I posted to this site in early December 2015 when I was diagnosed with AFIB. At that time, I was cardioverted twice within a week and put on Flecainide, Cardiazem and Pradaxa (blood thinner), before my AFIB issues gradually subsided. I had some additional minor events that resolved themselves during December and started to do better in January with no noticable events . As a result, my cardiologist took me off Pradaxa since my AFIB had appeared to stabilize. Unfortuntately, shortly thereafter on February 15, I had a significant event with elevated heart rate of 160 and and irregular rhythm which required another ER visit and cardioversion. Additionally, cardiologist increased my dose of Flecaninide by 50% to 75 mg, twice per day (150 mg in total) and recommended I go back on Pradaxa even though my Chad score is zero (I am a fit 60 year-old who exercises daily with no heart disease).
Since I had a repeat significant AFIB episode, we agreed that I should at least talk to an EP about an ablation. That appointment is being set up now to help me decide if this is the correct approach versus staying on meds indefinately. My cardiologist felt that I could continue on my existing medication and continue to increase the Flecainide further if I continue to have events (and perhaps hold off on an ablation). I must admit, I'm not keen further increasing my meds and I'm not happy about staying on Pradaxa especially since my Chad score is zero (my Cardiologist says that until I am relatively event free, say no more than one or two per year, I should stay on the blood thinner, which, of course, has its own risks). Therefore my alternative option is to go with the ablation which is not a panacea and often requires a touch up procedure. My questions are as follows (particularly those individuals who have had an ablation):
Has your quality of life improved post ablation? Any major complications?
Do you need to continue with any meds long term after the ablation including blood thinners (I undertand that you may need to stay on meds at least short term). Or, do you merely need the meds such as a "pill in the pocket" only when needed.
If I choose to defer having an ablation for now, how do you view the risks of staying off the blood thinner versus going on it indefinately? I am very active (Cycle regularly, ski, etc) and I'm wondering if the risks of a major bleed in the event of an accident is really less than the increased risk of a stroke by not taking the blood thinner?
I will be consulting with an EP soon who will help me come to a decision on an ablation, but it will help me to have your feedback in advance based upon your experiances in order to be better prepared for that meeting.