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Ablation recovery time & Flec

Hi All - I’m new here but have been reading for a time and learning from many of you - thank you very much. I’ve had inactive afib for 8 years that began progressing during December (with combination of starting on Wellbutrin and The Thomas Fire here in SoCal). Since then have had more frequent afib, about once per week. Started Flecainide first of March a50mg twice daily and take another 50mg with episode. Having episode this morning after I took a “swig” of husband’s bourbon last night! You’d think I’d know better than to test the limits!!! I think my afib is likely related to alcohol use as it’s the primary trigger. Also on Carvedilol & Xarelto.

My episodes: HR runs 130-150 for a bit, then slows to 90’s and continues to slow a bit but remains in arrhythmia. Resting HR is 45 and feel real sluggish & weak-brained since started Flec.

Saw EP this week who told me it was fine to plan trip to Costa Rica 2 weeks after ablation if I have it done early summer. From what I’ve read that sounds like a silly idea...so checking in with the veterans here for your thoughts.

I’m becoming more pro ablation the longer I feel so burdened on Flec.

Thanks much, Susan Marie

10 Replies

Hello Susan Marie,

I’m guessing, but assume you are in the USA but of course, Costa Rica could be a long flight. The general advice we give in the forum is to do nothing for the first week and not much more for the second, then gradually ease into your normal pattern of activity but avoiding anything over strenuous for as long as possible. We are all different, but very many people recover well after an ablation and wonder what all the fuss is about, others can struggle a bit for the the first few weeks. Some say a cryoablation is easier to recover from than a RF ablation and others who have had both may advise you. If you do decide to go, make sure you give yourself plenty of time at the airport to avoid any unnecessary stress. Absolutely do not carry anything other than your purse and avoid stairs as the entry point in your groin(s) could still be vulnerable. Keep well hydrated throughout the flight for two reasons, helps the constitution and regular trips to the restroom will be good for you. Alcohol is a definite NO NO and eat modestly. It would also be a good idea to checkout the arrangements for getting from the plane to the terminal on arrival.

Make yourself aware of medical centres close to where you are staying, the fact that your EP has given his blessing should mean that travel insurance is safe, but would be a good idea to make sure you are properly covered.

Whether to go or not has to be your decision so it will be interesting to hear what others have to say......if you decide to go, have a wonderful time and please send us a post(card)!


Thanks Flapjack. This morning's episode lifted in time for me to get to grandson's b-day party - now 9! Susan Marie

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I must preface my contribution by stating the obvious. We are all different and react to ablations, indeed any medical procedure in different ways. There will be people on this forum for whom their ablation was a breeze and they are back working or exercising or holidaying within a couple of weeks. There will be others, like me, who were knocked out by the procedure, and take several months to feel"ok" again. I wouldn't dream of asking how old you are but, generally speaking, the older you are the longer the recovery period. I suppose my view is that if you don't have to travel two weeks after an ablation, then don't take the risk that you may well feel tired, have some side effects etc. If it was an immovable thing, then the good advice from Flapjack definitely applies. I had an overseas trip booked 10 days after my ablation, and my EP said I would be fine to go. I wasn't, and the cancellation at such a late stage was both disappointing and expensive! Also, I'm not sure I would want the planning for an ablation and a holiday at more or less the same time. I think the first two weeks, indeed the first month, are for taking it easy, so the less stress the better! Oh, and despite my view on the recovery time after an ablation, I have no regrets about having mine. My only words of caution are not to expect miracles. Ablations don't always work first time out. In my case it was partially successful, but I still feel a whole lot better than I did before the procedure. Indeed, I wouldn't be overly concerned about having another one, if my doctors suggested it.

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I was back to exercising a week after ablation, and flew to Denver and was at altitude for a couple days 3 weeks after.

That said, personally I would not have left the US that soon, and canceled a trip to Mexico scheduled for about 6 weeks after the procedure. In the US, know I can be back to my EP, or at a very good hospital, in short period of time. Not sure about Costa Rica, probably depends where you are....some years ago a friend was in a car accident there and said it took several hours for an ambulance to reach them at their location.

Everyone is different, but even though my procedure went very well, I did have some follow on impacts such as shortness of breath from leaning over and stand back up quickly...some strange sensations in upper chest and neck, etc. Ended up going back in for a CAT scan a couple weeks after procedure...which was fine...but it is easy to become apprehensive about not feeling "totally back to normal" for a while.





I had a cryoablation for pulmonary vein isolation on the 29th January. No issues no problems , felt good , I was asymptomatic in AF anyway but the HR was normal after ablation. 9 days later I developed atrial flutter which I NEVER had previously , it was in the right atria and I was suddenly extremely breathless and tired and very uncomfortable and far from asymptomatic. The flecainide I was taking actually makes flutter worse.

I do not know how common this is after ablation, and may be unique, but unexpected things can happen.

Having said, that all I did after diagnosis of the flutter was lie in bed for 2.5 weeks waiting for another ablation procedure so maybe i could have done that on a sunbed!

Really though the issue would be dealing with a new situation whilst away from home and EP.

I think I have read that costa Rica has a pretty good hospital system, and that many North Americans go there for operations so maybe this would not be an issue for you if you have the insurance cover.

Good luck for the ablation anyway whatever you decide.


KMRobbo makes a very good point...this is jumping topics somewhat, but my EP also pointed out that flecainide can make flutter worse. Apparently it is pretty common that one will have both Afib and Flutter, but of course only one or the other will present at a certain point in time.

I was put on a heart monitor for 2 weeks which disclosed I did actually have both - even though a couple of the events I didn't notice (may have been asleep at the time).

Thus, when they did the ablation they did both atria, to hopefully knock out both Afib and Flutter at same time. If you haven't done so already, you may want to ask your EP about wearing a monitor for a couple weeks, to confirm what needs to be treated.

It is a little bit of a hassle, but they now have higher tech versions of the Holter Monitor which tapes on and stays in place for up to 2 weeks. Carry a cell phone type device that continuously transmits data to a cloud database, and if anything is detected that is severely out of bounds, it texts the data to the EP.


Thanks - interesting.



Best wishes Everyone has mentioned some great advice for you, you should go back to your cardiologist if the arrhythmia persists and troubles you too much to get an adjustment on your meds, and as others have stated we are all different. With regard to Flecanide, it can work wonderfully for some and be a rough experience for others so its an individual thing really. Please don't stop taking any of your meds without discussing it with your medical team and seek help if your unsure. I was on Flecanide for 4 years post ablation and have recently come off it after starting anti- depressants because of multiple medical issues that I couldn't deal with any longer. I still have AF runs but they are short and I can ignore them now with the anti depressant taking the edge of my nerves so to speak. I had an arrhythmia post ablation because my ablation didn't quite work at first due to post procedure complications that I don't want to go into here. It wasn't life threatening just a uncommon hiccup that took awhile to settle down. I don't think I would have survived if I hadn't had the ablation for AF and would go back again if I had too. Four years down the track and having taken Flecanide all that time, 50 mg 2 times daily , my cardiologist discussed the atrial fib and atrial flutter situation, because I had said to him my heart beat irregularity had changed and felt softer and quicker than before but irregular and made me feel quite sick and faintish, he suggested withdrawing the drug gradually over many months very slowly because if it was flutter then flecanide can be a problem, (he didn't enlighten me any further than that). It took me nearly 6 months to come of flecanide very slowly and I keep it as a pill in the pocket with instructions from my cardiologist if I should go back into AF. He also warned me it could get a bit rough some days while my heart readjusted to no medication again which yes it was a bit off at times . I would go lie down and rest, it soon settled. So far so good thanks to a lot of support from people on here and my medical team too. I avoid trigger foods such as fast food, most snack chips or anything with MSG in it. I also have found that I need to stay hydrated and rest when my body says its had enough. I don't drink alcohol or smoke. Recently a friend offered me a wine when out socially, I thought I will just have a few sips, it tasted lovely but next day I had more heart troubles than enough so I'm sure your right , it can be a trigger for some people. Your trip away might come off ok after the ablation but when you book it ask about if you can postpone it if you have too, just in case. My life turned topsy tervy for 4 years, I did try going away but it was a real effort at the time. So my thought are make sure you have an out or can change your holiday dates if you need too. That way you will not loose any money and won't feel pressure if things don't go to plan... we are all different some people fly through ablations where as others take time to recover. I was one of the latter.


Thanks to all for your generous and helpful responses. Susan Marie


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