AF Association
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Living with AF

Hi, I’m new on here. I had two ablations 16 years ago for SVT which was successful. I have now been diagnosed with AF after having frequent episodes of palpitations over the last year or so. I have been prescribed apixiban 5mg twice daily and verapamil sr as and when I have an episode which won’t stop on its own. Otherwise I have a healthy heart. I am now on the waiting list for an ablation as I can’t tolerate beta blockers . I am 55 years old and live in the uk. I’m just wondering if anyone has had an ablation for this or if not how do you cope with it?

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Hi I have had Two ablation for AF 1st one was 9 years ago success then came back last year had 2nd ablation in Aug last year taking me longer to get right. But a lot better than before procedure so good luck.

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Thank you

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Many people on this forum have had ablations for AF, I had one two years ago. At your age I would think an ablation is the best way to go, because your medication options are a bit limited and anyway do you want to be taking drugs regularly for the rest of your life? Be aware that the first one is sometimes not completely successful and requires a touch up, also many of the posters here have ongoing arrhythmia problems so you might get a negative impression, bear in mind people who have a good experience and no further episodes usually just get on with their lives and don't come back. My ablation was almost completely successful but now I am having episodes of arrhythmia again so I may need more treatment, however I am still very pleased with the outcome as I have taken no meds except anticoagulant since. There are people who for whatever reason have decided/had to live with the condition which often becomes permanent without effective treatment, some are coping well, others not. The last resort for treatment is a pacemaker with further ablation but that is usually reserved for older people if possible by effective treatment earlier. A pacemaker was one of my options because my heart is wearing out a bit but the ablation put it off.

Best wishes, hope all goes well for you.

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Thank you so much, your response was very helpful

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Hi Maura, as said above many of us have had ablations for AFib. Like you, my first was for SVT and the second for AFib. Also, like many, I needed a second ablation for my AFib (making it my third op) to mop up the remaining rogue cells.

The SVT ops are usually far more simple since they tend to just have to ablate a single extra electrical circuit in the right atrium. Usually, the ablations for AFib are are lot more complicated due to the multiple and random location of literally dozens of sites emitting rogue impulses. Also ablations for AFib need the surgeon to push through the septum into the left upper chamber of the heart. A second ‘mopping up’ is often needed.

I am now doing really well, although it has taken me 6 months to get back to normal fitness. I managed a tough, hilly 5.5 mile walk two days ago.

Like you, I couldn’t tolerate the beta blockers etc, so ablation was the only route forwatd. I am now just on Apixiban. At 69, I think I am doing OK thanks to our amazing NHS.

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Thank you so much, that’s really reassuring. Unfortunately I am now having an episode of AF , it has been going on & off since 8pm so 13 hours, I took my verapamil straight away but it hasn’t helped. I hate to say it but I think I’m going to have to go to A & E, I have never had an episode this long before and it’s scary.

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Oh no, you poor thing. I know it is scary but try to remember AFib is not life threatening. Anxiety makes it feel worse.

I am pleased that you are on Apixiban, so your stroke risk is much nearer to normal.

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AF episodes ARE scary. But go and be seen to, They will take care of you. Better safe than sorry. Also, after a while you will have enough experience, hopefully, and lessen anxiety. This willhelp you cope.

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I don’t want to be pessimistic, only realistic. Arrhythmias are not curable. Medications and ablation can improve the quality of life by reducing the frequency and the duration od the episodes. Some procedures may produce long periods of remission, but sooner or later, the arrhythmia may return in the same form or transformed. Fortunately, arrhythmias by themself, with the exception of ventricular tachycardia, are not considered life threatening, but they create the right invironment for the development of blood clots that can cause strokes.That is why anti coagulants are routinely prescribed for arrhythmias. In short, AF and other arrhythmias are currently treated with two purposes:

1- to reduce the possibility of developing a stroke.

2- to improve the quality of life by reducing as much as possible, the discomfort of having an arrhythmia.

At the present time, there is not a complete and permanent cure for arrhythmias. They come in different levels of severity, that is the reason why not two patients are treated the same or feel the same. Most medical conditions do not have a permanent cure either, like hypertension, diabetes, asthma, gout, arthritis, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, cancer, colitis, allergies, dandruff, psoriasis, epilepsy, common colds, migraines, multiple sclerosis, ALS, AIDS, congestive heart failure and many more. However, people try to go on with life, the best way they can.

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Hi Maura5 I had an ablation to help cut out cardiac meds. (2016 It's worked well and I'm glad I did it. One of the meds that played in my decision was lisinopril. Beta blockers can have a lot of unpleasant long-term side effects that, for me, caused me to be willing to do whatever was necessary to stop them. Hence my ablation (and pacemaker insertion). Prior to the decision to ablate I had a PCP (Primary Care Physician) who was very cavalier about beta-blockers. ie "they help and sometimes we have to put up with a few side effects". Boy were we on opposite pages. Unless it's life or death -No! I don't have to put up with side effects. Welcome to this community. I have learned so much from reading about others' experiences. Often more than from my docs. Keep reading and adding posts. irina1975

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I had the same thing, I had to almost refuse to leave the room unless the registrar listened to me while I was telling him that historically I cannot tolerate beta blockers!!!

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Good for you for sticking to your guns!

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