Suggested questions to ask on my first EP visit?

Hi folks,

So I've been seeing a cardiologist and had all the tests and he has now referred me to an Electrophysiologist for an possible Ablation and my appointment is tomorrow morning for the first chat.

I have paroxysmal Afib and seem to get events daily but not debilitating.

Do you have any suggested questions I should ask?

I am going to ask what happens if I don't have an ablation, will my Afib get worse if I carry on just taking beta blockers. Also questions about the ablation procedure ie where will it be done, who by, how long will the recovery be etc.

I don't want to reinvent the wheel here and I'm sure there must be a handy list of questions somewhere!

Thanks all.

Jason. 48 yr old.

7 Replies

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  • Hi Jason! Glad you are getting to see an Electrophysiologist so soon! Some questions include asking him to explain your best management options: lifestyle, medications, ablation. Make sure you ask about your stroke risk, and how to manage that. If medications are the plan, then ask about rate control vs rhythm control and which you need.

    It is important to ask what you should do when you have an episode of AFib, as in go to ER/ A&E or manage it from home, and what to do if you are on vacation if your AFib kicks up.

    Lifestyle management is KEY, but that said, it is better to ablate sooner than later before your heart is remodeled from the AFib.

    Don't leave without getting the best way to contact your EP...his/her cell phone number, email , etc so that you can be in close contact for further questions.

    Ask how many ablations are done by this EP and how many at the center where your possible ablation would be done. The person doing it and the center where it is done is a key to the success. It matters little if it is cryo or RF style ablation, but rather the expertise of the person doing it.

    If you decide on ablation, you will want clear parameters for recovery expectations such as when to start exercise, when to return to work, etc. A gentle recovery is the best thing you can do for yourself next to the healthy lifestyle.

    Wishing you good luck at your appointment!

  • Thank you so much, that's really very helpful. There's so much to think about isn't there, and trying to keep it all in your head!

    Best regards,

    Jason

  • Maybe write the questions down so you don't forget anything important? I do that and also make two copies (one for me/one for the doctor). That way s/he knows what I wanted to ask and it helps to keep the discussion on track.

  • At a talk from an EP that I attended, he said that he always makes it clear that two or more ablations may be needed. It may be worth asking your EP what sort of success rate s/he expects and whether 2 ablations are likely to be necessary.

  • It's the first time you see your EP, but not the first time your EP sees a new patient. Mine took charge and wrote down for me an explanation of AF and the treatments available. I think it's good to have a clear mind to listen and absorb. Perhaps take someone else to do this for you or let them ask your prepared questions. As CaroleF says, if you have a list of questions, have them written down. Some can perhaps be addressed later to your EP's secretary, so do get her phone or email details.

    If you are offered a place on a waiting list, if you say you'd like to think about it, you won't be on it. If you accept right away, you can be thinking about it as you make progress towards the top.

  • This has been so helpful to me - I have my first ablation on 6 July, in London and am going up with my questions, the more I read the more scared about it I am! The thing is my Afib has not been as bad lately and I wonder if I need it after all!?

  • I think root cause analysis is worthwhile. For example if you were a heavy drinker that might be the root cause and avoiding alcohol might be logical. I am an insulin dependent diabetic and am convinced that severe nocturnal hypoglycaemia was the root cause. Continuous blood glucose monitoring now allows me to reduce the risk of this so the root cause has been addressed. The ablation worked for me but healing took a full 12 months.

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