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10 weeks post ablation

So, I’ve been taking amiodarone now 200mg per day for two weeks and so far so good..... until yesterday. The ectopics started first thing then the monster AF kicked in and lasted for around 8 1/2 hrs. I had my hopes up so high after no major ‘episodes’ in two weeks, then this. I just feel so flipping fed up with it and anxiety is made worse worrying about my return to work and how I will cope. I had my ablation 10 weeks ago, returned to work briefly and I’m now on a months leave which finishes in a couple of weeks. At the he moment I’m just thinking why on earth did I have the ablation in the first place as now I’m left taking this horrible drug and I’m still having AF. Maybe I’m being pessimistic but it gets you down sometimes doesn’t it? Thanks for listening.

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Hi Maura and I am so sorry you are going through this, yes it can get you down so you get it out of your system!

and certainly Amiodarone is not a nice drug, but it won’t be for long hopefully. We all have blips on the road to recovery and as long as the Amiodarone is a short term measure to get your heart back into a healthy, non- Arrythmia routine - it is helping and therefor your friend.

I would suggest that managing anxiety is a major contributory factory along with nutrition and good quality sleep for a recovery,

What are you doing to manage your anxiety? How is your sleep and how might you improve it? Is there anything in your routine or your eating plan that could help support your recovery? Have you seen a nutritionist for example?

I know it is hard but keeping your mind in the right place is as important as taking the treatments.

Best wishes CD.

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Thanks CD. As for sleeping, strangely enough I’m not sleeping too badly! No, I haven’t seen a nutritionist but I think my diet is pretty healthy. I have been on antidepressants for a long time but they don’t manage anxiety! I didn’t have a problem with it before the ablation but now it’s taking over and I’m worrying about everything. I’ve had to cancel so many plans, days out, dinners with friends, all at the last minute when AF gets hold of me, then I worry that my friends will get fed up asking me eventually or think I’m making excuses..... see what I mean? I wasn’t a particularly anxious person before, in fact I’ve even been called laid back..... not so now. Thank you for your kind words. Maura

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I have taken Sertraline for many years for anxiety and depression. I was told it was the safest choice in the context of my AF. It manages my anxiety very well most of the time. Is it possible your antidepressant is causing a problem with your AF?

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I suppose it could be possible, it’s worth looking into, thank you!

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Stop taking Sertraline. Yes, l think that the antidepressant is causing the afib. Just a gut. See a good nutritionist... start magnesium supplements, especially taurate ... no alcohol ... no sweets or minimal sweets ... no red meats ... lots of salmon ... omega 3 supplements ... take a superior probiotic ... Dr. Sinatra supplements ... insure that you go potty daily ... big potty ... 8hrs sleep ... if you feel your heart doing something strange, immediately start deep breathing and stand up and walk around ... try sotalol ... it really works for me ... tiny dose ... TAKE CONTROL!!! Don’t forget daily exercise ... really lifts one’s mood ... these are just a few of the things that l do ... in my opinion, the mind altering drug is the culprit.

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Hi Janith, thanks for the info. I do eat lots of salmon so at least that’s a plus! I also take magnesium taurate supplements

I don’t take Sertraline? Maybe that was someone else?

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I echo Jean's reply. I thought I had a healthy diet - until I saw a Nutrionist. A general 'healthy diet' is not good enough. You need to know if you are deficient in certain Vitamins or minerals and the only way to do that is by testing and not NHS testing. Eating plenty of the right sort of fats - eating enough protein, many of us don't, eating enough plant based foods - most don't eat nearly enough.

Managing your anxiety is really much, much easier than you think BUT you need help to start and the best place to start is with breathing exercises. Ask your GP for a referral to a local CBTMindfulness 6 week programme or see someone privately.

You need to be pro-active about this and preferably do not rely on drugs which for most people (Oyster may be a special case) will mask, rather than solve the AF/Anxiety issue. I'll give you a link to something I posted back in Dec 2017 about the AF/Anxiety link which many found helpful.

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Thank you so much CDreamer, I’m still in Cyprus but when I get home I will get the ball rolling with regards to the nutritionist and CBT programme.

I don’t know what I’d do without all you lovely people!

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Probably someone else … thanks.

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I understand exactly how you are feeling Maura and have been in your frame of mind many times over the years. Don't lose heart just yet! I've had three ablations and still have AF, though nowhere near as bad as it used to be. Whether that's because of my lifestyle changes or the ablations - well who knows! Please read Carneuny's post to Thweng in yesterdays post titled, Confused about episodes of AF.

Honestly, changing your diet so that you only eat natural foods with no artificial additives, exercising more and leading a stress free life as much as possible can really help.

Think about how you are breathing and whether you are subconsciously taking very shallow breaths, which I believe can trigger AF. Why else would AF start when we are sat quietly and relaxed? Take deep breaths into the stomach so that it rises and ignore the chest area.

Amiodarone damaged my thyroid and I now have to take pills to correct that for the rest of my life. So you can imagine exactly what I think about that drug!!!! I wouldn't recommend anyone taking it, but that's just my opinion.

With hindsight, if I had my chance again, I would embrace the lifestyle changes and refuse any pills for AF as much as I could. I am not medically trained, but what I say is what my experience with AF has taught me.

To sum up: Breathing correctly, healthy natural foods and exercise. These will all help prevent AF rearing it's ugly head.

Jean

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Hi Jean

Thanks for understanding, sometimes you need to hear other people’s experiences who suffer from the same condition, Family and friends can be supportive but unless they have experience of this ‘thing’ they really don’t understand. I was given Amiodarone to take for two months so hopefully I won’t be on it any longer than that. As for exercise even walking up a flight of stairs was setting off ectopics & AF prior to me starting amiodarone, then the last two weeks I was feeling much better until yesterday’s episode! Hey ho, it’s a new day hopefully it will be a better one. Thanks again. Maura

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Maura5, just to say how much I sympathise. These heart electrical problems are an absolute bastard.

It is early days for you post -ablation and things may well improve. Your EP will doubtless make a judgment at your next check up. If this is a long way off you could usefully ask for an earlier appointment.

My life would be extremely difficult if I didn't have a supply of 100 flecainide tablets to use as a pip. Would this be a consideration for you?

Very best wishes

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Hi Jennydog

Thanks for your kind message. Yes, I totally agree with your description of AF, couldn’t have put it better myself! I was originally prescribed verapamil and then flecenaide as a PIP but the flecenaide didn’t work for me. I have low BP so anything that lowers it more is a no no hence the last chance saloon Amiodarone which my EP prescribed because I was having such a troublesome ‘blanking period’. My next appointment is end of October, maybe things will improve by then, here’s hoping!

Maura

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Hiya Maura, yes this AF business is an emotional rollercoaster, sometimes I think the physicological side is worse than the physical side. I'm 2 weeks in from ablation and still feel as bad symptoms wise as before, patience is the key but it's so difficult. I hope you manage to overcome the problems and gradually your health should improve with time. Take care Dave.

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Hi Maura-

Sorry about the anxiety and it’s a common problem with afib. I began having panic attacks this summer for the first time in my life due to debilitation afib attacks. I can also suggest yoga and meditation- I started yoga for the first time this summer and am shocked at how much it helps calm me- which I can then use again when I really need it. Hopefully this is all a blip in the road- but you aren’t alone. There are also many anti-depressants that also help with anxiety so maybe ask your doc about that.

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Feel just the same as you love, why did I have it? , as have experienced all sorts of weird things since, I am 6 weeks in , but reading on here as given me the hope that maybe it does take 3 months or more to settle , where as your cardio , tells you , you will be flying to the moon in a week, mine did any way , not the moon , but be back to normal before the start of the AF, and when I told him I havn't , he said well we will consider doing it again , Noooo , the problem is the minute I see them now, any white coat person , so to speak , I go into AF, on the upside, I do think the episode of AF are a lot less,not gone, but holding out hope , and I hope that for you too , try to do mind distracting things, keep up excercise if you have the energy , unlike me feel like a wet rag, sure its the bisop , . Cannot lie on left side and if I lean against anything think I can feel it , but its getting less , and it will for you good luck , just something tipped it over for you , eating late? a drink? stress? coffee, tea that was the cause of mine in the first place , so try hard to keep a cool head good luck x x x

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I can certainly understand the despair. It's been 10 weeks since my last ablation and I feel terrible. Everything I do has me breathing heavy. I am a slow healer so I hope I just need more time to recover. It's pointless to go back to cardiologists and complain cause their answer will be a pill like always. That damned Amiodarone almost killed me last time I took it. Out of the 20 side effects I had seventeen. The palpitations was the worst. Felt like my heart beating so fast it was gonna explode. The last ablation was my second in a year and now I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop even though I doubt I will do a third one if needed. Life sucks when you stop living and just exist. I sincerely hope it all works out for you.

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Hi Larry Iv just come across your post . I just wondered how you are now did things settle down ?. I’m now 10 weeks post ablation and Iv had nothing but ectopics beats for 3 weeks now . I getting really down . Many thanks

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The magnesium taurate has helped slightly. I still have trouble with exertion. My life consists mainly of just being on the couch watching tv. My current cardiologist and rhythm dr have kinda told me nothing they can do. They want me to get a defibrillator before they try any more pills on me and I have refused. My father was in hospice and on the day he died, the hospice nurse who had the magnet to turn off the device was stuck in traffic. I watched him die 5 times and I'll never forget that. So mentally I just can't do it. I am contemplating changing drs but it's a lot of work with the insurance stuff. I've been forced to just accept it cause stress makes it so much worse. I wish I had something comforting to tell you. There are so many kind people on this forum who seem to deal better with it than I do. I hope the best for you and keep fighting, never give up.

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Larry thank you for your reply , sorry to hear about your dad . How awful for you . It does seem the consultant like to keep throwing drugs at you . I struggle really deal with this . I have two small children who depend on me . I hope you feel better soon best wishes

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It's worth a shot going the magnesium route. I'm taking Heart calm that I bought from Amazon. I have noticed a slight difference and even slight is miraculous enough for me. I can at least function in the house without taking those deep breaths. Going outside is still a struggle but baby steps for now.

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Hi Maura - so sorry to read that you have had another episode. I think that first episode after an ablation is such a blow to all our high hopes of getting rid of it. But it may well still settle down, it is still early post ablation days. AF is such a horrible, horrible thing and I think the mental stress it causes us is far greater than the medics realise, and although we might appear normal to others, underneath our smile is that anxiety wondering when it might happen again. I hope your heart soon settles and gives you some peace of mind.

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Thank you Melleray.

Yes, I suppose I need to wait a while longer to assess whether this has worked or not. Unfortunately this was just one of many AF episodes since my ablation hence the ‘miserable’ post!

Maura

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Had ablation over three months ago, had to go on Ameoderone to help the ectopic beats, which believe it or not was worse after the ablation, would I have the ablation again if I had the chance definitely not, far worse now than before and still on Ameoderone...

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Oh my goodness, that’s awful. I do hope things improve for you, take care.

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Sorry to hear that! Same for me - all PVC are the same if not worse! Trying propafenone low dosage now.

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Hi leeson , how’s the ectopics now ? I’m 10 weeks post ablation and the ectopics are unbearable making my life hell . Many thanks

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Hi Maura5

Sorry to hear you are feeling so down. As a PAF sufferer for 11 years I know how physically and mentally debilitating it can be!

Amiodarone has a terrible reputation and it can have troublesome and sometimes severe side effects. However this needs to be put in context as if used in the short term with careful monitoring if you can tolerate it it can be a very effective drug.

I don't want to upset or offend anyone on here but I know from my own experience that it is very easy to let AF control and dominate your life and this can include becoming obsessed with symptoms and side effects of medication. In the long term this cannot be good for our psychological well-being and it's vital to find effective coping mechanisms.

Things will improve for you and you'll get through the dark times

Kindest regards

David

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Thank you so much for your kind message.

Yes, I’m aware of the side effects and it’s early days for me but as yet I haven’t experienced any of them so fingers crossed that continues! It frightened the life out of me when I was told about what Amiodarone can do and especially hearing other people’s sometimes awful experiences while taking it, that was the reason I put off taking it for so long but I gave in in the end just hoping it would give me some relief from AF and it mostly has apart from a couple of hiccups and the long run of AF I had a couple of days ago.

Kind Regards

Maura

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I'm unfortunate that apart from beta blockers I can't tolerate a lot of the anti arrhythmic drugs as they cause severe ventricular arrhythmias including in one instance vf arrest (luckily in hospital.) Therefore Amiodarone was one of the limited options. It worked well for me and I had minimal side effects. Of course you need to make sure you have very regular blood tests to rule out side effects that don't necessarily cause symptoms until things are very serious. My GP is very good and I'm summoned regularly to the surgery

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Hi Maura, sorry to hear that! I have seen that the PVC's and healing may take way longer official 8-10 weeks or three months. For many on this forum it was 6 months or up to a year, if the immediate success was not after the ablation - that does happen! Please keep your strength and hope. For the medications I know many were on Flecainide for AF, that may work. I have frequent PVC that is ventricular ectopics, and now trying Propafenone 150mg twice daily, so far some mild sinus tachicardia at night for few minutes, but bigeminies still there so walking even between meetings is a problem giving me sharp chest pain with otherwise normal heart. GP today just went over the papers and did not have time to check whether I have a problem with chest pain, tachicardia, etc - just read the papers, consulted another practice GP who specialises in cardio health, who contacted a consultant in the local hospital what to do, who contacted EP who did ablation - to hear the advice I already had from the EP for two weeks to put me on propafenone (unbelievable chain of command and waste of time :-(). Anyway we all have our stories but should try to keep it moving. I hope your thing will be sorted out, good luck!

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My own experience was not dissimilar. I had a very rough time with lots of AF and ectopics and other rhythms for 2 1/2 months. Then, after one episode I was in normal sinus rhythm and have been for almost 2 years. Still get ectopics but no AF. So, give yourself time for your heart to heal and for the ablation to work. It is natural to despair but you did the right thing having the ablation and once you are in NSR you will realize you made the right move.

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I regret having my ablation, I know how you feel. I am three months post ablation. EPS wants me to consider a pace and ablate now. I am in AF as many days as I am not and it lasts for hours and getting more rapid heart rate than before the op. I also have episodes of seeing stars, then losing my vision and nearly passing out. I have no chance of getting back to work unless I have the pace and ablate and it is too soon for me to consider another procedure at the moment. I am taking flecainide and bisoprolol.

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Sorry to hear what’s happened. Make sure you’ve got your 3 month follow up appointment lined up with your EP. Sounds like you may benefit from a second ablation. I needed two attempts to stop the AF. Now almost 5 months on from the second one and have remained in NSR the whole time. Took Amiodarone for 6 months prior to the second one and stopped taking it 2 months ago - so far, so good. Important you see your EP and talk through the options and next steps.

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Thanks for your reply. Yes I’m thinking the same way, though the thought of it not working again and the time off work makes me feel sick!

How did you get on with Amiodarone?

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