Ablation Advice: Hi got back from holiday... - AF Association

AF Association

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Ablation Advice


Hi got back from holiday yesterday & found an appointment letter waiting for me to attend Coventry Walsgrave Hospital with a cardiac nurse this morning. Anyway turns out it was for pre-op assessment for an ablation, which was not mentioned in the letter.

I haven’t had any AF ‘attacks’ (that I know of) since early December last year. So my thoughts have been that when the appointment comes through, that I would decline it. Only on apixaban & PIP if necessary. I don’t think that I still warrant or need the procedure now. I know it can progress & waiting lists are long. Anyway after discussing my concerns & thoughts with her I have decided to go ahead with it.

I would love to hear from anyone in a similar situation as me & went on to have the ablation, when they felt/thought they were free of this annoying condition!

Thanks for reading.


35 Replies

Hi Ally, in my humble opinion you are making the correct decision. Early intervention is something I was slow to take up on and I definitely regret that.

I struggled on for about 18months hoping that the symptoms would stay in the background but as you mentioned they just got worse.

I had my ablation 5 weeks ago today and currently I feel a lot better so wish I had pushed for one earlier. My only tip for you is if a general anesthetic is available for the procedure I would take it, mine was done under sedation and wasn't very comfortable.

Of course to have the procedure is totally your decision, but for me the sooner the better then you can get on with your life knowing you have a good chance of minimal symptoms in the long term... Best wishes to you... Regards Dave.

Thanks for your advice Dave. I have been offered it under sedation (no mention or offer of GA) I have read negative/positive reactions to both - everyone’s tolerance to discomfort is different I suppose. Oh well I ‘will go with the flow’ as they say.

Best wishes Ally

Best of luck Ally 👍

Hello Ally, my first ablation was in July 16 and I had a second about 5 weeks ago to tidy up some loose ends. Obviously there are no guarantees, but for me, I am confident it was the right thing to do. The AF Association have produced two fact sheets about preparing and recovering from an ablation and if you use the link below, I'm sure you will find them helpful......best of luck Ally and don't forget to let us know how you get on.....John



Hi John. Thanks for your response & advice. I will look & digest the fact sheets when I am feeling a bit braver 😔 Will keep you posted.

Best wishes Ally


I think you have been sensible and made the right decision. AF is almost always progressive and early intervention gives the best outcome. Read our fact sheets on preparing for and recovering from ablation so you understand what to expect.

heartmatters1 in reply to BobD

Thanks Bob - that’s the advice I hoped to hear. I will take your advice & read the fact sheets. It’s just a very scary thought of someone tinkering around with your heart. I am worrying that they could do more harm (but that’s me being very pessimistic)

Best wishes Ally

I understand you saying it’s scary thinking they will be inside your heart.....I’ve thought the same but I’m deffo having it done in January.....I’ve only had afib since May and now had two months free if it....but I can’t forget how I feel/ felt whrn ive got it....and the amazing chance to get rid of it for sometime if lucky is a chance to grab....everyone says it has a habit if pregressing so that’s another reason to grab the chance.....sue

Thanks for your response Sue. Yes it is very scary when AF kicks in. Please share how you get on & I will too.

Good luck. Ally

Yes good luck to you too....it’s goung to be scary a few days before but once we get to hospital we will be fine....

heartmatters1 in reply to BobD

Bob - with your excellent knowledge of ablations have you heard of any cases of people who’s AF has been made worse? I can accept that it may not be a success first time, but I am very concerned that it will make matters worse for me, as my episodes are so few and far between & I do not have to take medication, other than anticoagulants & PIP if required. It does not affect my quality of life (I am aware this could change of course)

Sorry if this is a silly or naive question.

Scared & unsure 😰 - Ally

BobDVolunteer in reply to heartmatters1

Nothing is impossible I'm afraid but I wouldnt say making anything worseis common. I had a bad reaction to my first ablation the next morning and had to stay in an extra day but I would not say it made anything worse. Just didn't sort it out. The second worked for about nine months and I was AF free from waking up afterwards but some breakthroughs started about nine months in so my EP went in a third time to kill it outright. There are no guarantees. Cryo ablation whilst very quick has limitations in that it can ony deal with the four pulmonary veins so if there are other areas at fault then another RF ablation would be needed to deal with those. I often say I would rather have an ablation that root canal treatment.

heartmatters1 in reply to BobD

Thanks Bob - time will tell! BTW did you have yours under sedation?

BobDVolunteer in reply to heartmatters1

All mine were GA Ally as my EP likes to have somebody looking after his patients whilst he works. Sedation is cut price as they don't need an anaesthetist in the cath lab that is all. I do know plenty of people who have had sedation and of course it includes an amnesiac so you won't remember much anyway. I had sedation for an endoscopy a while back and vaguely remember not liking it much but no details.

heartmatters1 in reply to BobD

I’ve given birth to 3 children with minimal pain relief, so I shouldn’t be acting like a scaredy-cat 😣

Lyn68 in reply to heartmatters1

Please don’t feel scared. You are over thinking it. I am a month out and it was easy and not painful! It’s true what people are saying that the sooner the better! Good luck and God bless.

heartmatters1 in reply to Lyn68

Thanks for your reassurance Lyn. Much appreciated. Hope you continue on the right path x


I think any people thinking they might be free of this condition have a false sense of security.

heartmatters1 in reply to Hidden

You are right - wishful thinking!

Best wishes Ally

I've suffered paroxysmal AF for 30 years. For the first few years I had two or three attacks a year, lasting between a few hours to up to three days. Over the years the attacks became more frequent and lasted longer. About ten years from my first attack I had one lasting 5 days and had cardio-version to put my heart back into sinus rhythm. Having researched the condition I asked my consultant about an ablation, which he totally poo-pooed. I've had various consultants all of which said an ablation was unnecessary. Over the past two or three years however my AF has become persistent and still my then consultant poo-pooed the procedure, trying to persuade me that the procedure carried too much risk. Last year I asked to change my consultant. In January of this year I saw a new consultant who told me that I should have have the procedure years ago, as the longer you have the condition the less likely an ablation would be successful!

I finally had an ablation almost 6 weeks ago. As yet I don't know whether the procedure has worked. Two days after the ablation my heart went back into AF and my heart sank, if you'll excuse the pun. The attack only lasted five hours, but three days later I was back in AF, lasting 10 days. I was then 4 days in sinus rhythm, 7 days in AF, 4 days in sinus rhythm, 2 days AF. I've now been in sinus rhythm for 5 days.

It takes three months for the heart to recover and for the scar tissue to heal. During this period bouts of AF can still be experienced, so I won't know whether my ablation has worked for a few weeks yet.

Left untreated your condition will very likely get worse, just as mine did. Given what my now consultant told me, I'd advise you to have the procedure asap.

I hope all goes well for you.

Thanks for your response & advice. I would be interested in knowing the percentage of cardiology professionals who would have an ablation if were offered to them if needed.

I hope you finally get a good outcome.

All the best

My surgeon is the department head of my hospital, and unless he is lying, he has had an ablation himself for a fib.

Hi Ally, I had mine 2.5 weeks ago. Was in the same boat as you but my mum and husband begged me to do it! I’m 44 and though I’m still fit an healthy and was free of any symptoms but am glad I had it done as a preventative for the condition progressing. I was back to work after 1 week and had my first G&T last night. I’m glad I had it done and do not feel like anything has changed which is good as I was symptom free also. But at least I know I’ve done something as I’d rather act now than wait for the ticking time bomb!!! Best of luck, and you’ve made the right decision.

heartmatters1 in reply to Nenar

Thanks for your response Nenar. That’s made me feel a bit more reassured. As you are young to have had to go through it, it was probably the right decision for you. My husband too is encouraging me to go ahead. As long as it doesn’t make things worse then it’s a no brainier I suppose.

Hope you continue to be AF free.

Best wishes Ally

One question Ally, you haven't mentioned how many attacks you have had?

In dec last year you obviously had one but how many previously?

I'm not sure I would ablate if I had 2-3 attacks over a few years, but I would if I were having increasing frequency. I have had my ablation 3 months ago but have suffered Atrial Flutter now as a complication of ablation which is actually much worse than the original AF! So there are pro's and con's.

If you are having increase frequency of attacks I would definitely ablate earlier rather than later (see AbFab post but he was given silly advice given how his attacks were rapidly increasing for a long time), but if no attacks at all for almost a year, and especially if you have rarely had them prior (??) I doubt there is any benefit in early intervention.



My AF journey started in August 2014, but think I had been slowly building up to it for a few years previously. I would say that over the four years I have had 4/5 bad ‘attacks’ that I was aware of. My thoughts are exactly as yours & when I shared my concerns at my pre-op I was advised that my AF will progress & it is easier to treat before it gets worse & as the waiting list is 12 months I would have to wait again. It’s seems your damned if you do & damned if you don’t.

Thanks for your response. Best wishes. Ally

I was similar ,af attacks not happening but was on daily flecainide and diltiazem which did not really agree with me. My AF had obviously developed over 2.5 years since diagnosis to get me to the state where I was on such drugs so assumed it would continue to do so.

So I had the ablation jan 29th, and have not had AF since. I discontinued all drugs between 20 April (approx) for the flecainide and 15th May for diltiazem and the A/C.

I would have another ablation tommorrow to keep off the drugs

Thanks for your reassuring response. It’s good to hear that it was a success for you. There is so much conflicting info out there it’s such a big decision to make, as I don’t feel mine is bad enough to warrant one at the present. But as everyone says AF is progressive.

Long may you be free if this annoying complaint! Best wishes.

How long have you been on the waiting !ist for the ablation Ally? I was put on it in March this year,at Walsgrave (UHCW) under Dr Osman,not been for pre op or heard anything since! I have spoken to one of the nurses and advised to reduce Flecanaide dose,but nothing else.Like you,my episodes are much reduced in the last few months,so I am debating the same issue as you!

Its a difficult call to make.I am 59. Hope you get on ok! Xx

Hi. I have been on the waiting list since August 2017 so 14 months. Had my preop last Friday. Don’t know when the procedure will be, but my understanding is it’s usually within 8 weeks. I did say to the nurse that I didn’t feel I warranted an ablation at the moment, but she said I have been waiting so long & would have to wait again, also it’s best to have it done before AF becomes persistent, as it’s harder to treat.

It seems your damned if you do & damned if you don’t. Then when your told all the risks (albeit only 1-2%) it’s such a big decision.

BTW I have just turned 66.

Best wishes to you whatever you decide to do.


Thank you Ally,all the best to you too! Please let us all know how you get on.Take care xx

Thanks will do. I’m a Wilson too xx

Good name! Dawn xx

Are you local to Coventry? I live in Sutton Coldfield

Nuneaton,so not far away☺☺

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