Alcohol post ablation: Having drunk about 2-... - AF Association

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Alcohol post ablation


Having drunk about 2-4 standard drinks most nights pre AF, post ablation the thought of "never drinking again" is depressing, as fine wine was an institution me and my partner really enjoyed.

I am as much dismayed for my partner as myself that this mutual joy has ben taken from us both.

Yes, for me alcohol was a big trigger for AF

But.... I cannot get any reliable information on whether it would be reasonable to occasionally enjoy 1-2 glasses post ablation.

I hope I can go to 1-2 glasses once a week, about a 90% reduction from my pre ablation habits!

But first 2 times I have tried that 3 months post my seemingly successful ablation I have gone into mild concern, hence a anxious each time I consider trying a glass of wine. last night I had 1 hr mild AF signs which freaked me out.

Could anyone please post their experiences with occasionally enjoying a drink post ablation without effect (if alcohol was in fact a trigger for you).

I know I'm only 3 months post ablation, but the thought of never drinking again is depressing!

Would appreciate peoples experiences that are at last 6 months to 1 year post successful ablation.



15 Replies

My neighbour had an AF ablation 5 years ago and hasn’t had any dramas. He enjoys a beer and/or glass of wine. I am hoping to be able to enjoy the occasional glass of wine down the track. I haven’t had alcohol or coffee this year, have eaten healthy, exercised, reduced stress and slept well and I’ve had a dreadful time with AF. So I can’t pinpoint triggers. 🤪

If alcohol is so important to you it is a real shame for you that it looks pretty certain that alcohol is a major trigger for you.

I too used like fine wine and real ale.

However I felt I had to weigh up the true meaning of quality of life.

I have been fortunate enough to be treated in recent years by a very skilled and conscientious Cardiac EP Consultant and as he was preparing to go the extra mile to help improve my QOL I felt I owed it to him to take away anything that might exacerbate my heart rhythm problems.

I have now gone 1 ½ years with only 3 short AF episodes whereas before my last ablation I would have PAF every 2-4 weeks and had done so for many years.

Believe me whilst a glass of fine wine or real ale is most enjoyable, there are many more things to enjoy whilst being free of AF.


Probably an over simplification but I guess it depends which you think is the most important, significantly reducing the risk of AF returning or not drinking.

The problem is that we all have good intentions but 9 times out of 10 they go out the window .....your choice Marcus......


I am now ten years post successful ablation and with sharess in a vinyard with a divident paid in wine was similarly concerned. I find that I know within seconds of the first sip if it will affect me that evening so am able to judge when or not to imbibe. My wife happily makes up for any shortfall in consumption.

Seriously it can be a problem and we are all different but always better to fall on the side of caution.

I haven't had an ablation and wine hasn't ever seemed to be a trigger for me. In fact I have been unable to identify any trigger. The problem here, I think, is that AF is such a mongrel condition to which there are almost as many reactions as there are people. Some will say they can enjoy a drink, no problem; others that just a 'sniff' of alcohol will set their AF off. So however many replies you receive I really doubt that you can assume that any one of them will apply to you.

I've recently stopped drinking alcohol completely mainly in order to try to lose weight, but to my surprise I haven't really missed the glass of wine I used to have with my evening meal. Perhaps this may apply to you too?

Oh dear!!!! I thought that after I have ablation I could pick up my wine glass again. I'm on Flecainide 100mgm x 2 daily, Bisoprolol 7.5mgm daily & Apixaban x 2 daily. Had given up on the vino collapso for months but just back from holiday and had a few glasses of wine and a couple of G&Ts over a couple of weeks with no ill effects. However was out for lunch last week and didn't dare even take a sip of my wine as I just knew it would waken the AF beast!!! No accounting for it. Not a big drinker & only ever had a few glasses every week or so before the AF, but I felt great on holiday sitting with a lovely big chilled glass of wine. Almost felt what passes for normal

Hi I’ve got af and other heart problems I think the problem is with triggers of af are many and various but I believe with no medical evidence is that stress and worries are one of the major triggers therefore I still drink with moderation and I find it actually helps me as an individual hope this helps

Alcohol was definitely one of my triggers prior to ablation. Three years on I happily have a glass even two several days a week without any problems. However, I am always careful to stay well hydrated and am otherwise fit and a healthy weight.


Annpatricia in reply to Beta44

The point you make about hydration is very important

Hi Marcus-

I feel your pain as I too love fine wines and drank pretty regularly prior to this issue- and I’m only 45. But I can tell you that I’m told that the top ep in the world says that alcohol is the number one afib trigger and the single biggest risk factor for reoccurrence. It’s a trigger for you to boot. I had my first ablation Jan this year and while I certainly cut way back on alcohol- I still had a wine now and then. Unfortunately my afib went haywire this summer and became totally debilitating. Just had my second ablation and can tell you I’ll never take another sip of wine- it just isn’t worth it for me. I was so sick this summer- not caused by wine because I barely drank- but on holiday had 2 sips of a glass and went into a terrible episode- that I just can’t imagine doing anything that could possibly cause me to go down that road again. And this is being operated on by one of the top eps in the world. Afib can be an ugly disease and it just isn’t worth risking it in my opinion. I am able to have about 2 craft beers a week with no issue-but would never drink more than that.

Does it suck? Yes. I live in a very pro alcohol culture where I sometimes feel like a leper for not being able to drink- but then I recall how sick I’ve been and I’ll do anything to avoid that. It’s getting easier with time and just a way of life I wouldn’t have chosen otherwise. My advice is to tread very lightly with something that was a trigger to begin with. An ablation isn’t a cure but is almost like plugging a hole in a dam- any rock to the foundation it can come back. You have to be religious about the lifestyle choices to ensure a successful long term outcome. Best of luck for sinus rhythm for you!!!

I like to drink beer and wine. I have had an ablation and have much reduced my consumtion especially of wine although I dont think that alcohol is a trigger despite the medics In hospital telling me it was that and caffeine.( not my EP though)

In fact I never really established any triggers for my AF but suspect stress Inc work stress. 4 out of my first 5 episodes were on a Thursday afternoon or evening! . Very hard to quantify stress though especially when you are looking back!

However when I was first diagnosed I stopped all alcohol & caffeine .

I did not die. I got lots of different no alcohol beer and wine & drank them I instead. The beer is not as good but the way to reduce the blandness is to switchover to another brew every bottle or two. I also went no caffeine coffee and tea. I still drink no caffeine coffee at home and no caffeine tea at work, even though I have pretty much proved caffeine does not affect me either.

Can you get away with a couple of beers and then switch to no-alcohol later?

I can tell you though that if I get a thought that alcohol or anything is putting me back to afib I would not have any more of it. I spent too long trying to get away from AF to go back there!

Thank you for your really revealing and honest post. I too like a couple of glasses of wine most nights and fortunately it doesn't affect me. If I had to make a choice then I would obviously abstain but not without the sense of loss if I could never drink again.

I am over a year A Fib free following an ablation for the paroxysmal variety! I am also cautious about drinking alcohol, but have the odd glass of wine, though always with food, and with no ill effects so far. I think alcohol was a trigger for me in the past, so am reluctant to put it to the test by exceeding one or two glasses. I should add it's not a weekly or a regular occurrence, I have gone months without a drop, and tend to limit intake to special occasions.

I feel your pain - like you I believe alcohol is a trigger - had the ablation and one month out am having one drink pre dinner with no problem...but still take Multaq and so perhaps if I can quit the drug , I will find it necessary to limit wine to special occasions (the price of the drug makes that the obvious choice.)

I had an ablation 6 months ago and like you enjoyed a glass of wine with dinner most nights. I now have a glass of wine or a wine with soda only when out on a special occasion. I have found that I can tolerate low alcohol products, and have 2 or 3 a week no problem. I think if you have plenty water after a drink it helps. Good luck, I have had no AF since ablation and no drugs.

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