Considering Ablation

Hi, this is my first post here.

I had my first A-fib back in 2002, i was put on 25mg Metoprolol, and saw my Cardiologist annually up until 2010. Initially the Dr. suggested Ablation as an option but to first try the meds. I changed my lifestyle/diet and was able to control the episodes to where i'd get only 2 or 3 per year, so I decided against the Ablation, and the Dr. seemed to discourage it as well.

My diet has slipped a little, as well as my cardio workouts. In the last month i've had three days where i was 'on edge' for most of the day (i.e. have to pace myself, and calculate every effort to avoid my heart going into A-Fib).

I almost sure i know what i did (certain food, over exertion) that probably put me on-edge.

Well, gosh, i was going to ask for advice on whether or not i should get an Ablation, but i think i just self-diagnosed myself in writing this post. (i.e. diet/exercise) - lol.

So i guess my question would be: How many A-fib episodes, and for how long, should one have before being considered a candidate for the Ablation?

26 Replies

  • I meant to add; the three days i mentioned were something new that i hadn't experienced before. For example; just yesterday, i had to sit in my car for about 2 hours until i felt i could do anything without going into A-fib. I was trying to eat my lunch (which i couldn't do) and even a small burp would threaten to trigger it.

    Similarly, doing anything that would take energy (including listening to radio, or bright light/sun) almost triggered it.

    In addition, when on edge like that (and in the past in A-fib), i seem to have to urinate more frequently (anyone else have that?)

  • Hi eggie

    I figure when it is affecting your normal way of living it's time.

    I left it too long

    Had an ablation 2 years ago after spending a year in and out of hospital and haven't had an episode since.

    Everyone is different - they said they would have to have 2 or 3 attempts with me but they got it right first time.

    If it's getting you down push for an ablation


  • re urination - yes at night.

  • Yes I get the same. As a precursor to a bout of PAF I always get the passing of lots of water. 10 years ago when it first started I was in and of the toilet

    all night long and being a person who has to watch his weight I weighed my self and found I had lost 7 lbs over night. My wife who said the scales were wrong tried them and found her weight as it was the day before.

    I went to see the doc who said my scales were wrong and never checked my heart etc the following evening i felt very ill and sent for the medics who diagnosed AF straight away followed by 4 weeks in intensive care

  • I am in a similar position so cant answer you ?? AFIB started 2006 , very few episodes till 2010 the Flec PIP , noved to 100mg per day inn 2011 , about 5 episodes a year since then otherwise well. Cardio happy with me says wait to see if procedure improves....and thats where I am now.

  • I wasted a number of years looking for excuses not to have an ablation. Let's see how this med goes, let's try and lose a couple of stones, let's get a lot fitter, let's wait till after Christmas, let's try nettle broth and magnesium (joking about that one!). Anyway, I have all the t-shirts!

    The reality is that it doesn't matter if your current situation is such that it hasn't quite tipped you in favour of ablation because that situation will change. It is 99% likely that your AF will become more frequent and longer lasting (ok, I plucked that statistic out of the air but I bet I'm close). Thankfully, in my case, I didn't leave it so long that I screwed up my chances of ablation success and, like Brian above and thousands of others, it looks as though I was lucky enough to be cured after just one procedure. But if I needed another to remain free of that cursed condition, I wouldn't hesitate for a moment.

    Off for a run - hey ho!

  • My Af episodes went from once a month to 3 times a week over a period of two and a half years, I've never looked back since having an ablation, it’s given me my life back,

    I can’t say that I ever found a trigger, I did try diet, lifestyle, vitamin supplements, and prescription medications and the like, but none of this ever worked for me, I quickly became depressed with my situation,

    Something to consider is your Af can get a lot worse, also your general health can change too, you may find yourself in a position where you won’t be offered an Ablation due to poor health, not a good place to be, there is a case for getting it done sooner rather than later, Good luck

  • Hello eggie. Some doctors are wary of ablation possibly because they have a jaundiced view for some reason. Ordinary cardiologists may not be keen because you are moved on to being an EP's patient and the cardiologist doesn't see you any more.

    It's not so much a question of how many episodes - some people have a few episodes but they are debilitating, some have many that have less impact. They are all probably having some sort of effect on the function of our hearts and we would be better off without them.

    In my view the time to see an EP with a view to an ablation is before AF is interfering with your life excessively because most have a waiting list. If ablation is offered, accept the opportunity, and most likely by the time you get an appointment AF will probably have progressed and you will know you need it. You can always defer if you feel it appropriate. In other words, see an EP sooner rather than later.

  • It could also be that GPs are not up to date with ablations and other possible options and therefore refrain from recommending or when they did their training little was known or taught (after all catheter ablations only really came about in the late 90s. There will be some, more likely some of the older ones, who are wary of new technologies!!!!

  • Mine is a similar story,. P,AF diagnosed 2010 cardio version then metoprolol in igradually increasing amounts to hold ,A,F at bay. Also needed to urinate when ,AF came on and I discovered that there is a medical reason linked to ,AF for that. With episodes slowly increasing and no obvious triggers I decided to ask for a consultation for ablation. That proved difficult with my GP and by chance really I was referred by a younger doctor when my own GP was unavailable. I finally had an ablation this July and am under review but am confident and have no regrets and will have another if necessary . It would seem that PAF only gets worse so I would certainly recommend ablation before the tipping point is reached and AF becomes permanent. Best wishes.

  • Several things here. 1) Urination. AF causes the distressed heart to release an enzyme which tells the body to get rid of salt. This is why you pee more when in AF

    2) AF ALWAYS progresses . Most EPs consider that early intervention by ablation is the most effective way of preventing permanent AF and improving quality of life.

    It has been said by a wiser man than I that you will know when you are ready. Personally I thank the Lord that I was never giving the chance to make my own mind up. Having rejected the first offer my condition deteriorated rapidly over the next six months to the point I was almost begging to have the ablation ( I did actually). Once the choice was made the rest was easy and even if I did need three to sort out my complex ticker it was worth every effort and it is not glib to say that it saved my life. Had I still had AF I would not have been able to have the life saving operation I later did.

  • Hi.

    Get it done is my opinion.

    AF is progressive so the sooner you have the ablation the better.

  • Where can I find data that shows AF always progresses. I would like to be able to understand the progress of AF. I find it really interesting but I cant seem to find any figures or studies on this subject.

  • Thank you will take a look at these.

  • Please read my posts and you will see that you are not alone in the way you feel. We are all different & I was lucky enough to be an ideal candidate for what was a new procedure 2 years ago. I was one of the first to experience the Hybrid Procedure whereby I had the outside of the heart ablated and then 3/4 months later I had the inside of the heart ablated through the groin. With a 2/3 months rehabilitation in which I gradually began to do more, I am now 6 months later, back to my old fitness enjoying biking' swimming and watching my grandchildren play rugby on Sunday mornings....often forgetting my 68 years and joining in, much to my wife,s annoyance!!! So life is good for now but, I no longer drink alcohol, smoke and keep to a pretty easy diet. So don't fear ablation as it may be the way out for you. Good luck.

  • I was told the hybrid procedure was done all at one time. Where may I ask did you have it done?

  • This procedure is done in one operation in the USA but in 2 separate operations in the UK.

  • You'll know when you need an ablation - your whole quality of life, or lack of it to be precise, will be screaming at you to try anything.

    I think your doctor was right to put you off having an ablation in 2002 - this is a relatively new technique that they are still perfecting but nowadays it usually works.

  • My doctor has advised me to postpone if possible as techniques are still rapidly improving. It sounds as if the same advice to you in 2002 has worked. Only you can decide at what point to get it done. I have heard the ablation gets more difficult as AF is more advanced......

  • Thanks everyone for your kind replies. I'll see my Cardiologist again on 12/7 and let you know how it goes.

  • Get on the waiting list now, it will only get worse!. I have just come out of Hospital after my Ablation, it went fine! nothing to worry about. But i had a wait of 15 months before i could get in.


  • Where was this?

  • Blackpool Queen Victoria, A top class Hospital but very busy, and one of the best EPs in the country if not the world, Dr Scott Garr,

    and also a really nice guy to speak to, he put my mind at rest.


  • I feared as much! I've been on his waiting list for a year now. He did my last ablation (March 2014) and it improved things enormously and I've been able to give up flecainide. I agree with what you say Howie - he makes you feel very confident, but I thought his name was Scott Gall!

  • Yes your right it is Gall

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