AF Association

3 months post ablation and AF free

Thought I would share my good news to balance out some of the less successful ablation stories on here. I realise I am only three months down the line, but it has been fantastic to be symptom free. I stopped taking flecainide immediately after the ablation. Saw my EP yesterday and he has told me I can also stop taking Bisoprolol. Hurrah to that!

He said that the fact I haven’t had any AF in the last three months is a very good indicator of success.

He said that he overlaps the burn cycles to avoid any gaps in the scarring being revealed once the inflammation has gone down and that this has increased success rates to 80%.

Other things that were better than expected about the process:

I didn’t really get any bruising in the groin area, just three small marks that looked like bite marks (from the catheters)

I felt absolutely fine and went back to work after one week.

I have regained so much confidence. Beforehand, I was scared to be on my own for any length of time and nervous to travel abroad alone which was very limiting from a work perspective.

Long may my luck last and to anyone out there considering an ablation, I hope you find this encouraging.

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Well that is great news and encouraging to hear. Who was the EP., where did you go, were you on the NHS and was it done under sedation? I think all these factors can influence the outcome, all other things being equal. I'm going to guess you went privately, to a London teaching hospital, and had a GA. If I am wrong that is good news for those of us in the frozen north who are apprehensive about having sedation and can't afford to go privately.

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You guessed correctly on all three counts! Privately, under GA at St Thomas’ in London. Interestingly, it took ages to arrange a private slot at St Thomas’ and speaking to my EP’s private secretary she said it’s faster to get ablated there via the NHS, so if there is a next time, I know what I will do.

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So who is this EP giant(ess) ? I am requesting an NHS out of area referral as we speak!

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Professor Mark O'Neill - he's lovely - very straight talking, experienced and clever.

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seconded - he did mine 4 weeks ago on the NHS!

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That’s like my ablation, I was back to work in no time. I was totally AF free for at least 8 years then got a bit back, but know 13 years later my ablation is still working even if not 100%.

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Wow that is amazing and very good to know!

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I too am 3 months post (second ) ablation and so far so good. I stopped taking the meds on the day of the op, now only on anticoagulant. The only thing I get now is quite a few ectopics and a strange fluttering often when I’m exerting myself it’s as if it wants to go into af but can’t. I had my op at st Thomas’s on the NHS under GA.

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That sounds very promising. May I ask how long you had to wait for your GA?

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I went for my 3 month appointment following my first ablation on 16 August and was in for second ablation on 23 August . Seemingly I had been marked down as urgent EP. Both were carried out under ga first was cryoablation second wasn’t.

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ILike Nanabrodie I also had ablation at St Thomas’s in London under GA, also on the NHS. Mine was ten months ago with no AF during that time. I’m now off the bisoprolol although still taking anticoagulant (Rivaroxaban). I’ve had some ectopics but those have reduced to almost nil after cutting down drastically on sugar. I have my life back!

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Fantastic to hear. Interesting that all three of us went to St Thomas’

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Me too. I had mine in St Thomas' in Nov 2013, NHS and GA - and so far AF free.

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That's great. Have you sworn off coffee too?

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Hi Badger 25. Yes. Now caffeine and alcohol free although I didn’t take much of either before, keeping sugar intake down, generally a more healthy diet and getting more exercise - I couldn’t do much while on bisoprolol. I’m also taking daily magnesium. If that all sounds a bit dull, I’m having so much more fun without worrying about when the next awful AF episode would strike.

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What a good news story he clearly did a good job.

Most successful ablation patients either go quiet on our forum, go away or never join it in the first place.

Pete

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Umm, not completely true!

I have had, a so far, successful NHS cryoablation 18 months ago in Brighton and am quietly try to encourage people that ablation procedures can be very positive and improve your quality of life ( for me a100%!)

I was not, however able to bounce back to work so quickly, but equally that is brilliant if you can.

There are many other lovely, helpful people I have read posts by who I have found very positive too, and encouraged me to go ahead with mine last year.

It is good to read all kinds of posts and so important that people have a chance to explore their worries and apprehensions, particularly if they are using the NHS and not in the London area.

There are other places of excellence with equally capable EPs around the country.

With good wishes

Sarah

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What I was meaning was that I do believe that there is a silent majority of paitents who have had successful ablations and for that reason never seek out such a forum as ours. In addition so come here for support when needed and it is natural that if they do have a successful procedure for them to want to just get on with their lives.

Some very kind people hang around to support others, some who stay around and others who turn up from time to time, which is the great thing about our community.

Pete

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Well said Sarah. We have all had anxious times and support groups are so important.

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and some of us come back just to see what's going on ;) 15 years AF-free now, apart from one breakthrough which converted at home with Flecainide, though I do get ectopics, sometimes very bothersome

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Interesting to see so many people taking bisoprolol and anticoagulants. I had monthly bouts of PAF after my ablation 20 months ago, but was off the anticoagulants after only two months and only take flecainide/metoprolol as pill in pocket if PAF occurs (which is now once every 6 months based on the last 12 months). The whole point of the ablation was to avoid taking drugs. Hence it's hard to understand why people whose ablations were totally successful would be left taking bisoprolol for so long after the operation?

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The areas of the heart that have been ablated need time to form scar tissue and then this blocks the rogue pulses. Or at least that's what we are told on this forum, but is that right? Why is it that EP's vary so greatly with their advice?

On the day of my third ablation and after having had the procedure I was told I could stop my Flecainide and Metoprolol right away, which I did. The very next day, before I could leave the hospital my AF was back at a really high rate making me feel extremely ill. Back on the pills I went and have been on them ever since.

Jean

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Jean,

Different EPs have different ideas. Many feel that maintaining the anti arrhythmic drugs enables the heart to heal in a more peaceful environment whilst a few want to see right away how clever they are. Mine is in the former group.

To answer MS444.

the question of anticoagulants is a complex one. If you needed them before other than merely to cover the ablation period then there is little evidence that you no longer need them post ablation. Ablation has not been proved to remove stroke risk. If on the other hand your stoke risk (CHADSVASC score) was zero before then one may consider safely stopping these drugs. There will always be exceptions of course and people with low risk will still have strokes which is why so many of us wish to continue for life.

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I would have thought that the burns stop transmission immediately - after all the "end point" of ablation is full conduction isolation of the PVs and is verified in the cath lab whilst you're on the table. Subsequently scar tissue will form, but conduction gaps can re-appear, and these are generally the cause of relapse into AF. I think when EPs say wait to see how effective the ablation is, they are not so much waiting for the scars to make conduction stop but for it not to re-start as the healing continues? Also, a heart in AF has developed very heterogeneous tissue and this slowly un-remodels and returns to more homogeneous and more evenly-conducting tissue. Until that time AF re-entrant loops can still occur. It's complex and each of us is different to maybe that explains the different explanations

After my 1st ablation I had some AFlutter after 2 or 3 days in spite of a flutter ablation as well as PVs, though this ded down, but the flutter needed re-doing a couple of months later as well as 2 PVs which started conducting again. I was nearly in permanent AF beforehand so that was a good result!

I've stayed on Flecainide which helps to suppress ectopics, but after much debate by my docs re anti-coag I have been off OAC's pretty much ever since. But then they know from my Holters that I feel and mark on the Holter every little heart hiccup, so I am not a candidate for Silent AF!

I have never been on Beta blockers due to asthma, but they are contra-indicated for vagal AF

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Interesting. You have been AF free for 15 years and you are off oral anti-coagulants. Do you have zero Chad score?

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Well I guess it might be because beta blockers can be helpful for anxiety. Anxiety makes AF worse which makes us anxious and so on ad infinitum

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Excellent, certainly an inspirational story.

I wish you a long AF free life.

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We're in the US. My wife also had a successful cryoablation three months ago and so far it's a complete success. She had a heart monitor implanted and it has shown no afib. She's off ameoderone. She also had no side effects from the ablation, healed very quickly.

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Where in the US did she have her ablation?

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Northern Virginia. Dr. David Strouse, excellent electrocardiologist. My wife had been in persistent afib for about 6 months and had failed two conversions. The ameoderine put her in paroxysmal and the ablation fixed it. For a while we thought she might need what they call a convergent procedure but she didn't.

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I am also in the US. I had a cryoablation two months ago in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am on Xarelto now but was told that I can stop that on Christmas. I will wear a heart monitor for a month in February, 4 months post surgery. It has been a rough recovery for me, including lots of migraines with aura. I am happy to hear that your wife has healed so quickly. I am hoping the worst is past me. Best of luck!

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Wonderful news

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That's great news!I am a possible candidate for ablation....this was reassuring thank you xx

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I am scheduled for Jan. 05 afib ablation, I take 50 mg Metoprolol twice a day and they just started me on the horrible drug Amiodorone 1 month ago. I have refused that drug twice, but they are insistent I take it since I have either failed the other drugs or had serious other rhytmn reactions to the drugs. Multaq is the only one I have not taken and my EP is does not work well for afib. He says I need to be on this horrible drug for 3 months following ablation🌚 I see on here that many come off their antiarryhmic drugs following ablation. Did your Doctor tell you that you would be off the drugs following a successful ablation? I have had 11 cardioversions in 3 1/2 years due to persistent afib. Your story is so encouraging, thank you. So happy for you! My story, no vacation of any distance in 3 years due to unpredictable afib.

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I was on Multaq (Dronedarone) for just over 2 years and was fine with it. I was taking it together with Diltazem and for the first 8 weeks of taking that combination I was free from AF episodes which was fantastic as I was having 4-5 episodes per week of 200+bpm! Had cryoablation at the beginning of May this year and have been AF free since then. The Dronedarone certainly worked for my AF minimising my episodes and not going above 200bpm anymore.

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