Ablation and weight

Hello All

Thanks again to everyone for all the help and support give through this group.

I have now seen seen a cardiologist and had a scan. It seems I have some artery furring but not enough to warrant further investigation though enough to stop me having flecainide so my main path forward will be an ablation. The cardiologist referred me to an EP (probably in Birmingham) but said it is unlikely that he or she will take me on because I have weight issues - though I'm not sure if that means he will not even see me. Part of the problem lies with me trying to manage my AF with food and it is definitely true for me that if I eat certain foods then my AF decreases but the food puts weight on me (main culprit is potatoes). I am very determined to change my lifestyle to lose the weight and become ablation suitable but she could not give me any indication about what would be an acceptable weight for the procedure. Does anyone have any idea? I am near 20 stone at present but 6 months ago I was17 stone. Also can heart disease halted through diet and lifestyle changes? I have high blood pressure being managed through medication but again this is linked to weight issues.


11 Replies

  • Hi, You are right, there is a lot going on here that is linked to weight issues. Many people no longer have hypertension or episodes of AF once they are at an ideal weight. Though many people still do, but it is so important to be as healthy as possible for an ablation to be successful long term. It make a huge difference.

    Lifestyle change is the key to your heart health. You are also at risk for diabetes, which also damages the cardiovascular system. I commend you identifying the problem (though it is not the potatoes....potatoes are rich in potassium and key nutrients which help to lower blood pressure....it's the junk that gets put on the potatoes that may be a problem) . A diet that is made of whole foods, not processed foods, mostly, if not all fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is the best for your cardiovascular system. Exercise is also important for heart health. A good place to start is reading the book How Not To Die by Dr. Michael Greger.

    I hope that you can make the efforts that you need to be well. You can do it!

  • Thanks for your feedback SRMGrandma I will definitely give Dr Gregor a try.

  • I had an ablation 6 weeks ago. I'm 16 stone and my eight wasnt mentioned once by any cardiologist or even my EP (and I know I'm a couple of stone over weight), but I'm also 6'2" so height to weight ratio is important.

    Best of luck with the weight loss - have you tried porridge made with water as an alternative to potatoes? It keeps you satisfied for a long while after a good bowl.

  • Hi joebob thanks for your reply. That's interesting that your weight wasn't mentioned you probably fell within the acceptable range. I need to lose 6 or 7 stone to be "normal". I'll give the porridge a try. I'm not too fussed about the taste as long as it keeps the hunger away.

  • Please consider supplements eg magnesium (but get doctor's advice first). If eating certain foods decreases the AF then that suggests that those foods contain vits/minerals etc which your body is lacking. Taking a good multi-vitamin and mineral tablet daily would help (see your local health food shop) A good weight loss system that takes into account nutritional needs may be helpful, or try Patrick Holford's Low GL diet (see internet).

    There is no need to be hungry on a diet, if one eats plenty of fibre. 1 oz of almond a day is supposed to help for several reasons. Try eating them through the day, every day, perhaps with fruit or veg, instead of other snacks, and avoid processed foods as the fats they contain all promote increased weight.

  • Can I suggest that you try Slimming World for help with losing weight. Potatoes are a free food, so you can eat as many as you like provided they are not covered in butter etc. I joined in June of last year as I thought it might help with my AF. I have now lost almost 3 1/2 stone, with 1/2 stone to go to my target weight. I feel so much better and have not had any episodes of AF since my ablation at the beginning of December.

    Good luck


  • That is a great result Lynn! Good luck with the last half stone. I have shied away from joining a slimming group but maybe it's time to grasp the nettle. So potatoes can't be that bad if they are a free food. Thanks for the guidance.

  • Hi,

    I please don't think I am condoning being overweight, as we all know extra weight is extra work for our hearts, but I am about 5 stone overweight and was dreading what my EP might say about my obesity and ablation, but at my first appointment with him my EP said that he would be happy to carry out an ablation on me were it necessary. There was no mention of weight loss being required or any additional risks due to my weight. He did say that weight can be a factor in atrial fibrillation and that to loose some weight might help my AF. (As it happens, since cutting out aspartame I have been AF free for 8 months now).

    I live in Ireland and have been told by his registrar that my EP is not only the top man in Ireland for Ablations, but the top man in Europe!

    I hope you find your EP has a similar compassionate attitude as I know how frustrating and distressingly it can be to be told you are to heavy to receive life changing treatment. Incidentally, I was fortunate enough to have my knee replaced 7 years ago, when also 5 stone overweight. Although many consultants insisted patients lost several stones before having surgery mine was happy to go ahead. My replacement was a great success with no complications and a good recovery. The difference having a pain free usable leg meant was immeasurable and I am eternally grateful to that consultant for taking away the pain and disability I had suffered for many years, despite my extra weight. I hope those of you who are overweight, but in need of treatment can take heart from my experiences.

  • Hi Isobel thanks for your reply. I have found it really helpful! (sorry for the delay in replying- circumstances...) It is good to know that you got your ablation even with the extra weight. I do want to lose the weight but it is much harder with the afib. I have just been referred to the EP and the doctor said the wait was about four months (Birmingham I think) but That seems forever so I think I will have to pay to see one to get the ball rolling a bit quicker. I can go to Birmingham but Bristol would probably be easier. It's good that your EP had such a good reputation but how do we find a good one? Perhaps it is pot luck. Or perhaps I should come to Ireland and see your guy :) Funny you mention aspartame as I did wonder if that was causing me problems as well and I stopped taking it a couple of years ago.

  • I too was concerned about being overweight as was my EP. He had 2 concerns which were accessing the groin for the ablation - my fat belly - but he also said that the best long term outcomes were if the BMI was under 30. That is not achievable for me but I'm working towards it. It is hard! I wish you well and hope that helps. I've had 2 ablations while quite overweight/obese. I have also focused on being as fit as I can be, often difficult when AF is problematic.

  • Hi CJDa thanks for your helpful reply. Hope things are good for you now.

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