Ablation has made me worse !

I am now 12 weeks post ablation far past the 6-8 weeks judgement period. I am much worse than I was before the procedure and seem to be getting so day after day. I had exercise induced PAF and SVT found on Holter monitor in January. I only had rare spontaneous short episodes of tachycardia without exercise although was getting increasingly tired and exhausted by the end of the day. I went to the gym, walked 2-3 miles most days and biked. During the early days post ablation I seemed to be okay until I had a 3 hour episode (terrifying as I had never experienced anything like this before). Since then, I seem to get tachycardia with the slightest exercise/movement (even just bending over or lifting my arms) and episodes which last longer and longer. I strolled for 10 minutes yesterday and had an hour long episode. Heat seems to be a causative factor. The cardio app on my iPhone shows that it is not just a fast heartbeat but a very irregular one as well. From being an active person I am now almost an invalid. I am at my wits end as they say. Does failure often result in this outcome? Am I permanently damaged? How can one have faith in a second attempt? Any advice welcomed.

12 Replies

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  • This doesn't sound at all good, Lyn, but it could well be very treatable. I'd get to see your EP as soon as you can.

  • Yes I was like that after my first but it did all come good eventually. I don't know where you got the six to eight weeks thing from mind as I think most of us agree three to six months. Do call you EP team and discuss. I had three ablation but AF free eight + years now and worth it all in the end. Please don't try and exercise through it though. Not good.

  • I agree you should see your EP as soon as possible.

    Regarding Bob's comment regarding timescale I spoke to my consultant about this subject last week immediately after my ablation and he catagorically said 3 months and even less for some. His justification was the advancements they have made with accurate mapping with improved technology.

    But to repeat contact your EP now communication can be so much better than being isolated and feeling alone and frightened.

    Pete

  • Pete. That was probably true in YOUR case, especially as it was your 5th ablation. However it may not be true in Lyn's case as it was her first and the burning would be much more extensive.

  • I had my first and only ablation in 2013 and it took 5 months for my episodes to reduce and stop so I do agree that you need to give it more time. I have been AF free since then. I would also ask to see EP again.

  • Yes it can take a while and we are all different and at different stages.

    However, if after 3 months the AF is still around then I personally believe that a patient should not feel guilty in contacting the EP and asking the question. If in his opinion you should have been stabilised by this time then he can assess the appropriate action and then you get back in the queue more quickly.

    In the case of my 4th ablation I had an outpatients appointment at 3 months and the EP was not happy that I was still suffering AF episodes. That was in January 2016 and even with that approach it took nearly 9 months to arrange my 5th ablation last week.

    So far so good for me (nearly a week) and I know I must not be over optimistic but all the same it is a good feeling right now. I hope I am not counting my chickens.

    Pete

  • Heat is a factor for anyone with health problems but particularly heart and lungs. I am in persistent AF and this summer has been a killer (thank goodness I have a portable air conditioning unit).

    You need to confirm whether or not you are in AF whether or not it is paroxysmal or persistent. If you don't have an AliveCor or a special cuff monitor then get an ECG done at your GPs.

  • PeterWh, when you say you are in persistent AF, are you also in persistent rapid ventricular rate? and if you are, how do you deal with it? appreciate your feedback.

  • Yes we are all different I agree but having said that my consultant didn't use the words "in your case"

    I reiterate 'communication' is a key factor and sadly we do not all have a consultant who is prepared to offer quality time. I can vouch for that being now on my 5th consultant. The one three years ago basically told me to go home and put up and shut up!! He has retired which has changed everything for me.

    Pete

  • Although they normally don't couch the words that like that if you asked them they would automatically assume that it's only relevant to the person they are talking to because they have eliminated things that are not relevant. All these things are particularly true in the case of AF and some other heart issues.

    However as you have no doubt seen me write before when I asked about the success rate for ablations I specifically asked EP to be open and honest in MY case about chances etc.

    In addition some medics will tailor their response to suit the patient ideas and thoughts and leanings - or play to the audience. Don't know how true this is today but a few consultants that I knew all admitted that consultants often made good poker players, actors, bridge players, etc!!!! Didn't appreciate that so much at the time!!!

  • Following my first I was noticeably worse, afib more frequent and much more aggressive, H/r a lot faster and irregular. After a 8 weeks of existing with it I contacted EP secretary and EP asked to see me the next day! (NHS!). He also said that at 8 weeks he can usually tell if procedure will work. It may eventually settle down but he didn't think that in my case that it would. He booked a second procedure there and then with the proviso that if it did improve considerably he would cancel the second. He was right, in my case, and it didn't get any better and I am now nearly 10 weeks on from number 2. So yes have faith in a second procedure and please contact EP to advise. I was wary of contacting EP as I know that all are different but mine said he was glad I did as he needed to know.

  • Good communication is what we all strive for - sadly they may be skilled as doctors but often lack the art of communication

    Pete

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