Second opinion

After twice ending up in an acute ward via A&E recently because of prolonged episodes of atrial/sinus tachycardia with AF, and being cardioverted each time because the 'pill-in-the-pocket' meds hadn't worked, I asked for a referral by my cardiologist to see an EP at a different hospital, as several of you on here had suggested. Thank you for your support as otherwise I don't think I would have been up front enough to do it. I said at the time I would come back and let you know how I got on.

I decided to see the EP privately as otherwise it meant waiting for 5-6 months to see any one of the team in Bristol. My goodness, how different a private health centre is from our lovely NHS, no sign of any illness or infirmity, and so quiet. However, plenty of leaflets and screens telling you how many different methods of payment are acceptable!

Anyway, I digress. We (my husband came with me, so grateful for his support) had a strict half an hour to discuss why I'd come to see the EP in question. He was very nice, but quite business-like in his approach. He agreed to take on my case as an NHS patient in the future, offered to put me on his ablation list unless there was a good reason not to do another one (this would be my 4th) and in the meantime would prescribe Diltiazem as an alternative pill-in-the-pocket approach. He, like my cardiologist here, mentioned going down the pacemaker route in the future if things don't improve, a future I'm trying not to anticipate just yet, but also said that if I did go into permanent AF I would probably be better off as I wouldn't then notice it!

So there we are, a slightly different take on how to treat my increasingly regular AF and tachycardia, and at the moment I'm trying to process what I took from the consultation. Am I glad I went? Yes, because doing nothing wasn't really an option and taking this step makes me feel more in control somehow. Think positive and all that. A quote came to mind recently, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick..." and I'm sure I'm not the only one to feel that way. However, I couldn't have managed to get through these last few years without the help, support and advice I've had from so many people on this forum, so thank you, I can't tell you how much it means to me.

All the best, Kate

10 Replies

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  • Sounds like a good meeting Kate. Let us know how things pan out.

  • Thanks Bob, will do.

  • Kate, Pleased to hear that your consultation was positive and that you've got a plan after the difficult time you've had. I'd be interested to hear which EP you saw in Bristol? All the best, Nigel

  • Hi Nigel, thanks for your post. I saw Dr Edward Duncan, who was recommended by a couple of other people on the forum.

  • Kate, hope that you have a successful outcome, and quickly this time! Best of luck.

  • Thank you for your good wishes, Irene, I hope so too.

  • Kate, can you clarify. Are you being cardioverted even after 3 ablations?

    I'm on the waiting list for my first ablation, but still having second thoughts about the outcome vs quality of life currently

  • Hi jondeanp, thank you for your post and in answer to your query, yes, I've been cardioverted three times since the last ablation in June last year. The first time, just post ablation was, I understand, fairly common but the last two were as a result of persistent tachycardia/AF.

    However, I don't think I'm a typical case, so please don't make your decision based on my experience. As has been said before, the people who have been successfully ablated and are able to get on with their lives don't often come back on this forum so we don't get to hear about the success stories. Strides are being made all the time regarding ablation procedures and more and more research is also being done regarding arrhythmia in all its forms, so your outcome is sure to be very different to mine.

    I hope when the time comes you are able to make the right decision for you based on hard evidence and also by discussing your concerns with your EP or maybe the arrhythmia nurse at the hospital where you are on the waiting list.

    All the very best, Kate

  • At the age of 43 I have had 9 ablations of AF and multi-arrythmia. The lasti one earlier this year has been a major success.

  • Heavens, that's a lot of ablations, you must have a very accommodating EP who has decided it would be worth doing so many. I'm so glad for you that this last one has been successful though, as I'm sure you are.

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