Afib following Ablation

Had an ablation done 11 days ago. Was feeling great and no Afib up until this morning. Been in constant Afib since - circa 8 hours so far (have a Kardia device to monitor it). Really demoralising.

I understand that Afib episodes are common after ablation, however most of the 'episodes' I have read about on various blogs etc seem to last only a short time as opposed to being constant for many hours?

Has anyone here had Afib for many hours following ablation that has subsequently gone / disappeared during the 3 month blanking / recovery period?

Since I was diagnosed some 8 months (by accident) I have had 2 cardioversions; the first failed, the second in tandem with Amiodarone worked and lasted a couple of months - shortly after going back into Afib I came off the Amiodarone as the side effects of the drug were more debilitating than the Afib.

Ablation seemed to be the next logical step but success rates for persistent Afib are only 40% or so for first ablation. Should I be worried?

Thanks

Nick

25 Replies

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  • Yes it is still very early and it will be some time before one can be definitive and say yes or no about success. the good news is that having had one done you will know that it is a walk in the park and not be worried about a repeat if needed. It may be unusual in some circles for you not to be on any drugs during eh recovery period as this is normal to allow the heart to heal in peace and quiet.

    Speak to your arrhythmia nurse where the ablation was done if you are worried.

  • Thanks for your timely response. That's great to know. The only drugs I am taking are Bisoprolol, Ramipril and Rivaroxaban.

    I'm really hoping that the procedure has worked but can't help but feel down about it. Been back in Afib since about 6am. Have left a message with Dr at hospital.

  • Sounds like the recovery period is as depressing as the Afib before the ablation. I know how it hits me in the gut when I go for days without an episode and then BLAM im Afibing again. Ruins my outlook for a while. I hope to have my first ablation yet this summer. The good thing is seeing all this discussion about the recovery will help me when it happens to me (I hope). I wish you success sir.

  • Good luck with your ablation hope it all goes well.

    The procedure itself was painless, no problems at all aside from some discomfort on the first day breathing deeply - this was easily treated with painkillers and went the following day.

    Day 11 and now day 12 of recovery and I find I'm back in Afib!! Pretty depressing and it hit me hard yesterday.

    I am now realising and appreciating that its very early days in my recovery and after speaking with my EP and others on this forum it seems to be fairly common to have bouts of Afib during first few months following procedure.

    My EP has also offered me DC cardioversion if it things haven't corrected themselves within next week or so.

  • I struggled with AF very similar to yours for about 7 months post op. EP suggested a second ablation - and it worked! So hang in there, you are very early into the healing process. The EP will help if you need another ablation, and the second - or third is much easier to find the root of the problem. Good luck!

  • Thanks so much for your response.

    Been 24 hours now back in Afib so pretty demoralising given I had ablation done only 12 days ago. I'm hoping that it will resolve itself soon.

    Just need to stay positive and not let it get me down.

    How are you after your second ablation?

  • My first Afib episode following my ablation lasted more than a day. My EP told me to take Flecainide 100mg and within a few hours I had reverted back to NSR. I then kept 100mg of Flecainide as a pill in the pocket which I did use for a few more episodes until my heart had fully healed. I should stress that I had been a regular Flecainide user prior to the ablation and had no adverse side effects, so the EP was happy for me to take it. Also, there is no guarantee that the first ablation will work fully. I do still get some sporadic AF episodes 2 years after the procedure and accept that at some point a second ablation might be needed. However, as the other Bob says, this isn't uncommon and I certainly would consider it if my AF returned to any significant degreee.

  • I also am on Flecaniede, 200 mg a day. I seem to tolerate it pretty good. Im glad to hear it helps you after ablation. Puts a good light on my future after I have my first ablation. Thanks.

  • Thanks for your reply Bob, always good to hear about and learn from other people's experiences.

    I have been in Afib for over a day now. Waiting on my EP to call back. I was on Amiodarone a month or so prior to ablation so he may suggest I take that - who knows?

    Success rates for first ablation aren't great and I was made aware of that. The chances of success do increase greatly after second Op.

    Hoping that mine will resolve itself as still very early on in healing process though I couldn't help but feel gutted after it flipped back out of rhythm yesterday morning.

  • I have spoken with my EP at Harefield who tells me it's quite common to go back into Afib following an ablation.

    If it doesn't resolve itself within the next week then he recommends DC cardioversion.

  • Im surprised if you were not kept on fleccainide, or something similar, for some period after the ablation. I thought that was standard procedure now.

  • Never taken it and haven't been asked to.

  • I had AF for 6 days post ablation starting 1 hour after the procedure finished. I was not a happy bunny. It settled down over some 4- 6 months slowly diminishing to the point that I did not require/or was recommended for further ablation. Your heart has suffered trauma it has to heal. No doubt you will get a few more short bouts. It is pretty standard after the procedure. Hang in there they should diminish.

    Just take it easy and don't push yourself too hard during this early post procedure phase.

  • Thanks very much for your insight and advice. Hope for me yet. Glad it worked out for you.

    I am back at work on Monday, was told a couple of weeks off following procedure was more than enough. Cheers.

  • MMM? I was also told a couple of weeks but It took around a month before I was robust enough to walk a mile. ( Short of breath). I had no comorbidities and was fit when I went to have the procedure. We are all different I suppose .

    I did go to work after 10 days but was told 'You look awful'/ 'you came back too early'. Just the pick me up I needed.

  • I feel ok though I do suffer shortness of breath when I'm in Afib and overdo it.

    Hoping to ease myself back into work with an easy first week back!

    How are you nowadays?

  • I still have ectopics but below 1% irregularity. Af episodes - No. I see my consultant every 2 years and always carry a Pill just in case.

    That said I live life now without the nagging stress that I used to have and do what I want enjoying life to the full.

    I wish you luck in your journey. Try to remain positive during this early rehab stage. Sunshine will come.

  • Glad to hear it and glad to hear that AF is gone. Brilliant. Stories like this give me and others hope.

  • Didn't they give you medication to kick you back into NSR? I had PAF and after the ablation I used the same medication as before the ablation (Flecainide) to revert to NSR.

  • No medicine. I had DC cardioversion to kick start me at the end of the ablation procedure.

    I had already tried the strongest drugs beforehand and none of them had worked for me - just made me ill.

    Been 13 days now since procedure and I have been back in Afib for past two days.

    My EP says this is common and if it doesn't revert back in the next week I will go back in for DC Cardioversion.

  • I wonder how you are now and what happened? I had ablation last May and in June went into AF for 16 days. I had problems with Flecainide so was treated with extra bisoprolol. Suddenly it stopped. It settled into about one episode a month through to December all lasting up to 12 hours or so. Then I got two much longer sessions. One lasted two weeks then a month later 3 weeks! I know the frustration you must be feeling. I have to say that I have tried again with Flecainide with my EP'S encouragement. And it has worked. I took a low dose for a few weeks at 50 X2 per day to try and build up some tolerance. The last long bout if AF was stopped after 2 days of Flecainide at 300 mg per day in 3 doses of 100. As I say touch wood - it stopped the AF. I also upped the bisoprolol to 3.75mg. Anyway back in rhythm for now and am on the list for a second ablation. EP thinks this will fix it. I was in persistent AF for 4 months before the ablation and that's harder to treat. On Flecainide 200 a day for now and hoping it'll keep things at bay. Don't give up hope. Your heart muscle is irritated and it will take time to settle. As I say, my first bout after the ablation lasted 16 days. But it did stop! Eventually.

  • Thanks for your insight.

    Do you think it suddenly after 16 days because of the extra Bisoprolol or because your heart was beginning to scar over or both?

  • Thanks for your response.

    Sounds like you have had a tough time of it but I'm very happy to hear you are making real progress toward curing this horrible illness - brilliant.

    It is a very frustrating illness that can make you feel very up one minute and then very down the next.

    I had my first ablation done 15 days ago. Was in NSR for 10/11 days, feeling good and then boom, back in AF 24/7.

    After 2 weeks off work I find myself going back today in the same state.

    Like yourself I was in persistent AF for many months leading up to diagnosis around Sep last year. Since then I have tried everything. First DC Cardioversion failed (end Dec), second DC Cardioversion (end Jan) in tandem with Amiodarone worked all be it for a couple of months. I did not get on at all well with the Amiodarone, in fact it made me feel worse so decided to come off the drug shortly after I flipped back into AF (end Mar).

    The next logical step was an ablation. Because time is of the essence with persiste AF I decided I could not wait for NHS (6 months or so) so raised some funds and went private. Operation was on 24th April.

    Drug wise I take 2.5mg of Bisoprolol, 2.5mg Ramipril and 20mg Rivaroxaban.

    I spoke with my EP at Harefield and he has reassured me that this its quite common to go back into AF early on post op and that if it doesn't flip back to NSR this week then I can go in and have DC Cardioversion.

    Won't really know for sure if Op has worked or not for another 3 months so fingers crossed it has. If not I will go for second Op as soon as EP allows it.

  • Sounds like a good plan. You may turn a corner and feel better quite quickly. It depends if the EP managed to deliver enough wattage round your Pulmonary Veins without overheating too much. Apparently with mine there was an area that could have done with a bit more zapping. That's the bit he'll target next time.

    Thinking of you at work. Good luck!

  • Thanks Janet.

    It's a tough old slog and only those with this condition understand how tough, frustrating and demoralising this condition can be.

    Best of luck.

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