Peter, I'm putting that down to part your individual circumstances and part Prof Schilling's constantly improving skills....well he has got a lot of us to practice on!

  • Good to hear an ablation success story. Three months after my first ablation I was saying the same thing. I don't want to be a killjoy, but surely it's too early to say that you are cured.

    Jean

  • Just reporting what I was told. I was happy to accept this as I am sure that Prof. Schilling is careful in his choice of words. However, I did ask him exactly what he meant and he said that he had been carrying out ablutions for 15 years and once successfully ablated patients rarely came back.

    Peter

  • That's great news Peter. After my 3 monthly check up my EP kept reiterating I may require a second procedure. I told him I felt great my life was back in full swing and generally life was wonderful. 7 months post ablation I have started to have episodes again. They've come out of the blue and even though I'm disappointed I had accepted I may need another ablation. What I guess I'm trying to say is the professionals certainly know best and if Professor Schilling states you are cured, well there you go.

    All the best.

  • Good news Peter. if you go to u tube type in professor schilling there you can see a clip from 2010 with the professor talking about AF and mentions the word cure a few times it cheers me up every time I watch it.

  • Prof. Schilling did my cryoablation four days ago and I am at home recovering feeling better each day. It gave me a huge boost to read your comments. Well done. Did you come off your medication straight after your procedure or at a later date? This site has been such a comfort over the years. Sirey

  • So glad that it seems to be working for you as well. I had a run of AF lasting 6 hours the day after the ablation. Since then I have occasional ectopics and a very occasional run of three or four beats in a row that makes me think that I might be trying to start AF but nothing else happens. A great feeling. I am wearing a seven day Holter monitor but I think that is just for the record.

    As for drugs Prof. Schilling took me off Sotalol before the ablation as he said that it was dangerous in combination with Flecainide. That went on the day of the ablation and the Bisoprolol halved at the same time. On Tuesday, at the three months, he halved the Bisoprolol again with a view to me giving it up altogether next week.

    A complete life changer for me not only to be AF free but drug free as well.

    All the best for your continued recovery, don't be over ambitious it's too important to take unnecessary risks.

    Peter

  • Hi I have undergone three ablations. the first two were successful to some extent, but soon as they cut my medication I went back into A/F which was controlled by flecainide unfortunately this became ineffective, so my surgeon attempted a third ablation to rectify a atrial flutter and the A/f, the ablation was stopped after the flutter was treated because it was too risky to get into the part of my heart to treat the A/F. I was advised to have a pacemaker fitted which after undergoing the procedure i was medicated with flecainide and bisoprolol I have always found things very difficult on bisoprolol like shortness of breath and extreme fatigue so changed my meds to flecainide and verapamil which helped for six months I was up to walking 10km and feeling a lot better, but unfortunately I have gone back into A/F again and feel dreadful so I have been told by my surgeon I can go on the waiting list for a total ablation and be fully dependent on a pacemaker. I know this a last resort situation were I would no longer need medication. is there people out there who have had this done I would be grateful for any feedback.

  • I was also lead to believe that there was no cure for paroxysmal AF. I was told that even after an ablation I would still need drugs, that was 5-6 years ago...I too have just had my 3 month post check after Cryoblation, it was performed by Glynn Thomas in Bristol. To say I'm delighted is an understatement! He told me I am cured and that he did not expect to see me again. Off all medication now after 8 long years, it took me that long to pluck up the courage. It was only after being offered Cryoblation that it somehow felt " right".

    I had taken my time, did loads of research, trying different mess, meeting many different EP,s until I felt comfortable, until it felt right.

    Advances in technology meant that the procedure time had been halved. It was text book procedure and I will be eternally grateful to Mr Thomas and his team.

    My heart rate is much faster than it was prior to the procedure but I think it's because over the years it has been kept artificially slow from meds and of course once awareness is there I guess it takes time to ignore every beat...

    To anyone awaiting ablation, have trust in your team, don't overthink just try to relax afterward....plenty of rest even if you feel great. ...

  • Great to hear of another AF cure. I think that techniques have improved over the years. I was offered ablation at Oxford 11 years ago and then at Cambridge 5 or 6 years ago. My then cardiologist was not enthusiastic about ablation and was talking about a regression rate of 10% pa so I said no at the time. However, as PAF is progressive I eventually got to the stage when it would have become persistent so I had to go for it. I think I was lucky with the timing and also lucky to be in very good hands with Prof. Schilling . My heart is steady at 60bpm and even better my BP has turned out to be on the low side of normal. This means that not only have I been able to give up the Flecainide (immediately after ablation) but also the Bisoprolol (just finished gradual withdrawal) but hopefully also the Ramipril (next week).

    Let's look forward to hearing of many more successful outcomes in the future.

    Peter

  • What particular procedure did your EP use ?

    Many thanks & congratulations 😀

  • Thank you. I don't think that my "cure" and others are in any way unusual but apply to the great majority who undergo ablation for PAF. It's just that most disappear from the forum so that we are not aware of them.

    As my AF was not persistent I only needed pulmonary vein isolation. I think that cryoablation is most suitable for that as it is much easier to get electrical isolation as there is a complete ring of scar tissue around each vein. With RF ablation, which is a series of spot burns, it is possible to get gaps between so that the veins are not fully isolated.

    Prof. Schilling also used robotic catheter guidance. I not sure if there is any particular clinical benefit from this but I think that it is quicker and exposes the EP to less radiation both of which are probably of benefit to the patient.

    Peter

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