EP appointment today

Hi all

I've just had my first appointment with Professor Gill at St Thomas Hospital after having a range of tests at my more local hospital in Kent, which holds satellite cardiology clinics. And thanks to my very supportive GP who made the referral.

The outcome is that structurally my heart is pretty sound, it's just the electrical activity that's haywire. I must admit it's a relief to know there's nothing more seriously wrong than Paroxysmal AF, although that has been very symptomatic and difficult to deal with. I'm now on the waiting list for ablation, to be carried out under general anaesthetic. Prof Gill told me the success rate after a single ablation is 70-80%, and if it has to be repeated to mop up any remaining rogue impulses it is 80-100%. Only down side is the waiting time which is about 40 weeks, more than I hoped but less than I feared it might be.

In the meantime I'll stay on the horrible bisoprolol - I know it suits some people but I find the side effects absolutely devastating. The aim is to hopefully come off them after the ablation and get my life back! I'm also on Rivaroxaban anticoagulant but that doesn't seem to have affected me as much.

I found Prof Gill very reassuring, answering most of my questions even before I asked them - as if he knew what they would be - and I'm much more confident about the future now.

So firstly thanks to everyone on this site, and especially Bob and others whose replies I find very helpful, for giving me the courage to pursue this. Secondly I'd encourage people to ask their GP for a referral to an EP (electrophysiologist) because they really are the experts.

It's early days yet and I can't guarantee that I won't get a touch of the collywobbles when the ablation comes closer but at the moment I can see a light at the end of the tunnel. I just hope it doesn't turn out to be an express train heading towards me!

So thanks to you all.

9 Replies

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  • Well done Val I am so glad things are going in the right direction. The time will soon pass.

    I had the results of my six monthly blood test yesterday (all clear) and the nurse told me it is five years since my cancer op which I find amazing. Where have they gone???

    You would not be human if you didn't have nerves about the forthcoming procedure but you will be fine and you sound to be in excellent hands.

    Bob

  • I was nervous, who wouldnt be, but my ablation was a total success. Off drugs as well for many years, except anticoags. The ablation really was nothing to worry about.

    Koll

  • Hi Val, we all view these things differently and have different minds & bodies, so in the end the ablation decision is based on personal preference generally and your actual quality of life at present. My approach is only go there as a last resort; I feel I should therefore mention 'the other tunnel' that may be available to you.

    I have Lone PAF also and with 8 episodes in one month (March 2014) saw an EP and I was told all the same as you. I didn't like talk of two operations in the same breath. My next reaction was great there is nothing wrong with the structure of the heart but quality of life was bad so back to my Cardiologist (who also recommended initially an ablation) and persuaded him it would be worth trying increasing the dose of Flecainide from 100mgs/day to 200 first before an ablation. I am not on Bisoprolol as my pulse is in the 50's and BP is around 130/75. It did work and I haven't had an episode for over 2 years now.

    Caveat: this route is hard work, involving a lot of lifestyle changes incl diet and supplements (e.g. Magnesium, Co Q10, Taurine ++) and I still have not reduced the Flecainide, which is a strong drug. However, I wouldn't change my approach now as there have been a lot of benefits to the quality of my life and health generally, which would not have happened otherwise and no side effects from the pills. Good luck.

  • Hi Val, you are in such good hands with Prof. Gill. He was my EP up to my ablation nearly three years ago - I can't believe that the waiting list has doubled since then. He always listened and was, as you say, very reassuring. One off the nicest touches was his final comment in the report to the GP or Cardiologist 'Thank you for sending her to me'.

    Hope all goes well

  • I had my ablation at St Thomas's (Mark O'Neill did mine) in November 2013 and all fine since. Collywobbles are a sign you are a normal intelligent human being. I nearly did a runner from the waiting room.

    Great you are on the right path so good luck 🍀

  • Hi all

    Thank you to everyone who has replied to my post, and thanks for your encouragement. I appreciate it's an individual choice as to whether to go for ablation but I think it's the right one for me. I've already changed my lifestyle including taking magnesium etc, more healthy diet as per the diet sheet I found on the AF association website, cut out alcohol, haven't taken caffeine for years, trying to reduce stress levels (mainly work related) so I'm doing what I can to help myself as well. I still manage to have fun!

    It's good to know I'm in good hands at St Thomas's, adding to my confidence, and looking forward, hopefully, to a life without the side effects of medication.

    This site has been absolutely great in helping me feel less alone in dealing with this and retaining some semblance of sanity. Just need to have a little patience now (thanks Take That!)

    Val

  • Good to know, should I ever decide that I would like to see an EP. I attend St Thomas's for another cardiology clinic and am very happy with that as well.

  • If Bisprolol is being such a problem, did you discuss if you could decrease your dose? With your GP's agreement you could decrease it by 1.25mg at a time, and see if that helps. Also some people find it better taken in the evening, or split half-and-half morning and evening. If all that fails, there are other beta-blockers which might suit you better while you are waiting. See what your GP suggests, or, if he/she is not helpful, you could try ringing the hospital department for advice.

  • Hi polski

    Thanks, they're good suggestions. Unfortunately my GP has already tried to reduce the dose resulting in an emergency trip to the local A&E department a few days later when I collapsed with a very high irregular heart rate. They gave me intravenous beta blockers in hospital to reduce it. And he's tried other beta blockers too, but the side effects were even worse than the bisoprolol. So we've agreed for the time being its best to not change anything and the EP agreed. Might work for others though so don't let my experience put people off trying.