3 months post ablation questions: I am at the... - AF Association

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3 months post ablation questions


I am at the 13 week mark since my ablation. I had PAF and never had SVT. My resting heart rate was in the mid to upper 40's. With my fitbit I have a record of my heartrate for the past two years. So I did a chart of 90 days "pre-ablation" and 90days post ablation. I had AF 17 times in the three months prior to ablation. I averaged about 45 hours in AF each time. I ranged anywhere from 1 - 6-1/2 days in NSR between. My post ablation (90 days) I was in AF 9 times for an average of 19 hours in AF each time with longest NSR at 28 days between 30 & 60 days. AF 5 x first 30 days, 1 x second 30 days and 3 x last 30 days. Has anyone had similar experience where there is continued improvement. My resting heart rate now is mid to upper 50's. My AF symptoms are not nearly as severe and sometimes without the fitbit I wouldn't know I was in AF. Also going from nearly 2 days per episode to just over 1/2 days is a huge improvement. Previously would have to convert with exercise. Since ablation I self convert. I was so encouraged by the 28 day run. Had not had anything like that in the past 15 years or so. Since that run I've had 2 AF episodes totaling 29 hours combined out of the last 21 days. Can I expect more improvement or is this where I'll be at going forward? Seems like most people here have SVT's which I believe to be a related but different animal! I believe mine was vagal type. I did have etopics in the middle of the 90 days and some the days leading up to AF episode but definitely subsiding. Almost seems like a throwback to my experiences 30 years ago when this all began. I read someone saying that their EP said an ablation was like turning back the clock.

8 Replies

Where to start?

Yes heart rate post ablation is often higher and can take many months to return to pre ablation levels.

Yes a great improvement and my suggestion would be to throw away the fit bit and get on with life rather than focus on your heart.

As we say in our fact sheet on recovery it can take three to six months for recovery and many people are still improving at nine months so relax and enjoy. Your quality of life (QOL) is obviously improved which is the whole point of ablation so great success I feel. If push comes to shove a second ablation may well touch up the few areas still active. I was ten years free myself and waiting for my fourth.

pearlbob I was wondering whether you could share with me your fitbit AF assessments. I too wear a fit bit and but I am not sure how to know if I am in AF or not looking at my readings. Since starting my medications (solotol and eliquis) my readings have stayed in the blue (resting) and yellow(fat burning) levels only. Upper levels have only reached 110 beats and this is only after extreme exercise levels. Any help appreciated....seeing my cardiologist on Tuesday.

in reply to scotthongkong


I have a fitbit which I use to record the distance I walk and I find it very useful for that and get annoyed if I forget it and my friends and my wife go zipping past me. It's a good motivator to get off my backside. I sometimes look at my resting heart rate to check underlying trends.

If you are seeing your cardiologist shortly take your app in with you so you can show him/her your readings. I usually take my wife in with me and we have a discussion when we get back about what was said and we make a note in the diary.

If you can show before/after readings for your drug use, it may be that your cardiologist will find them useful.

As far as I was concerned Fitbit measurements are useless for AF. It will tell you if your pulse is high or low but not if you are in AF (accurately) or in some other form of arrhythmia-it may well be that the drugs are stopping your heart rate going high - ask the cardio but don’t rely on Fitbit to tell whether you are in af or not.

in reply to dmack4646

Could not agree more. The clue is in the name. Fitbits are fitness aids and not designed for abnormal rhythms. Mine is quite old and bog standard and doesn't tell me my heart rate. But it does tell me - when I use it, or indeed have it in its bracelet in my rucksack - useful things like how many steps I have taken and how many active minutes I have had and how many hours had 250 steps or more in them.

I like others I am sure know immediately without any devices when I am in AF and know when I have returned to NSR. It's always been that way for me. When I look at my heartrate history, it confirms my in and outs. When I first go into AF it is mostly while at rest such as sitting in a chair or sleeping. Some could say how do you know when you go into AF when sleeping, do you wake up? Me no, but I do know when I do wake up in the morning with a feeling of angst in the background However when I look at my heart rate history it always shoots straight up from blue (below 60BPM) to yellow (above 80BPM) and pretty much stays in the yellow 95% of the time until I return to NSR where it drops and stays in the blue 90% of the time except in the mornings or midday when I'm walking or working outside (and even then it goes from yellow to blue). So when I scroll through my history which is there in the app you can visually see when you were in and out of AF. Also the heart rate line graph will correspond as the upward spikes are when in AF and the gradually trend downwards are in NSR. So if you look at a month and you had say 5 AF episodes you'll see 5 peaks in that month. The heart rate does not show when you get out of AF in fact it trends up the day you get into NSR. For example if you go into NSR at noon the resting heart rate will still show increase for the day because the first 12 hours were in the yellow and last 12 hours in blue which averages higher than a day in the blue. Besides the sensations that come immediately when going into AF I can confirm with looking at the fitbit and start to see numbers 10-20BPM higher than I was even though still sitting. The least expensive way to confirm AF is to by an O2 meter on Amazon for about $15. It shows your heart rate, O2 level and more importantly your heart rhythm in blue on the bottom. When in NSR that rhythm is smooth and evenly spaced. When in AF it is very uneven and jagged. Peaks and valleys of different heights and unequal spacing. Ectopics are very obvious as you can see them as you feel them. A double peak with a long valley for each one. This is something I learned from wearing a fitbit 24/7 for 2 years. Important note. I do not have SVT so my AF durations are much longer that others. They are shorter now they way they were 30 years ago. I hope this helps.

See my response at bottom. Hope this helps. Will answer any other questions you have.


Only use I found for Fitbit monitoring AF was the sleep analysis. When I was in PAF, the Fitbit was unable to give full sleep analysis details. Thankfully no longer in PAF after my second ablation December 5.

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