Post ablation recovery time

Hi everyone, what seems to be the average recovery time post ablation please?

The reason I'm asking is because of the discharge advice I was given from the nurse.

I had my ablation on Wednesday last week and the nurse said that I would be ok to give until after the weekend and I should be fine for work on Monday, which is today.

This somewhat surprised me as I consider this to be too soon. I still feel like I'm in recovery. Should I be feeling fit and raring to go?

I was under the impression that it takes a while for your heart to heal. I certainly don't want to return to work too soon and risk going back to work too soon and reverting back into af. What's the point of the ablation if that happens.

I don't want to take time off if it's not needed but on the other hand at the moment don't feel ready to go back yet. I'm confused!

Can anyone give me their experience.

30 Replies

  • I went back to work one week after the ablation which was the timescale given on discharge.

    However, I feel that was too soon and contributed to a couple of episodes of AF whilst the healing process was starting to take place - haven't had any since in the last 2two and a half years.

    Personally, I think a two week period is more realistic for an office base job - longer if you do physical work.

  • Listen to your body, if you don't feel ready then you are not ready. Everyone is different but it takes me three weeks to feel able to face the world. Don't forget it takes a long time for anaesthetic to leave the system. Hope all stays well.

  • I think there is a vast difference between healing time FOR THE PROCEDURE and healing time for what is has achieved. After my first failed ablation when I went balls out from day three* for my second my arrhythmia nurse told me to do nothing for the first week and not a lot more for the second and then ease in gradually. That is the advice I have given here ever since and it seems to work for most people.

    * Back then we didn't have this forum and I fondly imagined I would be skipping out of the ward cured the morning afterwards. Oh what a fool I was. Nobody talked about the three month healing or blanking period back then either I suspect because ablation was still quite rare and new in UK with only a few centres doing it. ( had to go from Devon to London for mine.) I am still gobsmacked that so little information is given to so many people about the question of healing times. I still believe up to six months for full recovery.

  • Thanks Bob,

    I was thinking of having a couple of weeks from work then assess from there.

    My biggest concern is that because I have a relatively stressful job (teacher) if I go back too soon, I risk putting myself back in af, as once I'm back at work it has to be 100% or nothing. I don't want to jeopardise the success of the ablation.


  • Agreed

  • Agreed.

  • After having had 3 ablations I agree totally with what you are suggesting.

    I've felt different after each of mine. After the first I had just over two weeks off work (desk job mostly), after the second I felt ill for about 2 months afterwards and couldn't walk far, after my third I was more or less fine immediately.

    Like Bob, after my first one I expected to be climbing mountains a few days later, I read online that that's what people who'd had them did. What a shock to discover the reality!


  • I was off work for 2 weeks before going back to an office job. I agree with bob it takes a full 6 months for the heart to heal and settle down. I had a few episodes of AF in that 6 months but it lessoned as time went by. I'm now 8 months post ablation and still on bisoprol. 7.5mg a day. On the odd occasion I've forgotten to take it my heart rate still goes up to 100 - 120 bpm. Don't want to be on bisoprol forever but have had little info on whether that can be sorted. Had a 24 HR monitor last month and at 02:00hrs was woken with AF at 170 Bpm... least it was caught on the recorder. Feeling generally good but not completely sorted enough to get back as an operational firefighter which is a pain. Go back to see the EP again end of Jan 2017 to discuss.

  • I saw the hospital a few weeks ago about mine. He said take a week off, not because you need that long, but because you can with no trouble from work.

  • I think that taking enough to time recovery gently is a key to a successful ablation. Just because you can't see the battering that your heart has taken, doesn't mean that it doesn't need a lot of healing. Pushing too quickly can impede that healing. I was retired at the time of my ablation, but it was a few weeks before I felt anything close to normal afterward. I really, really took it easy and gently and I am not sorry. You'll never be sorry if you take extra time, but you could regret pushing too quickly. Wishing you well

  • Thanks for your advice, these were my thoughts too.

  • I'm having 10 weeks off,

  • I am also very surprised about the wide variation in advice and astounded as to how short time off was.

    I was at a different hospital to Bob and only had my ablation last year!!

    Also listen carefully because they nearly always say a minimum of nn week(s) or at least nn week(s). I was also told that often hospitals don't want to get involved with sickness certificates (or fitness to work as they are now called) and want to bounce to GPs.

    I was told no driving for a minimum of 1 week. Also in week one nothing apart from tv remote, phone and iPad. Second week not much more apart from doing some gentle walks but not up steep hills or longer than half an hour. Also told no work for at least 6 to 8 weeks (although I had been made redundant before then). Incidentally I was also told that most office work was as bad as manual work because included in the top 6 AF triggers and causes are adrenaline and stress (which were abundant when I was working).

    I understand many GPs will sign off for two months straight off.

    I was discussing this with someone else a while back (not my consultant) and he said hospitals don't want to get involved with time off issues especially as they them may have to have quicker and more (in number) consultations.

  • Mine was at one of the top AF centres on the NHS.

  • Peter, did your ablation work?

  • No unfortunately I went back into persistent AF just under 72 hours later. My EP had said that it wouldn't work first time but he had hoped I would be in NSR at 6 weeks so that he could see what effect that had had on the various other issues such as dilated atria, tricuspid valve (moderate to severe leakage) and mitral valve (minor leakage). He had booked my post procedure review for 6 weeks rather than the normal 3 months. However before doing a second ablation he wanted heart valve specialist to do review. That has involved various tests and 15 months of monitoring

    I'll finish later because just called in early for eye test and don't want to loose!!

  • So frustrating that the advice given is so varied, as much as you want to get back to 'normality' you also don't want to rush things and revert back into af.

    I'm still getting some chest discomfort, so therefore don't think I should be exerting myself anymore than I need to.

    I think it's my bodies way of telling me to rest. So I'm going to listen to my body and not the nurse. If I'd gone back to work today (which was the advice she gave me ) 5 days post ablation, I don't think I'd be feeling too good right now.

  • The first time I met my EP one of the key things that he stressed was to listen to your body and stop or slow down as appropriate.

  • Actually I really wonder if a big contributor to people going back into AF is doing too much too soon.

  • I was back working within days and I was fine. My AF didn't come back even though I was under huge stress at the time.

  • I could go back, however my GP gave me a paper until Jan 4th, and my company have been very understanding..... also I get full pay👍👍

  • To be honest if I had been working I wouldn't have gone back sooner than 8 or 12 weeks even though when I was working full pay was only for 6 weeks then dropped to half pay. What many people forget is that if you are on reduced pay for 6 weeks then for because of the way tax and NI is calculated you could loose much less than you think you will from what actually goes into your bank account. In additional you will have the costs of getting to work and being at work.

  • I am in my 5th week post ablation, and feel wonderful (at the moment) pretty much doing what I did before only without the palpitations, around the 3rd week felt much more capable of doing most things (lifting etc) I am aware from what experiences Bob has unfolded that maybe 3 weeks up to 3 - 6 months, for the heart to heal properly. We are all different and I have had to hold myself back from doing too much, give your heart time to get on board with you.

    I used to teach and this is perhaps the most physical and stressful job to undertake after any surgery. I am now 76 and this is the only real problem I have, if I was of working age then maybe by the 4th week you would begin to feel you can undertake your teaching job and gradually work up to a full time load by the 8th to 12th week. Whatever you do I am sure your students could lift and carry for you for a short time.

  • Thank you ultramarine but my students are 5 years old.

    At the moment I don't feel like pushing things too much. So for the next week or two will remain off work.

    I'm going to take it one step at a time and build up my confidence as much as anything to be able to deal with the stress and physical aspects of my job.

  • I thought about that afterwards I had mostly year 12 students, the school principle and your colleagues will be aware and will help in many ways I am sure. I wish you a good solid recovery.

  • I am 8weeks post ablation just been to the shops to do fortnightly shop got home feel like crawling into bed no way could I go to work maybe Iam just lazy or very unfit but I think having 5cvs before ablation took it out of me so good job Iam retired

  • I had my ablation almost 5 weeks ago - I am 45 and work in a sedentry job but occassionally I have to travel. Last week was my first trip post ablation and I went to Brussels for 2 nights - I was totally exhusted most of the weekend but have recovered now.

    My thinking now, having read all of the above is more time is needed than the 1 week the hospital said to me.

    I still have mild chest pain but my EP says that is ok.

    I have to go to Bradford this week but only for one night, it takes about the same time on the train for me getting there as it did to get to Brussels, so I am expecting to be tired after but not as much as last week.

    I think some time lines are useful, it is human to want to get back to normal and that can and does lead to us all overdoing things but I also think it is a good thing to test where you are, without causing harm.

    I do know that I was no up to doing very much at all for the first 4 weeks.

  • It's interesting to read all the different replies and the different lengths of recovery time. I've had 2 ablations. The first one really knocked me out for 2 or 3 weeks and looking back I think it was 5 months before I felt really back to normal. As time went on it was the tiredness that I was fighting. The second ablation is completely different. I did the one week with no driving but after that I felt almost back to normal. However, I know it takes time for the heart to heal which you're probably unaware of because it doesn't actually hurt, so I'm having to fight the urge to get back to true normality. I'm guessing that this time around the EP's didn't have so much to do. Still took 5 hours but was told that the time was spent looking for the 'gaps' rather than actually doing the cauterisation. Don't know if that helps. Millie. Maybe all it reinforces is that we're all different and even different ablations are different. Take it easy and good luck.

  • I felt fine after mine, all of which were quite short in duration, and had to remember not to do too much.

  • I had my first ablation last November. I know that we all heal and recover in different ways and at different rates, so I can only speak from my own experience.

    I too was lead to believe that it would be a relatively short recovery time of a week to a fortnight. The reality was that it took me about six weeks to even start feeling anything like half normal again, but looking back, it was about six months before I really got my mojo back. My energy was low and I felt emotionally drained.

    I do read about the experiences of others on this site and it has taught me that all we can do is listen to our bodies and go with what we feel is right. There are no rules for this. You may wake up tomorrow and find you have turned a corner, or it may be a while longer. I think if you can relax about it, and do what you feel you can manage without pushing yourself too hard just now- cut yourself some slack - you'll get to know when you're ready to go back to work and maybe push yourself a little more. Your body is healing right now, and needs a bit of TLC! I wish you well with your recovery.

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