Ablation next Tuesday

Hi, I am reading all the posts on this forum every day prior to my ablation on Tuesday and the more i read the more conflicted i am about having it. It seems that having an ablation has been positive for the majority of people, but is my AF really bad enough to spend the next 2 weeks doing nothing and the next few months recovering. I have flutters daily and the odd bout of palpitations, I am scared to go in feeling "well" and come out feeling awful. I have a busy working life ( I am a counsellor in private practise) and home life ( have 2 teeenage children) and stopping work for longer than 2 weeks is not ideal. I exercise by going to pilates and yoga classes and i imagine that this will be out of the question for a few months. I am hoping that after 2 weeks of rest that i can resume some sort of "normality", is this just wishful thinking?

81 Replies

  • Rosie,sorry that you are feeling so uncertain about your imminent ablation. It's quite normal to feel like this!

    I really don't think that you should expect to be incapacitated for weeks on end. I certainly wasn't and you sound much fitter than me.

    I don't think that it's ' wishful thinking' to expect some degree of normality after 2 weeks . Just take it bit easier to begin with.

    Wishing you all the best.


  • Thank you for your reassurance Sandra

  • Once the first two weeks are over there is no reason why you should not carry on as normal. You are not presumably one of these adrenaline junkies who just HAS to work out to excess . Just listen to your body and if you feel a bit tired then rest. We should all know by now that the heart needs a lot of time to heal properly and yes you may have some funnies for a while but there is no real reason why you should be worse than now.

    On the other hand we also all know by now that AF is progressive so do not imagine that you will avoid that inevitability. Nothing stays the same Rosie. I think you are just bottling it like everybody does and looking for an excuse not to go ahead. STOP IT. Your family needs a fit you a lot longer than the few weeks it will take to recover.

  • Thank you Bob, no I am definitely not an adrenaline junkie, I like calm. Yes i think I am bottling it but know deep down that i will be there on Tuesday, albeit very scared. i almost feel like a fraud with a bit of AF!!! I suppose in my mind it needed to be worse to warrant an ablation. I think what i am forgetting is that it is progressive and on the plus side i will get to come off of bisoprolol and rivaroxaban.

  • Rosie, I can only speak from my experience. I had a Cryoablation in June under sedation. I stayed in overnight, which is normal and in truth, I do not recall any issues or problems after the procedure. I had the words of BobD and others ringing in my ears, telling me to do nothing for 2 weeks, and although I felt fine, with no discomfort, I followed that advice because it made sense. That evening, with the knowledge and approval of an EP, (not the one who performed the procedure but attached to the same hospital), I attended our AF support group meeting. I was naturally careful not to exert myself and did not use any stairs and was escorted by my wife and the journey was short and it caused no problems.

    I may have been very lucky, but I can honestly say that I felt fine, and about 6 weeks after the procedure, we went to the States for 4 weeks. No one knows how they will feel after the procedure and obviously we are all different, so it is very much up to the individual to do no more than they feel comfortable with. I'm not sure that we are looking at "a few months" to recover, but those first 2 weeks of doing little are important. Only you can decide whether the investment is worth the prize....good luck with your decision and with your procedure....John

  • Thank you John, it is good to hear about your experience and very reassuring. I intend to do nothing the first week and barely anything the second. I will listen to my body and cancel things if necessary and be sensible. Thank you for your good wishes.

  • Rosie

    In answer to your various questions there is no definitive or absolute answer for or against!!! I know that doesn't help in many ways but it's reality.

    You could decide to have it done and it takes 6 months to get fully back to normal. On the flip it could take 6 weeks!!! I would certainly caution about trying to get back to normal after two weeks. I was told minimum of 6 weeks off work and that was an office job (although I had been made redundant by that time).

    If you don't have it done you could flip into persistent AF within 6 months to a year (could be quicker) and the quality of life could deteriorate quite quickly. However you could last a number of years with no change!!! No one knows and no one can predict!!!

    What is salient is that the chances of success are higher for those who only have paroxysmal AF both first time and overall.

    My view is go for it!!

    If you duck out I'll take your place!!!

  • Thank you Peter, I know i flip backwards and forwards in my decision but as you say i have the best chance of success now. I will be there on Tuesday, however scared i am! What is the reason that you would take my place....are you waiting for another ablation?

  • Yes!!! Unfortunately I have other heart issues which has delayed second ablation.

  • Hi Rosie, I can understand all those conflicted feelings, but it sounds like you have a good plan for the first two weeks. Then there shouldn't be any reason not to do your yoga, and a gradual return to Pilates will likely not be a problem either. Those are both good for you! Just remember that your heart will be healing for 3-6 months and live your happy life! Listen to your body and heal well!

  • Thank you so much i will listen to my body and your good advice, i do not intend to overdo it.

  • I was also a psychotherapist with private practice - I was back supervising & seeing clients the second week, no problems as it is not a physical occupation. Unfortunately I needed a second but I was very symptomatic, several episodes a week lasting 2 - 36 hours with syncope so it was N easy decision for me.

    Only comment would be that ablation has more chance of success sooner rather than later as AF is often, but not always, progressive.

  • Thank you, it is good to hear that you were back seeing clients in the second week. That is what i am hoping, although i do not see the my clients at home and need to travel on the tube into London for 45 mins and a little walk at the other end. Yes as i am having my ablation sooner rather than later i am hoping for success. Did your second ablation work?

  • Yes - no episodes at all for 2 years, no etopics, nothing. Then Sept/Oct 2016 had some episodes - mix of Tachycardia, AFl & AF but not nearly as bad as before ablations and then nothing at all since.

    I am retired and 65 now, my AF started about 2000, although undiagnosed until 2006. It progressed until I had to give up employed work (Relate) 2009, their dicta at, so I did private practice until 2014 but did more supervision than clients - in some ways that was more stressful but I loved it and do miss it that world.

  • Glad to hear your second ablation worked...hopefully Sept/Oct does not repeat. Yes, although sitting with clients/supervision does not sound stressful, it can be emotionally stressful. If you miss that world you are still young and could set up in private practice for a few clients.

  • In case this makes you feel better about going forward see the 2011 study "Patients treated with catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation have long-term rates of death, stroke, and dementia similar to patients without atrial fibrillation" - link to the article below :)


    (there are other studies that do not find such benefits - but on balance the research does seem to favour ablation)

  • Thank you for that article, i will read it now. Have you had an ablation?

  • Having read that article....ablation sounds like the way forward.

  • Hi Rosie. You are going through what everyone goes through prior to an ablation .. am I making the right decision .. can I live with it like this . .. anxiety etc etc. ...ironically I felt better than I had for months prior to my ablation so nearly had second thoughts. But hopefully future positives will outweigh the negatives. I had my ablation on 9th Jan but as I have previously stated am still in af as they will hopefully put me back NSR via cardioversion in a few weeks . This was a pre op decision not based on personal condition. With exercise we are all different as we are in AF . I felt rough for the first week and did not do anything. I started some Pilates excercises after 7 days and flew to South Africa after 9 days . All agreed by consultant No reaction feel fine even after a long flight I do get palpations and a fast heartbeat everynow and then which I did not get before. I believe this is to be expected for a while . I have walked a few miles everyday here in SA and continued Pilates and I feel fine . No reactions at all but .the sunshine helps. I am not stressing the heart at this stage with any vigorous excercise. We are all different in our reactions. I only made the decision to have an ablation after reading the positive experienced comments on this site.

    Stay positive Rosie and I wish you well.

  • Thank you so much, yes its so strange that my heart has been so much calmer the nearer i am getting to Tuesday, even though i feel so anxious!. I am almost willing it to get worse, so that i know that i am making the right decision. It is good to hear that after 7 days of rest you were able to start pilates and after 9 days able to fly to SA. Thank you for your kind thoughts and i am going to do my very best to stay positive.

  • Actually, no - I haven't had an ablation. I'm seeing an EP on Feb 2nd and I do actually have an ablation scheduled in a "placeholder" way for the end of March - but I'm not sure that we will be going forward as my condition is fairly stable at the moment. It is a very tough decision.

  • It sure is a tough decision!!

  • Bear in mind two things which PeterWh mentioned:

    1. AF will progress

    2. It will be harder to treat when more entrenched.

    I didn't say yes when offered a fourth ablation because it is a daunting prospect and a nettle to grasp but I am now feeling that I was mistaken.

  • Thank you, yes that is exactly what my EP told me. I have the best chance of success now. What is the reason that you will be on your 4th ablation?

  • My previous ablations haven't completely shifted AF. However it doesn't bother me a great deal and I'm not incapacitated, so I can perhaps do without further intervention right now. Or maybe not!

  • "but is my AF really bad enough to spend the next 2 weeks doing nothing and the next few months recovering."

    YES! Even if all that was true. Assuming you are otherwise healthy, recovery is a matter of days not months. Sure you will want to take things easy for a week or two but thereafter you'll have a permanent smile on your face. Go for it Rosie!

  • Thank you so much Robert for such a positive reply...I will "go for it". Watch this space!

  • I resumed walking short distances after 2 days and working after 7 days, cycling short distances on the flat after 2 weeks and full exercise (hills, gym, etc) after 5 or 6 weeks. I felt good after every exercise, I think that's the key.

  • Thank you Mark, that is so good to hear.

  • Hi, it was interesting to read of your concerns about having an ablation. I had mine in November, like you a little unsure as to whether I was ready for it, was my af bad enough, yes, it was an irritation in my life, frightening, worrying etc. My daughter stayed with me for the first five days just to keep me in check, but once she had left I just had to get on with life. I had to get the logs in, walk the dog, do the shopping and the rest. I did go to my Consultant after a week because I had a pain across my chest and was short of breath, but quite normal I was told. Yes, I was a bit tired but I listened to my body and did what I could. Now, two and a half months later, feeling great, and told I can come off the tablets I have been on for 11 years, wow! Brilliant. So, don't be worried, ablation would not have been suggested to you without a great deal of thought by your Consultant. The best thing I have done in a while!

    Oh, by the way, I am a fit and very healthy 70 year old lady, live by myself, with a great zest for life. Go for it....... Susan

  • Thank you Susan, That sounds like a very positive decision for you, I am glad to hear how well it worked for you. For me one of the plus points will also to be free from medication. I will "go for it".

  • Good girl good luck. Remember, the power of positive thought! Susan

  • Rosie. I think you've got the right attitude here. To come out of an ablation feeling awful is really positive compared to how I felt. I was not far off certain as I walked in that they would be the last steps I'd ever take! But in reality each time I've felt far better afterwards than you seem to imagine. Not doing anything doesn't mean lying flat and immobile in bed as once had to be the case if you had a cataract operation and one can, I think, safely potter in the house. There are two considerations: the wound in the groin and the heart. Don't lift anything heavy for a while. An ideal opportunity, perhaps, for your teenage children to familiarise themselves with the vacuum cleaner and to cook a few meals!

  • Thank you, yes i am happy to potter around the house and so very little. I am going to show my teenage children where the hoover is kept and where the plugs are in the house this weekend, who knows they may even manage a meal and washing up!!!

  • They are spoilt!!!! I was doing things like that well before their age!!

  • spoilt until next week!!!

  • Please bear in mind that first, you are seeing posts from the few people who had issues, and second many of those had what is charmingly known as comorbidities! I was very reluctant to have an ablation but yesterday day as I zoomed up the stairs without the past breathlessness and pounding heart I thought how pleased I was - no meds apart from Rivaroxaban either!

  • Thank you, yes i have forgotten what it is like to have energy and not have a pounding heart. How long did it take you from ablation to zooming up the stairs yesterday?

  • About six months but I am one of those with the comorbidities, I felt pretty good after two weeks and then developed another illness which took a long time to get under control. And I should add that the illness (perforated bowel by diverticulitis abscess) was caused/aggravated by the meds for AF I had been taking for 8 years!

  • A good reason for ablation then...to come off meds!!!

  • I felt quite tired for about 3 weeks but coped with Christmas family gatherings over the period as had Ablation on 16th December. I am 76 so would probably take longer to recover than someone in their 40's. Feeling so much better now and heart rate down to regular 65-70 Bpm. And don't forget if your heart rate and flutter is high you are not getting the right oxygen level into your blood so you could well feel tired a lot of the time. I would seek advice from your consultant and try and make the time to have the Ablation done as you will feel so much better after this procedure. So will then cope with you busy life much better. I have not had any tiredness problems after about 4 after the procedure. Mike

  • Thank you Mike, that is great to heat and it definitely sounds like a success for you.

  • Hi I had cyroablation almost 2 years ago and luckily for me no more AF however I still take a low dose of sotalol and of course a blood thinner. Here in the states unless there is a. Implication I was only off work for 5 days. Wanted me to take it easy for awhile after ....it was an easy surgery for me thank goodness and hope it will be for you. Thank God it stopped this horrid AFib. Even though you still wait for it to come back it has been heaven without it. Best of luck to you.

  • Thank you so much for your good wishes, i hope that i follow your example on recovery, but i will listen to my body and rest when i need to....hopefully not too long though!!!

  • I am very envious of you. My AF is almost daily now for 3-4 hours but when I asked my GP to be referred to an EP she initially tried to get me to increase my bisoprolol.. I told her that rate was not the problem 50-90 or 100 while in AF but rhythm. Also told her that I have not seen anyone for 3 years. She then told me that she is not able to refer directly to an EP but would refer me to cardiology...I now have an appointment for 15th March at the Freeman hospital in Newcastle in "General cardiology" ....no mention of any specialism. So I would grab the ablation with both hands if it were offered to me. Good luck.

  • Thank you, like you my heart is out of rhythm any time from a few minutes to a few hours (particularly at night while i sleep). I hope that you get seen by an EP and get the treatment that you need.

  • Rothwell. I was initially admitted to cardiology at the Royal in Stoke. Then given ap to see EP two weeks later. Then had my Ablation three weeks after that after my Warfarin INR had settled to around 3. So would not think you would have to wait to long. Is the Freeman a private hospital ? Thought it was. I visit thebNorth east quite a lot and have used Rake Lane for blood tests. Would have thought the RVI was the main Hospital for complex treatments. ? Best of luck hope you don't wait to long. Mike

  • Rothwell. Just checked on line and the Freeman is the place to go in Newcastle Area as they specialise in Electrical problems of the heart. So hopefully you will get sorted quickly. Mike

  • I was due to have my ablation on 12 January and then it was changed to Friday, 13th January, and I decided not to go ahead. The arrythmia nurse from the hospital rang me and when I talked things through with her and said I didn't feel comfortable about having it done she said I had made the right decision if I wasn't comfortable with it. Will wait until I see cardiologist in June and see how things go until then. Hope all goes well for you on 24th.

  • Hi, I would also not have my ablation on Friday 13th!!! Bad enough on any other day!!! I will keep you all posted.

  • Hi Rosie, I definitely understand how you feel. I had my 2nd ablation on 12/20/16. I was so undecided about having another ablation because I was not feeling really bad. I was dealing with flutter & a few afib episodes as well. I kept thinking.. do I really feel bad enough to have another ablation? Well I decided to have it & it has definitely been well worth it! I feel so much better! I have an office job so I took off work for 1 week & was allowed to return to normal activity after that. I'm so glad I decided to go ahead & have mine. Whatever you decide, good luck to you & I will be thinking about you. Keep me updated!

  • Thank you Davlin, It is good to hear that you felt thesame way as me but still went ahead with a second ablation. I am glad it was a success. Thank you for your good wishes and yes i will keep you updated. I will post on here while i am resting.

  • Hi Rosie! I was wondering if you'd already had your ablation, because I know we've been in touch before and we are both scheduled for ablation close together. So Tuesday it is! I sooooo understand how you are feeling. I too have been having doubts about my decision. Just last night I was talking with my husband about my doubts. I feel that my symptoms are so mild compared with others that I wonder if this decision is a bit of "overkill" and I'm jumping the gun. Been reading a lot and of course one reads so many different opinions and experiences that it scares the hell out of you. I'm not only scared of the actual procedure (that something will go horribly wrong), but mostly worried that it will actually make my symptoms worse or bring on new kinds of rhythm disturbances. This is my main concern. I am typically not bothered by afib or flutters during the day; they just come on in the evening after a meal and sitting down to rest. I can go a week or so without any issues and then bam! out of the blue I'll go into afib on a particular evening or I'll get a flutter and missed beat here and there. I hate it! I tend to go over my day then...what did I do to bring this on? Not enough rest? Too much sodium? Too much stress? Was it that decaf coffee this morning that I tried? Geez, it can drive you crazy. Then I read a blog about the unknown long-term effects of ablation. That really freaked me out. So I really thought about this. I think about the 3 EPs that I visited (one that is doing the ablation) and how they all said that I was a perfect candidate for ablation (my heart muscle is very strong and it's more likely that an ablation will be successful for someone who has paroxysmal afib earlier on). That afib most likely will get progressively worse. That going on more meds (I take Pradaxa blood thinner and 240 mgs of Diltiazem for rate control daily) like Flecainide can make my heart slow down too much, since it's low already, and I'll probably feel pretty tired and crappy. That I have about an 80% success rate of full control over afib, and if not, I'll have to come in for a second ablation. I think about my GP, who is also a friend of mine, who said "Jo, just go get the ablation and move on!" How my current EP said if he were me he'd get the ablation as well when I asked him what he would do if he were in my shoes. I'm not quite as young as you are...I just turned 60 but I'm a really young, active 60. So those are my choices...do the ablation and hope for the best, or stay on meds and hope to control the situation and live with the condition, which will most probably worsen. Remember that on this forum you are most likely hearing from folks who've had problems after ablation...not the success stories. I actually had a post asking if anyone had a successful ablation without complications, and got some great answers! I also don't think the recovery is going to be as difficult as you are imagining it, barring any complications of course. What I am wondering about is if once I'm fully healed, will I have more energy? Will I feel better overall? I think I feel pretty good now, but I wonder if the ablation is successful if I'll be surprised how much better I'll feel. Anyway, I hope I'm not confusing you more. I think any invasive procedure, particularly with your heart! is scary, but afib getting worse and taking powerful meds daily is scary too. I'm going for it! Please, please let us all know how it goes and how you are feeling. Wishing you the best, and keep in touch!

  • Thank you so very much for your reply, i could have written it myself, as we are in such a similar position. I will be going to Barts on Tuesday to have my ablation and yes, i will still be very scared. Thank you for your good wishes and i will keep in touch and hope to give you positive news ready for your ablation.

  • Hi Rosie

    Firstly best of luck with your ablation on Tuesday. I too will be having mine at St Barts but have no date as yet. I shall be very interested to hear how you get on.

  • Thank you for your good wishes. Who is your EP? I will post on here to keep you updated before you have yours!

  • Thanks Rosie. My EP is Dr Martin Lowe, I shall be thinking of you on Tuesday.

  • Thank you...i'm pretty scared...but i will update you. My EP is Dr Simon Sporton

  • Hi Jomama, thank you for your message and for thinking of me, for some reason i am unable to reply by private message?? I will post in detail on the forum, but it went well, i feel very fragile today, but need to wait to see if it has worked as my heart is currently doing somersaults and i have got really bad reflux (never had in my life!) . What date is your ablation?

  • Hi Rosie,

    You have had a lot of replies and much support. I will only add my 'tale of two brothers.' I was diagnosed with PAF in 2009 and a year or so later my older brother was diagnosed, although, he had probably had AF for several years prior to his diagnosis. We both lived with AF until I decided it was affecting my quality of life - every time I went to a restaurant, visited friends, went on vacation or did pretty much anything, I always worried about going out of NSR. I couldn't relax and be myself, always edgy, worried that the AF 'monster' would strike and ruin things. I finally decided I couldn't live that way any longer and had a pulmonary vein isolation (ablation). The procedure took 5 hours under general anesthesia - my first operation in my life. I had a rough time for 2 months after the procedure, was in the ER twice and now have been in NSR for 3 months. Was it worth it? Yes. Will I have another ablation if this one fails? Yes. Now, for my brother. He is about 2 years older than I am. His symptoms were not as limiting as mine, so he decided to go with blood thinners and live with it. That said, I see he is not the same person anymore. He doesn't have the same energy. In my heart, I hope he has an ablation but it is up to him. I hope my ablation turns out to be completely successful, for my own needs, and also to give him hope should he one day wake up and say to himself, "I can't live like this anymore." All the best.


  • Thank you Steven, I am glad to hear that your ablation was a success. Like your brother, I too have got used to feeling lethargic, slower and also feeling my thumping heart. I am hoping like you that i realise after my ablation how much better i feel.

  • I had mine 3 years and 3 months ago and although it took 5 months for the bumps and thumps to stop completely, they did and i am med free apart from anticoagulant. I feel much better, not breathless or tired all the time. I do walking, dancing, gardening etc. Normal.

    I was very nervous before the day. I kept telling myself i can always cancel up to the last minute. Even considered doing a runner from the waiting area!!

    I am now really p!eased i went ahead.

    So good luck 🍀

  • Thank you for your good wishes. Like you were prior to your ablation, I am extremely nervous and my daily thumps have calmed over the last few days just to confuse me further.....its like a test for whether i really need an ablation!! I am hoping that i am not kept in the waiting room for hours, so that i continue to agonise over my decision. I am very glad to hear that your ablation worked.....long may it last.

  • Having ablation next Friday, asked dr how long I have to be out of work, i'm 67 work at shoprite do a lot of lifting he replied 2 days. I don't know what to thing about that.

  • I think that is a little too optimistic! 2 weeks .......maybe......2 months to be sure if your job is physical and full time - based on how I felt. I think some doctors underestimate recovery and they certainly don't always tell you about some of the side effects such as dry cough from the TOE and that you can't drive for 7 days and need to be careful going up and down stairs etc etc.

  • Oh my, 2 days definitely does not sound like long enough. i would imagine from the posts on here that a week would be the absolute minimum.

  • Don't be anxious! I was TOTALLY back to normal two (2) days after my ablation. It would have been one day, but I did not sleep well the one night I had to stay in hospital after ablation.

    I did NOTHING different than normal, nor was told to, the 2nd day and then on right after ablation.

  • Wow that is amazing...i hope that i am similar to you in my recovery.

  • Your EP who knows most about your heart aside from you obviously thinks it is worth an ablation. You should definitely not feel like a fraud. Best wishes with the ablation and hopefully you can look forward to going about your business with none of those nasty flutters! X

  • Thank you Vony X

  • You sound so busy you should relish this time of relaxing and having other people look after you!!!!! A couple of weeks out of your year for a better outcome is worth it :)

  • You are right i am busy....who knows i may even enjoy the enforced test!

  • rest not test!!!

  • Haha... Think what you would advise your clients and do it !!

  • I am 45 and had my ablation a year ago and have never looked back. I am a nurse practitioner in a very busy gp practice. I have 2 teenage boys and a mad dog and go to thw gym 3 times a week. I too was worried that I was so well controlled on flecainide that was I messing with a good thing.

    However, a cardiology friend put it to me that did I want to worry about every beat and take drugs for the rest of my Life or have 2 weeks of rest to be af free.

    I had mine 2 weeks before Xmas which in gp land regarding my work wasn't the best timing but have never looked back. I was back to work and gym after 2 weeks ( albeit a ighter work out).

    Go for it you won't regret it at all. My only regret was I didn't do it soon enough.

  • Hi, that is so good to hear, particularly on the eve of my ablation when i need reassurance for fear!!! I am glad it was a success for you and i hope that i am back doing gentle exercise in 2 weeks.

  • I was debating it so much I almost didn't go through with it. I am so glad I did! The worst part of the recovery for me was the sore groins. Everyone heals differently though. I couldn't be happier with my results so far and it had not even been two months yet.

  • Thank you for your reply and like you i feel scared to go through with it and feel very wobbly tonight as its tomorrow. Its good to hear how positive it was for you.

  • I know it's very scary. I was a wreck before mine. But the procedure itself flew by like nothing. And the recovery was no where near as bad as I thought it would be. I really do think that most people don't tell their positive stories online because they move on from it. You will be in great hands!

  • I shouldn't even say no where near as it really wasn't bad at all. I was mainly uncomfortable sleeping with the sore groin area. My best advice is to take it very easy the month after. I like to work out, but didn't at all for a month and this month am taking it slow even though I feel up to regular workouts. Let your heart heal properly and you will have the best results. I also recommend turmeric, as it reduces inflammation in the body.

  • Yes, I think nervous wreck is a good explanation of how i feel. I am trying to stay calm as i am due at Barts at 11am today. It is so good to hear how positive your experience was and how successful. Hopefully i am pleasantly suprised like you and it is better than expected. Thanks for the turmeric tip.

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