Advice about ablation

Good morning, and I'm sorry to keep asking so many questions! I've had a couple of sleepless nights worrying about my follow up cardioligist appointment on Monday. As well as tackling the Bisoprol side effects, I need to decide whether or not to ask for a referral to an EP. I've gone through all the potential issues with my friends and the response has been quite negative. However, none of them have AF so can't fully understand how worried I am about the future progression. My cardiologist has said if he had AF, he wouldn't want an ablation as all surgery carries risks. What I don't want is for my currently mild PAF to get worse and then be harder to treat. Also, I'm 60 and perhaps I should go for it now, as there is bound to be a long wait anyway?

Perhaps I have read too many articles!

Has anyone come across a good EP in the South of England?

35 Replies

  • A cardiologist who wouldn't want an ablation does not have an open mind.

    EPs are the experts on the heart's electrics, and although (as is said) if you visit a carpet salesman, he will try to sell you a carpet, if you don't visit an EP you are not fully investigating your situation.

    My EP (who's in Blackpool) had a 6 month waiting list last time I saw him.

    The only regret I have about going down the ablation route is that so much time elapsed before I first saw my EP. I think I'd be better off if I had seen him sooner and I wish I had known at the time that having a private appointment with an EP can speed everything up,

  • I had to see the cardiologist privately as my GP put everything down to stress. He also had a 6 month waiting list but I was able to see him within a week. It was well worth it. It may be worth me seeing an EP privately to discuss my options. Thank you for your advice.

  • It can be money very well spent. Do keep us in touch with how things go.

  • Thanks, I will.

  • I have had 3 ablations. I am pleased to report that my AF appears to have been cured. I am so grateful for all the help I have been given. I couldn't stand the AF it made me so anxious so from my point of view as I couldn't cope with the problem I opted for the ablations. I put my trust in the team and they were wonderful. I know some people have lived very well with AF and are on warfarin permanently. We are all different and therefore ablation won't be suitable for everyone. If my AF came back in the future I would certainly opt for another one. It does take a while to get over the operation but from my experience it has all been worth it

    All the best


  • Thank you, and I'm glad you are now AF free.

  • Pam, everything we do in life carries risks. Risk is actually good for you. Do nothing and you turn into a vegetable. Risk management is what matters and deciding what is good and bad in a situation and how it will effect one long term.

    AF is almost always a progressive condition and can often become permanent if left untreated. That said ALL treatment for AF is about improving quality of life (QOL) as there is no cast iron cure. Ablation does stand the best chance of removing symptoms and therefore improving QOL but it must be understood that it may need more than one procedure to do that. I too had three but the last nine years AF free shows the efficacy of the procedure .

    Yes there are risks involved but as I said there are risks in doing nothing. These days the world has become so litigious that doctors have to tell you every possible risk no matter how rare so that you can't sue them if anything went wrong.. Yes if you read all the posts on here you will find a few from people for whom ablation has not been a happy experience but do remember that the many successful ablatees didn't come back because they no longer need our support. Only a few of us remain because we want to help others.

    A small minded doctor who rejects the idea of ablation has no idea how debilitating the condition can be for so many people not just physically but mentally as well and obviously has had an empathy bypass. Move on, see an EP and forget naysayers and false prophets who should know better.


  • Thanks Bob,

    I'm up for a bit of risk! Since my diagnosis, I've been surrounded by people telling me to give up exercise, etc, as they are worried I'll have a cardiac arrest. I don't want to be thought of as ill. My cardiologist has been very supportive and has said he will refer me to an EP should I wish. I think it will be well worth the investment as I'm worried the window of opportunity for the best outcome could close at any time!

    Thank you!

  • Why do they think you will have a cardiac arrest because you have AF and you are exercising?

  • They are family and friends with good intentions who have not looked into what AF is. I need my gym to lose weight!

  • "They are family and friends with good intentions who have not looked into what AF is." This says it all!

    I "ditto" Bob's excellent advice written above. You need to see and EP cardiologist vs good intentions from anyone else! Afib is very complex so advice from highly trained/educated docs will get you pointed in the right direction. :-)

  • AF is a condition, not an illness.

  • I got VT in 2010. I'm told, VT is a lot like AF. I've had 5 ablations for VT. It appears, the 5th ablation helped because I've now had one small tachycardia attack within the past 3 months. My first ablation was at UCLA. While being wheeled into the operating room at UCLA, one of the doctors on the team told me, "Sir, if you came here looking for a cure forget it, there is no cure for tachycardia." I'm a skydiver and I believe in taking a risk. Therefore, I contacted a cardiologist in South Korea, at Severance Hospital. The doctor at Severance Hospital was a lot like me, he didn't believe in giving up. The doctor at Severance Hospital done 3 more ablations. Counting the 2 ablations at UCLA, the additional 3 ablations at Severance Hospital came to 5 ablations of the heart. It's been 3 months since the 5th ablation and I am doing well. had a little shortness of breath, but I'm working on that problem by walking 2 miles a day. My advice to anyone seeking ablation is to first, talk to a couple of good Cardiologist and make your decision based on doctor's advice. I have a pacemaker and defib. I got disgusted with the defib shocking me so much, so I made the decision to have the cardiologist at Severance Hospital in Seoul, Korea, do the ablations. The cardiologist at Severance Hospital is one of the best Cardiologist on Earth. The cardiologist at Severance Hospital in Seoul, Korea, done the ablations with me awake on the operating table. He said if he were to put me to sleep during the procedure, it would be difficult to find the source of the VT. I'm very satisfied with the cardiologist at Severance Hospital in Seoul, Korea.

  • That is exactly what the cardiologist I first saw said and exactly why you need to see an EP. Ablation is not surgery, it is a procedure and yes there are risks but so are there risks with AF as it can be progressive.

    EPs are the experts - why would you not see an EP? Whether or not you decide to have an ablation, it will always be your choice,

    An EP is the best person to advise you on treatment for Arrythmia.

  • Thank you. I was badly let down by my GP surgery who refused to take my symptoms seriously so I'd had PAF for a year before I saw a cardiologist. I'm so grateful for all the advice and information I receive on this forum. EP it is, then 😊

  • Why don't you book a private consultation with an EP. Go see what he / she says and make your own mind up.

    In my limited experience of just me, it wasn't until I saw my EP and the way he talked about and dealt with my AF, that I realised that everyone else was basically a waste of their time and mine. I do love the poster produced by someone on here recently that says why go to the plumber with an electrical problem?

    Apart from £250'ish, it can't do any harm and will add to your knowledge and experience if nothing else.


  • Thanks Koll. I think it would be good to get a different point of view on my AF. Will ask for a referral to an EP when I see the cardiologist on Monday. Money well spent, I think.


  • Not sure where you are living but as you asked for a recommendation my ablation was done by Dr David Jones at Harefield. I didn't want an ablation but (long story) had to have one and I'm delighted with the result. Good luck!

    I should say that some cardiologists seem to have 'pet' EPs so you may want to go with that.

  • Thank you, and great to hear that you are delighted with the result. I think we are covered by either Southampton or the Royal Brompton in London.

  • I was done at RBHT by Jonathan Clague but there are other EPs there including Dr Sabine Ernst who does a lot of research work on AF.

  • Jonathan Clague has a quarterly clinic in Basingstoke. I thought I recognised the name.

  • Great bloke. If you see him say Bob says hello. He will know who you mean.

  • Dr Jack McReady , (EP), Brighton saved me.

  • Thank you. Always good to have a recommendation.

  • I was really intolerant to medication and my EP recommend ablation which I had yesterday and I already feel good My EP described it as a procedure rather than full blown surgery. My rationale is if it was a broken bone you would get it set so why use drugs to mask a fault and cause other issus rather than fix it.

  • Thank you, and really pleased you are feeling well. I felt really fit before I was officially diagnosed. The meds are not good!X

  • Research your EP carefully. I changed from my initial one as I had optedfor the one with the first appointment. As most of them do private work check out their personal statement on BUPA or Avivas websites before you decide and a private consultation is a good idea if it's an option for you. Good luck x

  • Thank you. A private consultation will save me a huge wait so is definitely an option. I do have a short list! x

  • Quality of Life decides for you, whether to go for and ablation or not.

    Drugs not stabilising you (i.e. still AF) or with nasty side effects means you will probably go for an ablation. Certainly, a private appointment with an EP.

    Drugs stabilise you with no major side effects plus in my case my cardiologist (with personal experience of AF) agreeing best to postpone an ablation plus seeing a rushed EP giving me no confidence, you will probably visit all other means first (e.g. lifestyle changes & supplements) before having an ablation.

    Good luck whichever way it goes.

  • Thank you.

  • What is an EP? I had my ablation in January this year but so far no contact re. a follow-up appointment.

  • I suggest you get in touch with the department where it was done. It is possible for your file to be put in the wrong place! Otherwise you could be waiting for . . !

  • The ep I met is called Marholm Finlay he works for Barts NHS Trust. I took the timw to research Mr Finlay and he seems to be all over the Internet including LinkedIn so easy enough to find. He seems to have done extensive work in this area but having said that, when I went for the ablation in the 3/4/17 having been told he was performing the ep Mr Finlay was nowhere to be seen. Check him out he's mainly based at St Barts. Hope that helps.

  • Thank you. Good to have recommendations.

  • Actually that was meant to be Malcolm Finlay. Very knowledgeable and experienced

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