Are Ablations the Answer?

For very few people on this forum an ablation appears to have helped their AF, but is that type of attempt at a 'quick cure' (if it works for long) the answer anyway I wonder? My feelings about this procedure are becoming very confused.

I seem to be reading more and more on this forum about ablations that aren't successful and about very few that are. I have to be honest and say my feelings are mixed as to whether or not they're worth having for the majority of people (I've had three).

A healthy and more natural plant based diet, exercising the muscles in the whole of our bodies and not overdoing it, taking a magnesium supplement, ensuring you are not lacking any vitamins, avoiding stressful situations and (if needed) losing some weight appear to be the better options to try first. I've read on this site that this had helped a lot of members.

Experimenting with different eating options like going gluten, lactose or dairy free often appear to help too. I feel that going totally gluten free after last Christmas when AF struck me yet again, helped me to feel a lot better. Before that I was gluten free with lots of lapses i.e. having the odd few biscuits etc., so it didn't work.

What made me take the gluten free option was because I noticed every time I ate a piece of cake I would become aware of a very strong heartbeat that almost made my body judder and my fear of that happing really left me with no choice but to say no when offered some, that was really hard at first, but I don't miss it at all now.

As regular members of this forum may have read in a previous post of mine, I believe having a tooth that had a root infection, which had been a problem from the start of my AF, extracted cured mine. So any infection in the body could be another cause.

Should we and the medical profession be looking more at what may be causing our AF, as I've mentioned above re diet and inflammation in our bodies, rather than just opting for the surgical intervention of an ablation before trying anything else?

What are your thoughts?

Jean

134 Replies

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  • Morning Jean

    As you know I am an expert (Ha Ha) in ablation.

    I think you have a very good point as there cannot be a one size fits all solution to our problems with AF. I think the things that you suggest can only help but maybe not for all.

    The same must go for ablation. As I have said many times before, as has Bob, those that have a successful ablation don't stay around our forum for very long and just go away in contentment and get on with their lives. Statistically more than 80% and increasing of all patients are said to have a successful first ablation.

    We mostly only hear of the bad stories really as other patients seek refuge, comfort and solace in our forum.

    As you may have read my last ablation had the effect of converting my AF into SVT. This I am reliably informed ( again Ha Ha) is easier to treat with ablation than AF.

    Next Thursday my EP is to carry out an ablation to address my SVT he seems very confident. I will hopefully (GW) let you know afterwards how I get on.

    Take care

    Pete

  • I hope your ablation cures you SVTs I have the same problem after my ablation a year ago My EP says after seeing 24hr tape which showed frequent SVT but of short duration that they were nothing to worry about but they affect me everyday!Do I just have to wait till I get them for longer How long do yours last and how do they make you feel ? Thanks

  • My SVT has been permanent since the beginning of May.

    Funnily enough because I am permenently in this rhythm I have grown used to the situation and believe it or not it is easier mentally and physically to deal with than AF. The major problem is exhaustion. I start the day OK but depending on what I do I am completely exhausted very soon and have to rest

    If your rhythm is distressing you I suggest you talk again to your EP.

    See also the thread a couple of days ago between me and Nickr282, you will find what Nick had to say will be of interest.

    Pete

  • Best of luck for Thursday.......hope all goes well, John

  • Thanks John

  • I agree that those who have had successful ablation go off and live their lives and forget about forums . They are very useful for helping those with af to cope and understand it.

    My Ablation so far has been a God send but I still get updates from this site to keep up to speed with what's going on.

    I would always recommend it

  • Another positive response that's good to hear. Thank you for posting and long may your good AF free health continue.

    Jean

  • This is so true Pete,

    I was on the forum almost every day pre ablation!! Having had 5 years symptom free after my first ablation and now 12 months since my last again symptom free I only occasionally dip in and out of the forum.

    I suffered for several years trying everything known to man and his dog pre ablation...personally think ablation should be first line of attack!

    Will definitely have a third if and probably when it becomes necessary!!

    Christine

  • Being 12 years and three ablations down the line, I just wish I knew then what I know now.

    If I'm honest I'd have to say that my first two ablations made my AF worse. Third one helped though and my PAF and atrial flutter attacks weren't quite so severe. All so confusing!

    Jean

  • Jean,

    I had a successful ablation 18 months ago, although isolated PAF can still happen (twice in last 6 months). I wonder whether the quality of the ablation might also be a factor. If I need a second I will go back to the same EP because I felt confident that he did a good job the first time. I think had I had the ablation years earlier I probably would be better off, so doing it early seems wise to me.

  • Pete - very best wishes for Thursday. A confident EP is a big bonus - all fingers crossed for you.

  • Worth the risk and it has worked for me so far. Good point that when it works, you don't want to come back here and you want nothing to do with it! It's hard to hear all the sad stories and when you read about unsuccessful results, it can cause anxiety and worry that you may even be triggered by it. Blessed so far and much compassion to those who haven't been. Only a heartbeat away from being back in the same condition.

  • I thought you were back in AF a few months ago?

  • Good memory so did I but I was cleared

  • Hello,

    I had a successful ablation three years ago for both AF & A flutter. Am still taking flecainide and rivaroxiban as advised by my EP but have had no further problems. Still look at this forum occasionally but not as often as when I was having regular attacks.

    Those of us who have had successful treatment don't continue to use the forum so obviously it is skewed to reporting unsuccessful treatments.

    Wishing you all well.

    Pam

  • I am wondering how you can say your ablation was successful when you are still taking Flecainide three years after your ablation. It may just be the Flec that is keeping your AF away.

    Jean

  • Yes good point Jean. I was instructed to stop Flecainide once after one of my ablations and went into AF within 24 hours.

    Thing is that in the 16 years before I ever had an ablation I was on Flecainide all the time and still had PAF. Therefore for me to take a tablet twice a day to hopefully reduce the occurances was a price worth paying.

    I will never know how often I would have had AF if I had not taken the Flecainide.

    I now have heart block as well and I think that can be caused by years of Flecainide.

    I think it may be too late for me to ever be off the drugs but if I can reduce the symptoms then I will be able to cope more. Right now SVT is easier to deal with than AF and I have next Thursday coming up when, you never know, things might possibly be better.

    I am a realist however, and will not count my chickens too much.

    Pete

  • Pete, you are such a nice person and always ready to help others with advice. I really hope your ablation works this time.

    I'm taking 2 x 100 Flec still, but hope that after a visit from my sister and attending my cousins 50th birthday party this weekend I'll be able to start very slowly reducing the dose. Don't want to rock the boat yet as I'm having to drive to Tavistock on Dartmoor for the event!

    Whatever ailments we're handed out in our lives we just have to make the best of it.

    Jean

  • Pam,

    I had the ablation to avoid taking. If you never tried stopping the flecainide after the ablation how would you know whether you need it? I tried all kinds of dosing with flecainide the year before the ablation. None of them really worked. but I found the less flecainide I had the easier it was to prevent PAF. Hence my interest in the decision to continue to take it.

  • I had my ablation 1 year ago and not a single episode since. Given the choice I would have another one if needed. For me it works, I keep my fingers crossed that the good effect lasts a while longer.

  • So good to hear Linda, thank you for your positive response.

    Jean

  • Hi Jean,

    I think you have it right - we should be looking at other lifestyle options before considering an ablation. AF is considered to be an inflammatory condition and an ablation can provide relief from symptoms without curing the underlying cause.

    Having said that, I had a successful ablation 7 years ago, though I remain on warfarin.

    From what I've read, the success rate appears to be around 75% but only with the top EPs. As most EPs are not top, the average success rate seems to be around 50% or perhaps slightly less.

  • Very good point about the skill of the EP. I am fortunate to be living within 15 minutes of one of the UK centres of excellence. Whilst the post code lottery is not good for so many your point does emphasise the fact that this procedure is a serious undertaking and should not be taken lightly. I think it would be wrong to have such treatment available at each and every hospital.

    Pete

  • I was just going to say that, though didn't have the stats. When I had my back op my friend who worked at the hospital said she was able to say truthfully that I was in good hands but if it had been another consultant she would have had to choose her words carefully.

  • Thank you for your reply Mark. Crumbs 7 years AF free, you lucky person! An inspiring response that will give hope for those about to have an ablation.

    Jean

  • Yes, I think the quality of the EP is key. Mine was first class and my health is now much improved, no episodes AT ALL since this time last year. 😊

  • Hi Jean :-) you make some good points and ones I have considered myself.

    I understood ablation for many is only intended to be tried when medication fails to keep symptoms under control and it is done with the hope (with no certainty of success) of increasing the quality of life. If your symptoms are severe and not controlled by medication I would think having an ablation is a gamble worth taking.

    If you can tolerate medication and your symptoms are under control I would not be in any rush to have an ablation keeping it in reserve. Maybe some other treatment will be found in the meantime.

    With so many AFibbers worldwide , I would think it would be lucrative for a drug company to come up with a medication to treat AF that is less toxic and with fewer side effects than we have now.

    With regard to teeth in general, we have known for decades that poor dental hygiene can lead to bacteria which can cause inflammation and heart disease over a period of time.

    sciencedaily.com/releases/2...

    Whether one infected tooth could cause a big problem in a short time I don't know.

    As we always say, our experiences of AF are very individual, so we need to base our decisions on what treatment to have on our own experience.

    For me ablation really would be a last resort and I will try anything else first but then my symptoms are being kept in check at the moment, if they weren't I am sure I might think differently.

  • Hi Doodle, I'm glad to hear that you would try other things before having an ablation.

    Wouldn't you rather try those things now though and be able to stop taking your medication? It's odd but when we first start with AF, we know nothing at all about it and so are entirely led by the medical profession. It has taken three ablations and then being told I couldn't have anymore, to make me sit up and think 'what can I do to help myself'. If only I knew at the very start of my AF what I know now!

    Jean

  • Hi Jean :-)

    You say...quote ''Wouldn't you rather try those things now though and be able to stop taking your medication?''

    Yes and I am doing so and modifying my already excellent diet by eating less of it and doing even more exercise in the hope I will reduce my high blood pressure which is a contributory to my condition I think. Having read about the LEGACY study I intend to reduce my body weight by 10% and to maintain the weight loss in order to prevent the progression of my condition.

    I also try not to stress about things, I think a stressful past may also have contributed to my condition.

    Not sure about stopping my medication though, I have had PAF for a very long time (un diagnosed) and that may have led to irreversible changes in my body requiring medication that I would not dare to stop taking.

    With regard to gluten, I think many people have a gluten problem because they eat mass produced bread .

  • Good to hear Doodle. I'll have a look at the Legacy study. So interesting to hear everyone's thoughts.

    Jean

  • It is all very confusing when it comes to Afib! I take no meds other than the anticoagulant Xeralto. I'm not overweight and never have been except when I was on bisoprolol for 9 weeks prior to my last ablation ( I've had 3) I have low blood pressure, never smoked and only ever drank on the rare occasion. I each healthy small meals and exercise . What could I have done differently.....No clue

  • I think exactly the same as you, also I was brought up on a farm and my father grew all of our vegetables organically and we kept, chickens and ducks (to eat). Milk was also totally natural exactly as it came from the cows. My parents were the least stressed you could come across and my family life was lovely. Perhaps it was the stress of later years, my brother being killed in an accident and mother dying 5 months after being diagnosed with cancer aged 60, getting divorced.

    Jean

  • "For very few people on this forum an ablation appears to have helped their AF..."

    A lot more than a few that's for sure. The reason you hear a disproportionate number of doom-laden tales of failed ablations on this forum has been perfectly answered in the posts above. If you have no AF, you have no need for an AF discussion forum. The other issue is that it's 'ablation therapy' that increasingly cures AF, not 'an ablation'. Certainly they don't always work first time and a second or third is sometimes necessary but let's be clear.....ablation therapy doesn't simply "help AF". It sends it packing! I speak as a first time success story - two and a half years down the line and completely AF free.

    Of course it could come back, just as any disease that we suffer from in life could return. But if it does, there's only one course of action for me and I'm sure I don't have to spell it out.

  • It was the feedback from Ashburton and Nanadee on this site, that made me think, I'm not sure about ablation any more. I had three ablations all unsuccessful and was told I couldn't have any more. I'm sure if for me my first ablation had worked like yours I would not be confused as to whether they work or not. I'd be like you and saying how effective they are, but we all speak as we find.

    You still come on this site even though you have been AF free for two and a half years. I'm wondering why you do that. Not being funny, but would be interested to hear.

    Jean

  • Not answering for RobertELee but I come back because I feel I can sometimes be helpful, I have got 'attached' to some regular posters and want to find out how they are doing and because I know there is still quite a strong likelihood that I will have further arhythmia treatment in the future including a pacemaker so forewarned by others experience is forearmed!

  • That's nice of you Buffafly. I know what you mean when you say you have become attached to some regular posters. I'm the same and sometimes contact them if I haven't seen them posting just to see how they are. I meet up sometimes with a friend I've made on this site and we talk about how members are doing and what they have said. These are people we feel we know, although we don't really, but we care about them .

    Long may we see you posting on here, AF free that is.

    Jean

  • Thankyou Jean, how encouraging is that. Agree 100%.

  • Agree with RobertELee. I've been AF free since ablation six months ago although I have also addressed lifestyle issues hoping that will prevent or at least prolong any return of the AF. However I would absolutely undergo it again if needed. My consultant at St Thomas's stated an 80% success rate for my sole PAF. As suggested by others, I'm getting my life back and don't feel the need for support although I do check in to the forum from time to time. So for anyone considering ablation please don't take the number of posts describing problems as an indication of success or failure. Choose a good EP, check how many ablations they do, ask about likely success rate for you, which will depend on your own medical history, and then decide if it's for you.

  • I'm confused, how can you choose your EP? The one I was referred to by my district hospital is at Barts in London. I did my research on him after my consultation with him but when it came to the day of my ablation it was two Dr's from his 'team' that did the procedure. I had no idea beforehand who they were or what their experience in the procedure was and no time to ask, as the first I knew of them was about 10 minutes prior to the procedure itself.

  • That's the problem with going the NHS route. You will often get someone from the team who is learning rather than the man himself. The only way to ensure you do get who you want is to go privately but that will cost you unless you have coverage.

    A compromise it to see your chosen EP privately for one or two consultations, build up a relationship, then go on his NHS list. You are more likely to get him then but there's no guarantee.

  • Forgot to say, I have been af free now for one year since ablation. My wife and I have reduced gluten in our diet, so many breads add extra gluten. And try to exercise regularly, going to gym 3 days a week, and going for walks. Also less red meat. Did have corn meat last night and found heart did beat harder afterwards as you mentioned with the cake.

    I wanted to comment when I saw it was said the af free don't hang around.

  • I often read about people who have had an ablation but are taking flecanide.... why ? if the ablation has been successful i.e. stopped thé AF why the need to take this drug?

  • Presumably because they don't want to risk the AF returning and it may be in their particular case that it is likely to and they would then need to have another procedure.. in my own case I have not had an ablation on the advice of the the consultant as I am only on 100mg a day which he reckons I would probably be on even if I had a successful ablation ...

  • I wonder about that too. I guess it's because they still have the fear that it may come back.

  • In my case, my EP suggested I should remain on 2 x 50mg flecainide for 6 months after my ablation. I assumed it was to prevent the onset of AF during the so called blanking period. I tried to reduce the dose gradually, but the pills just crumbled and I had a short AF episode two days after I was told to stop but fortunately none since.......

  • Hello Jean, you make some very good points.

    I am also not convinced the 'ablaters' have chosen the better route. However, it is very difficult to present anything but a personal individual rationale on whether or not to choose an ablation, given individual circumstances, insufficient reliable stats and doubt over a 'failure' bias on contributors here.

    So here again for any interested readers is one condensed story that produced an 'Anti-Ablater', which remains Work in Progress:

    I am a 63yo male with Vagally mediated Lone PAF.

    Sought wide medical advice on ablations, success rate too low for me, possible complications too high.....given a drug (Flecainide) instead that stabilised me buying me time.... so could research heavily on all lifestyle/diet/supplements/dental health with Alternative Practitioner help, made changes only on the basis that they should be able to help not hinder (i.e. no side effects) my general wellbeing even if no benefit to AF , gave myself several years to test and implement these changes.....after 3 years hope next year to start reducing very slowly the only drug (Flec.) that I am on.

    Result to date: No ablation required yet, feel much better all round, work full-time and have an active much much better life - I regret leading an earlier life that 'asked for' AF but ironically I now owe a lot to it!

  • I love your story.

    It takes a lot to get it into our heads that we should try to make lifestyle changes. I hope you continue to be well.

    Jean

  • I can relate totally to this.I have intermittent bouts of af but have decided that ablation will be my last port of call.Over the last year I have addressed lifestyle issues including diet, giving up alcohol(ouch-painful!), increasing exercise and trying to relax more.I have lost two stones in weight and I intend to lose two more to get down to my near ideal weight.Studies in Australia with af patients have demonstrated that consistent weight loss is very beneficial in controlling af.The af may not be cured but the symptoms are so mild and the attacks so infrequent it becomes largely irrelevant.Over the last year I feel generally better and I intend to continue on my path to keep this condition at bay.I have high blood pressure and take Xarelto and Diltiazem but I seem to be tolerating these drugs pretty well.They don't effect my life so as I said ablation if needed will be considered but only as a last resort.Best wishes to all my fellow af travellers...

  • Good morning Jean, you have raised an interesting question, and to a large degree, I endorse Peter's response. An eminent cardiologist did an interesting presentation at the Surrey AF support group a while ago, which showed that AF is rare in so called "third world" countries whereas it is quite common in virtually all, for want of a better word, civilised and relatively wealthy countries. In his view, this suggested that lifestyle issues in their broadest context, were a major influence on the rapid increase in the numbers of AF sufferers. It therefore seems logical that any attempt to maintain a healthy lifestyle will reduce the risk of getting AF, but having got it, it's perhaps not so easy to determine if a subsequent change in lifestyle will have any beneficial impact, but it certainly has to be worth a try!

    It never ceases to amaze me the number of generally younger contributors who know their AF is due to excessive, endurance type sport, but cannot wait to test their abilities within days of having an ablation.

    I can only speak personally, but like many, I did not want to spend the rest of my life taking potent drugs or feeling unable to do the things I wanted too. There was no obvious reason why I had AF and I was told that I should be a candidate for a successful ablation, so for me, it was a risk well worth taking and so far, so good. As Peter rightly says, no one size fits all and we are all different and consequently, we will all have different views about what's best.....that's what makes the forum so valuable, it enables others to apply their situation to the thoughts and experiences of others and then, hopefully, make informed decisions about what might be best for them.

    As I said, an interesting question and I look forward to reading the replies....thanks, John

  • Hi John, yours is an interesting post and I'm glad to hear you are doing well after your ablation.

    I particularly like your words: no one size fits all and we are all different and consequently, we will all have different views about what's best.....that's what makes the forum so valuable, it enables others to apply their situation to the thoughts and experiences of others and then, hopefully, make informed decisions about what might be best for them.

    I'm enjoying the replies too and trying hard to keep an open mind.

    Jean

  • Hi Jean,

    I am struggling with this I have been given the option for ablation I chose to go with it. I recently had a 2nd cardioversion the 1st lasted 7 days this one 8 days. In order to have the ablation I was told I must have the cardioversion first and start taking dronedarone. It hasn't worked so now I am on 4 pills a day what next? More drugs? I agree with you I think it has to come down to a lifestyle change. I myself lost 10lb of weight I cut out all crap refined sugar, chocolate, processed foods ect.. I have felt a lot better by doing this but it hasn't cured my AF. I wonder if there actually is a cure or if we must experiment with ourselves individually as one AF is different from another. I'm sick of taking drugs and I am seriously considering using natural ways to tackle this disease and using mind over matter per say. I think our minds are very powerful should they be used correctly and with the right diet and exercise we all might stand a chance of tackling AF without the use of procedures. I am reconsidering my ablation now.

  • I certainly agree with you regarding the power of our minds. Why did I never have any abnormal heartbeats when I wore a monitor for a week! Instead I felt like I could climb mountains. Also when having an appointment with my EP my heart was always behaving perfectly.

    It does sound from the responses here that ablations can certainly help some people. I'm still confused though, each to their own ideas I guess.

    Jean

  • Yes I am seriously looking into it now, the right frame of mind works wonders on the body. Although I haven't managed to revert to NSR by myself I wouldn't say it's impossible.

  • I once wanted to go out and walk the coastal footpath with a friend so badly but a mild attack of AF started before I went. I pushed the AF to the back of my mind and continued with the walk and forgot all about it.

    Honest my mind has a lot to answer for!

    Jean

  • Yes I have done similar, I woke up feeling breathless then when focusing on that my heart started pounding then I felt dizzy and awful. So I sat down closed my eyes started breathing in and out slowly and i said to myself or my subconscious mind "I feel great I can breath I have perfect health" quite rapidly I felt better I got up and walked for at least an hour and I felt amazing!! I have done that a lot since. I do think if we focus on the worst we reap the rewards of that and vise versa.

    I do try to practice a positive mindset regularly. It sounds as though you do too.

  • Agree with you.

  • Good to look at lifestyle changes it can only help in all sorts of ways.

    But do not dismiss ablation out of hand more than 80% of first time ablation patients do not have AF again.

    I am one of the 20% so don't think I look at this with rose coloured glasses.

    Pete

  • Your post comes at just the right time for me. I am becoming increasingly concerned about the drugs I've been handed out in an effort to try and control my AF. My EP put me on Amiodarone after my heart rate went into permanent overdrive....the result of a virus. Thankfully, after 3 weeks I reverted to sinus rhythm for most of the time with a couple of daily AF episodes. After 8 months, a blood test revealed my liver had been affected. I refused any more Amiodarone. I was given Ramipril...no side affects. My Doctor changed my Warfarin to Apixaban on my cardiologist's instructions. So, my hair started falling out! Throughout all this, I felt physically well and carried on life as usual. I saw the cardiologist again. Still having AF episodes, of course, so she instructed my GP to put me on 2.5mg of Bisoprolol. To be honest, I don't know why I was given it when I was feeling so well and the Ramipril kept my blood pressure and heart rate normal. So, now I had an extra drug to cope with. One I didn't really want. I felt OK for the first two weeks but my heart rate went as low as 39/40 some days, which worried me. At my next appointment with the cardiologist, she said this was too low and I could lower the dose myself if it happened frequently. With a usual heart rate of around 54 she said I had nowhere to go from there. She put me on the waiting list for an ablation. A week later.... 'Wham!' I started to feel completely washed out so I started to cut my tablets in half. I was now on 1.25mg. It helped with the dizziness but my heart rate was all over the place as my body got used to the lower dose. Then...a few days ago I started to feel completely washed out again and I know it's the Bisoprolol that's causing it. So.....I started to research drug use and I am shocked at the amount of drugs we are all handed out and the amount of effort (not all of it good) that drug companies will go to to keep us all on our tablets. I have stopped taking the Bisoprolol as I really can't see why I need to take it. I was feeling good. My heart rate was good. My blood pressure was good. I am not in the least overweight. I eat very healthily. I try to walk at least 2 miles a day (even feeling washed out). I'm not sure whether I want an ablation...even if I get one any time soon with all the cuts in the NHS (whilst the drug companies make billions out of our, seemingly, increasing number of ailments). I trust the good folks on this site more than I do my medical team at the moment! I feel like pulling what's left of my hair out....

  • I agree totally with all that you've said.

    It's certainly scary the way we innocents (of AF) are handed out drugs which as they've been given to us by experts we believe will help us! I feel for elderly people who never question how medication is making them feel as they have so much faith in the medical profession and the 'doctor' has told them to take it. My thyroid was damaged when I took Amiodarone over several periods that probably amounted to a year or so. So now I'm reliant on another drug thyroxin to keep me well! Yes, the medication lark is enough to drive us mad!

    Jean

  • Hi Jean....I haven't been on this site for a while as things took a turn for the worse.

    However, I took the ball into my own hands and ran with it. But annoyingly I left it too long to do this and the waiting for primary care to refer and hospital waiting lists resulted in a diagnosis of heart failure with EF reading of 13%!!

    I had the first stage of the Hybrid ablation in Nov 2016 by the Cardiologist with the second stage booked for 12 weeks after. However, the waiting list delay and/or medication and/or lack of primary referral despite repeated calls and becoming housebound then bed bound, no sleep due to stop breathing, absolute exhaustion forced me in desperation to contact the cardiologist directly.

    Admitted to hospital in April with a plan for the second stage of Hybrid ablation. But EP horrified by fluid build up which had to be drained first. Reduced my body by 2 stone over 2 weeks! Love the instant weight loss but hate the reason why!

    So, yes, I do agree with you about 'us innocents' and the drugs we are prescribed almost willy-nilly, and any doubts we may put forward are brushed under carpet. Just need the professionals to listen and absorb the information put forward.

    I am in favour of the Hybrid ablation though. If you are offered it, personal experience would be to say yes, even though my AF deteriorated to HF. The EP carried out the second stage after the draining of the fluid retention and it as well as the fluid loss have made a difference, despite the HF diagnosis.

    I have read your posts before in the past. You have always been so positive, but I sense your frustration and irritation now.

    Stay strong Jean and keep up the fight for your hearts sake. On your side!

    Kaz

  • Oh Kaz, your story made me gasp with horror you poor thing! How are you keeping now?

    Thank you for your kind words and support.

    Jean

  • Sorry to cause a gasp! It has taken me this long to come through the shock, sadness and then anger at diagnosis, but am now armed with the self worth that lets me know there is treatment available, and I know I have to fight for it.

    I am now aware that if the NHS system appears to be slow in coming forward with any treatment, then I must ignore the way I have been brought up - to sit and wait my turn - and to make those calls and be persistent.

    I received a letter this morning that informs me that I am to be fitted with a biventricular defibrillator. This is mainly happening because I have been persistent and called to book the echo myself rather than wait and requested a 24 ECG monitor.

    Experience gives us insight - sometimes wish we were born with it though!

    Interesting views on GF. I have been GF for many many years - very expensive to eat way back then! But what I did notice after a couple of years was that I no longer suffered with eczema. Makes you wonder what is in our food now....

    I have joined the BHF site to try to find out other peoples HF experience - and particularly AF to HF.

    good to read your posts. take care Kaz

  • Bisoprolol is a heart rate control drug not a heart rhythm control drug.

    My EP took me off it as I have heart block (bad conductivity between atrium and ventrical) and I was down in the low 40s and even into the mid 30bpm at times.

    There are many that do not like Amiodarone, I for one. I had awful side effects and only took it for a few weeks.

    Pete

  • I couldn't agree more. I've always taken full responsibility for my health and this has been the most frustrating illness of my life.

    So far, my meditation and self healing attempts haven't worked. But I am committed to continuing with all that until I find success; I have no doubt that 'spiritual' approaches are v useful :o) I've changed my diet and have lost a dress size, still working on eliminating the stubborn midriff haha. Have given up gluten and most carbs and feel more energetic (when not in AF), which is great. No alcohol, never drank regularly anyway.

    One of the most frustrating things is that the supplements I really want to take, such as kelp for iodine and olive leaf for calming any inflammation - are all contraindicated with my Apixaban and Verapamil. I would experiment with giving up Verapamil, but am too chicken to give up the Apixaban.

    Does anyone know of any effective natural anti-inflammatories that aren't contra indicated?

    I have an appointment soon to discuss a first ablation, but am desperate to self heal, via any natural methods or lifestyle changes :o)

  • Hi Wendy - I certainly think that if lifestyle changes don't help, then the answer has to be an ablation or if the attacks are not too debilitating then continue as you are. New ideas for improving the success of ablations are coming out all the time. I don't think I could give up taking my warfarin either, but who knows what's up ahead!

    Jean

  • Hi Wendy, check out the anti-inflammatory benefits of nutmeg provided its not another contraindicator. If you do try it make sure you go for the organic whole nutmegs to grate and not the usual supermarket already ground stuff.

    I have been having it once day for a couple of months now and I think it has helped sort my gut out.

  • Thanks, are you grating whole nutmegs or using oil, and how much to use etc?

  • I'm grating whole and sorry I missed an 'if' out of my first reply as I do not know whether it is a contraindicator, please check before any use.

  • Like others have said, I think the ablation is part of the jigsaw, health style , diet and mindset are some of the other pieces.

  • The ablation jigsaw piece is one I'd rather have done without though! Just wish I'd tried a healthy lifestyle and diet right at the start of my AF. If that hadn't worked I'd probably be less confused about whether ablations are a good idea or not.

    Jean

  • You've been reading my thoughts Jean - the points you make have been on my mind since I joined the forum.

    I think ablation is not THE answer because there isn't one, in such a capricious condition as heart arrhythmia. Drugs and lifestyle changes probably cannot stand alone either . . . and as Flapjack said this forum has helped many of us to put together a method of dealing with our conditions and the symptoms we have. Practically everything I know about AF was learned here from the experiences of others. The fact that successful ablatees don't post much isn't really important as I suspect that success stories may not have the same impact in our thought processes than the overall picture coming from the experiences of fellow members.

    My personal view is that for me ablation for AF would be the last resort but I am fortunate (so far) that Flecainide is working and that lifestyle changes have massively improved how I cope with the odd wobbles.

    Again, a personal opinion - the risk factors of drugs versus ablation seem to favour drugs in the shorter term. I looked at the statistics for the possibility of having AF in the UK (3%) and the possibility of having life-changing complications after ablation (5%) and that is where the expertise of the EP is vital in helping an individual to make a decision.

    I'm so pleased for you that your tooth seems to have been the culprit in triggering your awful arrhythmias. Inflammation is one of the things which have been called 'the company which AF keeps' and long may you be free of the misery.

  • Hi Finvola, yes I agree we have often have the same thoughts. It was just a question that popped into my head this morning when I was replying to someone who had had a failed ablation. I wanted to put it out to the forum and I've had some interesting replies. Some positive ones for ablation too which it's good to hear.

    Thank you for your kind words.

    Jean

  • You wrote, "Practically everything I know about AF was learned here from the experiences of others." That has been, and continues to be, my own experience exactly! Many many sincere thanks to all who contribute to this forum!

  • Yes, thank you to everyone from me too.

  • Hi I think you have a point about lifestyle choices but the best thing I've ever done is have an ablation. I have been AF free for nearly 3 years after a successful cryoablation and my quality of life has improved significantly. As has been said before Those who have had a successful ablation often don't sign in to this forum anymore so I think people who are contemplating an ablation only read the negatives.

  • It's good to hear that your ablation was a success Sharon. One thing my post has generated is some positive reports on the success of ablations, which will be inspiring for those who have one booked. Oh to be 3 years free of AF, that must be wonderful and long may it continue.

    Best wishes.

    Jean

  • I was interested to read your blog. Having suffered from AF for two years now I was due to have an ablation in January this year. I agreed to have it done as when my medication was changed to Bisoprolol and Flecainide I felt really ill - thought i was going to die - and ended up in hospital. However when I went for my pre-admission assessment I was told that as I wanted the procedure under sedation it would be the freezing method rather than the burning and that 30-40% of people had to have it done more than once but if I needed a second ablation it would have to be done under GA as they only do the freezing method once and then you have to have the burning method. I left not feeling comfortable about having the ablation as I was lucky to wake up from the GA when I last had an operation and so decided not to go head.

    I went back to taking Sotalol and although I get attacks every 2-3 weeks lasting 24-36 hours before I revert to NSR I have decided to keep taking the medication.

    I cannot pinpoint anything that triggers my AF. Am eating a more plant based diet but will try gluten free to see if that helps. Every time I get a repeat prescription for my medication it is a different brand and I do wonder if this has any effect as I am feeling very tired with the ones I am taking now - yet another brand - and the repeat prescription I have just collected is yet another one still!

  • Your point about different brands of the same drug is a valid one, Clarrie. I found one brand of Flecainide seemed better than others and asked my pharmacist if my prescription could be kept to that one brand. She agreed and said that many people find differences in brands, caused probably by additives.

  • Thanks Finvola. Will speak to pharmacist and see if I can be kept on one brand..

  • I find the same with different brands of Flecainide, Finvola, now my GP has written the make of Flecainide on my prescription.

  • Can I ask what brand of Flecainde you take

  • Actavis.

  • How awful for you having AF attacks so frequently, I used to be the same so know just how draining that can be.

    Yes, do try the gluten free diet but be aware you really do have to stick to it and no sneaky biscuits if someone offers you one. I try to avoid anything that contains additives too. Maltodextrin and artificial sweeteners appear to be ones that I can't tolerate.

    I used to take Sotalol and they did nothing to help my AF and it doesn't sound as though they are doing much for you. Flecainide was my wonder drug, but we are all sensitive to different drugs I guess. I hope you can find a solution.

    Jean

  • Thanks Jean. Good job I am not much of a biscuit eater although I do like bread so will have to get gluten free now! Flecainide didn't suit me at all - heart was up and down like a yo-yo so went back on Sotalol as cardiologist said only other drug to try was Amadrione (don't think I've spelt it right) and he advised against it because of the the side effects. Seeing cardiologist next Wednesday so will see what he says then.

    Clarrie

  • Hi Claire

    Flecainide didn't work for me at all, tried it again recently as a Pill in the Pocket and it made things worse. I am back on Propafenone, I had this before. It suits me well I never know I'm taking it although I did still have break through AF before. It is the same class of anti-arrhythmic as Flecainide and although still a potent drug does not have the list of nasty side effects of Amiodarone. You could ask your cardiologist about it. There are a few people on the forum have or do use it, not to say it's right for you but you could ask the question of your cardiologist.

    Jo

  • Thanks Jo. Will ask cardiologist on Wednesday when I see him.

  • There are over a million people in the UK with AF and there are around eight thousand people on this site so maybe we are just seeing the worst case scenarios. I assume there are a lots of people out there that are dealing with AF and there lies the problem it is being treated as a mere inconvenience we are told AF is not life threating (stroke heart failure all life threating) but life changing, It is far more than that it has turned my life it upside down and I want my life back. There are no long term stats on how ablation will affect people in twenty years and the long term use of drugs for AF is well documented, and yes we can help ourselves with lifestyle changes but the major research should now be in gene therapy I have children and grandchildren and I hope this dam thing will not be passed on to them.I want to see a cure for AF not a treatment and I hope it comes sooner rather than later.

  • I agree totally with all you have said souljacs. Yes, the gene research is a good idea I think a lot of research regarding that is going into all sorts of health conditions right now. I read something relating to it in the paper the other day, but can't think what it was right now.

    Jean

  • Hi Jean, excellent post. I have joined a research programme into the hereditary factor of AF as I really do feel there may be a link as far as genetics are concerned. both Grandmother and Mother had AF my mum for seven years in all until heart failure set in and then she died due to a cardiac arrest so I have seen what this so called life changer is capable of and to be honest the treatments apart from ablation are much the same as they were fifteen years ago the progress of finding new treatments for this awful condition really needs to be speeded up.

  • Dear JJ50,

    I agree. I have been all over the USA to the very best electrophysiologists. The consensus was and is, ablations work in a very few people very well....initially. The rates of success diminish as the years go by and at five years out, the stated success rate is 30 percent free of afib and meds. These outcomes are based on very dubious statistics and wonder if they are accurate. Sadly, it seems Af always comes back. It will likely come back in an easier to live with form I.e., fewer, milder episodes but it always comes back.

    I have had one ablation. It held for about six months and then trickled back. Still on all the meds, still have episodes. doubt I would do another unless the episodes became unendurable. My recovery was long and difficult, the procedure itself ditto.

    Ablations are aggressively pushed by even the best centers of excellence who have invested untold millions in these labs that must be recouped. However, they also are honest in telling patients that more than one may be needed.

    New medicines are in the works but the process is grindingly slow. Lifestyle modification , at the very least, gives one hope that somehow one may control the episodes--and I think that is the best we can hope for.

    Best wishes to all. CCW

  • Thank you for your reply. I do wonder what these electrophysiologists would do if an easy solution to AF were to be discovered. They have trained extensively in performing ablations and like you say a lot has been spent on equipment. My EP has no interest in seeing me, or anyone else unless we're considering an ablation. I'm in the UK, I guess as your insurance in the USA pays for your consultations you may get to have more appointments with your EP than we do here?

    I think you are wise not to consider another ablation right now if you feel able to cope without one. Recovery from my first two ablations was long and difficult as yours was, but after my third I felt so much better immediately.

    Wishing you well.

    Jean

  • Thank you JJ--think our needs are propelling an enormous cash driven industry. I remain skeptical as the effectiveness of ablations is very questionable. Meds too. Slippery slope of more toxicity Around stronger and stronger meds. Think the unknowns are greater than the actual protocol of dealing with AF.

    Two great bloggers are Dr John Mandrola--don't have web address handy but Google. Also The Skeptical Cardiologist.

    Yes--insurance does cover in the US

    Still searching,

    CCW

  • Will look up your recommendations. Thank you.

    Jean

  • Hi jeanjeannie and congratulations on asking such an important question, of course for me never having had an ablation, nor probably ever will as statistically for me as long term persistent the success rates are far too small.

    But I am surprised that you say your EP is only interested in treating you with ablations, that's not been my experience at Harefield, if anything they have dissauded me from ablation and to stay on drug therapy.

    I am also nervous when people quote statistics, as very often unless they really understand the underlying numbers then we get the apples compared to stainless steel washers, not even the proverbial pears. I am also not personally buying into the Big Pharma conspiracy theories, although there is without doubt some awful practices out there, I don't believe one or even ten swallows make that particular summer, there really are too many checks and balances.

    But I think overall I agree with you, diet and lifestyle should always try to be the first resort for any individual (If only I could take my own advice) and if drugs work for you it's then that awful balance between your ablation success rate declining with time versus potentially your AF increasing or getting worse.

    Not an easy decision I would say.

    Be well

    Ian

  • Well three ablations qualifies you to challenge standard thinking. As a so far none ablation case I am far less able to say much. Hitherto my super duper top notch EP has held off an ablation for me even given my tsunami episodes which whack me full throttle.

    Never say never is the order of the day for me and working in partnership with my professor we make decisions ongoing. Lifestyle esp stress in my case is a huge factor so prof got me referred to a clinical psychologist specialising in helping with chronic and acute health conditions to try to assist me in reducing stress.

    I am very lucky to have such a forward thinker in my corner, bless him.

    Be well all whichever path is right for you. X

  • Thank you for your kind words Meadfoot. I'm glad to hear that you have such a helpful EP and that he hasn't raced you towards having an ablation, he sounds quite unique.

    Best wishes

    Jean

  • I think the replies have been so interesting. What a good question to ask. Thank you jeanjeanie. Meadfoot can I ask who your EP is? I have been looking for support from a Clinical Pscholgist?

    Best wishes to all as we seek to be Af free!

  • Jean

    All of what you suggest is as important as having the ablation in the first place. Many people are not aware of the health problems resulting from inflammation. As my naturopath told me years ago, 'inflammation of one kind or another will eventually kill you.' Wheat and sugar are incredible culprits in causing inflammation; the dental issue you have described does not surprise me in the least as an AF catalyst. Sadly, we live in a society where most people would rather pop a pill than make the lifestyle changes you espouse and I fear, many with AF would rather have an ablation that get healthier with what amounts to very basic changes in what they eat. Your blog is bang on. Thanks for raising the question.

    Steven

  • Thank you Steven, I agree totally with all that you have said.

    Jean

  • Really interesting thread jeanjeannie50! I haven't had an ablation (so can't answer on that), but even if I had and considered myself 'cured' I would never stop checking the daily posts. Why? Because I vividly remember the wilderness out there when I was first diagnosed and trying to find out what AF was and why I had developed it. I spent some considerable time in bereavement of my old drug-free life, not to mention feeling I had been passed a death sentence. There are some truly awful depressing sites out there, then I found this one and some semblance of calm was restored. Most importantly, I have been able to keep abreast of newer treatments and research and know the information is there at the touch of a key.

    So perhaps many of the success stories no longer post, but keep visiting and reading in the event that their AF returns.

  • I agree with you Irene, this site is wonderfully supportive of anyone with AF and we learn so much from it. I must admit I haven't looked at any of the other heart forums, just found this one many years ago and have benefitted from posting my AF experiences, reading and sometimes answering the posts here. It's a real mine of information which is given by people who truly understand how AF affects our lives.

    Wishing you well.

    Jean

  • I consider mine successful. First and only ablation in November 2013 and no AF since the blanking period. I am med free apart from anticoagulant.

  • Good to hear that your one and only ablation was successful Lallym. It's great to have some positive feedback on the procedure. Thank you.

  • Hi Jean, lots of food for thought from all the people who've answered your post so I don't really have much to add apart from saying that I try to read this forum on a daily basis as I think there's always something new to find out about and different opinions help to challenge or confirm one's existing thoughts.

    I've had four ablations and am now at last for the time being am AF-free. Would I have another, yes, I think so, if it was offered, but am hopeful that the more AF is researched the more likely some other method of treating it will be found. I'm still hoping that something like Dr McCoy's tricorder will be available in years to come!

  • You've made me laugh mrsg46, I hope you were talking about Star Trek (cant spell it). It's good to hear that you are now AF free after 4 ablations, long may that continue. Yes, if I went back to having really bad AF attacks again I think I would want to risk another ablation too. I've been told I can't have any more, but would seek a second opinion.

    The responses on here have been amazing, it's been like a full time job answering everyone. I think that if someone responds to your post on this forum it's only good manners to say a few words in answer.

    Best wishes.

    Jean

  • Good job you were not getting ready to drive to Dartmoor for a 50th birthday party, otherwise you would have never found the time to read all the replies to your popular post.

    Pete

  • If only, mrsg!! I loved the scene where McCoy healed a lady waiting on a trolley as he passed her in the corridor of an earthly hospital. One can dream ...........

  • Unconditionally yes. The matrix of stress, comorbidities, general health, eating habits, alcohol use and exercise combined with lifestyle all gives us a factor in AF. My EP said I had an 85% chance of a success with a single Ablation. 8 months in so far he was right. Even surviving a pulmonary embolism that nearly took my life did not deter the even beating of my heart. I expect that to continue as long as I am stable and healthy. *My mantra is "age 62 going on 40" as I still exercise around my worsening spondylolisthesis back issue 8 months post Ablation on NO heart MEDS of any kind, I am finally back to my pre-ablation resting pulse rate!

    Gluten is a fashionable issue these days that does bother a portion of the population but the majority of us it is needed. Avoiding wheat, barley and rye in the belief that a gluten-free diet brings health benefits may do more harm than good, according to a team of US nutrition and medicine experts if you are not the 1% of the population with coeliac disease.

  • Fantastic responses to your first posting, Jean. My son urged me to look at Dr Ted Naiman whose research has led him to a fabulous healthy lifestyle through changing his diet to one that is being looked at and agreed with by many professionals...rather than the usual differing opinions that have abounded as to what we should be eating to stay healthy. I'm thinking that the gluten free way that some on this site are choosing and finding helpful is close to Dr Ted's findings as gluten is found in so many foods that aren't good for us. If you want to take a look at the site I was urged to see, it's...

    .

    This diet is helping my husband to lose weight quickly whilst also making him feel great and I have a feeling that his next blood test will show his sugar levels have reverted to normal. It may even help with my AF? Here's hoping...

  • Interesting and put in a way that's easy to understand, thank you for posting.

    Jean

  • just wanted to get you up to 90......Bob's age!!!

  • What an interesting thread - one of the best, Jean. Great reading.

  • I have been back in A&E due to another AFib episode (while having a relaxing pedicure before my holiday!). I had every blood test, urine test, chest X-Ray and all was fine! Why am I having episodes SINCE my catheter ablation on 6 July, and I feel worse, get dizzy and faint and start shaking all over (like shock). The ambulance turned up at the salon and insisted I be taken to the hospital. I am so tired of this and of trying to see my Cardiologist, I've been trying since soon after the ablation - to no avail! The A&E doctor said he wished I could have stayed overnight, so I saw a cardiologist in the morning, but as I was not at 'death's door' - I was not allowed to stay. I had and episode last Saturday and a few before, and am wondering why on earth I had to suffer the very uncomfortable catheter ablation, that took 3 long hours!!!

    By the way, I eat well (love salads and fish, hardly any meat), am slim (size 10, height 5ft 7in), exercise etc etc. I drink on occasion, don't smoke (never have).

    How can we find out the ROOT cause of this very upsetting, debilitating and inconvenient heart problem???!!!

  • That's certainly the answer, finding out the root cause of AF and preventing it happening.

    Jean

  • Hi, fifitb , have any of your doctors explained to you that following catheter ablation it can take 3-6 months for the scar tissue to form and for the final verdict to be made on success or not. Regarding the dizzy spells I agree they really suck I had a lot of them following my second ablation and pacemaker implant (don't ask) its called Syncope and is not at all unknown to AF sufferers, mine eventually went away but I was unable to drive for several months. My local hospital did not know what to do with me either, it was a friend who works in coronary care who put me right on what was going on. If your ablation took 3 hours you could be in luck , my first three were all 6+ hours and it looks as though I may have to try another one as the AF is sneaking back in after 18 months although I suspect mine will be an ablate and upgrade pacemaker, but as I am reliant on the pacemaker anyway what can I lose.

  • Hi Jean,

    In my view the answer is no, l wish l tried different routes first. After 3 ablations l feel no better, and have additional problems caused by the procedures.

    Best Wishes

    Barry

  • Hi Barry - You feel the same as me then, but I wasn't on this site when I had my first ablation and knew very little about them. I trusted my EP who suggested the procedure. I knew there was a risk with it but was told the odds were more of it being successful than not.

    Jean

  • Hi Jean,

    Similar situation to me.

    I should have done a lot more research prior to my ablations.

    I have since found out that a well known EP in America is doing a lot less ablations due to the fact that strong evidence is coming through that AF is caused by the Western Unhealthy Lifestyle. He is sending his patients away to improve their lifestyles, lose weight, stop smoking, alcohol intake etc. He is finding that due to this practise the patients are returning with no AF, obviously there are exceptions to this rule, he will then carry out a Ablation.

    And l have also read that AF can be caused by other symptoms in the body (in your case a tooth problem). get rid of the symptom and your AF can go away.

    Finally there is a famous American EP (Chinese speaking) who had visited a remote village in China where people live a simple lifestyle, plant food etc, where there is no AF at all, he then back to the same remote village a few years later and found suddenly people were getting AF, he then found that the western food/drinks were starting to open near the village, and this was the cause.

    Best Wishes

    Barry

  • Interesting post, Barry.

    Jean

  • Hi Jean,

    I had AF for 18months before I finally capitulated and had an ablation. My AF got gradually worse whatever I ate and when it got to about one cardioversion a month I finally decided I didn't have a choice.

    I think the secret to an ablation is who does it. Look for the surgeon with the best possible track record and references. It took about 8 months for the full effect of the ablation to kick in but now I am very close to where I was before I had AF. I haven't had an episode for 8 months or so now. I can exercise at a strenuous level, cycle for 2-3 hours at a stretch (but feel incredibly tired afterwards). I could live a sedentary life with no problems at all. The only thing I cannot do is drink a whole glass of wine or eat ginger.

    Which brings me to food. There is no doubt in my mind that you can exacerbate AF with what you eat, however you can't get rid of AF through diet (my opinion having tried).

    If your AF is not that bad i.e. a periodic episode I am not sure an ablation is worth it because I believe the techniques will get better. If however you get to the point I did and it really affects your life then look for a good surgeon. AF indicates a flaw in the heart that isn't going away.

    all the best, Rob

  • Thanks Jean for posting this question it immediately drew me to your post and the replies. I am feeling a little nervous about my ablation in a few weeks, however booking in the procedure has also given me a great impetus (With an 8 week lead time) to lose a little weight, change up my diet a little and reduce alcohol and caffeine. I Wanted to go into this procedure as healthy as I can to give me the best chance of success. I have 3 weeks to go, but Honestly, I haven't felt better (and happier) in a long time and I agree with you that diet is probably a very big factor for us.

  • You have adopted a very good approach.

    Preparing for an ablation mentality is not easy. But it is important to keep positive.

    Preparing for an ablation physically is easier and can make the whole experience go more smoothly.

    I hope it goes well for you.

    Pete

  • Obviously the failures will get more coverage but my ablation gave me my life back

  • Jean,

    I was wondering what stage of AF you were at when you had your first ablation because I understand that ablation is much more successful if carried out before AF is persistent or symptomatic?

    I have a healthy heart and clean arteries and very occasion AF and LBBB with a touch of Atrial flutter on extreme exertion. I have lost weight and swim 2 kilometres a week. I have been a vegetarian for the last 25 years and also practice transcendental medication and I have only had one episode of AF in last 18 months, where's I was having episodes every 4 months. I have just been told to stop my low dose beta blocker as my heart rate is dropping too low.

    I believe the best approach is to amend lifestyle and live in the healthiest style possible. If after these changes AF is still problematical then there is nothing to lose and much to gain by having an ablation. Of course, some people prefer to live in permanent AF and that is their choice.

    I hope your condition can be improved and wish you well for the future!

    Isobel

  • You are so right in all that you have done to improve your lifestyle Isobel.

    I was first diagnosed with AF in 2005, but believe I had probably had it a long time before then. As an adult I could never understand when out doing cross country running why I was always last and so tired, the same when out with a cycling group. I'd also get periods of extreme tiredness for no reason when all I could do was sit. My expression was, 'I felt weak and weary' and I remember my son in law mimicking me on lots of occasions! No one understands what it's like unless you experience AF and then there are so many different levels of how severe the attacks can be. As I've said before, AF in the mind of those that have it is only as bad as the worst episode they have experienced.

    When I had my first ablation, which if I recall correctly was in 2012. I was having quite extreme attacks which often laid me low for many days afterwards, but in between I felt quite normal.

    Jean

  • It's really difficult to say because everyone is so different and everyone's AF will be unique to them given body make up diet etc.

    Prior to my ablation on 6th July this year I had a plant based diet having gone Vegan in November the previous year. Prior to that I had been vegetarian for over 35 years. I have never smoked, am not overweight, regularly excercise and drink very rarely. All this a conscious effort to protect my heart as my Dad died from a heart attack aged 41. Despite all this AF still occurred and quickly progressed.

    So far my ablation seems to have helped ....I've had 2 episodes only since......a massive increase in ectopics but EP not bothered so neither am I.

    I am going to try magnesium supplements; I do believe that stress is a massive factor and I have to learn ways to manage this.....I am not good at recognising when I am stressed as I carry it in my body but don't feel it....if that makes sense (I only know that from my physio) however since my ablation I am feeling the stress in my chest as a tight feeling.....usually related to work situations. Because of the nature of my work I'm not back full time yet.......but nearly there at 5 hours per day, lost of bit of my confidence in stressful circumstances but I am sure I'll get there.

    I haven't seen my EP post ablation yet, hoping in can come off Bisoprolol ....I believe it makes me breathless although I saw the GP specialist for heart conditions yesterday who said he though not and check for asthma......has anyone else been told this?

    As always this site is so informative .... and I have learnt so much and in dark days you have all helped, as someone always knows just what to say.

    Best wishes all x

  • I have deliberately not commented so far as I know most people are well aware of my own views as a nine year AF free person.

    All I can say is that I firmly believe that my ablation saved my life. Had I still been in AF when my prostate cancer was diagnosed , the surgeon would not have wanted to undertake the four and a half hour operation which he did. This would not have revealed the extent of the problem (it had already escaped the prostate bed) and any radio therapy would have missed some of it allowing it to spread, most probably terminally. The subsequent three years of hormone and 33 sessions of radio therapy caught that issue and now six years later my six monthly blood tests show no sign of a return.

    My old aunt used to say "you don't know what's hanging till it drops" and never more true in my case. Take whatever opportunity for advancement or cure as you never know when it may help a different issue.

    Usual caveat, personal opinion only.

  • Yes agree with you 🌸

    But ablation make big money not plants

    After looking at what cause afib when all else fails

    Then maybe but only a maybe

    J am not convinced sorry to say that they help

    just make more iinflammation in the heart and inflammtion is a trigger for a fib🌼

  • I had SVT 's 2 yrs ago..went to the ER 4 times in 7 days thinking I was having a heart attack and I was on vacation in Colorado at the time. When I got home and saw a cardiologist he sent me to the EP and I had an Ablation..3 hrs of torture and it didn't work instead I went into AFib during the Ablation..scared the heck out of me. The EP said I could do another Ablation and I told him NO WAY..... I ended up going on Flecainide 50 twice a day and Metoprolol 1/2 of a 25 twice a day..I have never had a problem since with the meds.

  • Really interesting read, thanks Jean for posting this. I am lucky that my drug Rx more or less has my AF under control (unless I celebrate too strongly with Prosecco and other Italian wines - seem to be less affected by others, especially French, weird eh?)

    Can I just ask what 'GF' is that was mentioned up the page as opposed to AF?

    Many Thanks

  • Probably gluten free.

  • Good food for thought...

  • My husband's ablation was extremely successful the first time (cyroablation for both afib and atrial flutter at the same time). This was done after he had a stroke and only then discovered that he had afib. The ablation enabled him to go off medicines (such as flecainide) an he only takes Eliquis - as an insurance policy against having another stroke. This medicine has been easy for him to tolerate. He had his stroke in 2014, ablation surgery in 2015 and continues to do well. He was 85 yesterday. We only follow this blog occasionally, as others have mentioned for those who have had successful ablations.

  • That's so good to hear another positive result Cheryl, long may your husband continue to be well.

    Jean

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