Ablation tomorrow morning... any advice?

So D-day is upon me and I'm in for my ablation tomorrow morning.

My nerves have been up and down over the past week, although thankfully not feeling too bad right now. They sky-rocketed when I went in for my pre op assessment though, and the kind arrhythmia nurse even got out a plastic model of a heart to help show me exactly what they are going to do :( ... If she had asked before hand "do you want me to show you in detail with the aid of models what they are going to do or would you rather I just tell you that you will go to sleep while we try to fix you and everything's going to be fine?", I definitely would have chose the later - feeling like a coward now, after putting my feelings in writing :(

Anyway, I digress. I'm just after some advice for what to take with me, anything I might not have thought of etc.

As always, any help greatly appreciated :) oh, and Happy New Year everyone. Here's to a NSR 2016.

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28 Replies

  • I have had two ablations, one normal and one by the robot. Both times I was so nervous but don't worry it is over before you know it. You will be well looked after by a brilliant team, to them it's just a normal day in the office lol. Are you being put under GA or local? I was still awake but they sedate you lots so your comfortable. If this is the same as you I would say don't be shy about asking for more sedation (if you are staying awake) however the first Time they gave me so much I felt ill afterwards like a bad hangover. Second time was much better. Again they can give you anti sickness do all is good 😀

    Advice I would give is bring water but also bring straws. You won't be able to sit up for two hours after so it makes it easier to drink and you will prob want to afterwards. Also pack a good bag especially if you are staying over like I did, baby wipes are a must as the hospital had no wipes when I was there and they came in handy! Also slippers, to walk around the hospital floor in. Try to relax you will be in good hands. I worked myself up so much I was in an episode both times when I went in to have mine which was great for my EP 😂

    but honestly when I came out I was thinking why did I worry that was ok. A lot of worry I think comes from them reading out possible risks but they told me that they are a national average so across the whole country. So not to worry. And it's for legal reasons when really they want to say you will be fine. Where are you having it done?

  • Thanks for the quick reply.

    Firstly, The Robot!?!?!?

    I'm going into Leicester Glenfield Hospital, which I know has a very good reputation. Being put under GA as I don't sedate well, they used the maximum allowed dose during a CV and it still wasnt enough!!!

    I will certainly pack the things you suggested, especially the straws. I hope there's something entertaining to look at on the ceiling if I have to lay flat for two hours :D

  • Yes I have SVT but it's a complex case as they found out during my first ablation which is why they aborted it, unlike normal SVT I have paths in both top two chambers more similar to AF but it's not AF there is no name for it so they just say atrial tachycardia.

    The 2nd ablation my EP Prof Schilling decided to use the Hansen robot as it makes it easier for them in complex cases as they can take a lot longer (cause fatigue) and minimises scarring when there is a lot they have to burn. Apparently mine was constant burning as one of the doctors said.

    That is strange, I have had the same problem with sedation, they gave me the amount for my weight and it didn't touch the sides! they had to keep giving it to me till I was relaxed but even then I remember a lot and could feel a lot, where as some people say they don't remember anything and just sleep.

    Best wishes for Tomorow.

  • Better still is a sports drinking bottle with a teat! Also some lip salve. tissues. and a suitable bag (small bum bag) to keep everything in close to you when you are laying flat.

  • Thanks Bob. I have a bottle which fits your description nicely :)

  • Normal to be nervous. I was considering doing a runner from the waiting room but thankfully did not and two years later AF free.

    Bring something to read. Although must stay lying down for a couple of hours you are supported by pillows so easy to read.

    Phone so you can chat to friends and post your progress on here.


    Dressing gown and slippers

    Moisturiser or cream if you use it as air dry in hospital

    Sense of humour


    Good luck 🍀

  • I know what you mean about doing a runner... I want to get it over and done with but also want to put off the procedure for as long AF possible!

  • Wrong worry about the robot. It is actually called a Hansen robot but actually it sis guided by the EP using like a joy stick. In effect it is partly like a gear mechanism which allows more accurate movements - ie the movement of the EP's hand is reduced t a much smaller movement at the catheter tip. It also allows the EP to sit at a desk behind a screen and that also saves them having to wear an apron a lot of the time.

    My ablation was 6.5 hours and whilst most of it was done by the robot some was done by the EP standing besides me.

    Rather than straws take in a sports water bottle, best is one of the type that you have to suck to get the water out. That way you can still lie flat, have as much or as little drink as you want unaided and don't get wet at all!!!!

    Another thing is to take in some lip salve (ideally two tubes as one may be lost) because your lips will get very dry. Put some on beforehand and get then to put some on afterwards. I had sedation so I got them to put some on a number of times during the ablation.

    I had to lie still for over three hours but believe you're that time flies by as you drift in and out of sleep anyway and are relaxed anyway.

    Good luck.

  • Thanks. I had lip salve but now can't find it anywhere, trip to the shops is in order then!

  • I wouldn't worry about having an ablation. I've had two and both were a breeze. I didn't really even have the recovery period that people speak of, just took it easy for a while (a week or so). Felt a bit tight in the chest and had to be careful with the entry wound for a few days. Main problem was showering. So what I did was shower, keeping the dressing as dry as I could, then drying myself off and putting on a new dressing each time. Got the large dressings from the local chemist.

    AF went completely for 8 years, it was wonderful, and no more drugs except anti-coagulants :-) . I've had one under sedation and one under GA and I couldn't choose which I prefer. Even under sedation, OK I was awake but in lala land, and time flew by, felt soooooo relaxed.

    Have a good one :-)


  • Thanks. I've had a GA before for a minor knee op, so know what to expect - most bizarre to go through, it's like you closer your eyes and then open them again and its all over. The time just doesn't register!

  • The lip salve is essential. There must be something in the anaesthetic to cause the awful persistent drying of the lips.

    Take some biscuits and a banana as the hospital food can be very iffy.

    In Liverpool they have wall mounted TVs and the only way to view them without risking neck-ache is to lie down. The 4 hours lying in bed is no problem - unless you're a lady and need to wee. Think 2" deep tin tray. You men are lucky!!

    Stay calm, go with the flow. Good luck and best wishes.

  • My other half wants to be there with me as much as possible (she's 8 months pregnant though, so quite possibly easier said than done!).

    Is there much point in her being there or will I be out of it most of the time?

  • I doubt that they will allow her in the cath lab during the procedure but maybe Leicester does. However my daughter was allowed to be with me in the recovery phase and that certainly made that three or four hours go much quicker and less bored. I did drift off some of that time but she didn't worry.

  • Hi joebob, I had mine done at glenfield , you'll start off on a ward then you don't see your other half till your done and you'll end up on a different ward ,my wife and daughter had a 6 and half hour wait till they could come up to me they ended up sitting in the car most of this time , I just shut my eyes and opened them 6 and half hours later job done , think they had the worse bit waiting , it was all over in a flash , when they swopped me onto the narrow bed in the catch lab I was shaking like a leaf uncontrollably there's no way I'd have managed sedation , just go with the flow you'll be fine mate cheers Paul

  • My exeperience is that the ablation lasted 6 hours then in recovery whilst waking up from GA before going to the ward so it would be quite a wait for your other half. I had my ablations at Glenfield they were great and really look after you.

    Good luck for tomorrow🍀

  • Hi Joebob,

    My best wishes for tomorrow.

    Kind Regards


  • Best wishes joebob. I've not had an ablation but earplugs and a sleep mask would have made my stay in hospital more comfortable. Let us know how you get on.

  • All the best for tomorrow.

    Don't take all your things in a small bag they fit into neatly. Have plenty of room so that you can also put in all the things you are wearing when you arrive, just in case you move (clad only in your gown) within the hospital. Or take a spare bag.

  • Best wishes. All will be well and that is from the biggest coward that ever lived! I will still be anxious when i go for my second ablation but without any just cause because the first was absolutely fine. X

  • I took a load of stuff but forgot the water bottle which was the thing I needed most, in the excitement. I was so zonked out from the GA and morphine I couldn't do a thing except sleep and drink. I couldn't swallow anything that wasn't semi-liquid for about 18 hours, so bananas good!

    Good luck, keep thinking of the freedom you will feel when it is all over and hopefully successful!

  • Breathe.



  • Thanks again everyone for all of your support, it has really helped.

    Off I go - or to quote Star Wars (everything else is at the minute)... Here goes nothing!


  • Sending all the best wishes in the world for today and look forward to hearing all about it!!

    Sara x x

  • Just a quick check in, all went well and EP was very pleased. Slowly starting to feel compos mentis again. Crap internet connection though, so I will give more details maybe tomorrow.

    Thanks again everyone.

  • Hi joebob

    Good to hear it's gone well for you. I might be following in your footsteps in a few months. My first Cardioversion lasted 18 months, the second only 6 weeks. I went into fast AF three days ago and spent 24 hours in hospital. Cardiologist now talking about possible ablation.

    I'll know more on Feb 8th.

    Hope all goes well for you.

    Best wishes


  • Back at home now and resting up. Still feeling really rough, but I think that's mainly down to being under GA for four and a half hours. Not really feeling any chest pain and my groin doesn't really hurry either.

    I think what I really need is a good nights sleep and I will feel a lot better in the morning :)

    Glad I had it done although it was really scary going in. Luckily the staff are all so professional and really make you feel at ease.

    My resting heart rate is now 90 though whereas it was only 60 before. EP said it will come down a bit but probably not go back down to 60 - has anyone else had this?

  • Good to hear from you.

    Yes, they are good at easing any concerns.

    I found my heart rate increased after ablation and felt very odd, but it soon got slower. It didn't go back to what it had been before, which was on the slow side.

    Hope you have a trouble free recuperation.

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