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Persistent AF after ablation , can I fly?

Hi, I'm new to this site, but intrested in everyone's different experiences with AF.

I'm a 72 year old male and have been in persistent AF for about 15 years. I had an ASD repair about 18 years ago. I've been on all the usual medications including Riveroxaban, and in Jan this year chose to see Dr Mark Gallaher at st Georges privately. Because of the ASD repair he said that he would perform the ablation himself, but recommended going on the NHS list. The waiting list was 10 months and I had the ablation with cardio version at the beginning of Nov. I was in SR for two weeks then reverted to AF and became breathless again which is very depressing.

Do you think a long walk two weeks after ablation might have triggered the AF? Also, is it possible that my condition will improve during the 3 months blanking period? I am scheduled to see Dr Gallaher in the middle of Feb.

Also, we are scheduled to fly to Vietnam at the beginning of Jan, any advice from anyone?

4 Replies

hi GGST, i am 32 f, i am sorry that you feel depresed.

i' m new on this forum too. i am also new to this ablation issue and i am also looking for some answers. my doctor told me that i will still have AF symptoms during this blank period and usually they do not consider the AF back in this time, they consider it rather a healing process when the heart is expected to gradually settle down.

i had a long travel next day after ablation by walk and then bus and then walk again to home from hospital 2 hours travel and also a very nervous state because of that unfortunate situation and it did not triggered AF but it was awfull. also after 5 days i start to travel daily 3 hours a day plus 3-6 hours at university. i experimentated strong emotions that caused me like AF simptoms but gradually my heart was settling down. when i had an ECG last month (2 months after ablation) they said it looks perfectly normal with no trace of AF on it.

i am 3 months post catheter ablation now and I still have heavy short breath. during this 3 month time I almost always had short breath on and off. all the other symptoms faded away with ups and downs ( i felt better then worse then better again) and my overall state became gradually much better after arround 2 and a half months. even the short breath faded considerably until last week when it began to get worse again. my concern is why do i still have short breath, i expected them to fade away after this 3 months. i also had today palpitation for the first time after ablation. i am also concerned that my AF is back as my blank period is gone. my follow up is only next month and a half..

maybe someone with similar experience will share with us.

all the best


Hi GGST, I'm not medically trained and do not fully understand what impact the ASD repair has on AF and ablation, so please treat my comments with caution!

I had my ablation at St George's and was given details of the Arrythmia Nurse to contact should I have any concerns. If not, I would contact the ward or Dr Gallagher's secretary rather than waiting another 3 months but, it is early days and it can take at least 3 to 6 months for the scar tissue to form which prevents the rogue electrical impulses that cause AF, so all is not lost. However, you were in persistant AF for a long time before your ablation so if you can speak to your Arrythmia Nurse, maybe asking if another cardioversion could be useful. This is just a thought, but I believe the Pill in Pocket (PiP) option does not really apply to folk with persistant AF, but now that you have had a period of sinus rhythm you could also ask if thats a possible way forward but it MUST be prescribed under medical supervision.

As far as travelling is concerned, the general view expressed on the forum is that flying does not normally make AF any worse than it otherwise might be. Provided you keep well hydrated, eat sensibly, keep off the alcohol and walk around a bit, you should have no problems. One of our esteemed volunteers has been to Vietnam too, so he may have something to add.

If you are within striking distance of Epsom General Hospital, there is a regular monthly support group that meets on the 1st Wednesday of each month, so the next meeting is Wednesday from 5 to 6pm! The Surrey Arrythmia Support Group is run by a member of this forum and if she sees your post she is likely to make contact with you. The meeting will be a Questions and Answers session on all matters AF and the panel comprises of a Lead Cardiologist, Arrythmia Nurse and a Lead NHS Pharmacist for the area and is held on the 2nd floor of the Wells Wing.

Hope this helps........


Hi. Have a 25 year history of AF/flutter. Had four ablations over the years. First one gave me nine month sinus rhythm, second one made it much worse increasing drugs from 80mg to 240 mg daily and still not controlling it. Third one they thought had worked but 36 hrs later flutter at 140 started again. Fourth one they punctured my aorta with the sheath and had emergency surgery after rescucitation and put on life support. No sinus now for six months since surgery high dose drugs not working and doing mostly between 120-145bpm. I am on rivaroxaban 15mg and have flown four times in the last three months and been ok. Usual advice is not to fly for a week or two. What rates are you doing now and are you in persistent again? There are changes up to six months post ablation so don’t do anything before then! Hope things improve. Let me know how you are. Be interested to know what rates you have been doing over the years and various drugs you have tried.

All the best


I think you need to ask your doctor if you are fit to fLy long haul. What has been said about the persistent AF now and what treatment has been suggested? Are you waiting for any tests? All may have a bearing.

Doing too much, too soon was my downfall after first ablation and I needed a second which was much more successful. But who knows, it is impossible to say if the long walks triggered it again.

If you do go I would ask for airport assistance as walking around large airports is going to tire you very quickly if you are breathless. Ensure you have good travel insurance, not too sure about the Vietnamese health service.

We went to Vietnam and loved it but it is long haul. How used to travelling and long haul are you? We stopped over in Singapore for a couple of days which broke the journey.

Stay very well hydrated, it will be hot and humid in some places and although it never bothered me it depends on the individual how you react. I mean can be 40C hot and dusty and fumes from traffic in the cities make it very uncomfortable for anyone with breathing difficulties so also depends where you go. Coast will be fine and Ha Long Bay is just stunning but quite polluted and crowded in the season.

I think the flight is of least concern.

Doing too much, too soon was my downfall after first ablation and I needed a second which was much more successful.

Best wishes CD.


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