Cardioversion Failure: Hi. I had my... - AF Association

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Cardioversion Failure

Caprice123 profile image

Hi. I had my cardioversion to correct AF not even a week ago. Three days later after a successful cardioversion, the AF returned. I could cry with disappointment, but that would only make matters worse. Such a shame, as I had just started to feel better with my old energy creeping back. Now, I'm more breathless than ever, tired all the time with no energy. I don't know how to help myself. I've lost over 2 stone in weight and continue to lose weight and eat healthy in a bid to correct the AF. No caffeine, no stress but still my heart will not behave itself. Im about to embark on a little exercise each day, I have one of those sit down pedal machines, as I'm elderly and my lower back muscles have a genetic disease. Has anyone any suggestions that will correct my AF? Thank you.

15 Replies

Hi Caprice, sorry to hear you're cardioversion success has come to an end. I know just how disappointing that is.

Did you do anything strenuous at all that may have made your heart go back into AF? I've had many cardioversions, but two days after my last one in 2016 I walked up a steep hill while on a tour of a public garden and it came back immediately. Some people believe that sitting still and resting can return their hearts to normal rhythm, others claim exercise does it for them. For me personally the more I did (and that was a struggle) the more chance I had of going back into sinus mode.

I do wonder whether all the things that can normally put you into AF can take you out of it. I once went to a Christmas party with my heart in AF and had a few alcoholic drinks (wouldn't dare do that when in sinus rhythm). A friend said to me you're looking really well and I answered, you know what I feel well! I took my pulse and it was back in normal rhythm.

How long had your heart been out of rhythm before your cardioversion?

Wishing you well.


Hi Jean. Thanks for the reply. I've had AF for about 7 months now. The NHS stopped one of my thyroid medications, they said it was expensive and not effective, that's when my AF started. How wrong are they. Anyhow, because I felt better in sinus rhythm, I started to be a little more active and when I awoke next day, the AF was pummelling my chest. My pulse rate was a constant 140bpm compared with a 50/60bpm the previous day. I'm due to see a cardiologist on Friday. Yesterday, I thought my AF had gone, but my blood pressure monitor said I still had AF. I just don't know how to help myself.

Yes, I can guess which thyroid drug that was. Can you buy the drug privately? The worlds gone mad!!!


Hidden profile image

Your position sounds very much like mine. In May this year I was told they would not carry out any more Cardioversions as I was only staying in NSR for days. For me Ablation was not an option and my AF did not respond to drug therapy.

I went down the Pace and Ablate route with a CRT-D pacemaker in. I'm still in the process of getting wired up and I still have all the symptoms of AF but I am hopeful for the future.

There is a lot of info on here about Pace and Ablate. That really helped me make a decision.

Usual caveats apply.



Caprice123 profile image
Caprice123 in reply to Hidden

Hi Ogilvie. Thanks for your reply. The cardiologist has told me that ablation is not an option for me. I did speak to a chap who had had a pacemaker put in. He told me cardioversion and ablation did not work for him. Before he had the pacemaker put in, he was breathless and tired, like me, but since having the pacemaker, he felt well. More energy and not breathless. I'll research Pace and Ablate. Thank you for the advice. I'll see what the cardio has to say on Friday and come back with his suggestions.

BobD profile image

Cardioversion is never a cure for AF. Merely stops the symptoms, but it does show that you can be returned to NSR so ablation may well be appropriate.

Caprice123 profile image
Caprice123 in reply to BobD

Thanks Bob. I agree, cardioversion just treats the symptoms not the cause. The cardio has told my doctor he will not be offering me ablation. Maybe I'm too old for that treatment? Having had three days of feeling so much better when the AF disappeared, I just want to be back in normal rhythm.

CV is only a stopgap for most of us winding our way thru the black hole of PAF.

Trying to find rhyme and reason for the AF has proved fruitless for most of us and Ablation of some kind has brought welcome relief for many, including me, and not much for others who undergo it several times. I was extremely lucky with a good EP who got the right spot in my heart during the ablation. Best regards on your path that we are all on here.

Hi Rider. I don't think I will be offered ablation though I'm seeing a different cardiologist on Friday, so he might offer it to me. The other cardiologist told my doctor he wouldn't offer me ablation. I don't know why, maybe I'm too old. I'm happy you had a competent EP who seems to have cured your AF. I hope someone can help me. I'm weary of feeling tired and breathless all the time. I've no quality of life.

Did you have an echocardiogram prior to the cardioversion ?

I have started another thread on Cardioversion and Left/Right atrium size.

Where can I find the thread on cardiiversion

Hi Seasider. Yes, I had an echocardiogram before and after the cardioversion. Before, I was in AF. After, I was in normal rhythm with an ectopic beat, but was told not to worry about the beat thing. I'll look at your thread. Thanks.

I've had two cardioversions in the past 6 weeks, the first one I remained in NSR for 3 days, the second one for one week. I had a third ablation the end of May. My EP started me on a rate control and a rhythm control drug about 4 weeks ago, about 2 weeks before my second cardioversion. I believe the drugs are finally starting to work as I went back into NSR on my own on Tuesday evening. Now 3 days later I'm trying not to worry about when I'll be back in AF. Anyway, my EP's nurse said the majority of people having a cardioversion for AF only stay in normal rhythm about 3 months without the help of drugs. My sister stayed in normal rhythm for 7 years following her first cardioversion, and now she's been in normal rhythm about 10 months following her second cardioversion. I think the secret to a successful CV is to do one early. Mine were done after I had been in AF for about 2 months. My sisters after less than one week both times.

Caprice123 profile image
Caprice123 in reply to Amcech

Hi Amcech. I agree. The sooner you have the cardioversion after going into AF, the more chance of staying in NSR for a long period. Unfortunately, I had to wait 7 months before I was treated. I've asked my doctor to upgrade my drugs, but he refuses saying he will leave the decision to the cardiologist. Not very helpful. I find I have to fight to get help. Though I'm elderly, I look very well for my age, hence the problem of getting treatment. It's only after wearing a 24 hr monitor, where I had an average 150bpm with AF, that the cardio took me seriously.

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