Very negative cardiologist. : Hi! Well, I've... - AF Association

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Very negative cardiologist.

doramar38 profile image

Hi! Well, I've seen my cardiologist today with regard to my daily episodes of AF. His initial response, after I'd explained how often and how long I experience it and having to take the maximum medication dosage, was to virtually say that I'm too old to be helped (I'm 79). He reluctantly offered an av node ablation, but couldn't guarantee it would make a difference, most likely not, he said, because of my age. He could connect a third lead from my ICD implant, but then I'd be totally dependent on it. So, all in all, a very negative attitude from him. I felt that I was being dismissed as an elderly person. Having all my mental faculties, it's left me somewhat depressed, having it rammed home that I'm too old to be worth it. I don't think he would have said the same thing to a private patient.

47 Replies

This is shocking but I suspect not a rare event. You will get excellent advice on this site as to how you might go forward now.You must not let this get you down.At 80 I appreciate how you must feel .My immediate reaction is to try and find another cardiologist..... or electrophyisologist if you are thinking of an ablation.

Find another medic doramar. You have paid taxes and now you need help you should get it without being made to feel dismissed. I get increasingly annoyed at that sort of attitude. Go elsewhere. I changed EPs as all I was offered was a pace and ablate and I was at a very early stage in my arrhythmia journey. Switched to a nationally renowned EP and have had fantastic treatment. He was appalled I had been offered a pace and ablate as my treatment and has been a wonderful help to me. Please ask for a second opinion. It know it's hard but it's your heart and your choice. Take back control. Best wishes.

Melleray profile image
Melleray in reply to meadfoot

Hi Meadfoot - I am seeing my cardiologist next Friday and I know he will say my only option is an AV node ablation. I have resisted this for a long time. Can I ask who was the EP who helped you so much. Would it be Prof. Schillilng?

Definitely get a second opinion - I’d be spitting tacks if I was so dismissed, so I can sympathise. A close friend has had an ablation for AF at age 78 and is whizzing around like a teenager as well as members of this forum with pacemakers and ablated AV nodes - all living comfortable lives. Hopefully one of them will see your post.

To be honest, I wouldn’t have any faith in any procedure carried out by someone whose mind is already made up so negatively. I hope you can see someone (EP is best) to help you, rather than dismiss all out of hand.

Gillybean123 profile image
Gillybean123 in reply to Finvola

I totally agree.

You may not be an old fossil but he certainly is! Best wishes in your search for someone with a better attitude. After the recent news about patients dying as a result of being over sedated I think we all need to be more feisty!

Finvola profile image
Finvola in reply to Buffafly

Agree Buffafly - those poor people and their families were probably not in a position to question what was going on - how many of us would be? It pays to ask, query, double check and even then things can still go haywire.

in reply to Buffafly

Sorry if I’m butting in but just have to say that Jane Barton was my doctor for many years and I cannot praise her highly enough. Her care for my 90 year old mother was exemplary. I will readily admit something did go on, but I only feel great sadness for her.


KentAF profile image
KentAF in reply to

Glad you survived her ministrations Hylda. I only hope there is a retrospective review of all her patients both in hospital and Primary Care so that we can compare her prescribing regimen on hospital wards and the drugs she administered to those in her GP Practice. Many of Harold Shipman's patients thought he was the bees knees as well!

in reply to KentAF

74 now and still soldiering on.

john6 profile image
john6 in reply to Buffafly

Trust me it is not just Gosport. I said many years ago (after losing an aunt and my mother) that the Nhs practice a brand of their own euthanasia. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Given your age and how bad the AF is I would be also thinking of RISK. The Dr. may be right in his analysis but should give you the option of making the decision me thinks.. I will do just about anything not to be under anesthesia again since many have bad outcomes from that alone which increases with age.

I agree with you about the anaesthesia, I'm not keen on that myself. I know there is an increased risk with age, altho he didn't mention that! But it was his attitude about my age that annoyed me, plus his dismissal.

CDreamer profile image
CDreamer in reply to doramar38

You don’t need anaesthesia for either procedure on the pace and ablate, done with local and sedation.

You can always complain about his behaviour if you feel it was inappropriate. Have you contacted PALS at the hospital you attended? It is always good to give feedback to the hospital - then someone can take it up with the person you saw so that perhaps they can be more mindful on another occasion.

Age should have nothing to do with it. I had an AV node ablation a few weeks before my 75th birthday. I have had a pacemaker for 10 years because my heart occasionally slowed down. It came on when needed. Then I developed AF. After the AV node ablation all that was needed was to reconfigure the settings on the pm.I am now dependent on it working all the time. A small price for less medication and fewer AF symptoms.

Thank you all for your support and suggestions. I intend to see my GP and try and get an EP referral.

Please keep us updated 😀

So..... would that cardiologist say such a thing to Julie Andrews, Sean Connery, Betty White, Sophia Lauren, Anthony Hopkins, Clint Eastwood?

Most certainly not. They are ALL older than you. You are not too old.

Please consider another cardiologist who understands that. Perhaps he has limited confidence in his own skills and knowledge, and that was the only response that he could muster. I am sorry for your experience as I know it left you thinking on his words and discouraged.

I hope all goes well for your next appointment. You are deserving. This experience will be a distant and forgettable memory replaced with some positive actions to get you stronger and better than ever ! 🌸

Hi Dora at - it sounds very disappointing for you but perhaps it may be wise to check a few things.

Firstly you say cardiologist - was he an EP - Electrophysiologist?

Secondly - what were you hoping for? I don’t think there are any magic bullets but you should have been treated with respect and age shouldn’t have been an issue - But factors that come with age may have influenced his advice and opinion. If you are a private patient you may get a little more time to talk things through, I’m not too sure the attitude of the doctor would be different though - or their advice,

Thirdly - if you have a pacemaker - I would strongly suggest you look into having the third lead to pacemaker if offered - it sounds as though he was suggesting a Pace and Ablate- which is now my last treatment option and one that can give many, many people relief from the symptoms of AF - although it will not stop the AF so you will still feel the palpitations. There is a lot of evidence now that adding that third lead is really important and one my EP is advocating for me as essential (because of co-mobidities) and I can’t get insurance cover for - so don’t think it’s all clear and dandy with private cover!

All that being said - it is always worth having a second opinion, preferably ensuring it is with an Electrophysiologist- not a cardiologist. Can you get the name of someone at your nearest regional Centre and then ask your GP to refer you to for a second opinion?

May I also suggest that you look at the AFA site and read up on the treatment options and if you need to - ring them for advice - they were incredibly helpful to me.

Know you are not alone, friends who support and understand here, but also know that treatment for AF is only offered to improve quality of life and as we age we are far more likely to have AF and for treatments to be much less effective.

Very best wishes CD

doramar38 profile image
doramar38 in reply to CDreamer

Hello. My cardiologist is a general cardiologist, not an EP.

I have AF on a daily basis and, on the advice given, by one of my cardiologist's associates, when I had an appointment several months ago, I had to take an extra 5mg of Bisoprolol, whenever I went into AF. This put me on the maximum dosage of 15mg! Consequently, I experience the awful side effects that go with it. Extreme tiredness, disturbed sleep, nightmares etc!

All that you have said in your reply, is very true.

What I am looking for is an alternative to drug dependency.

I admit, I am not keen on the idea of ablation, but I have to consider it, which is why I will ask my GP for an EP referral.

Thank you for your advice.

CDreamer profile image
CDreamer in reply to doramar38

I hated Bisoprolol - had a stand up row with the duty cardiologist - whilst on the acute cardiac unit - for refusing the stuff. Felt far, far better without the meds, even though I still have AF, but not daily at the moment. Take care

Having a slight Gaga moment - I thought I also added about contacting PALS at the clinic you saw your cardiologist at and making a complaint about his behaviour toward you if it was offensive to you - and ageism certainly is - so that he can be given feedback about the impact of his behaviour - then hopefully he can be more mindful next time. Thought I had written that but in my first reply - but obviously not!

Going Gaga 😚

Go back, pretend to be a private patient and tell him where to go when they ask for payment. You’re never too old to be treated kindly with respect and dignity.

I think he would be much nicer if he thought you had £50 grand to burn on treatment.

Makes me cross. Sorry you had to go through this.

Jannand profile image
Jannand in reply to Japaholic

I smiled when I read your response, but on the one occasion I went to see a cardiologist privately, the receptionist took my card and scanned it before I got to see the cardiologist, although the money wasn’t taken from my account until after the appointment. They’ve got all angles covered and no chance of the patient dodging payment in my experience.

Finvola profile image
Finvola in reply to Jannand

Same experience here - cash or plastic up front.

I am appalled. My mother had a hip replacement in her 80s and also her gall bladder removed. She is now almost 97 and thoroughly enjoys life living in her sheltered accommodation. If she had been brushed off as you were she would have had 17 years of extreme pain, been unable to walk and unable to eat after 3pm. Correction, she probably wouldn't be here now.

The consultant told my son-in-law's grandmother at her hospital bedside after a serious heart attack at 80 that she had had a good long life and was going to die imminently (really!). She went on to live another 18 (good) years.

I am telling you the above to illustrate how doctors can get it completely right (my mother) and completely wrong (the grandmother). I urge you, please, ask for a referral to another consultant, an EP. I am so angry on your behalf! Please let us know how you get on.

Just to let you know there are rubbish people in jobs where you possibly think there couldn' be. Cardiologist no different. You think that because of the position and nature of their job they are amazing! Not always my friend. My old cardiologist was removed from the hospital due to terrible patient care and understanding. All the nurses knew about him and chatted freely to me when I complained about his behaviour to them. So look elsewhere you deserve better care and compassion. Best of luck and take good care.

CDreamer profile image
CDreamer in reply to Bmwpaul1971

Well said. The worst case employment stress I ever suffered was from - guess what - a mental health charity! Who even gave courses in employment stress - WOT?!

Someone with an attitude like that makes me mad.Probably scraped through his qualifcations!good advice on here ,hope you get a better opinion soon xx

Good Morning, you must ask to see someone else. I am 68and my doctor said I am relatively young so you are not much older. My cardiologist is amazing. Well actually I have three all on the NHS, I can get through to speak to the one whenever I need to. This person is rude. You need someone who understands what you are going through. So ask for someone else sooner rather than later. You need everything explained to you. Keep smiling and let us know how you get on. I don’t know what part of the world you are but I do think different parts mean different doctors. Xx

I personally think that most of the cardiologists are like that. Mine certainly is. They do not consider af to be important. Let us know how you get on please. I must add that I would not have any op under sedation now because I had a Gynae procedure in Sept and they 'lost me' for a couple of minutes (under 3 the anaethetist said). good luck

Everyone here is so supportive and kind in your comments and advice. It has helped me enormously and relieved some of the depression I felt after my cardiologist's attitude. 😃

If I were you I would demand an AV node ablation as that is what he said might help you.

You could however ask your GP to arrange for a second opinion or get referred to another Cardiologist/EP. This smacks of ageism and he is on very shaky ground.

Additionally if you live in England refer the case to both the Patients Association and your local CCG and complain to the Trust.

The climate very sadly is right for these Consultants and Doctors to be held to account for their action (or inaction).

It is really upsetting for you to feel you were treated so dismissively. As I understand it they can never say that it will work -my cardiologist say around 85% work first time. But you must ask your GO to refer you to another specialist for a second opinion. If you live in London I would seriously recommend Prof Schilling at Bart’s.

I wish you well and good luck.

I to am 79. I am on my second pacemaker. You should find a different doctor. My cardiologist sees me twice a year for about 5 minutes,but never acted like your doctor. Best luck to you and God Bless.

Absolutely disgusting, go back to your GP and tell him what happened and asked for referral to another cardio. I don't know where you live but you can be referred to the top people here in the UK provided your GP will refer you. The top professional that I know here is Professor Schilling, an expert in AF but there are other good cardiologists who should treat you with the professionalism and dignity that you so deserve. This man is unfeeling and a bit of a pig!


I am not a doctor.

I am a 45 y/o AF sufferer. I have had 5- 6 ablations and am currently on Amiodarone. None of the procedures or medication has brought my AF under control.

What has worked for me is magnesium supplements and buteyko breathing technique alongside weight loss and better sleep hygiene.

Half the world is deficient in magnesium. Magnesium is involved in the electrical control of the heart.

Butekyo has worked for me. Simply put, shut your mouth and breath through your nose. Even tape your mouth shut at night.

Works for me (your mileage may vary).


Definitely worth a second opinion. Do you have any other health conditions? Aside from one’s age, related cardiovascular or unrelated health issues can impact the assessment of how useful or successful an ablation can be

Socialized medicine at its finest. Obama tried to cram that nonsense down our throats ... didn’t work. If you can afford it, go to a private cardiologist... pay ... you want a real evaluation ... not one that will cause you to feel depressed and lack luster. You have one precious life ... put that life into the hands of paid for efficiency. If you do not have that option in England ... go to another country. Set your life goal at 95 minimally. Don’t give in to his BS! I would be livid! I tell my cardiologist what l want ... he doesn’t tell me. We talk about it ... sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree. Be strong!!

Jajarunner profile image
Jajarunner in reply to Janith

This is not correct. See my reply explaining we have the right to have a second opinion FREE OF CHARGE whether we are rich or poor on the NHS. And our outcomes are better than the bloated US system according to Bill Bryson's (an American, by the way)new book "The Body". Worth reading by the way.

Have you heard of this doctor at York?

It’s probably ‘private’ but for anyone anxious about things, it does at least offer the prospect of a very experienced second opinion.

(BTW I have no connections with him or York NHS in any way!)

Some doctors have a terrible bedside manner, while others are great. I would get an opinion from a doctor who actually cares about his patients. I don’t believe 79 is too old, not at all.

Hi Doramar, age is no barrier - to anything! If you knew what was wrong with your car and that it likely could be fixed, and you got a negative attitude from your mechanic, you'd promptly go get another mechanic. So no need to stick with a cardiologist who is negative and dismissive. And no need to let someone else's opinion bother you or make you feel down. You know who you are, and that depression is not you. Go find someone who'll work with you and encourage you. You can authorize all your medical files to be sent across to the new one so s/he can get up to speed on your history.

My cardiologist nixed an ablation which kind of made me feel I lost a chance to correct but he just did not believe it would work..... He is a good cardiologist.....the Europeans seem to be able to get them more easily it seems

But I notice many times does not work.

If you could get a referral to electrophysiology you could get more info although I was not able to see in person I just had a phone appointment....... seems they help more in this area in England than in US.......

Am 67

I’m so sorry he was negative. Stay positive! :) there is always light at the end of afib tunnel:)

Are you aware you are entitled to see a different cardiologist, or any medical person when it applies, for a second opinion on the NHS if you are in the UK? My cardiologist did not like me asking questions so I phoned the secretary of the one I wanted to see and explained. She asked him if he would accept me and he said yes. Easy peasy. You dont have to complain about the original one,or anything negative like that either.

I think that the patient liaison people would also help if you did not know how to,go,about this. They also were supremely helpful,with me.

Best wishes

Write a comprehensive letter to her supervising doctor with a copy to her and a copy to your British Heart Association and your attorney. You might also have it published in an appropriate newspaper. Do not allow yourself to be hurt emotionally and feel depressed,etc with regard to this situation. Never ever return to this person. Shame on this cardiologist!

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