AF Association
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Rest Following Ablation

I see quite a few people on the forum advising extreme rest and taking it easy for a few months post-ablation. Following my ablation my EP said take it very easy in week 1, normal activity in week 2, and whatever you like in week 3. In fact his main concern was the puncture in the groin rather than the heart. He emphasised keeping fit post ablation (in order to reduce stroke risk).

So I was wondering what the basis was for the forum advice to take it easy for a few months post-ablation, and whether there was any hard evidence.

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it's anecdotal evidence I think as some have recorded here how they have overdone things and felt quite ill- I would advise going slowly and listening to your body- we are all different!!

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I guess that anyone, especially the over 60s, should not be making themselves feel ill after exercise.

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Let your own body be your guide but dont overdo it then take longer overall to recover. Best to take things easy so as not to undo progress made. Best wishes.

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Always listen to your body. Your doctors advice roughly matches what I have done. Doing too much in the days after is definitely a no no.

We are all different.

Pete

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hi fnurd, we generally suggest that you should do nothing for the first week and not much more for the second then gradually get back to normal. It's not only the risk of putting adverse strain on the heart, it's also the risk of damage to the entry point in the groin which needs time to heal.....I cannot recall anyone saying you need to take it easy for months. What is said that it can take 3 to 6 months for the scars in the heart to heal, and during that time it is possible to experience runs of AF, palputations and ectopics.....hope this helps...but doing what your body tells you is good advice.

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A recent example from Bobd says "The heart takes three to six months to fully recover as those of us who have been there will attest and trying to rush back into sport will only risk ruining all the heard work."

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I think this was in the context of wanting to resume competitive cycling. Many younger members of the forum succumb to AF because of their extreme sporting activities, marathon running, competive cycling, mountain climbing and the like, also fighter pilots apparently!

They are always keen to restart these activities asap but we try to remind them of what probably caused their AF problem in the first place and discourage them from doing too much too soon. Normal mortals like me, Bob and possibly you, generally revert to normal activies in a couple of weeks. Your EP is the expert, I suggest you follow his advice, it's entirely up to you.

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I have seen quite a lot of encouragement on the forum relating to taking it easy, and some that imply heart damage from exertion after ablation. I am 67 and medium fit, but did fine with increasing exercise from week 3 on. By 6 weeks I was happy with 10 mile hill walks and 1 mile swims (I am not a good swimmer!).

I agree that it is immensely helpful to ease people's worries about various symptoms post ablation - This certainly made me feel better. This said however, I wonder if it might be better to encourage people to be more active a few weeks post-ablation (obviously within their own limitations). You only have to look at data on exercise and obesity in most western countries to appreciate the issue. And for those of us with high stroke risk this is even more important.

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Also,docs forget to mention that surgery-even successful/simple etc uses up a lot of the body's energy. Takes time to restore the energy. I believe much longer than the obvious wound healing. So don't feel guilty for prolonged tiredness when others think you should be moving along faster. Recovery is not a train schedule.

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Couldn't agree more. I'm 71 and purposely walk around 3 miles a day and feel so much better for it, helps to keep the weight down too, it's just a case of getting the balance right so I guess we are all singing out of the same hymn book, enjoy your weekend

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I like that "singing out the same hymn book" yes very well put flapjack . I did not much of anything the first two weeks at least .Actually until I saw my doctor 30days later . My wife made sure I was a good boy LOL.

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The advice from your EP is exactly the same as mine and that's what I did with no problem. Just had to be careful with groin wound, showering etc for the first week. I didn't do any heavy work though for a few weeks.

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Yes the E P said the same to me take it easy for a week thats all, just keep a eye on puncture wound

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Yeah so for a whole week I kept bumping into things while walking around the house cause I was bent over looking at my puncture wound .

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The EP hasn't actually had an ablation himself - many people here have :-) But the general advice is take it easy and certainly don't plan anything strenuous or stressful for at least three months. If you heal faster than that then so much the better.

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Totally agree - the EP does not have to experience the various side effects of the ablation, ans so probably underplays them - I think this can apply to most surgeons. In part maybe to encourage a positive outlook in patients.

Reference to "don't plan anything strenuous or stressful for at least three months" summarises my original question. The EP advice I, Koll and Higgy received is really the opposite of the general advice given here. This is why I wondered whether there was any evidence for the "nothing strenuous" type of advice.

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Some people seem to need two or three ablations, others are right first time. Whilst not a proof nor likely to be the case in every patient, I wonder if some correlation could be found between rest and the success of the ablation or otherwise. I think half the problem is they call it a 'procedure' whereas really it's a minor operation.

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Interesting points. Clearly it would be impossible to find out why an ablation was unsuccessful in most cases. I wonder if some people with failed ablations try to (wrongly) blame if on themselves, eg Did too much, Ate too much etc.

As a medical statistician I reckon it would be difficult to set up a randomised clinical trial as people often don't do the exercise given to them. They also can be economical with the truth on exercise.

I think all surgeries (I have had all too many) tend to be called procedures - a sort of medical euphemism. Not sure ablation is that minor.

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Once you've had open heart surgery then the almost inevitable ablation afterwards counts as minor :-)

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I rested a week and then went out of town for a weekend. After that weekend I spent weeks trying to feel well enough to get off the couch. It took 5 months to feel, not just better, but quite well. Take the Dr’s advice and don’t over do. BTW, I’m off all meds now and feeling marvelous 🤗

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Hi FNURD . I had a post doctor visit 30 days after Ablation. They said at that time I had no restrictions but because I was still A-fib that I should do things in moderation .That I should listen to my body . For the first two days after I was discharged from the hospital I had specific instructions for the wound sight but that was all . They said to watch for any bleeding or redness or swelling around the sight just incase of infection but I healed up good . So After the abrasion I had a cardio version and my heart still is out of rhythm. I don't want to go through that abrasion again ,that was very hard on me . Every body is different ,every doctor is different and every hospital is different . That's my 2 cents . My opinion is just listen to what they say to you .

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