AF Association
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Recovery advice (Pulmonary Vein Ablation)

Hi, I’m a 42 year old single mum of two fantastic kids. In two weeks time I’m having pulmonary vein ablation. This will be the 2nd time - I had ablation 5years ago but the problem has returned and this time they’ve advised the procedure will be longer and more complex.

In October I experienced stroke like symptoms and in November I was rushed to hospital with SVT. I’m currently on warfarin and sotolol. I feel so tired all the time, experience chest pains on exertion and life is feeling pretty tough right now.

Luckily family are able to help look after my children (age 9 & 11) whilst I’m in hospital and for a few days afterwards but 5 days after the op it will be just me and them (we’ve escaped from domestic abuse so their dad isn’t an option for helping out).

I’m so scared in case something goes wrong and my children are getting really stressed about it all too. Home is like a ticking time bomb waiting to go off, yet I really want to make these last couple of weeks before the operation count, and it to be as funfilled and full of love as possible.

Does anyone have any advice as to support for my children through all of this?

And has anyone else had Pulmonary Vein ablation and willing to share details of how long it will take to recover (I’ve simply been told 2 weeks)?

So many questions .....

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It sounds as though you need a really good friend .This group of people is very supportive and there is avery wide range of experience here so there is sure to be someone who has gone through a similar experience.Lean on this group as you need to and I feel sure you will get good advice and support.

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Hi Sue and I am so sorry to read your past problems and fully understand your worries.

My boys are men now but I do know from chatting to them about my own ablations years ago that they understood a lot more than I gave them credit for,

Yes they will worry but it is how you behave and react which will have the most effect on them. They are old enough to do lots for themselves and give you lots of help and support in that first two weeks. Please explain to them that you will be tired and need to rest lots. and that they will need to help you a little around the house. Prepare with lots of ready meals and easily prepared food in the freezer and if necessary let the house get dirty for a day or two.

Please above all listen to your body and don't push yourself past comfortable as this can only delay your eventual recovery. I am sure it will have been explained to you that it takes up to three months or more for full recovery of the heart and that you may experience some arrhythmias in that period so don't stress if things do appear to be bouncing about. This is normal. Some of us have still found that even nine months later we were still improving!

Above all engage with your children . share your worries and explain that this is quite normal and that loads of people go through this every week . I've had three all told but been AF free for nearly ten years now and would rather have ablation than go to the dentist to be honest Always was a devout coward!

The risks are in my mind over emphasised and in these litigious days explained as much for the protection of the doctors as anything. There is probably as much chance of you having an accident on the way to hospital as there is anything going wrong there and heaven forbid i did you are in the right place anyway. Show you children how brave you are and they will be also.

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I’m not sure if this will help Sue, but very often, imagined fear is far more frightening than the reality.

If you search YouTube for British Heart Foundation - ablation, you will find a short video which was produced at St George’s Hospital of an ablation performed by Dr Mark Gallagher. I suggest you watch it first to see if it might help to put your youngsters mind at rest. It’s a risk I know, and only you can decide if would help them. We all understand your fears, but just think about what life could be like in the future.

Most people begin to return to a normal existence after 2 weeks, just try and ease into normality by avoiding any extreme exertion.

If you live within striking distance of Epsom hospital, Dr Gallagher is scheduled to speak at the next Surrey Arrythmia Support Group meeting on Wednesday 2 May.....best wishes....

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Thank you for your messages and advice. What a fantastic forum this is! I just wish I’d found it sooner.

I’m feeling a lot better having ‘outed’ my fears and the combination of practical advice and comforting words are hugely appreciated.

I’ll keep you all posted x

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Hello Sue. I don't feel anyone should protect or shield their children from the very stressful occasions in life. Children are very intuitive and even though many parents try to hide things they are invariably aware that something is not right. Children are amazingly understanding, and you are being so brave trying to hold it all together for them. They sound so loved already, so enjoy your little family before your ablation, but please don't put yourself under even more pressure that you are already.

If you need to have a serious rant, weep or moan, come on the forum. So many lovely people here give words of comfort and really good advice all the time. You are not alone, please remember that.

Keep in touch, before, during and after!

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