Post ablation recovery

I had an ablation procedure two weeks ago for PAF. Prior to this,despite being on bispropol, I had an increasing number of short episodes of tachycardia and fatigue which meant that I could no longer enjoy exercise. Postop advice was minimal. For the first 5 days after the procedure everything seemed to go well and I felt so much better. Then I got severe leg pain (much bruising?) and short episodes of tachycardia. Last Thursday I had a 3 hour bout and ended up in A&E with several bouts a day since then. I am practically housebound now. I don't understand why this has happened and all efforts to secure useful advice or information from the medical community have failed. What should I expect to happen to me now ? Any advice or information would be most welcome!

8 Replies

  • This is really sad Lyn that you have been left with so little information. Where did you have your ablation done by the way? Most of us have had a contact number with an arrhythmia nurse consultant for such panic times plus hopefully a lot more coaching in what to expect.

    These events are quite normal post ablation as it takes at least three if not six months for the scar tissue which will stop the rogue impulses to form. This is known as the blanking period. Your heart has been seriously knocked about even though you do not have a big zip up your front so do expect it to be angry. Other symptoms which you may experience could include migraine aura which is caused by the tran-septal puncture.

    Please don't think it has failed and try not to worry too much. I would speak to your GP about the leg as it does seem odd for the pain to start so long after the event. Best to get checked out there I think although it is probably just late recovery. Mine looked like a piece of modern art for weeks after all my three ablations but I never had much pain.

    Do respond and let me know how you are feeling in a day or so but if you really are struggling and your GP can't help then call the EP centre where you had it done or your EP's secretary and explain how you feel.

  • Thank you for your helpful reply and the reassurance. It seems you were a very lucky person in terms of information.

    I had the ablation done at one of the London teaching hospitals. The unit and nursing care were really good. The information given on discharge was minimal (1 page in large print) on mobilising, washing and observation of the groin area - nothing about what to expect. I asked for a copy of the discharge summary. I was a bit woozy and did really take in what the registrar said (in fact he never even introduced himself before or after.). Believe me, when the problems arose ( a 3 hour episode) -.the like of which I have never experienced as I had PAF with frequent but fairly short episodes, I called the GP (go to A&E), the ward (useless) and the consultant's secretary leaving a message about my concerns and requesting information (no response).

    I am a medical scientist/ public health person so, of course, went on the Internet. QEH Birmingham had good information as did a Dr John ? from the US. However, I wanted some more information/advice relevant to what was happening to me. Was it normal!!!!

    I have always been a very fit person. I was expecting to be able to at least go walking! My heartbeat is now over 80 (from 60)- will this go down? When should I expect to be able to ride my bike?

    Anyway, my colourful leg does not hurt quite as much today. I have worked out that if I bend over it squashes my heart and initiates tachycardia. I have not had any lengthy episodes today and will try a gentle walk tomorrow!

  • My heart rate was up at over 80 bpm for weeks after my procedure and over a 9 month period I had various odd goings-on. I had 2 AF runs early on but nothing since in over a year. I do get rumbles and ectopic runs now and then but I can definitely put the tachycardia down to anxiety/panic. I have realised that fear and uncertainty have had a huge role in the post ablation period. I suppose it's down to "recognising" every bump and ectopic as the start of an AF bout - even though the evidence suggests otherwise! This condition continues to play havoc with my mind although I am getting over this!

  • Raised heart beat is normal after an ablation Lyn and may take some month to return to "normal" for you-- if ever. Mine was always around 70 but 85 post ablation #3 but seven years down the line is low 60s. See what I mean about "normal"?

    You may find it several months before you feel able to do those things you wish to do but please do not be disheartened. Life does get better.

    I have been at this game for years and try to help people by imparting my experiences. Few EPs or nurses have ever had ablation so really do not know what happens afterwards, Back in the dark ages of 2006 when I had my first we did not even have arrhythmia nurses. I'm sure that your hospital must have one. MY fears and disappointment that I was not running down the ward after my first prompted me to start trying to help others NOT feel like that. Subsequent committee posts on the BHF Arrhythmia Nurse project and later when it was formed joining AF Association have hopefully contributed something to that but there are still some black areas. Membership of this forum should be mandatory for any ablatees in my view thanks to the friendly and supportive nature of our membership.

    Stay well and relax.


  • Thanks again Bob for being so very helpful. You have really allayed my fears and put my mind at rest whatever the outcome of ablation #1 !

  • Lyn ... I completely underestimated the recovery time. I had my ablation mid May - and am having to get used to a slightly quieter life for the moment after overdoing things in the first three weeks. Lots of ectopics to start with... which are now receding... but my pulse is in the 80s. (Before it was always around 60)

    Yes... I was at a London teaching hospital. The registrar said to take a week off work!

    Keep up with the blogs on this site. Absolutely great support provided.

    Good luck!

  • Lyn, definitely relate to lack of post ablation info from the hospital, treatment in there brilliant but poor instructions on what will or would or might happen when home. I had swotted up on this site and others, read as much before hand so felt I was clued up on how things could go. Even so when AFIB reoccurred much more aggressively than before I was unprepared, expecting it to about the same. It settled down after a few weeks and it could be your body comes to terms with it to a certain extent. My normal HR was also elevated for a few weeks after Ablation before settling to it's normal level. Also leg bruising took several days to appear, all way down the leg into my instep. A month before it went. Two weeks is very early days, so don't get on that bike for a month or so and then only flat gentle rides, but you will get there. As you have been advised speak with GP and if you still feel uncertain go for your EP via his/her secretary. I had to do this and when I mentioned to him I was uncertain about 'bothering' him he said it was the right thing to do and booked a second procedure which was last week. There where 3 others with me on the ward who had their 1st Ablations, they had no information of what possible issues might be in store on discharge. One of them had planned to drive 100 miles the next day! Take care.

  • Hi Lyn..Like youself I have just had 23 june pvi ablation, first few days odd short periods of af and feeling very tired all to be expected.. Then came the tachycardia hr150 and higher and any attempt at "exertion" stairs etc impossible 85hr to 150+ in a few seconds, visit to a 30 second appointment with GP last Thursday increased my bisoprolol from 2.5 to 10mg, this episode has lasted about a week.. today just been out with the dog for a short walk feeling ok hr85 my normal pre ablation 60-65, I believe its just a part of the healing process as I have been taking bisoprolol for years never did much for me..

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