Ablation - If you had to do over again, *WOULD YOU?

I am a single 60 year old healthy male with intermittent Paroxysmal AF. Currently scheduled for Ablation in a few weeks and I am scared about the after effects.

Since 2012 had 2 cardioversions and 2 other AF events of 24+ hours that subsequently quelled via medication. Last two events happened within 2 months. Undecided if I am opening Pandora's box of more and new problems.

*For those that have had Catheter Ablation, would you do again? What was recovery like? Thanks.

41 Replies

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  • Hi yes I would have it again.The procedure is nothing to worry about and of course it might not work but it is worth trying.You will have to take it easy for about 1 or 2 weeks,then it takes about 3 months to really see the benefits if it has worked.All the best.

  • I had debilitating persistent AF which was being controlled 95% by drugs but the drugs had unnacceptable side-effects, really bad memory and I mean bad. So I had a PVI and it worked straight away and 100%. I had a little recovery time, say a week or two when I had to take it a steady, but otherwise I was just back to normal and felt great. Couldn;t feel my heart at all which was weird and wonderful.

    That was 12 years ago. Then I had another to nip a little AF in the bud that had returned, about 3 years ago, but they couldn't get it that time, so back on drugs but doing well on these so far.

    Would I have a third ablation? Yes, without much though to be honest but doubt I will be offered one whilst the drugs are working.

    I've had sedation and GA and wouldn't be bothered which I had again, both were no problem.

    Koll

  • I have had three ablations, all quite short in duration, so the answer is yes, I would do it again. No problems or bad experiences, no regrets, significant improvements. I felt OK the days after and had to make an effort to take it easy.

    The only after effect I've noticed (apart from being able to give up daily antiarrhythmic medication) is that my heartbeat speeded up a bit after the second ablation and slowed again in the following weeks, but has never gone right back, happily, to where it used to be, which was in the forties.

    I've looked back to a post a few months ago and pinched what I said then:

    I am so grateful that so much is available to us today to improve the blight of AF, that there are doctors who are prepared to delve into the innards of one's heart and tweak it and hopefully improve it, even though it's a dodgy thing to do, and that there's the technology to enable them to do so.

  • In a nano second. I wouldn't be here had I not had my ablation. My oncology surgeon assured me that he would not have undertaken a nearly five hour operation if I had AF at the time. I still had to fight for it as they didn't agree it was the best option. They would not then have known the extent of it and missed a lot with the radiotherapy. I have no doubt whatsoever that I would not be here had I still suffered AF.

    As the old saying goes," you don't know what's hanging till it drops."

  • Yes without hesitation. Had my first ablation in July after two years of gradually getting worse and being hospitalised for weeks at a time during episodes. I was very unwell and in the end doctors couldn't get my meds right and nothing was shifting the af. I had my ablation and did get runs of af after it but with the help of meds being tweaked have had no af since August and the effects now are amazing. if my af ever returns I'll def have another ablation if of doctors want me to.

  • No regrets. AF was ruining my life. Had I not had the ablation I would be living with regrets. I kept telling myself that Bob said that the dentist's root canal treatment was worse. He was right.

    You will need to rest up after the ablation. Your heart will take 3 months to heal. You need to rest for 2 weeks then be careful for a couple of months.

  • Early days for me, just past the 5mth marker, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't hesitate should the need arise....

    Just follow all the suggestions for recovery from the folks here and you will do just fine!!

  • I would absolutely make the same choice and have the ablation. As soon as AF started to be a burden and interfering with my happy life, I was ready. I feel like it was super important to make sure I was living my healthiest possible life both before and since the ablation to increase the odds of success. A gentle recovery is really important. Just because you can't see all that was done to your heart doesn't mean that you don't need to be careful as you heal.

  • Would certainly have it again, if it works its life changing!

    Wendi

  • I'm also scheduled for an ablation - and I am trying to decide between ablation for flutter which carries little risk of major complications but won't address my AF, and a full ablation to address my AF which carries much more risk of major complications. I've only had flutter twice in my life - AF is the main problem. I controlled it for years with flecenaide, but lately the flecenaide has been "re-organizing" my AF into flutter, which then becomes persistent. So I can't really rely on flecenaide anymore.

    My concern with the AF ablation is the risk of a major complication. I don't yet understand all of the issues, but I'm about to start researching carefully. From initial reading, it seems 98 out of every 100 people have no complications such as stroke, puncturing the heart wall, cardiac tamponade, etc - but overall there is a 1 in 50 chance of something serious going wrong.

    This seems like a significant risk - but I was also told by my EP that they are legally required to give the overall complication rate, but really, the complication rate is "probably" a lot less in people who are healthy and younger - so Rider, as a healthy 60 year old male, I suspect your personal risk of complication is very low -

    Does anyone have info on the actual risk of "serious complications" from ablation? Also - does ablation sometimes help ectopics? I get them quite a bit and find them super annoying!

  • I was offered ablation for flutter as this was recorded on my ECG when admitted to hospital after a particularly long session of PAF. Fortunately I did not proceed and had cryoablation for AF instead. I think that the flutter was caused by Flecainide and as I stopped taking this immediately after the successful ablation I have never had flutter again.

    Peter

  • Its a dilemma for sure. One side says have it done while you are PAF, young and healthy = a better chance of recovery; I have friend who did just that. The other side says don't risk anything until Quality of Life pushes you there; my Cardiologist favours this. I have postponed an ablation offered, having been made AF free with Flecainide, until I have followed up all the supplement/lifestyle options and got myself in optimum health. It really has to be an individual personal decision albeit with guidance from replies here and the medics. Good luck.

  • My EP says not yet as AF is managed with pill in pocket so far, but its only been one year. Will see how it goes

  • That is how I started out a few years ago. Good luck.

  • Yeah, the unknown is the hardest part. In 12 mo have had 3 a fib, first two hard and 10 hours long. In the last 6 mo, only one short 90 min and very mild. Im hoping it stays on the downlow.

  • I think from reading here you will see results are mixed. For my own case I started off with the odd bout of PAF like you, but it then became more frequent and was quite debilitating. I had to take the lift to my 1st floor office and got stared at for that. When I had the ablation, I looked like I had been in a boxing match and was bruised all over. It took 5 months for the PAF to settle and I began to think it may have to be repeated, but then things went from strength to strength and 2 years later I was able to do a 10 mile run for charity. So I would definitely do it again, but bear in mind others have not been so lucky.

  • Hopefully, you will be closing Pandora's Box!

    If necessary, would I do it again? In a heartbeat.

  • Would have it again in a heart beat I have lqts so every time I had a bout of AF had to have a CV as I can't take the drugs although I have had two bouts of AF since ablation it has resolved its self after a while so no trips to ed

  • I wish I'd done it earlier rather than persisted with various drugs (prescribed by cardiologists) which just allowed the AF to get worse until it was permanent. Then I didn't have a choice anyway.

  • Yes. Had ablation to treat fib & flutter 18 months ago. Very successful and no big deal. Had GA for a 4 hour op. Recovery time about 4 weeks. Daily episodes were ruining my life. Since op no episodes. Long may it last.

  • Yes yes yes😊

  • Of course !. What lies ahead of you if you don`t is not a very pleasant prospect - Dependent on pills with all their side effects & having to have your INR checked every few days. What sort of a life is that?

    What sort of after effects are there from ablation ? I have had three ablations & there is initially some discomfort but nothing to compare with that that I encountered when suffering from side effects of the drugs that I was compelled to take to keep the fibrillation under control plus the much reduced exercise tolerance. Go to it young man ! Get your life back. you will live to regret it if you don`t.

  • Good morning

    I have now had 5 ablations.

    For me they were difficult for many they are a breeze.

    As far as the risks as suggested by Thomps95, the statistics that are banded about are world wide. You are more likely to be run over crossing the road outside the hospital than to have anything serious happen. I asked the EPs at my hospital "how many problems have you had" and was told that there had been none. They do hundreds every year.

    Unfortunately for me I am one of the 20% who did not have a successful outcome the first time. I have now had four more that have not been successful and sadly since my 5th ablation in early September I still go into AF every 2-3 weeks. I have very bad symptoms and it is very depressing.

    However, I am seeing my specialist on 4th January for my following outpatients appointment and despite the lack of success so far, if he thinks there is a chance of success with a further ablation then I will grab it with both hands as currently there is no alternative despite me being on Flecainide and Bisporolol for 25 years.

    I hope this helps.

    Pete

  • The EP who I was seeing - one of the top in Australia - told me that two of his patients in the past 6 months had serious complications that would affect them for the rest of their lives. He didn't elaborate but said it would be crazy to leap into an ablation unless there was no other viable treatment option. So I'm a bit nervous.

  • Totally understandable.

    However having had 5 ablations I feel confident with the hospital where I am treated.

    If you are unsure about the hospital can you consider a second opinion.

  • Ablation has given me my life back! I've gone from existing to living again. It may take 2-3 months to feel that much better but it was better than being in AF. I had sedation for my Cryoablation and went home the same day. Good luck with your decision.

  • Yes even though I had to go back foe a CV two weeks later and I felt like I had been run over by a bus. That was jan/feb now I'm fit as a proverbial fiddle ! Go for it and get a life

  • Yes. I had a choice between ablation and pacemaker. I was quite a high risk patient - asthma, bad reaction to anaesthetic, spinal fusion with rods, angina......... I had my procedure on the 15th Dec and 'did' Christmas for the family as usual feeling less tired than before. However I would say if you are ever going for an ablation have it done while you are relatively fit - there is no knowing what lies around the corner.

  • I was diagnosed in 1992 and have had 9 CV, 3 Ablations. I am looking at a 4th some time in the near future? I do have multi-contions and medication clashes but I am going to say yes.

  • I've had 2 ablations and 8 DC cardiversions, at the moment the AF is being controlled with Flecanide and Bisoprolol. Both recoveries were longer than expected but I would throw the dice again if needed.

  • YEs, yes and yes without hesitation. I was scared to death before my first one and I have now had two. I would go again because it changed the quality of my life and I have been through 3 cancers, chemo, radiation and when they said I needed an abalation I thought my world was over but instead.....my world is wonderful. Really, there is nothing to it. Don't be scared, but thankful that you are able to have one. Best to you.

  • Yes, I would do again if needed. You do have to give yourself time to recover. The first 2 weeks my worst symptom was a migraine with aura which was weird since I never had that before. The EP said he thought that was from the meds given during the surgery. It did go away though after 2 weeks and it was not like it was constant either just had it every once in a while. Groin pain was minimal for me. Procedure was not scary and I was awake, aware and remember many parts of what was happening while I was in the lab. The EP did have to go out and ask my family if he could make a hole to go into the other side of my heart which we hoped he would not have to do but he did it and I am glad because it eliminated the issues. I was afraid going into it but it seemed pretty minor compared to other surgeries I've had and the recovery was easier than other surgeries.

  • The simple answer is definitely yes. The alternative drug treatments - except for Eliquis/apixaban, the anticoagulant that I use - had too many side effects - especially for someone like me - as I have naturally low blood pressure and a normal heat rate when Afib isn't playing havoc. My life is back to normal and I take only one prescription drug and I was 83 when I had the ablation. Cardioversion was never an option for me and the many comments on this site appear to indicate that it rarely works for very long if at all.

  • Thank you all for such emotional, heartfelt responses and taking the time to share. What makes it hard for me is I am still in the optional time period of pills or ablation. *If ablation is not "if but when" as it is a progressive disease, I am thinking I should do it now versus later while I have no other comorbidity issues to deal with. Pills have side affects that remove me from who I use to be. I am feeling twice removed and foreign to myself. I want my life back and the physical me who is no longer scared. Thanks again for your support and stories.

    *Funny thing is since I had my last AF event a few weeks ago I have discontinued the diltiazem 120MG and only take the twice daily blood thinner and have had NO issues while waiting for my surgery day... Ironic.... I believe my AF is caused by S t r e s s .

  • And it's a yes from me.

  • 100% yes. I have had a cryo ablation under sedation in March 2014 which lasted 1 year. Then the AF came back, I was massively upset and I couldn't take Amiorodone to control it as before as the drug gave me an over active thyroid! (which has cleared up now thank goodness) Felt really rough with AF then. Talked it through with my EP and he advised another ablation but this time the radio frequency one under GA. I was so worried and anxious about having it (I suffer from anxiety anyway) so I was way off the scale with worry ....... had the ablation November 2015, it took 4 hours but I can honestly say it was the best thing. Had a week off work and tried to rest up as much as I could at home but all absolutely fine - no more AF. Feel so much better, having felt rubbish for the best part of 4 years. So absolutely yes, would definitely have another one if necessary in the future without hesitation. It worked for me, that's all I can say and I was 64 when I had it. Hope this helps, with very best wishes to you and good luck for the future.

  • It's also a categoric yes from me. Had one in 2012 and it has given me my life back.

  • Yes...try and read my previous posts. Good luck

  • Hi, I was diagnosed with AF in June, I am a 52 year old, slim, non drinking, non smoking, vegetarian lady. I was put on bisoprolol which make me feel tired and have no energy. I have heart flutter every day from a few seconds to a few hours and I have been advised by my EP to have an ablation. Like you, I am scared and in 2 minds. I was on the waiting list and due to go onto anticoagulants when i cancelled it, convincing myself it is not bad enough. I wrote a long list of questions and did a lot of research and went back to see my EP. I had an ECG prior to the appointment and was in AF at the time, my EP then again recommended that i have an ablation. I had a blood test today and due to get my anticoagulants next week in preparation for my ablation. To say that i am petrified is no understatement and for the past week i am convinced that my AF has subsided to just the occasional flutter, but my EP says that it is better to have the ablation now when i am young, fit and "healthy" and that it could get worse at any time. Please let me know what you decide and keep us posted if you decide to go ahead. I am aware that it is not an easy decision, so good luck.

  • HI Rosie, after a fair amount of due diligence and going down the rabbit hole and without other issues because I am Young (60) I have decided to go ahead with the procedure.

    It's a progressive disease and only gets worse is the leading indicator and I hate taking medications that do not work after a period time anyway.

    And come with their own risks.

    Best wishes with your decision

  • Without hesitation.

    My PAF prior to my PVI was ruining my life being debilitated for around 12hrs a day. I only took the PVI route when my prescribed drug could no longer provide reasonable control. I was obviously worried about the potential complications spending a sleepless night prior to my procedure. In my case I was informed that there was a 2% chance of complications of the type Thomps95 mentioned. To me the risks were something I was prepared to accept.

    My physical recovery was around 1 month.

    Looking back I should have taken a PVI offer at an earlier stage.

    The after effects are getting ones life back!

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