Could anyone tell me if they have had major... - AF Association

AF Association

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Could anyone tell me if they have had major surgery and also suffer from AF?


My paroxysmal AF has recently become very frequent. I am only on Apixaban as I have had two ablations, the second which reduced my AF to maybe a couple of episodes in a year. However, since December I have had very stressful events in my life and it has increased massively. I was going to ask for a referral to my electrophysiologist but another major problem has emerged from my diverticulitis and overtaken that. I had an abscess and have developed a fistula. I had the same problem seven years ago and thought it would be sorted forever as I had major surgery then but didn't have AF at that point. I will need major abdominal surgery again and am worried sick about that and suffering from AF too. Any experiences of surgery from AF sufferers would be helpful.Thank you in advance and sorry for the rant!


16 Replies

I think you need to discuss this problem with your medical team Judie as it really depends on the anaesthetist if he is prepared to go ahead should you be in AF at the time. When I had my prostatectomy I was three years post ablation and no AF so it wasn't an issue. As you are still on anticoagulants you will need to stop them a few days before obviously under the direction of the team and probably for a few days afterwards as well.

Do speak to your doctor(s) about this problem.

blackcat123 in reply to BobD

Thank you for your reply BobD, I will indeed be having further talks with my surgeon and her team. I was very interested to hear of anyone else who had already been through this rather nightmarish scenario! It seems so unfair that everything has to go wrong with our bodies at the same time...Oh to be young and healthy again! Not that I appreciated it then of course.

BobDVolunteer in reply to blackcat123

A friend of mine said recently that if he had realised old age was so s--t he would have taken more chances when he was younger. I did and I still have old age!

blackcat123 in reply to BobD


I had abdo surgery a few weeks ago, no hassle with af. Aneathstatist was very much in control of my cardiac and general well being whilst under general anaesthetic. I too was concerned but needn't have been.

I was given a thorough cardiac check up at my pre op too. As my EP said, they operate on people every day with af in one form or another what is a big deal to us is just the day job for the medics. Guess that's true although I accept it doesn't feel like that to us! Best wishes.

blackcat123 in reply to meadfoot

Thank you meadfoot. I have to say that your reply is very encouraging. I will, of course, be discussing this with the appropriate medics too, but I feel somewhat happier now. Maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel after all!

I had a spinal fusion op (6 hrs) before which I had a cardiac checkup and lung function test. I seldom had bouts of AF but the cardiologist said I was bound to go into AF during or after but didn't expect it to be a problem and it wasn't. My friend who had surgery for diverticulitis with an abscess was OK with AF as well. One last thought, I have had flare ups of diverticulitis and it affects my AF, I had one two days ago and woke up with AF 😬, gutted twice over......

blackcat123 in reply to Buffafly

Thank you so much Buffafly! Feeling much more positive after your reply. I have also had 4 lots of strong antibiotics for the diverticular abscess so possibly not helping the AF either. On top of that my 96 year old mum has just fallen and shattered her hip. She has dementia and due to her age and fraility they won't operate. Bed rest and pain relief only. It never rains but it pours.

Buffafly in reply to blackcat123


I was diagnosed with a bowel tumour 6 weeks after my AF was diagnosed. I was given pretty contradictory information about it, but it wasn't a problem in the end.

I've had a couple surgeries while in AF and on Coumadin. Neither was a major operation (belly fixed & balls eh, that's a vasectomy and hernia). The first time the Dr had me "bridge" - quit using coumadin 2 days ahead and inject myself a short acting anti-coag. The second surgery, he assessed my risk and just had me stop ac 2 days ahead a pick-up the day after. My AF is well controlled with just a low dose Blood Pressure Med.

No problems for me. I had my left kidney removed and the only problem was post operative hypoxia (not getting enough oxygen) but that was due to them giving me an epidural for the post op pain relief, despite me telling the anaesthetists it would drop my BP too low. He didn’t listen. I wasn’t on anticoagulants at the time.

I really advise you to see your EP and start antiarrythmics. Surgery can be quite stressful on the body, causing it to release many inflammatory hormones that can exacerbate AF. Having antiarrythmics on board is like having a door monitor-they decide what comes in and out. Remember, every episode of AF can cause damage and remodeling. So give your heart some love and something to help regulate it and keep it calm.

Good Luck!!!

I had my gallbladder removed last week under GA .

During the pre op they did an ECG, I said to the nurse it was good to see that I was in NSR. She remarked that it was surprising how many people she found to be in AF that had no idea. They still operate on people in AF every day.

I was told that there was a risk that I might go in to AF during or even following the op, but I expected this anyway. The anestatist was made aware of my condition.

When I came round I was pleased to be in NSR , and there were no issues when I was under GA .

I'm still ok now 😁

Thank you all for your replies. All very reassuring really and with sensible advice too. I'm going to try and get my Dr. to contact the electrophysiologist who did my ablation and make him aware of my whole situation. They may well do this before any actual surgery anyway but I don't think it will hurt to be ahead of the game!

I have had a lot of surgery and usually I would go into theatre with raging afib and wakeup without it.

Sometimes it didn't come back for 4 months so I hope you have a similar experience

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