Ablation: I’ve got an appointment next week... - AF Association

AF Association

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Profound15 profile image

I’ve got an appointment next week with my cardio and plan to talk about an ablation with him. I’ve had afib for a year (6 episodes so far and they are horrible). I thought it was all related to alcohol but the latest episode last week it wasn’t involved as I’ve been teetotal for a few months. I did take ibuprofen and had too much salt during the day as well as a Zantac just after dinner and then a short time later afib struck. Took a flecainide tablet (100mg) about 1.5 hours after eating, but it didn’t work. I took another about 12 hours later and again it didn’t work so went to a&e and eventually got reverted back. I’ve also had palpitations off and on for around 35 years. I’m 65 now

I’m now researching as much as I can so that I have as much information on it. Could those who have had an ablation let me know if you feel if it has been succcesful. Is it classed as a cure please? I find this site absolutely invaluable so thank you very much.

41 Replies

Ablation works for many people, many of whom don’t hang around here afterwards.

It can however take more than one ablation but this is by no means certain.

I am a great advocate of ablation and have had 7 - I an the exception NOT the rule.

You have to bear in mind that although ablation is a very safe procedure it can be an experience that you may find a bit daunting although again many made of sterner stuff than me sail through.

When you see your EP talk about the optimum dose of Flecainide for your condition. For me 100mg is my twice daily regular dose and still AF gets through occasionally.

Whatever you do you must not vary anything without the strict guidance of your EP doctor!

Hope that all helps.


Pete thank you. The procedure whilst daunting doesn’t put me off. I had a cancer operation 16 years ago and that was extremely hard going. I’ve read articles that suggest the cure rate can be 80 to 90% if caught early enough. It’s this kind of statistic that I’m trying to corroborate. Do you think that this %age never have Afib again please?

I think that 80-90% is a bit on the high side. Also generalised statistics are not a good measure in my view.

There are:

World Statistics

Country Statistics

County Statistics

Trust Statistics

Hospital Statistics

EP Statistics

I think the last one is the best one to check if you can.


Thanks Pete. I’m in the uk so I’m trying to figure out how successful ablations could be over here. All the stuff I’ve read suggests that it’s quite high perhaps after having a second ablation though.

dmack4646 profile image
dmack4646 in reply to pottypete1

The key on is EP statistics.

pottypete1 profile image
pottypete1 in reply to dmack4646


However good hospitals with state of the art equipment tend to attract the best Doctors.


in reply to pottypete1

Yes. Some ablations don’t work at all, some a day, a week. Seems they always need repeated.

pottypete1 profile image
pottypete1 in reply to

No they do not always need repeating. The vast majority improve QOL immensely. Those that have had a successful ablation don’t hang around here or even try to find us.


in reply to pottypete1

My cardiologist told me they aren’t always successful and they cost a fortune here in the USA. My GP just told me Dave, if you get the flu you’ll die. My rheumatologist said no Dave I wouldn’t go under the knife if I were you when I asked him if he would go for a lung transplant. My pulmonologist told me at the time of my diagnosis Dave, you’ve got 18 months. Well...it’s been 10.5 years now. So it’s been difficult to have a positive attitude being told all negative things by all of my specialists. And the procedures they’ve tried have cost a fortune! I’m beginning to think I’m their cash cow! Healthcare in the USA is very expensive and I have just average insurance plan.

pottypete1 profile image
pottypete1 in reply to

I understand and can only assume that for your medical service in the USA it may well be that money is the motivator but I would like to think that the vast majority if your doctors they are honest and do everything with the best intentions.

Regarding ablation, no it doesn’t work for everyone but for the majority it does result in a better quality of life.


Can I just say that it is most definitely not a good idea to take Ibuprofen if you suffer from AF. This can actually promote arrhythmias.

Ablations are not generally considered a cure but more to improve Quality of Life. Having said that alot people go many years AF free after the procedure or have very little trouble particularly if they have adopted lifestyle changes as well.


Profound15 profile image
Profound15 in reply to

Thanks Sandra. I suspected that my Afib could have been down to the ibuprofen as well as too much salt. I’d been doing great for a couple of months as well. Been taking magnesium and ectopics were minimal. Felt gutted when it went irregular. I was really disappointed that the flec didn’t work as well. Many thanks for your post. It’s much appreciated.

BobD profile image

It is important to understand that any and all treatment for AF is only ever about improving quality of life (QOL) as cure is not a word we use. I had three ablations up till 2008 and have been generally AF fee since until very recently when a slightly different arrhythmia has intruded for which I am now awaiting a fourth ablation .

My best advice is to go to AF Association website and read all you can about the procedure and in particular which of several methods your EP decides to use. There is a very good booklet which covers all aspects of ablation and there are also two fact sheets written by we patients on Preparing for and Recovering from Ablation which I can recommend.

Profound15 profile image
Profound15 in reply to BobD

Thanks Bob.

I've had three ablations and would say that the first two made my AF worse! The third reduced my debilitating symptoms greatly, but I still have AF now and take pills.

My advice to anyone before having an ablation, would be to try changing your diet to plant based wholefoods, avoiding any artificial additives, alcohol, perhaps avoiding wheat and lactose eventually too. I'm convinced artificial sweeteners were the trigger for my AF. I really don't think an ablation where burning areas of the heart is carried out is the first step to take.

Wishing you well.


I was the same as you 10 years ago - pill in pocket Flecanaide didn’t work but was then put in 2 x50mg daily and that has worked with almost all episodes caused by chest infections-my EP is not convinced that I would be better off with an ablation and that carrying on is the best course for now - as he keeps pointing out procedures have improved massively in 10 years and in his view are about to take another step forward and as it’s all about QOL he keeps me on the same regime and I still work 5 days a week at 68 - so far I have been lucky that Flec has worked and causes me no ill effects - I have a check up each year.

MikeyF profile image
MikeyF in reply to dmack4646

Yes PEF (Pulsed Electric Fields) ablation (Google ‘PEF Ablation’ and check out the first hit) is looking very promising for 3 or 4 years time.

dmac4646 profile image
dmac4646 in reply to MikeyF

Yes it looks good and hopefully attracts more funding which will speed up the process of testing.

Prof. Schilling of Barts and the London AF Centre publishes his results. They can be found here:


dmack4646 profile image
dmack4646 in reply to Beta44

Are there any more recent results ?

Beta44 profile image
Beta44 in reply to dmack4646

I assume that 2017 will be out soon.

dmac4646 profile image
dmac4646 in reply to Beta44

Yes, havn't seen anything so far my cardio sends all (private) patients to DR Shilling - great results.


I would go cautiously and look into everything as advised by others here.

If you have had palpitations for a long period these may have been AF related?? If so you might find success rates, while having improved, are lower than if AF is new. Also make all the changes others have mentioned- I have found ensuring enough potassium in DIET and a Magnesium supplement have been beneficial.

My ablation to be done next week 3rd jan in Leeds so will come back to let you know how it went x

MikeyF profile image
MikeyF in reply to MydogBrandy

Is that going to be by Chris Pepper or one of his team at LGI? Keep us posted and wishing you all the best for next Thursday 👍

MydogBrandy profile image
MydogBrandy in reply to MikeyF

No, it will be Dr Sahu ar the Spire, will keep you posted and thanks for your wishes, anxiety has already kicked in!!!😟

I have had one ablation for a

A Fib and one ablation for A flutter.

Both were succesful so I have not had a fib since 2th January 2018 and flutter since 26th February 2018.

I have been off all drugs since May 15th

A cure ? I don't know but it has been brilliant so far.

No issues at all except a few ectopics up until 3 days ago when I got some thing different which is not like my afib or flutter and may be ectopics but different, stronger than I have had the last 11 months.

I am waiting to see what develops if anything.

I have had a bug when it happened : bit if a cold, buit of a cough, loose bowels, so maybe it was this. I did run a slow 6 miles in the sunshine, no problem yesterday so maybe it was just a blip.

Best wishes

Hi I had AF on and off for years I'm 65, last Christmas up until May was my worse period in and out of AF every couple of days lasting days at a time, I was in and out of A & E and my quality of life was very poor. I had my ablation for AF and Atrial Flutter on the 2nd of May and I have not looked back since no AF or flutter since, occasional eptopics which magnesium turate controls, my Q of L is now back.

That’s brilliant Brizzy. That gives me a lot of food for thought. Were you on any anti arrhythmia tablets and anticoagulants please?

I was on flecinide 200mg and bisiprolol up to 5mg per day, I also take rivaroxaban 20mg daily, it's only the anticoagulant I am taking now and will be for the rest of my life and I have no noticeable side effects with it.

Meant to ask Brizzy are you in the Uk please

Yes uk southwest

So pleased for you ,could you please advise me how long before your ablation did you come off your blood thinners, I am on apixiban and have been told just the day before? Someone else said two days?

Only off the anticoagulant for one day prior to the ablation

Thanks for that info, pleased you are doing so well keep your fingers crossed for me Brizzy5000 x

Hi. I had my first Ablation 6 days ago at the QE in Birmingham, UK. I was diagnosed with Paroxysmal AF in 2006 and have had about 15 attacks since then. The first three had me blue lighted to hospital (in three different countries)! I am 64 and since retiring three years ago noticed the AF was becoming more frequent. I only recently learned that it could soon become chronic. As I have the worst symptoms when in AF, that usually last about 12 hours, having AF full time would have been awful so I sought guidance from the Specialists at the Arrhythmia Dept in the QE. I was told I was a candidate for ablation and that there was an 80% success rate at 'curing' my AF. So far so good! It was not the nicest of experiences albeit with sedation and the first few days were tough but ~I am feeling pretty good right now. Plan to follow up with my cardio in three months time.

Forgot to add, the cardio had me on Apixaban since Sept and said he would not consider Ablation without that time period as the stroke risk during the procedure is pretty high. Remain on it until he tells me its OK to stop.

I had my ablation in July2018 It took quite a few months for the ectopics to settle down but no AF.I am not on any meds just the anticoagulant because of my age.I would do it again if I had to.

Hi I have tachycardia and I am having my ablation on 3rd January, next week!!!!! So I will let you know when I come home x

Thanks mydogbrandy. I’m really interested to find out how it went. Best wishes

Check out "Cabana trial" for interesting read. (maybe). Good luck

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