So much to say and so much to ask – not sure where to start! First though, thank you all for just being here. I have lurked since discovering you soon after my diagnosis 10 months ago and have learnt so much. It has been comforting (especially as I live alone and have no immediate supportive family etc.) and informative plus, yes, at times confusing and scary too.
Anyway a few questions which, despite reading everything in sight on here, I would still welcome your opinion on - sorry to be a nuisance.
A seemingly healthy, active, dance-loving, non-smoking 68 year old (who nevertheless had high cholesterol and blood pressure and an irregular pulse), I went to GP in May 2015 after being queasy for 2 -3 months. Eventually in October was told I had AF. By end January this year had been found to have lone, persistent AF and finally put on Apixaban. In March had a cardioversion which reverted, probably after a couple of days. In May was put on Bisoprolol 2.5 mg (why not earlier?) then referred by my cardiologist to an EP who In August increased the Bisoprolol to 3.75 then 5 mg and put me on the waiting list for a (robotic) catheter ablation, with the proviso that I must go on Amiodarone before and after and that 2 ablations are likely to be necessary.
The main dilemma has to be do I go for it? It seems like the only course of action open and I recall one of you saying if the NHS offers you an ablation don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. However, maybe for those with paroxysmal AF and the more obviously nightmarish symptoms of pounding chests and visits to A&E, and/or already on toxic drugs, plus for whom there is anyway a greater chance of success, the decision is more clear-cut. A little part of me says why tinker, I can still walk and do some dancing and…. I believe actually I WILL go ahead but answers to the following questions (particularly from other persistent AFibbers who have had ablations) will help. I have numbered them to make it easy for anyone to pick out perhaps just one to answer. Thanks in advance.
1.If I do nothing, will the key symptoms of my AF (e.g., tiredness, weary legs, a feeling of “closing down) just get progressively worse? And/or lead to Heart Failure?
2.I know there are no guarantees but if “successful” and in nsr (a) Can I expect a return to pre-AF energy levels and therefore my usual activities/exercise regime? (b) Particularly, will my heart start to pump blood efficiently to my legs to enable me to walk uphill/go trekking/dance? (c) Might my queasiness and overheating also disappear (no-one has taken any note of these which I perceive to be symptoms)?
3.People on this site refer to being back in AF x days after an ablation. If you have persistent largely asymptomatic AF and are resting as recommended in the post procedure period, how can you tell?
4.As well as the warnings re complications, damage etc., mention has been made of the heart jumping around and even “episodes” of AF in early stages post ablation. Does this mean a persistent Afibber may get the pounding type of episode experienced by paroxysmal Afibbers? I am concerned because I live alone and miles from an AandE.
5.I really did not want to go on the toxic drug, Amiodarone, but it seems to part of the deal. If I have 2 ablations, the minimum time on this drug would be 9 months I guess – do the worst side-effects come into play soon after commencing taking or only with long-term usage?
6.And finally…… what is a TOE?!