Going to have a cardiac ablation for Afib - AF Association

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Going to have a cardiac ablation for Afib


I'm going to have a cardiac ablation within the next month and I just want to see from people who have had it what are some of the things I can do in preparation for it or to ask the doctor to do for me to make it painless and recuperate without anxiety!

18 Replies

Firstly I doubt you want a cardiac ablation. You mean pulmonary vein isolation, catheter ablation or just plain ablation. To ablate means to cause not to exist so doing that to your heart is not a good idea. lol

Seriously I find root canal treatment more stressful than ablation (PVI) but there are some things to remember.

Make sure that you go well prepared with lip salve, a sports drinking bottle and a bag for all your essentials as you will have to lay flat for at least four hours afterwards. This will enable you to have all you need close by.

Make sure that you follow all your pre-procedure instruction to the letter and if they tell you to shave the entry area be creative. Signs like "Keep off the grass " always give them a good laugh.

Do not stress about the procedure. You don't say if it is sedation or GA but either is fine usually although all my ablations were under GA. It depends on the EP.

You will feel a bit sore afterwards and get some superbly colourful bruises around the groin area and possibly a hard lump. This is normal and will degrade over time. Don't try to do too much and make sure that you are looked after for the first week and try not to do much for the second week either. You will need to be collected from the hospital I expect as few places like you going home alone and preferably not on public transport . You may not drive for at least 48 hours not that you will feel like it.

Do not expect to be fully well straight away. It takes at least three months for the poor old heart to recover and you WILL have some AF episodes and other strange arrhythmias to start with. Don't be upset and worry as this is quite normal and they should tell you all this. They should fade as your scar tissue forms and the heart heals.

If you want a blow by blow account of ablation in all its various forms there is a great booklet that you can download from AF Association main website.


in reply to BobD

Thank you so much Bob I appreciate your thorough response and I'm sure I will find it very helpful. Jonathan

in reply to BobD

The sports bottle should be one that you can hold upside down without anything coming out and that you have to suck to get the water.


I've had two; first one under sedation and second under GA. Both were a doddle. I had 24/7 AF and had the first ablation 12 years ago just to get off the drugs, which were working but with side-effects that were spoiling things. My chest felt sort of tight for a week or so and my groin took a few days to heal. I came out without AF from day one and it stayed like that for 8 years, no drugs except anti-coagulants which I'm still on and will be for life almost certainly. My life went back to completely normal, including exercise and work.

After 8 years I got a teeny-weeny bit of AF back, so we went for a 2nd ablation but actually didn't complete it because my AF disappeared! That was under GA, I went into the procedure room, lay on the table, woke up in bed a few hours later.

After initially being groggy obviously, I felt brilliant after both ablations, which must have been the drugs I guess?

Have a good one, hope it works for you :-)


I'm assuming we're talking about PVI's !

in reply to Hidden

Thank you Koll, I appreciate your response. Jonathan

Hi Jonathan!

I'm a 20 year old girl who has just had a cardiac ablation done a week ago under sedation. Believe me when I say it's nothing to be worried about! The EP and ablation itself weren't a problem at all for me and if it hurts you just tell them, they stop and give you more drugs to continue, it's very relaxed.

I will say don't so what I have done and expect to bounce back straight away because you don't. They say take a week off for a reason. Because I couldn't see the damage done to my heart I thought I was fine to go about my day to day life. This is not the case don't do what I did!!!

Being things in that will distract you before you're waiting to go in that was the most difficult part of the day for me the waiting beforehand.

I hope everything goes well for you!

Erin xx

Thank you

Hey Jonathan, are you a pilot? Flight physician say anything about you having heart arrhythmia? That being the case will having the ablation clear you for the wild blue yonder?

My physician was not concerned about my flying with Afib. Jonathan

I had a ablation done for atrial flutter - procedure fine.

A week after it my thigh became swollen and a massive bruise from knee to thigh ( I hadn't made aware this might happen so became quite worried) - it's all normall - with very deep bruising it is still painful but gradually easing up - so don't be alarmed if this happens to you - all will be well.

Take your phone, iPad ( I spent a fortune on eBay - so maybe don't take it, plenty to read & lots of water to drink).

Take your time - a break or sprain healing can be felt but not your recovering heart - so do take it easy as everyone has said.

Roll on ablation 😀

Oops I always correct myself - it's the teacher in me - an ablation

Good luck Jonathan, I myself am going Dec 2 for an ablation for a-fib. Little nervous myself, but hear from a friend it's nothing to worry about. Be well.

Two ablations - one for flutter and a later one (last May) for fibrillation - both successful. BUT ... I was prescribed flecainide to prevent breakthrough arrhythmias after the second one, and it left me with an autoimmune disorder that has ruined my life with daily bouts of dizziness, fatigue, and a few other delicacies. Do not take flecainide after an ablation, simple as that. You don't need to prevent the breakthroughs; rather, you want to know if they happen. They will not damage your heart, and they will go away as the heart heals.

As for recuperating without anxiety, that's up to you. All the resources you need for an anxiety-free recuperation - and life - are between your ears. Speaking from experience here.

Best of luck.


Thanks, Jonathan. Some folks find my straight talk offensive.

Had a successful first ablation one year ago. I was very worried it would be painful under sedation but whenever I mentioned any discomfort it was quickly sorted. Remember some music and ear plugs if staying overnight. I felt great 4 days after the procedure and was back swimming within 2 weeks. Hope all goes well.

Thank you!

Hi, l had Cryoablation at Whipps Cross last Monday, performed by Prof. schilling. I couldn't fault my treatment. Admitted at 9:00am, went into they're about an hour later, l asked for a lot of sedation as I didn't want to know about what went on, consequently I don't! Returned to ward,had to lie flat, entry site checked frequently fo any signs of leakage, eventually was sloEly sat up. Unfortunately at the point that I was about to have the longed for cup of tea, I began to bleed. Back on my back and pressure applied but was able to sit up successfully not much later. Then a walk to the loo, putting pressure on my groin, no problems, get dressed and left about 16:30. Bad time to leave London ,but my husband managed very well, while I slept most of the way home!

I have not experienced any pain in my chest, l am aware of some arythmia but pulse hasn't gone above 90 bpm. Bruising is interesting colours but has not spread which is the important thing. I'm very tired and have taken advice from elsewhere on this forum to do very little , my kitchen floor is waiting for me to feel more energetic! Have started to write my Christmas cards, with frequent breaks!

Do hope your experience will be as trouble free as mine has been. I think you need to be mentally prepared to do very little for at least a week post procedure. I had done a lot of meal preparation so that I haven't had to worry about what we're going to eat. Find yourself a really good book and enjoy it!

While thinking about Christmas, Happy Christmas to everyone on this wonderfully supportive forum

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