I have been told they are putting me forward to have a Ablation, can anyone tell me how long i will be in hospital ? and if it is anything to worry about? i am in AF almost every day now, as before i was paroxysmal AF so they have decided i need to have Ablation as on high dose of tablets now and they not working,


48 Replies

  • You will need to visit the hospital for a pre-med shortly before the ablation. This takes a few hours. On the day of the ablation I was required to arrive at 07.00 for the ablation to start at 09.00. It took 3 hours or so, followed by 3 hours lying flat out to help the groin. You are monitored overnight and then checked the next day. I was released at 14.00.

    I have heard of some people being released the same day but this would be unlikely with a general anaesthetic.

    Bob says that it is less scary than root canal treatment. Anything new is scary but it can't be that bad if people are prepared to have 2, 3 or even 4 ablations. For me it has meant that I have my life back.

    Good luck and if you want to message me privately then please do.

  • I think it depends on whether you have a GA or sedation, my hospital prefer sedation because patients recover more quickly. It also depends on whether it's an ablation for flutter or fibrillation, flutter is much quicker and simpler.

    My ablation was for flutter, and took about 20 minutes, although I was in the cath lab for about 45-60 minutes in total. I got to the hospital about 07:30 IIRC, and went into the lab just after 09:00. I went home late afternoon.

    Apart from a bit of pulling in my groin when I walked, you could have convinced me I'd had nothing done for all that I felt of it.

  • Hi Ectopic1,

    How are you doing now after your Atrial Flutter ablation. Will you be having an ablation for AF in due course. I have Atrial Flutter only, awaiting ablation.

    Best Wishes


  • Hi,

    I started out with AF but the Flecainide was converting it to flutter, so I decided to have an ablation in order to get off the Amiodarone they put me on after it got worse in Aug 2014.

    Flutter ablations are quicker safer and higher success rate than fib, whereas flutter is harder to control with drugs than fib, so the EP decided to go for hybrid therapy which means they ablate the flutter and then control the fib with drugs.

    Since my ablation in March I've been off the Amiodarone and back on the Flecainide, which now seems to be keeping things under control.

  • Hi ectopic1,

    Many thanks for your comprehensive reply, much appreciated.

    Kind Regards


  • I am interested in Barry's question because my ablation will be for AF and Flutter and as I am not conscious of having AF very often I wonder if I will feel any different? I don't know if my chronic tiredness is down to the drugs or the AF/Flutter.

  • My husband had cyroablations for both AF and flutter three weeks ago. His heart must have been in chaos with flecainide kicking in all the time to keep his heart rate from peaking. He is better now but won't really know how many of the problems he had were due to the medications until three months from now when her wears a two week monitor and is able to stop taking flecainide - which is probably his biggest problem. His heart rate is definitely much better but his blood pressure readings still haven't stabilized very much. More healing is needed, I suspect.

  • I hope to hear later that he is much better! My ablation should be in about 4 months.

  • Buffafly, I can tell you that I have had ablation for Aflutter ( & AF ) & the relief from A flutter was considerable. I suffered badly with the latter....quite incapacitated at times as it was unrelenting.


  • Thank you very much for your reply Sandra, very encouraging, but may I ask how you knew about the Flutter? I realise this sounds really stupid but I had no idea I had/have Flutter until my EP said casually 'Oh and I'll ablate the Flutter at the same time'. As I was a bit taken aback by being told over the phone that I was having an ablation (and could hardly ask him to demonstrate!) I didn't ask about it. I know when I was in hospital I had Atrial Tachy, according to my cardiologist, which seems to be the same thing, but I had assumed that had stopped. My Alivecor traces are very zigzaggy sometimes but not being an expert I don't know.....Anyway, sorry for the ramble but until I get assigned an Arrhythmia Nurse I'm in the dark - don't suggest my GP :)

  • I read all documents very carefully and thought when atrial flutter was referred to in a letter it was a typing error because I wasn't told I had atrial flutter - however I now understand it - never really aware of either flutter or fibrillation other than occasional palpitations and occasional out of breath moments going up

    Inclines & hills ( which I put down to general unfitness at that time which I fact it was not and maybe not as unfit as I thought - I used to lead the D of E on school )

  • Buffafly, sorry for delay in replying.

    My A flutter manifested itself as a fast organised rhythm as opposed to the chaotic one with AF. It is seen on the ECG as sawtooth waves which would probably tally with your description of ziz zags. I have found that many non cardiology medics seem to have difficulty in recognising this.

    It has also been referred to as Atrial Tachycardia.

    As I said before I found this unrelenting & in many ways worse than AF .


  • Thank you, I think my medication is supposed to block the Flutter but I guess that doesn't stop it affecting your energy.

  • Unfortunately drugs wouldn't help my flutter & DCCV only lasted a week!

  • I have both atrial flutter & atrial fibrillation - ablation this coming Monday for the flutter.

    Thinking & reading long & hard about ablation for fibrillation.

    Really wish there was a nationwide conference for fellow sufferers & eps where questions, concerns and dialogue could be entered into - is there such a thing ?

  • I am due ablation on Monday 19th October for atrial flutter ( providing INR is in correct range).

    I am still considering ablation for AF - people on here seem 'big fans' of the procedure inspire of 2/3/4 attempts to correct it - is there a process where EPs could map where the misfires are and target those points during the procedure ?


  • Dear Susiebelle,

    Please keep us informed of your atrial flutter ablation. Not many of us have Atrial Flutter on this forum, so any news you have will be most welcome.

    Best Wishes


  • Will do Barry

  • Hi, best wishes for Monday, please do report back!

    I was very sceptical about having an ablation for AF, specially as I have few noticeable episodes (though a couple of extreme ones). However it seems that the conclusion by Nice is that it is better to have a (probably) shorter procedure while you are still in PAF rather than waiting until you are much worse when the procedure may be more difficult. I was told that because I was diagnosed 15 years ago I may be reaching a tipping point (that is what I understood anyway). My father died of heart failure caused by emphysema and AF, and as I have chronic asthma and PAF I'm quite keen not to go the same way.

  • Thank you

  • Will do Buffay

  • I had the ablation for flutter - still in AF - he did try 3 cardio versions but kept pinging back into AF

  • Susiebelle, as you probably know, Aflutter ablation is much quicker & easier procedure than AF ablation. mainly because Aflutter is typically a circuit around the right atrium whereas with AF the left atrium has to be accessed by means of a puncture through the septum. It is low risk , highly successful procedure. I found great relief from mine.

    Re your last point I think that is what EP s actually do. Could be wrong!!


  • Thank you Sandra

  • Thank you Yatsura

  • Ian due an ablation for atrial flutter on Monday - was yours successful ?

  • I've had sedation and GA. With both I was due to leave the following day, so I was in one night. In fact I had to stay in an extra 24 hours with the first because they thought I had a slight infection in my groin area, but I didn't as it happens.

    I had mine to get off drugs which were doing my head in. It worked 100% and no more drugs (except anti-coags) and no more AF for another 8 years.

    Hope you have a good one :-) .


  • Nothing to worry about. It's a routine procedure which will take up to a couple of hours. They keep you in for a night to monitor the small thigh incision but if it works it will turn your life around. All the best.

  • Hi there , I was there for 7am in cath lab about 9 am , I had general anaesthetic so woke about 3pm it took them six hrs I felt nothing was sitting up late evening drinking all was good , scan the next morning then off home I went to recover for the next three weeks doing very little then back to work due my four month check up next month , I think it all depends on what needs ablating and which process they use ie radio frequency or cryo seem to be the most common but are other methods too , my friend had av node ablation only took about an hour under sedation you'll be fine but it's just normal to worry I nearly shook myself off the cath lab table till they put me under. All the best Paul

  • An ablation could change your life. It is no worse than going to the dentist from my view. As we are all different the time spent in the catheter laboratory could be anything from three to six hours depending on what they find when they get inside and what methods they will use. Cryo ablation is usually much quicker BUT can only isolate the four pulmonary veins so if you have other areas firing off then you may need RF ablation or a second procedure at a later date. It can also depend on whether you have sedation or GA. I had GA for all mine as I am a devout coward and did not want to be there. Others who have had sedation say it is no big deal as you are full of happy juice anyway. GA usually means a slightly longer recovery BUT this may well help to be honest as you won't want to be dashing around for the first couple of weeks.

    In most cases you will only be in hospital for one night unless you live a long way from the place like I did in which case you may have to go in the night before. Provided that you have no (very rare) complications you will go home the day after the procedure but must be accompanied and preferably not on public transport. Take things easy for the first couple of weeks with no heavy lifting and then wait three months to see if it worked. That is how long it takes for the heart to recover so you may get some funnies along the way but this is normal.

    If you go to the main AF Association website there is a booklet which you can download on ablation giving all the various options etc.

  • Many thanks

  • About 26 hours in total for both mine, arrived 7.00 am, pre procedure checks, in cath lab at 2 ish, out by about 7-8 ish, in ICU overnight - just precautionary - discharged by 9.00 am following morning assuming wound had no bleeding. The only reason for ICU was 1:1 nursing for those first critical 8 hours or so. Natural to be nervous because it is about your heart but Bob is correct, really is very straightforward. I had sedation and no problems drifting in and out of sleep and very quick recovery - I was eating a hearty meal 10 mins after returning to ICU as I was very hungry, albeit with help as I had to remain almost flat and couldn't move my legs.

    Best thing I ever did, no AF and now no meds.

  • Hi Suzy. As all the others, have said, it's nothing to worry about (although its easy for all of us post-ablationees to say and you have a perfect right to be anxious ). I had sedation and really cannot remember anything. It took about 5 hours and I was in hospital overnight and felt a bit tired for a couple of days. I was told only gentle pottering around the house for a week afterwards. My groin was fine and healed up very quickly. I had a couple of episodes of AF within the first two weeks post ablation and then nothing (although they do stress that anything within 3 months doesn't count as the heart is still healing). They also say that they can't guarantee 100% success the first time and they may need to go in again to re-do bits.

    The thing for me is that I hadn't realised the impact AF was having on my life until I didn't have it any more. My big passion in life is running and the AF pretty much put a stop to that. I'm now back running and training like I did pre-AF with the caveat that I don't go above 10 miles at any one time (a small price to pay). The ablation has given me my life back and I wouldn't hesitate to have another if/when it's needed.

    And that was 18 months ago. I now only take an anticoag and that's through choice not necessity as I'm 59 and otherwise in good health. Good luck. Sue

  • Interesting reading - so ablation for flutter on Monday - and seriously considering ablation for fibrillation.


  • How easy is it to find the vein in the groin by the way? And if you have a repeat what site do they use?

  • Liverpool have invented a method of locating the veins using ultra sound. I had no bruising, no lumps, just 2 tiny holes like ear ring piercings.

  • Agree with just about everything above. Had my first ablation in July under sedation - about 3-4 hours- bit scary at first but the sedatives and painkillers kicked in and I was relaxed (for once!). They stimulated a few things but always warned me first. Stayed in overnight - had a problem with continuous bleeding from one of the groin sites but the nurse sorted that out very well.

    Bob is right about staying positive. Mine was for PAF and I had 15 hours of AF within two days - got checked out at A and E as instructed. Have had 3 bouts since but have not bothered the doctors with it - probably didn't help that the last episode occurred when I caught a nasty chest virus.

    Take care and all the best.

  • Thank you everyone for your help i feel a lot better now about having it done, i have been very nervous about it all, still not got my date yet for going in, I am going to Wythenshaw bit of a way for me but i have been told best place to got for problems like AF I don't know where i would be without this site so thank you all again, and i will let you know how i go on ,


  • Dear Suzy,

    I wish you all the very best in respect of your ablation.

    Take care.

    Best Wishes


  • Thank you Barry,


  • Whythensawe - that's Manchester area - who is your EP please ?

    Hope it resolves your af

  • Yes it is Manchester Area, I have not seen a EP yet! my Consultant from Bolton is sending me there, Thank you


  • Hope it works out for you

  • The most important think before you going for an ablation is to see a professional eletrofisiologist I went Harley street in London uk was the best idea I got in contact with one suggest Cryoablation ( freezing you ) that is very effective compare to a ablation were they ( burning you ).

    The ablation is improving over time and lucky me I have not symptoms well managed by just Bisoprolol 2.5 . in your case you get it every day so yes is time for an ablation ..... I strongly suggest to get a cryoablation and to use the best electrofisiologist available to doing it as different doctor different result .

    I do not let any electrofisiologist fool me in to they are all the same because they are NOT !!!!! I put a you tube link for description of Cryoablation .......one last thing ......find the best and forze NHS to use that for you as the best electrofisiologist increase your chances of success and you do not want replete the procedure twice!!

    So click on them and you'll see youtube video next time you see your cardiologyst / electrofisiologist ask them I would like to explain me if my ablation will be a Cryoablation or a normal burning ablation , I would like to get the best tritment not the cheapest for the NHS.

    Knowledge is power

  • Thank you

  • Hi Thank you for that, you must have been reading my mind, i was wondering what Cryoablation was, :-) i will enquire when i go to Wythenshaw hospital, thanks again


  • I strongly suggest you to do not take what is available but always the best treatment : )


  • But it is deciding which is the best ...

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