Post Ablation Gastric Problems

Two weeks post cardiac ablation under a general anaesthetic and still having recurring constipation, bloating, sulphur burps and diarrhoea, stomach cramps. Feel so tired and this is delaying my recovery. This is all since the op.

I am grateful for the op and pleased the post op migraines and vision problems have stopped. Just want some energy. Anyone else had similar problem?

Thanks for any advice.


20 Replies

  • Lynn's,

    I have never had any surgical intervention for my paroxysmal AF. I have had all the digestive issues you refer to however. Problem has been a dysfunctional Vagus Nerve. This is a significant Nerve in the central nervous system which significantly controls both digestive system and the heart !

    I am in no way suggesting you do what I did, but by way of information, my solution was to consult a Nutritionist who put me on a course of probiotics to stabilise my gut flora and then go gluten and wheat free. I have since widened this diet by embracing the FODMAPS diet.

    My last recorded AF event was in April 2015.


  • Hi John,

    Thanks for your reply. Very interesting to hear of your experience and similar symptoms, pleased to hear this has helped you, that's great.

    I have heard the vagus nerve can cause these gastric problems, I think it's worth a trip to my g.p. and see what they say.

    Thanks John and hope your good health continues.


  • Thanks Lynns. I omitted to mention one thing though- speed of original diagnosis - I think this was vital in the way my AF responded. I was 9 hours from onset to diagnosis and start of treatment. So quick I don't think my heart knew what hit it. The first 6 months were torrid, mainly due to my body adjusting to Warfarin and Bisoprolol but after that and after food/digestive system being such an issue it just got better.

    Wishing you every success in your journey.


  • Hi John,

    Really pleased to hear that you are doing so well and everything is under control. I am ten years past diagnosis and was diagnosed quickly too. Afib is a family health problem. My mum has it, hera caused a stroke but cures and treatments have moved on and improved so much now. We are lucky indeed.

    Seeing doc today re gastric issues.

    Thanks John. Take care.


  • Carneuny

    I was very interested in your reply re gastric problems.I have had PAF for 20 years and have always believed that indigestion( terrible burping) was one of the triggers of my AF.

    I had not had an episode for 18months but 2 weeks ago had a cardioversion.I am seeing consultant in October so will discuss it then.I take Flecainide,Ibersartan and Warfarin but have no energy and feet breathless very easily.

    Would be interested in any comments. Joan.

  • Hi Joan, I wish you well with your health and hope your energy levels and breathlessness eases. I was breathless initially for the first few days after my ablation, this happens when the heart is inflamed and healing from the surgery. Perhaps this is the same in your case. I hope Careneunny, John, can help you too.

    Take care.


  • Hi Joan,

    Following diagnosis my AF problems emerged in 2 categories - 1] my body getting used to the medication and dealing with side effects. 2] Becoming aware of an AF 'trigger'.

    For about 2 years or so before AF hit me I had random, massive palpitations.

    About 4 to 6 months after diagnosis I became aware that after certain foods I tripped into AF. The symptoms were; severe bloating which I could feel apply pressure in the heart region, then burping, then diarrhoea and also massive intestinal gurgling. Not all at once. All at random. The order of occurrence was totally unpredictable. BUT, the worst was the bloating and as this occurred my blood pressure increased rapidly and dramatically. My normal resting BP is around 126/75 it would easily jump to up to around 160/90 ! It would then take 5 days to return to normal and I would then feel fine. Initially my GP had blood tests done to look at IBS and also Coeliac Disease. All returned normal. I was offered more tests but declined.

    It was then that I chose to consult a Nutritionist and the rest is history. Her recommendations were implemented and it was a long gradual process which saw me eliminate so many foods and gradually things improved over the years and now I can say that my last recorded AF event was in April 2015.

    Prior to AF I was on Simvastatin, Ramipril and Bendrflurozide. On diagnosis the Bend....... was removed from my party bag of drugs but Bisoprolol and Warfarin were added and even more recently so was Felodopine. No problems now.

    I don't know how long this euphoric state will last, but, I'm now 72 - and still work 30 to 40 hours a week driving a tourist mini bus. Next January I will have my 7th Anniversary of AF.

    Hope this is of interest, if you want to ask any questions - fire away.


  • Hi John Thank you very much for your comprehensive reply.I would be interested in what your nutritionist suggested. I first started episodes of irregular atrial fibrillation about 20years ago. It happened about 8 times a year,at first just waited till it stopped!!!However whilst on my hols in Canada they sent me to hospital and gave me Quinidine Sulphate and it stopped within 20mins.This drug wasn't available in the Uk so switched to Flecainide and used as needed. this went on for 10years and it was so inconvenient that the consultant told me to take Flecainide daily as a preventative and this worked for 7years when I never had any episodes

    However in 2015 they returned I never could work out the triggers, I cut out caffeine and Fried foods as a bout was always accompanied by massive burping and more often than not in the early hours.

    I had a cardioversion and returned to normal sinus rhythm, that was 18months ago and now I have had another episode straight to A&E and another cardioversion.I have an appt in a couple of weeks to see the consultant..I still take Flecainide,Ibersartan for BP and Warfarin as I am at risk!!!!!After all this time I may be used to medication, so joined this forum to get some self help. Sorry to be so long winded but it helps to write it all down.

    All suggestions gratefully accepted. Joan

  • I found an interesting site yesterday, I think under the heading Are Your Heart Palpitations and Stomach Bloating Connected and I purchased an e- booklet for $3. Might be worth a visit to the site, I found reading participant emails very interesting and could relate to many of them. She talked a lot about ginger helping upset tums.

  • Hi Retamay, Thanks for your reply and advice. I will take a look at the site you have recommended and get some tips.

    This is great the way we can all support each other.

    Thanks again and best wishes for your good health.


  • hi lynns, I had ablation in January this year and had the TOE procedure under General anesethic. I also suffered terrible indigestion burping feeling full stomach cramps and reflux for up to 3 months. Doctor gave me medication to help ease symptoms. I thought I had it this forever but it gradually went away and now I'm fine and AF free after 10 years of suffering. So get some meds to help and try not to worry, it will pass. Small meals help. Also tiredness is normal it will be up to 4-6 weeks before the tiredness goes. Good luck with recovery. Wendy.

  • Try sipping hot water for immediate relief. Takes about 4-5 cups over a few hours to have an effect, after that drink peppermint tea first thing in the morning as it is often worse when you first wake up.

    Ginger definitely helps, I include root ginger into my morning smoothie.

    Pro-biopics certainly help gut flora but will take months and months to take an effect.

    Hope that helps.

    PS avoid ant-acids or PPIs.

  • 2 weeks is very soon to expect recovery, it is important to give your body time to recover so energy will return very gradually but think months, not weeks.

  • Hi Cdreamer, Thank you for your reply and advice. I will try what you suggested.

    I am on lansaprole for two months post op, given by my cardiac doc. Stupid me it is 3 weeks post op, but still I will be patient. Some sail through this I suppose we are all different. I am really pleased to have had this op and hopefully cure. Best wishes to you and for your health.



  • When I complained of gastric problems after my ablation my Arrhythmia Nurse told me to stop Lansaparole immediately and take Ranitidine instead as PPI s can allow bowel bugs to flourish. Hope doc helps.

  • Hi, you could try giving your system a rest - a couple of days clear fluids ( no milk! ) then slowly add low fibre and low fat foods and as you feel better (hopefully) return to normal diet. Probably best to stick to no whole grains and low milk consumption for a bit.

    I say this because the burning has probably irritated your digestive system so this is a simple version of the IBS/diverticulitis diet which gives things a chance to calm down.

  • I had ablation 2013 and also suffered heartburn, bloating etc my solution was to eat fruit and yogurt for breakfast instead of toast. It gradually reduced but i still get a little. avoiding bread seems to be my best treatment.

  • Hi lallym, Thanks for your reply. I will try that as I have been having bland food like toast, so I will give that a go. It sounds very healthy too.

    Wish you well and good health.


  • Nope. Was perfectly normal the whole time immediately afterwards.

  • Felt like I had no energy for about six weeks. I think it's just normal to think, thats it I've had my procedure I must be OK now. Believe me it takes weeks, a walk to the shops half a mile away would waste me for a day or so, and I am pretty fit. Good luck a don't expect to feel great overnight, give it time, don't rush

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