SVT then atrial fibrillation: I am 70 years... - AF Association

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SVT then atrial fibrillation


I am 70 years ol and very fit. I have only had one attack of SVT and was told it was nothing to worry about and put on bisoprolol. 7 years later I had one attack of atrial fibrillation which brought on a silent heart attack. This was a year ago, now armed with many tablets to take every day,I have asked for ablation. I have suffered anxiety since the heat attack and feel like a sword of Damocles is hanging over my head and may strike at any time. Consultants seem reluctant to do this as I have only had one attack of AF. I love this website as it gives so much good info. Should I press for ablation or have more faith in the medication.?

2 Replies

My standard answer to this question is that any and all treatment for Atrial Fibrillation is only ever about improving quality of life (QOL) . If your QOL is good on medication then the risks involved with ablation may not be worth while. It is not a cure after all.

I am also slightly worried by your comment that the AF caused a "silent heart attack" as this is unknown in AF circles. The other way round for sure but AF alone is seldom if ever a fatal condition unless a person like an endurance athlete ignores his/her condition and pushes to extremes in which case heart failure may be the result.

Like most people who experience their first AF event it seems your anxiety is now the greater problem.

This is always a difficult question to respond to. Most people would share the views expressed by your consultants because the burden of AF is low and there are risks associated with having an ablation. There are lifestyle issues which can significantly reduce the risk of AF but given your personal description, I expect they may not apply to you. One of our members recently raised the point that for younger sufferers, there is a tendency to act more quickly before the AF can adversely effect the heart but of course, this can also be achieved using medication. Bearing in mind you have experienced some other heart problems in the past, maybe a second opinion from an Electrophysiologist (EP) would be helpful but that would probably take time unless it’s something you could do privately. If that’s the route you decide to take, be ABSOLUTELY clear that any treatment offered would be undertaken under the NHS and not done privately (assuming that is the case).....hope this helps.

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