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Heart rate post exercise.

Hi All, this is my third post since joining the group. I'm now 10 weeks post my second ablation. On flecainide and metropolol. I'm in excellent health, age 61, no other heart conditions and fit. I will be weening off these meds in two to three weeks (while staying on Pradaxa) Overall my post ablation recovery involved no instances of AFIB, no noticeable ectopics, or other side effects that I experienced the first time around. However my resting heart rate averages closer to 80+ rather than high 60's previously following my first ablation (while on the same meds and dosage in both instances)

Regarding exercise, for hour long sessions involving weight training or aerobics, my heart recovers to it's now "normal" heart rate of 80 within 10 minutes or so. However, when I go cycling rides for two hours or more (at a modest pace for me), it can take literally hours for my heart rate to recover. Usually it will hover well into the 90's (still technically in NSR) but clearly high before eventually subsiding. Interestingly enough, I feel great while cycling and my rate while exercising in the 110 to 120 range which is excellent.

Anyone with a second ablation experience a higher than expected resting heart rate generally or longer recovery time for more extensive exercise? I'm a little concerned about what I may experience once I'm off the meds completely, or that the AFIB may reappear based upon what I am experiencing now

My EP'a response was merely to keep him posted and schedule another EKG However, I monitor my Alivecor daily and have been in NSR every time with no AFIB ever, but with the higher but still technically normal rate above Once I'm off the meds, I'll be on a monitor for 24 hours

Interested in your thoughts....



10 Replies

Prolonged recovery and high resting heart rate is usually related to lack of fitness. Certainly your rate is likely to increase further if you stop the beta blocker. Seems odd if you're feeling strong while exercising well.

I presume you are avoiding caffeine and stimulants

Maybe worth getting bloods checked for anaemia and thyroid. Possibly urine catecholamines.

Definitely a bit strange


I am not an expert on fitness but I think you are expecting too much too soon. Your resting HR will take months to come down, mine took about 6-9 months - much, much longer than you imagine.

Every time you put your heart under such pressure from extended exercise before it has properly healed you risk AF returning. On the plus, you are monitoring and you are obviously fit so moderate exercise is helpful to you general wellbeing.

I think the reason you feel great whilst exercising is the endorphin effect, which also may also cover some subtle symptoms.

I think you put your finger on it - at the moment the meds are supporting your heart and slowing your HR anyway, the test will be when you are off them - then you may need to go very carefully.

There used to be some racing cyclists who all got back to fitness after ablations so I am sure they may have some informative comments.

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Raised heart rate post ablation is normal. It can take anything up to six months or longer for this to settle. Mine sat around 85 for about eight months before gradually falling to "normal" rate of 70. If you ask your arrhythmia nurse she will probably have told you this. My EP never bothered until I challenged him on it so maybe just another thing they don't think you need to know.


What is your max heart rate during your weight training ? Might be that it is lower than during cycling. Could happen that the long cycling is leads overtratining. The longer recovery time might be even arrhythmia that is provocated by the potassium loss.

Any how good to know that high endurance sports as like as cycling or running increase the risk of developing aFib. The risk dependence is U shaped. To small sports and to much sport is equally harmful.

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The high resting heart rate is common for a good few months after ablation, but don't stop training...I'm a fitness fan myself and work in the leisure industry, I train loads of people with more serious heart problems than af, your cv training will strengthen your heart, it's only a bit of indoor cycling it's hardly Tour de France. Remember your heart is still healing from ablation so it will take time for it drop to your normal bpm after intense training, I think spending 15- 20min stretching and controlling your breathing helps bring the heart rate down, try that Jeff.

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Thanks all for your comments. To summarize-- I need to be more patient and give my overall recovery more time, don't overdo the cycling and slowly ween off meds aftet careful monitoring.

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Your cycling HR is pretty low, only 50% higher than your current resting HR. At 120 it's still only twice your previous resting HR. At 61, your theoretical max. HR is 160, so I'd say you're well within your comfortable range. The HR itself may not be a big issue; but as you suggest, your recovery time could be. As Biggles22 suggested, it could be that you're in less than prime condition. I would suggest two things:

1. Monitor your blood pressure before, right after, and two hours after exercise. Keep a log and note whatever patterns you see.

2. Continue as you are and keep a log of your recovery time down to 100 bpm, 90 bpm, and 80 bpm. Either that or note your HR when you take your BP.

Keeping track of all this is easy to do because you have to take only one reading (combined BP and HR), but it can be a nuisance to maintain. If you do it, you'll have an excellent way to understand your progress.


Thanks. Interestingly, My BP has always been in normal range, shortly after extensive cycling exercise (even when my recovery heart rate is high) including when at rest

My relatively low HR during cycling is due to taking it easy on the bike by keeping my average miles per hour at around 16 - 17. Were I to pick up my intensity to 20 plus mixed in with hills (which I am fit enough to do), my HR would likely be in a higher 130 to 140 range. However, I've chosen not to do so because of my recent ablation, recovery time HR and concerns about reoccurrence of AFIB by pushing too hard. Nevertheless, patience and careful monitoring are warrented until things calm down hopefully over time


You ride at an average speed of 16-17 mph at a HR of 130-140? You must be incredibly fit. I've ridden for years and I average about 14 mph, at somewhere between 120 and 160 bpm depending on hills. My resting pulse is 60 or below and my recovery time from 130 to 80 is about 1/2 hour. That's a pretty good cardio fitness profile for a 64-year-old (the last year I did any significant amount of riding - the last 3 years I've been limited due to heat waves and Lyme disease). You're way ahead of me.

I took metoprolol a few years ago and it nearly did me in. Riding, my HR wouldn't go over 120, and I almost drowned because I couldn't work hard enough to swim. That stuff is dangerous. When you stop it you'll find your capacity improves greatly.

Good luck and enjoy staying fit!


Thanks. Will look forward to getting off this poison as long as my AFIB doesn't come back. Fingers crossed


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