AF Association
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Post cryoablation- anxiety

Hi, I had been diagnosed incidentally during a routine physical with AFib. I was on flecinaide and then had 2 cardioversions, one worked very briefly while on Amiodarone. I went back into NSR and then it converted on it's own. Month later, back in AFib. I guess I have drug resistant (Amiodarone) paroxysmal AFib and just had cryoablation 4 days ago. Now experiencing some afib but I know it's early still. They said I have a 70% chance it worked but I don't know what that expectation is. Any words of wisdom or encouragement? The stress of getting to that last procedure and through it was overwhelming and I still feel stressed. Xanax can only do so much. Lol

Thank you.

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Hi Beadygrl and welcome.

Firstly it is early days and many, many people experience AF during the first few months however this will be exacerbated by anxiety. There is a huge amount we can do to help ourselves and reducing your anxiety has to be No1 on your list. Many ways to do this CBT can help for worry thoughts - plenty of really good sources on-line and you can ask your GP to refer you.

Mindfulness practice is a great way to ease anxiety and there is a form which combines CBT with Mindfulness.

Personally I love an app which is recommended by many doctors I know called Calm (others such as Headspace are also good). Calm has a section specifically on anxiety.

Other ways - breathing techniques, doing something - anything you enjoy as endorphins counter the stress hormones - cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline. Listen to music, paint, walks, theatre - doesn’t matter what you do - as long as it pleasures you.

Learn to manage your anxiety before it starts to control you. Your ablation may or may not work and worrying about it will not help your recovery or the chances of success. You will find that a very large proportion of people on this forum have experienced anxiety to one degree or another and unfortunately it is the travelling companion of AF.

If you can learn how to recognise the physical signs of when you start to feel anxious - for me the very first signs are a sense of speeding up and that I won’t be able to cope and feeling overwhelmed - then you start to put into practice coping techniques - of which there are many so do some research and find something that works for you.

Best wishes CD.

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Hi Beadygrl and welcome to the forum. AF and anxiety go hand in hand but confidence does generally return overtime and as you say, it’s still very early days for you. Cryoablation (as I know from personal experience) is becoming the popular way to isolate the 4 pulmonary veins which are often the main source for AFib. It’s a relatively quick procedure and provided the veins are fairly regular in shape, it can be very effective, but as you say, it does take time for the tissue to heal, normally around 3 to 6 months. I had mine back in June 16 and it worked well, but I knew there was some difficulty with one of the veins so was not surprised when it was suggested that I should have a further RF ablation to “touch up” the missed bits and this is not uncommon. The recent episodes were quickly stopped using a PiP and were not as severe as previously. I’m not sure my response is going to allay your anxiety but it will ease in time....best wishes for a speedy and successful recovery.....

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My post worries me a bit because it might seem negative. If you do all the right things and manage to control your anxiety there is every chance your ablation will be successful. What I was trying to say is try not to get stressed about it not working because it’s far too early to know.......

heartrhythmalliance.org/res...

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Just to add to my friends comments below please rest as much as you can for at least two weeks post procedure as this gives you a much better chance of a good outcome. . if you go to AF Association website . or even ring them, there is a fact sheet on Recovering from Ablation which ,may help you to understand and relax that everything is normal.

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Hi, I completely understand your anxiety after everything you’ve been through. I was exactly the same, going through cardioversions and ablation. The anxiety I felt was immense and took over my life. But now, three years on, and no AF return, I look back on it as a difficult episode in my life, and although from time to time I fat it may return, I am able to take control of my anxiety much more easily and it certainly doesn’t rule my life any more.I did have counselling, which helped, and I use an app called headspace, which I thoroughly recommend for help with anxiety. My advice is to continue using health unlocked support, as it has helped me greatly, also rest as much as you can and try not to worry- easier said than done I know. Also if you are still worried, do speak to your g.p. or cardiologist, who should be able to put your mind at rest. Don’t suffer in silence is my advice. I wish you well.

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I had my one and only ablation in November 2013. The AF and various arrhythmias got worse for a while but gradually settled down. It took 5 months for everything to stop. Since then no more AF. It took almost a year before my resting heart rate returned to what it used to be. So stay positive, take things slowly. But be joyful that you have been given this opportunity.

Good luck 🍀

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