Still going

Well its many years ago now since I underwent ablation in St.Barts . Hosp. by Prof. R.Schilling & I am 85yrs.old next month & still active & mostly in sinus rhythm. I have occasional bouts of Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation but they are mostly for overdoing the exercise.

I am on Bisoprolol 2.5mgms daily & Telmisartan 40mgs. daily . I have had a Watchmans device fitted two or three years ago now at St.Barts & this prevents blood from becoming stationary in my cardiac system & therefore there is no risk of blood clotting & causing a stroke & therefore no need for an anticoagulant -(Warfarin) .

I have a pacemaker fitted which `kicks in ` should I miss a beat or two & therefore I ` Survive`.

God bless you all !


49 Replies

  • Great and encouraging post. I hope others get encouragement from your story.

  • Brilliant! Thanks for posting such a positive story Oltimer. We can all be encouraged by your obvious zest for life in spite of age and af!

  • I have the zest but as they say .... The spirit is willing but the body is weak.

    Hopefully my back problem will be diagnosed and fixed after I have an MRI on Tuesday

  • Good luck. Is that a heart MRI?

  • No its a full spine MRI. I had a cervical spine CT last September but the neurosurgeon could not see the problem there (I can feel it there) and wanted an MRI. I am paying for this myself but InHealth who run scanners in about 30 hospitals for private/NHS patients only have a protocol for scanning Medtronic ones and not the make the hospital fit!!!

    I then was going to Brighton for it but the local hospital then said that they had agreed a protocol with Inhealth so I turned Brighton down as it was over £300 more plus another £300 for the radiographers report. The local agreement then fell through so I waited but it seems that it will never happen so Brighton it has to be. I had tried all around the South East and much of London without finding an imaging centre who scan Boston Scientific MRI compatible pacemakers.

  • The best to you Seasider with your scan . Hope it`s something that will respond to treatment.

  • Probably all down to medications I have taken:-)

    Hopefully get a diagnosis from the scan and that the results get to my consultant by next Tuesday. Last time I had a scan the promise on the Friday for Tuesday took 13 days. I was actually seeing the consultant when it was faxed to his secretary.

  • With a positive approach jan - ran a positive result may follow. If your GPs attitude is one of acceptance of the condition ? Seek elsewhere. Find where they are doing clinical trials & `volunteer`.

  • That has been my attitude for a long time now.

    I volunteered for the renal denervation trial in 2011. I was not accepted as my BP was not consistently high enough but the physical examination detected my aortic stenosis. Had I waited for more severe symptoms I might have been too late.

  • I have encountered many more challenges in life than this AF business jan ran & I certainly will not be beaten by it . Cancer of the prostate was the same - but I refused to accept the local consultants advice & "Go home & put my feet up & wait for the man with the scythe " - `You will not die of it ! You will die with it!!" - he said - & I slammed my chair back against the wall & said - "I will die neither of it - nor with it!"

    ` Well what will you do? ¬ he said. "I will get rid of it!" & I went home & got onto the internet & searched for where they were doing the latest trials & got in touch & here I am & it`s gone! The local consultant has `gone` but I`m still galloping around.


  • Wonderful post and so inspirational - thank you for sharing your experiences.

    Best wishes.

  • Bless you dear lady & may your heart keep beating regularly & strongly.

  • That's a good boost for everyone to know that the procedures you've had carried out have kept you ticking along. You sound a positive person,thank you for posting.


  • A cardiologist told me that his job is to keep my heart going.

  • I had to push for them Jeanjeanie 50. They were quite willing to `fob me off` with medication with all the side effects etc. No effective medication is free of side effects - which are usually an `extension of their pharmacological action`. I take only two tabs a day now. Best to you.

  • So good to hear from you again. I remember when I joined this crazy community that you were about to have the watchman procedure. Certainly seems to have worked and I'm so pleased for you. Don't leave it so long, it's a great boost to read such positive posts.

  • Good to be remembered Peddling. The reasons for having the procedure was to obviate the necessity of taking Warfarin which caused bad G.I. bleeds & reduce the risk of a stroke . The anterior chamber of the heart serves no real purpose & during an episode of A.F. the blood just gathers there & clots occur & break away & are responsible for a high incidence of strokes. I wish you best & thanks.

  • Well done we love success stories here.

  • Thanks BobD . I`ve had to fight to achieve what I wanted & I am not my GPs favourite patient . I do not always accept there diagnosis - neither their treatments (or advice) & I search for alternatives . I respect you for what you do . Many thanks.

  • Your post gives us all hope thank you

  • Can I ask how many years it has been since you had your ablation

  • My wife & I have just worked it out & it was 8yrs, ago.

    As a retired cardiac male nurse , I would not accept the local consultants recommendations to put my feet up & keep taking the tablets - A Beta blocker, Warfarin (Which caused my stomach to bleed three times .) Digoxin. Frusemide .Lanzoprazole!!

    What sort of life is that? I asked to be referred to another Consultant -which annoyed him & he wagged his finger at me & said that I would have `Electrical Cardioversion` & be back in A/F within 10 days. In that he was right . I asked the consultant if there was any further treatment for me as I was willing to try anything. He told me there was ablation but he was not sufficiently practiced in its technique but would refer me to Professor Schilling at St. Barts & he accepted me (Although I was 74 or 75yrs. old.) for a clinical trial using `robots` to guide the wire up from the thigh & into the heart . It took three ablations to find the area that was sending out the signal for my atria to contract prematurely but after three long trips to NE. London & overnight stays & all the trauma & bruising that the procedure causes I am now in Sinus Rhythm 99% of the time . My exercise tolerance is reduced -- but this could also be attributed to Anno -Domini.

    I am an ex-cardiac male nurse & have a good understanding of the condition & it`s treatments.

    That is my story. I wish you all - The very best. stick with it & don't give up.

    Cliff Charlesworth - Aka -Ol timer.

  • Fantastic. How do you qualify for a watchman besides not being able to tolerate anti coagulants?

  • It is only being trialled at something like 10 hospitals (I'm not sure if that is just NHS or maybe some more privately). See AFA website patient information though when I looked sometime back list of hospitals there was fewer than actually the case. Also look at NHS and NHS England.

  • There are ten scattered around the country but being a trial the numbers accepted are very limited.

  • Well Barb! I suffered three intestinal bleeds by taking Warfarin because of an old Duodenal Ulcer which afflicted me when I was nursing in South Africa & when I saw the consultant in Lincoln he said I must keep taking it . I politely refused & told him of my problem . He then suggested the Watchmans device & wrote to Prof. Schilling who agreed to insert it & so another long trip & overnight stay in London & that was that. The anterior chamber of the heart does not perform any useful function & is responsible for a high number of strokes etc. if the heart is `Fibrillating ` & so the Watchmans device is slid in place & secured & heals over sealing the anterior chamber off & therefore obviating the occurrence of a clot or coagulation of blood & therefore the need to take an anticoagulant .

    Ol` timer.

  • Hi Cliff,

    Many thanks for telling us about your history of AF, very inspiring and a example to us all.

    Best Wishes


  • My and my doctors worry is my previous two duodenal ulcers also my age and high blood pressure as factors against Warfarin.

  • Hi Seasider, Your worries were exactly the same as mine. I still take medication for the high blood pressure & the occasional Paroxysmal tachycardia . bisoprolol 2,5 mgs daily. My exercise tolerance is limited but I put that down to Anno -Domini.

  • Very good to hear, wishing you continued health and enjoyment of life.

  • Thankyou & bless you . Wish you the best!

  • Excellent news, long may you continue in good health!

  • Lovely to have such a positive story. Keep on enjoying your life.

  • Thank you for your reply. I am interested in the Watchman as I have had a clot in te left atrial appendage resulting in my 4th ablation being postponed.

  • Contact one of the hospital's doing the trials.

  • Your story was so inspiring. What a pleasure it was to read. I hope you have many, many years ahead of AF free life. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    Best wishes.


  • What an Inspiration you are and such an encouraging story. I am sure, having been a cardiac nurse, you new all the risks involved and at such a time when the two procedures were relatively new you still went ahead with it, good for you.

    I have heard that professor schilling is an excellent surgeon. and I hope his skills and your fighting spirit will give you and you wife many more happy days.

  • Many thanks .Souljacs4! but I did not always agree with the Prof. & refused a further ablation when I was convinced that the tachycardia was Paroxysmal Atrial Tachycardia - & I learnt the way to deal with that many years ago when I was in Africa working on a coronary care unit.

  • Did you get the Watchman on the NHS? At the moment I'm being considered for the Amplatzer Amulet device at Brighton.

    How long did you have to continue with Warfarin after the Watchman was fitted? I also have a pacemaker and NOACs are contra indicated as I have a tissue aortic valve. I'm three years younger than you

  • If I remember correctly that is the same type of device but made by a different manufacturer. However I think thay have more sizes than the watchman.

  • That is why I switched interest to it. I mentioned to an EP but not the one who did my pacemaker at the local hospital about having spoken to London Bridge about the Watchman. He said that they fitted the Amplatzer and might be able to help me. I then found that he was referring to an older type. Several other hospitals use other makes as there seems to be quite a few. They are now approved by the FDA in America.

    I heard recently that many procedures there are not as available as we think as Medicare or peoples insurance will not pay for them a they still regard them as experimental and want the procedures to be well established. I was surprised how many men there are being forced to have TUPRS and having to pay supplements for some procedures.

  • Agree totally with PeterWH. I think it is a more recent innovation than the `Watchmans` - however they appear to serve the same purpose /

  • What an effect little Ol` me has had upon you with my story of my AF & the various treatments undertaken. I never expected a response such as you have all accorded me.

    I must admit that my knowledge of the affliction has been of great assistance in finding the right course to take in the treatment of the ailment.

    Most of my cardiac nursing experience was in South Africa & I worked at Milpark Hospital in Prof . Barnards CTICU for quite a long while before accepting promotion to Night Superintendent. I could therefore argue my corner from strength when confronted with Consultant Cardiologists .

    I was pleased to be accepted for ablation at St.Barts . & offered myself as a `Guinea Pig` as it was of benefit to others. I had suffered a perforated duodenal ulcer before when working on Coronary Care Unit due to stress & had a Bilroth 2 partial gastrectomy in Johannesburg General Hosp. & I really was unsuitable for Warfarin but I took it ,and had two serious gastric bleeds & I (Collapsed in the street)` I refused to take it since then . The Watchmans Device made it unnecessary to take Warfarin or any other anticoagulant .

    I was informed by the cardiologist that I was the first patient in this county (Lincolnshire) to be fitted with it.

    Good luck everybody with your quest to combat Atrial Fibrillation . A young wife (Who is also a nurse) helps.)

    Ol` Timer

  • What a wonderful story you have so very interesting you seem to be a bit of a trail blazer. all the best to you and your wife and I wish you good health.

  • Many thanks & the best to you!

  • Did you not have to be on Warfarin leading up to the Watchman and for three months after it ?

  • Yes Seasider ! That is true . I cannot remember exactly how long I had to take Warfarin prior to & post the Watchmans device being fitted but Prof. Schilling insisted & so I requested Omeprazole to be given in conjunction & I didn`t venture out much during the run up & post the `op` - anyway I took the accursed Warfarin & was fortunate in so much as that I had no gastro - intestinal bleeds..

  • I to have put myself forward for ablation trial with dr Sabine Ernst at royal brompton, mine includes both the standard pvi, then ablation of the ganglionated plexus, a group or nerve endings shown to start and maintain AF.

    They have a new camera, which can accurately detect them, so hoping that this extra piece will boost the success rate and maybe mean less procedures,

    Like you it involves trips to London, overnight stays, but at 41 years of age and a young family I'd like to try to get rid of this mongrel

  • I consider that you are doing the right thing Juggsy 75- As you say at your age with a young family it is right to go for the `cure` sooner than the control with pills & all their accompanying side effects. I was 70 yrs. plus when I opted for inclusion in the trial by Prof.Schilling. I wish you well my friend & hope for a complete & successful outcome.

    Cliff Charlesworth - Aka - `Oltimer`.

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