Hi Guys,

Need your help. I may have suffered vagal nerve damage during my Cryoablation at St Barts in Jun 16. My EP cannot ruled it out.

I continue to suffer from the following symptoms a year on:

Bloating and Burping

Persistent abdominal band-like pain

Pulsating Stomach

Increased pain to stomach when l have ectopics (atrial).

The EP's Procedure Report reads "After first freeze in LSPV dramatic vagal response with asystole needing pacing which triggered AF".

I have since seen a Gastroenterologist where l had a CT scan and a G1 Endoscopy which revealed no problems. Also l saw a Consultant in Anaesthesia and Pain Medince who is of a similar opinion as me, in that the vagal nerve could have inadvertently been damaged during the procedure. He states in his letter to me that nerves to take a long time to settle down and recover and this could take up to three years.

My question is, has anybody suffered vagal nerve damage as this is quite rare l believe, or has any information which may be of help to me.

Any help will be much appreciated

Kind Regards


15 Replies

  • As you say Barry, very rare I think.

  • Hi Barry,

    I'm gonna be a bit of the devils advocate !

    So why blame the ablation.

    Are you 100% sure you never had a dysfunctional vagal nerve - BEFORE the ablation. that the ablation simply aggravated something that was always there.

    Consider this ....... that the vagal nerve doesn't always cause the symptoms you describe. It can niggle away contributing to/causing flutter or fibrillation without those symptoms.

    That said, those symptoms are almost identical to mine when I connected vagal nerve /food/ and AF onset.

    I consulted a Nutritionist, she developed a new food intake plan and slowly over a few years my AF improved and I have now had no AF event for a little over 2 years. job done.

    good luck,


  • Hi John,

    Many thanks for taking the time to reply. I have also seen a Nutritionist, who confirm that l had a good diet, she just made a few small changes, which made difference to my symptoms.

    If l remember you made huge changes to your diet which have been of great benefit to you.

    In reflection l wish l had gone down the same route as you, rather than having 3 ablations in all to try and cure flutter/AF.

    Kind Regards


  • Yes Barry, right in the early days ablation was kicked around but I rejected it. Nothing specific just a feeling inside that this wasn't for me.

    By way of consolation, from when I started the Nutritionists recommendations to my last AF event was around 4 years. Two years since then AF free. So, don't dispair, one way or another AF has no easy or quick fix.

    Interestingly, I sometimes inadvertently eat something I shouldn't. I feel crap - but my BP increases dramatically, like from its normal 125/70 ( HR 65) up to around 160/90, HR stays the same. Takes around 5 days to return to normal.

    Good luck, stay with the diet if you can.


  • Hi John,

    Many thanks for your reply, l think l need to keep some sort of food diary, see if anything makes my pain worse. I have a belt-like pain around the stomach area 24/7, however this pain can increase in certain different areas daily, one morning it can be in the lumber regions, the next day above my hips, and then sometimes in the midriff or the increased pain can be on one side of the body only

    Hence l think it is the vagal nerve as l believe the vagal nerve is connected to the major organs of the body.



  • Barry, if you haven't already done so may I suggest you 'Google' vagal nerve diagrams or search for schematics. Some of these diagrams give a great insight as to where this nerve goes. From memory it's also known as the wandering nerve, ' cos that's just what it does.


  • I like your result. I have had two ablations and am 1 week post 2nd ablation for aflutter. I am motivated to do all I can to help and have eliminated known triggers including coffee, wine, chocolate and reduced sugar intake. I also went on a serious diet and am back down to normal weight. Would you share the key elements in your diet you feel did the most good. I have low heart rate due to right bundle branch block and cant tolerate beta blockers which makes me feel half alive. thanks

  • Hi Drsrir,

    I'm shortly about to leave home for a drive to Birmingham ( UK). For now at least by way of a reply if you click on my name, carneuny, it should take you through to my details and from there if you click on my posts you should end up with a range of posts on this subject, particularly diet. Meanwhile, when I can I'll put together a summary.


  • Probiotics should help the bloating (eg from 'Higher Nature'), ginger may help to release the wind, peppermint is good for digestion generally except when 'heartburn' is involved. Apple cider vinegar may help (1 tbsp to a glass of water - but try 1 tsp at first and slowly increase, per day, or use it in cooking). You could then try digestive enzymes (eg from 'Nature's Best'), taking one with each meal that might cause a problem.

    I suggest you introduce supplements at the lowest dose one at at time, adding a new one every few days, then you know which one it probably is if you get a symptom you are not happy with, and can leave it out for a while, and come back and retry it later.

    Patrick Holford has written a book about digestion which you might find helpful. At least this way you can eliminate any symptoms which are not AF and ablation related, and it should all help your general state of health and sense of well-being at the same time.

  • Hi Polski

    Many thanks for replying and your suggestions.

    This is an avenue l could explore.

    Kind Regards


  • Barry,

    I had a cryoablation on June 15th 2017. I was discharged June 16th only to return to the ER as soon as I was home. I had a fever of 103, abdominal pain, distended belly, trouble breathing. A CT scan found air in my stomach and liver. Since following with a gastro dr I have had several tests. I am now being told I have gastroparesis, and a 70% blocked Celiac artery. I am frustrated as tom how the air got into my stomach and liver. My drs are on high alert and wont be honest with me because of liability reasons.


  • Dear Diane,

    I'm sorry to hear this news, l take it that are in America?

    Kind Regards


  • I had my ablation on Monday morning and have had a bloated stomach since yesterday. Am now fearing nerve damage.

  • Hi Marjolaine,

    No need to worry, a lot of people have stomach issues post ablation for a few months, that is why some EPs (not all) put their patients on PPIs.

    Best Wishes


  • I have had two rf ablations for afib and aflutter and my ep doc had me on proton pump inhibitor (ppi) both times to take care of possible esophagus reaction to the heat from from the atrium ablations ( esophagus lies right above the atria). Good luck.

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