Upcoming Ablation

Hi All !

I thought I would post to share my upcoming ablation with you all. Hopefully I can share my experience with you, and be in a position to offer reassurance to anyone who may need it. My operation is on the 1st of December, and is at St Barts. I'm 53 now, and have been suffering from irregular heartbeat for probably over twenty years. Recently I have been taking flecanide, (50mg, twice daily) which has seemed to help. I also take Atenolol .

Unfortunately it took a long while to get a diagnosis for my A Fib, the doctors thought I was too young ! Sadly I struggled for a few years on my own, not knowing what was happening to me. Thankfully, now after meeting a good cardiologist and being passed onto a specialist, help has come my way.

I have only seen the consultant a few months ago, and he said he would get me in as an urgent case. This is due to the fact I am now at risk of going into permanent AF.

When I was around thirty to thirty two, my heart used to speed up very fast. It would beat very fast and hard, and would last about twenty miniutes . Also had a lot of ectopic beats. This was the original reason I was put on Atenolol, I believe the docs thought it was stress related !

I spoke to the recent consultant about this, and the doc from Barts said it was a node ? I can't quite remember what he said, although he said he will look for it during the ablation. This will also be dealt with at the same time, although he said these things can burn themselves out over time.

I have also had to start on warfarin, my INR is still not 2.5. My dosage has been put up to 6mg daily, although there is not much time till the op, so hopefully the blood test this Tuesday will show it to have risen from 2.2 to 2.5.

Having A Fib can be a lonely experience. How do you explain to people that you can't come out, because your heart is jumping all over the place ! There have been bad times at work, where I have never said anything to anyone. People just don't understand.

I'm finding my immediate friends, and close family are really worried. I am the one playing it all down and offering them reassurance !

I'm not sure how long I will have to take off work ? Will I be in pain afterwards ? If I let my imagination run wild, I imagine I will have a stroke or a heart attack during the procedure ! Or that my heart is so damaged by these constant irregular beats ! Oh well, I have said it now, these are my fears. I'm sure I'm not alone with these, well hope so. My hypochondriac side emerging !

I have also been told my procedure will be done under GA. On a positive, I am looking forward to some time without the worry of the AF, maybe having some energy.

I will really look forward to hearing from all you guys. All for one, and one for all. xx

20 Replies

  • Hello , I am 49 and was diagnosed with AF about 3 years ago.I went from someone who would run most days and go to the gym to somebody who had to sit down at the top of the stairs if I climbed them! I also struggled at work as I wasn't sat at a desk all the time but they were very understanding. I have just had my 3rd ablation ( about 4 weeks ago) I had a GA for my last 2 ablations. My latest experience is that I found the first week the worst as my chest was sore and I just felt very tired but now even though I still have runs of fast heart rate it does settle quite quickly. I am staying positive and hope that it works. I am continuing on my warfarin, flecainide 100mg twice a day and verapamil 40 mg 3 times a day to try and stay in nsr. I know it can be very frightening the thought of an ablation and worrying for your family but hopefully this site will give you reassurance ( it has me) that it can be successful and give you a better QOL. I am thinking if you.

  • Thank you for sharing your experiences with me Sulily. Also thanks for your kind words.

  • hope you finally get some relief after all these years of struggle :)

  • Thank you very much.

  • I had my ablation at Barts at the end of March and on the day my INR was only 2.2 and had been jumping around all over the place in the weeks leading up to it (anything from 1.8 to 4.5). They went ahead ok, just topped up.

    I know the feeling about family, friends and colleagues. Some have said you don't look ill so must be ok or think that it is very minor. That is the trouble when it is not a physical affliction. Mind you I may be my own worst enemy since I am not a moaner and get on with things as best as I can varying / adjusting from day to day to suit that day's situation.

    Even some in the medical profession have little clue and more than once I have been asked at the hospital by a nurse was I on aspirin!!!!

  • Thanks for sharing your experience Peter. I understand the not being a moaner part ! A few times I have tried to explain what was wrong with me, and people have looked horrified. The comments they made, I truly believe they thought I was going to die on them ! Hence why I mostly keep it to myself. Was you under Mr Sportin ? Not certain that is the correct spelling of his name.

  • It is Dr Sporton. I am actually under Dr Earley.

  • oh yes, that's the correct spelling . Dr Sporton appears to be held in very high regard, by all the staff.

  • I had my ablation last week in Leeds Royal Infirmary. I had a few worries about complications etc but you are in the right place if anything goes wrong. I have been free of AF for 6 days now a record for me since it started 8 months ago. The process was done under a local and was a little painful. The bruises in the groin after are spectacular but nothing too bad. The whole experience was great and I felt much better immediately. Hope you have the same experience!

  • Thank you for sharing your positive experience with me. May you continue to be AF free ! Wishing you well.

  • Your case sounds similar to me. I had the ablation last Friday and found it pretty stress free. I was in for 3 hours with just a local anaesthetic and can honestly say I did not feel anything. I thought I would feel the catheter inside me but nothing. The Dr noticed tachycardia whilst performing the PVI so afterwards he ablated the av node area as well. I was allowed home the same day and felt perfectly normal. The following few days have also been totally pain free and the danger is I will probably over do things!

    Good luck.

  • Thank you for your reply. I'm pleased everything went so well for you. You must feel great and much relief ! I hope you stay well, and take it easy !

  • Hi there.

    I had mine two weeks ago. It was painful for me .I was under sedation. I was tired for a week but I feel great now. I have a lovely heart rythm. It's early days to count it a success but looking good.

    Don't worry just get it done and hopefully you'll be brand new.

    I'm 53 as well .

    Have you enquired about apixaban or something similar. Warfrin seems a bit old hat to me now.

  • Thank you so much for your reply. I really hope all stays well for you. I think they did consider something other than warfarin, but decided that warfarin was best for me. I'm really not sure why. Thanks anyway.

  • Hello Jacky52.

    All I can say is ditto to everything you said. I have had 2 ablations and trust me, once you have been sedated or are under GA, it is a breeze.

    To my knowledge there is no risk of stroke during operation since you will be on blood thinners way before they start the procedure and afterwards for a short period. I believe all other risks are less than 1%.

    I did not get any pain at all before or after unless of course you count the odd minor twinge.

    I can only echo what you have already been told in that if you are lucky the first Ablation works 100% but many require a second round.

    I think it would be fair to say that most get to within 90% fixed and then use a minor level of tablets to deal with the 10%.

    I am 2 years down the line and have just come off of the minor dose of beta blocker (1.25mg Bisoprolol). I like many others have a heightened awareness to any blip which, could be just a normal Ectopic beat or short dose of tachy. I now believe this may be a digestion issue which, you will be familiar with when in AF but probably completely unrelated.

    I can imagine your anger with the suggestion that it was anxiety related for so long. I and many others have been there.

    I know that after the operation you will wonder why you worried so much about it. Do not beat yourself up, it is only natural to be concerned about something we have no control over, just like flying. Trust me, this is a lot more comfortable and if like BHI, the food was a lot better to.

    Good luck.

  • Thank you for your informative response. It has made me feel a lot better ! The doctor said it was likely that I would need a second ablation. It's lovely to be able to share these anxieties ! I'm pleased for you that you are doing well. Thanks again.

  • Hi Jacky52,

    I am due to have my ablation on 2nd December in Liverpool. Like you I find that I have to play it down to reassure my husband, who starts to panic if I am half an hour late taking my warfarin etc.

    Hope it all goes well.


  • Hi Lyn

    I'm the day before you, so we will be going through this together ! Thanks for your reply, we will keep in touch. Take care and hope all goes well for you also.

  • Hi Jacky. I look forward to following your journey as I'm due to have an ablation next year and have got exactly the same fears as you.

    When you read everyone's messages on here from pre and post ablation we are or have all been in the same boat which is reassuring because you realise you are not on your own.

    I will be thinking of you on the 1st and pray for a positive result bless you. Denise.

  • Hi Denise

    Thanks for your reply. Thanks for your kind words and support. Please feel free to ask me any questions, or share your anxieties with me .

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