Appointment date for ablation arrived. Panicking now!

I received my appointment in the post yesterday for 29th October. I thought I was prepared but now I have an actual date I'm feeling scared and worried. I have always tried to avoid reading about the possible things that can go wrong but thought maybe I should read that part in the booklet the hospital sent. I wish I hadn't now! I am going to the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Glasgow and have no idea who the EP carrying out the ablation will be. Let's just hope that whoever it is they are good at it!

I've been told to stop my Apixaban 24 hrs. before the ablation. Will they anticoagulate me in another way during the ablation as surely the procedure is a time when a blood clot could form? Also as stress is a major trigger for me I think it is highly likely that I will go into A fib in the few days prior to the ablation. I have had a good spell of 8/9 weeks with no episodes but watch this space! My other biggest worry is that I will end up worse than I was before. ( Not to mention the fear of the procedure itself!) I suffer from anxiety so as you can imagine this is causing quite a lot of it.

This site is wonderful, as I have said before. I have learnt almost everything I know about my condition from here.

I'm just feeling out of my depth and could do with a bit of reassurance. Thanks in advance for any confidence boosting you can give me!

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  • Hiya. Instead of reading the negatives, read about the positives. ! Anti-coagulation stopped is the the way some EPs do it. No problem. Being in AF before the procedure is no problem, maybe even good so they can maybe see whats going on in there. As for the AF returning, after the ablation, worse than it was, maybe. But the ablation is a step towards the light, and a second ablation sometimes needed. In my case 3, and I've been good for well over a year now. Which i wasn't for the previous many years.

    My thought for the day is, look forward to the ablation and what it can bring, I did, and in the end it will work out well.

    Be well

    Phil

  • Yes, it's scary to think about especially when it's a new experience. You should have no worries about having the procedure itself. It doesn't usually hurt at all and is not a big ordeal. It can have seemingly very little physical effect and the best you can hope for is a good bruise. It's a procedure, not an operation. They are very skilled and will make sure you are as comfortable as you can be. Many of us remember absolutely nothing from the very initial stages onwards.

    The things that can go wrong on a tiny number of occasions do prey on the mind beforehand. I was moderately sure that I would die but I found that the cath lab is very impressive and placing yourself in the hands of so many competent people, all looking after your welfare in an expert way with so much technology at their disposal does not feel anything like as scary when you are there as it did in the days beforehand.

    If you are anticoagulated, you are at risk of bleeding and they are going to puncture one or both your femoral veins. It sounds dramatic but afterwards there's usually just a couple of neat nicks.

    Fortitude is required to carry you through the next few days! Cling onto the fact that even if something does go wrong, most people's AF is substantially reduced and they are much better than they would have been if they had not grasped the nettle.

    Keep us posted!

  • Hi,

    Try to keep calm, its really easy to wind yourself up into such a state, .we have all done it.

    When you go in just tell them how anxious you are, believe me they are well used to it, I was given diazepam on my first ablation because I couldn't stop shaking with fright and the unknown, again all normal!

    This procedure to them is an everyday job, and they will be more than happy to make you feel at ease.

    This is the start of the journey to get you better, stay positive.

    Wendi

  • I haven't had an ablation so far, blackcat, but from what I've read on this site it's the best way forward and it'll be just brilliant to be drug free. So many people have had very successful ablations...Bob for one...so there's every chance that yours will be, too. I'm in the Glasgow area so will be interested to hear who does the procedure and how you get on. Anxiety is my problem, as well, so I'm sure I'd be as nervous as you are but, take courage, you could be a new man/woman in a couple of weeks:) We'll all be rooting for you....

  • Hi blackcat123,

    The Golden Jubilee is excellent, probably the best in Scotland. The staff are excellent. I had my pacemaker implant done there in July and no problems. The top EP's in Scotland are there. I had to stop my warfarin 3 days before the op and like you, was a bit concerned about clots, especially since I have had several TIA's. However they assured me there was no problem. I had a week when my INR was away down but, as they said, no problems. Which EP do you normally see?

    If you tell them you are a bit anxious I'm sure they will give you some sedation to calm you down.

    Hope things go well for you on the 29th. Let us know how you get on.

    Walter.

  • I've had 2 and they were both a breeze. First one under sedation worked 100% and I was AF free for 8 years after that, and no drugs either. The procedure was fascinating and time flew by because they give you something to make you sooooo relaxed and not quite "with it". 2nd was done under GA. They actually did everything except actual ablating because my AF had done a bunk ad wouldn't respond to stimulation either. Don't think that happen very often as they were surprised and obviously they aren't going to go to all that trouble and expense if they thought that might happen. Anyhow, I just walked into the procedure room, confirmed that they had got the right person, took off my crocs and lay on the table. They then started to talk to me about farming and next thing I woke up in bed a few hours later, then went home the following morning. I felt unbelievably brilliant after that procedure, literally felt 20 years younger, but that wore off after a few days, must have been the drugs.

    You have to arrange for transport as you can't drive for a while afterwards.

    Have a good one :-)

    Koll

  • I was very frightened at the thought of having an ablation. I didn't like the idea of being awake (but I was also scared to be put to sleep!), never thought I would be able to lay still for hours on end, was certain I would have a panic attack midway through, what if I needed the loo etc etc! I had a cryoablation in July and, although it was, at times, uncomfortable, if I had to have another it wouldn't be an issue. The cardio lab staff were wonderful - extremely reassuring, kind, caring, chatty and did everything they could to make me as relaxed as possible in the circumstances. I was back on the ward three and a half hours later feeling relieved and pretty well, all things considered. The procedure time passed quickly, I was given a relaxant to help with the nerves - not a hint of panic! - and no need for the loo either!

    The fear of the unknown is always going to prey on your mind and it's only natural to be concerned but I'm sure you will be fine - I am the biggest wimp going! I just kept telling myself it would soon be over and thought about my grandchildren every time it "twinged" a bit! I am now due to have my follow-up appointment to see if it's been successful so I'm keeping everything crossed. It took a few weeks to fully recover from the ablation but I am starting to feel more like my old self again and I'm hoping for good news when I go to the clinic. Take care and good luck!

  • Thank you for all your ecouraging replies! I will try and focus on the positives. After all I decided to go ahead with an ablation as I felt I owed it to myself to at least try and improve my AF. If I can eventually come off the flecainide and bisoprolol it would be wonderful. I am 58 (and female!) and hopefully have a good few years ahead of me yet! I didn't want to spend them taking these powerful drugs which are not even stopping my AF completely.

    Thanks again.

  • Hi there, I'm in similar position to you, female, same age. I now have my date also its 24th November, a month after you so if you feel you can tell us about your experience then I will be listening and support you.

    I have suffered with Paroxysmal AF since 2006, offered it earlier but declined the ablation as drugs seemed to manage (in retrospect I now wish had had it done earlier) it but this year has got so much worse now get Atrial Flutter as well in between the AF episodes and even after changing drugs still having episodes 3-4 times a week and sometimes a couple a day with the flutter. Is horrible. Just started a new job and on 2nd day had an episode whist getting ready for work, had to lie down, so was able to go to work but late!!

    I have been reading the posts on this site for a couple of years but only participated this year after making decision to have the ablation. It has helped me enormously to be positive and convinced that I'm making the right decision. I feel very positive about it as I cant continue taking toxic drugs that aren't working and AF is now seriously affecting my quality of life.

    I suffer from anxiety also, caused by AF, so I really understand how you are feeling.

    I'm having m ablation done at St Thomas in London under GA. I have to go in the day before procedure at 3pm for blood tests, so will be in hospital 2 nights, 3 days, which I don't like as will be anxious and I will not sleep. Afterwards, I will have to return to work asap, have told them I'm having an operation and hope to be back at work 7-10 days, so concerned about how I will be afterwards with the added pressure of recovering quickly!! I work in an office so its not physical work. Have read so many varying reports from people on their recovery times, its down to the individual of course.

    So please do continue to post on this site and benefit from everyone's support, keep us posted on your journey, as I said I will be here for you and sharing my experiences when its my time.

  • Just think about November and how good it will be to be AF free. And that will probably be just the beginning of a much improved life.

  • Hope all goes well for you ,Iam waiting for my ablation date so completely sympathise with you , like someone said on here my family crest is also 3 white feathers on a bed of custard I am a 72 year old whimp all the best xx

  • I won't repeat comments above, many are very good indeed. What I will say is don't forget that for you it's the first time but they will have done hundreds or maybe thousands (certainly between them). Just think of it in another light. You were probably nervous the first time you got into a car in the drivers seat. After 500 hours driving you were nowhere near as nervous at all!!!!

  • I felt exactly as you do prior to my ablation 3 weeks ago, my legs were actually shaking on the morning of the procedure and nearly did a runner the night before. I am so glad now that I didn't. I was in persistent AF at the time and was under general anaesthetic for 7 hours as the ablation was lengthy due to having been in persistent for a year. I wish I'd had it done before it had gone that far but had not been offered it. No problem with the procedure at all, awoke in sinus in what seemed like minutes. Had to lay flat until the next day but had no problem with groin and it healed very well. I am gradually getting my old mojo back although I was unfortunate to develop a chest infection which cleared with antibiotics. I know it's very difficult not to be anxious and it would be very unusual if you weren't. You will be fine and it will be over before you know it. My very best wishes to you. 👍

    Brenda

  • Good comments here. I want to take this in a different direction.

    Fortitude is not what you need. It's mindfulness.

    You're aware of being afraid. You're also aware that it's taken hold of you and shaken you.

    Are you aware that fear is just a mind-state, like curiosity, affection, and whatever else that goes on between our ears? You can work with all mind states, you just have to accept them for what they are and not give them more power than they deserve.

    Try this: When you feel an emotion, focus on it. I mean, really focus on it. Examine it, unpack it, see what's inside, where it comes from, and what it's trying to tell you. Then notice how long it lasts. It will transform into something else within 30-45 seconds. Pay attention to the new emotion/mind-state. Do the same thing with it: note it, examine it, etc. Then the next one, and the next one, etc.

    In this process you may find that you loop back around to fear. You may also find humor in it.

    If that's too easy, try following your breath. Focus intently on the inhalation, the slight pause at the top, the exhalation, the pause at the bottom, and the transition back to inhalation. During this, note the qualities of the breath, e.g., thin, harsh, fluid, easy, raspy, etc. Count "1" and do it again.

    If you can get through a single breath without a stray thought interfering, you're doing better than I usually do. But the effort is well worth it.

    You can do both of these exercises in the short time before your ablation. When it's over, I suggest you enroll in a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction class, or something similar.

    Fear is built into the human structure. Anxiety is optional.

    And consider this: Suffering = pain x resistance. I.e., pain is inevitable, but the suffering that arises from resistance is not.

    If this appeals to you, I wish you the best of luck in finding resources to continue the process. If not, well, have fun with the wild beast.

  • I don't expect that you old enough to remember the McFlannels in books and on Scottish radio,

    An expression from there was " You've never died a Winter yet"

    As a doctor said at the pre assessment before my pacemaker. The cath lab is the safest place in the world as we have everything needed in there and our mission in life is to keep you safe and your heart beating.

  • Thanks for the good wishes. It's lovely to have so much support from you all. I really appreciate it. It helps to hear from others that know exactly how this AF journey feels and are willing to share your own experiences of ablation.

    I will update you as to how mine goes.

    I have practised mindfulness before Kodaska, but unfortunately got out of the habit of doing it regularly. I think it would be a good idea to take it up again.

    Don't be surprised if you all see another few posts from me as it gets nearer the date!

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