Alcahol?: I had an ablation on April 4th and... - AF Association

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I had an ablation on April 4th and I can't believe how good I feel. I thought I was feeling OK until I started to recover from the ablation, within a couple of weeks. I've had a few, very short episodes of ectopic beats and palpitations which my cardiologist assures me are normal as the heart recovers from being scarred.

Thinking I was doing great, I had my first glass of wine last week and, after about half-an-hour, I started having palpitations which went on for at least 15 minutes (after a while I decided to ignore them as I was becoming anxious). I'm thinking it must have been the alcohol that caused the palpitations (my first drink in over 2 years) as I haven't had a drink or palpitations since. Am I right? Can a small glass of wine really have this effect? Perhaps some folks are more susceptible to alcohol than others? I know I get the same if I ever have caffeine, which I gave up at the same time as the alcohol. (Kenco's decaf is delicious and the tiny bit of caffeine that may still be present in it doesn't affect me at all). I hate the idea of never being able to drink alcohol again, although I never did drink very much, but I like the idea of staying AF free even more.

13 Replies

Hello clanmags :-) firstly have you read the recent factsheet on 'Recovering from ablation' here is a link,

scroll down the page till you reach...

''Recovering from Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation'.

Click on ''Read more''

I love wine but have given up alcohol completely since being diagnosed with AF. Would I risk even a small glass so soon after an ablation, no I wouldn't dare any 'benefit' is outweighed by the risk for me.

I am afraid you have answered your own question.

Alcohol and Caffeine are both well known triggers.

I, like you didn’t drink a lot in the first place but I stopped drinking alcohol and coffee 2 years ago.

Believe me you get used to it and to be AF free has got to be worth it. Alcohol is not all it is cracked up to be and there are many other pleasures in life out there.


Perhaps alcohol affects people differently. I'm still awaiting ablation and - like you, I suspect - drank only in moderation before my diagnosis. However, I discovered very recently that a small beer before bedtime can stop my constant bigeminy and allow me a better night's sleep.

It’s great that your ablation has made such an improvement in things for you. Wine is a serious problem for me, even de-alcoholised wine causes arrhythmias to start. I read up as much as I could find and came to the conclusion that the sulphides in wine are probably the cause, sadly.

I miss my lovely evening tipple but the price is just too high - risking a return of AF and I haven’t dared to try any other alcohol.

Excellent news and good result from ablation.

I never used to be able to drink alcohol or caffeine without triggering an episode. After 2 ablations I still have PAF but the odd glass of wine and one good quality of coffee is no problem nowadays. Only certainty is - there is no certainties. Very early days for you as I found I kept improving for 9 months, heart wise so maybe pushed it a bit, a bit too soon?

The thing I have noticed is that quality matters - a good quality wine or coffee doesn’t trouble me at all but a cheap plonk - I tend to ‘lose’ the glass very quickly!

Hiya, alcohol and caffine were my triggers, not had either for years and wouldn't dare to either. You definitely get used to doing without although i still miss a cold pint in the summer... take care, Dave.

Great to read all your comments....thank you. Doodle68 I am just about to read the 'Recovering from Ablation' fact sheet. Thanks for the link. I was given no advice after the procedure. Why I spelt 'alcohol' incorrectly in the heading, I do not know.....doh!

If you are keen to enjoy an occasional drink - try different forms of alcohol, starting with smaller amounts. I can't drink sparkling wine, or white wine, but I'm fine with red wine. Build up slowly. I started with a half a glass with dinner. Over time, my heart got used to having red wine, and now I can have a couple of glasses with no problem. You should also consider taking beta blockers when you experience palpitations. They work.


Red or white?

White is full of sulphites, a known trigger.

I have an occasional glass of red, once every couple of months maybe, but steer clear of white wine and Cider. I used to love a cider on a hot summer afternoon, but it's not worth the risk imo

Gertsen in reply to Hidden

I drink not alcoholic cider it is delicious and not trigger. Another question I drink the occasional glass of wine sometimes I get af about 12 hours later would that be the alcohol that triggered it?

doodle68 in reply to Gertsen

Hi Gersten :-) funny you should mention the 12 hours.

I started getting AF on Friday mornings and it suddenly occurred to me it might be connected to my having a large glass of white wine while watching Question Time on Thursday nights. It could of course be coincidence but it hasn't happened on a Friday since I cut out alcohol.


Wine was the thing that triggered my first ever Af trip to A@E, stopped 4 years ago after trying even one glass of white I was off at 160-170bpm and afib. Miss the odd glass but not worth the trigger, I'm waiting for ablation now but have to say I don't think I would try a glass until maybe a year later if at all if it meant being af free, small price to pay.

1/2 a pint of shandy used to start my AF. Now 2 years free since ablation I don't touch alcohol as on the few times I have tried itIi experience 'runs' of ectopics lasting several hours.

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