Ablation and drinking alcohol : So I hope to... - AF Association

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Ablation and drinking alcohol


So I hope to get an ablation after about two years of being in and out of Afib. Meds and 3 cardioversion in as much time.

Biggest thing for me has been lifestyle changes. Dropped about 10% of body weight, exercise regularly, and cut way back considerably on all forms of alchohol. With a few periods of months totally abstaining. These actions, in attemp to decrease triggers. So, question is about triggers post ablation.

Will the triggers lessen after the ablation? Can I enjoy my old life style again? Can some of the medication be stopped?

So tired of this stuff.


20 Replies

Triggers will remain I'm afraid.

As for the meds, that is a question for your EP, and your risks of stroke.

FYI I have stopped all AF meds following my ablation, but continue to have very little alcohol (I don't miss it) and caffeine . I made the mistake of having a Chinese take away on Saturday and suffered horrible palpitations, not going to be doing that again!

HiloHairy in reply to Mikee69

Some Chinese dishes do that to me as well, also Vietnamese pho, my favorite soup. As well as odd transient heartbeats they will cause me AFib events as well.

I'm pretty sure it's the added sodium. If I get extra potassium to balance it it's much less likely to happen.

From my own experience I think there is an important relationship between our levels of sodium, potassium and magnesium however I can't find any literature that substantiates this theory.

Mikee69 in reply to HiloHairy

It's the mono sodium glutamate that does me

Ianc2 in reply to Mikee69

how about indian food?

Mikee69 in reply to Ianc2

I've had no problems so far, and I love Indian food

Ianc2 in reply to Mikee69

So do I and it doesn't affect me at all. My wife prefers Chinese..

Congratulations on reducing your intake of alcohol. Here's a link to an article about how long term heavy drinking can affect the heart independent of triggering AF.


Isn't it going to be difficult to keep your intake down long term, rather giving it up altogether? There's always the alcohol free route....

BobL123 in reply to oyster

Wow. Thank you.

That is a lot of information. To summarize, I think it is indicating one can consume 1-2 drinks with out harm. However, more can be harmful and less beneficial.


oyster in reply to BobL123

Yes I would understand it that way.


I think it fair to say that if you do not change your life then those things which caused your AF may well cause it again. Many people find that their lives are changed for the better by AF as a result.

My view is that AF is a real burden that we have to endure. Triggers are still going to be there after the ablation and sometimes you may well get AF still but less frequently and less dramatic.

For the majority ablation stops the AF but unfortunately the minority is a large number many of whom you will find contributing to this forum. The successes have gone away and are getting on with their lives.

I chose to stop drinking alcohol about 3 years ago it wasn’t difficult as I was not a heavy drinker.

I have no idea if it was a trigger for me but it is for many. My episodes of AF have reduced significantly since my last ablation but they still do happen albeit infrequently.

My advice is to give your EP the best chance of treating your AF successfully by staying off the alcohol in future.


Let's not forget those who do not have triggers..

I stopped all meds after ablation , chads2vasc2 zero, 58 years old. Kept my alcohol very low for months , had a bit more in holiday season, a bit more at Christmas, stopped before New Year (if you drink new year keeping to a few is out of the question over 7 hours!) did dry Jan and half of Feb also dry. I never found out my triggers which definitely was not alcohol, so no real need to keep the alcohol low other than I don't really want to encourage "holiday heart" as a way back to AFib. I have to admit I would love a good p**s up though, so sadly missed!

Hey Bob. I just had an ablation on Jan 9 2019. Alcohol was def a triggerfor my afib and it landed me in the hospital three years ago since I was enjoying wine on a regular basis. Like you more recently I had stopped all alcohol before my Jan ablation for a few months. Its been 8 weeks since my ablation and the good news is I have only had flutters and those seem to be diminishing. Bad news is I have had some reoccuring chest pain sincevtge procedure that is improving but that is taking longer than I expected. In terms of alcohol, I am able to have a drink or two with no problem. I am being very careful not to drink more than two drinks. The good news is after abstaining it is all I feel I want and I feel better when I dont over do it. Your question is one I was going to ask my EP but I am sure they will give me the stock answer of moderation. So I believe you will be able to enjoy a drink or two after your ablation but you def should ask your EP. Best of luck with the ablation and I am guessing you will be glad you did it once it is done.

BobL123 in reply to Rbyy

Thank you. Agreed, if one was to ask they all look at you like you're an alcoholic. I think 2 is the safe zone.


Rbyy in reply to BobL123

Lol! I feel your pain. In multiple ways!

Had ablation over 2 years ago. I have loop monitor to track incidences of afib. Only 6 minutes of self resolving afib in that time period. One when I consumed whiskey. Found that drinking 8 oz of water to every 4 oz of alcohol works for me. Best protection comes from diet and exercise. Everybody is different. Find what works for you

BobL123 in reply to jimweisback

Good ideas. Water helps me as does exercise

You can ask the EP/Cardiologist and they will probably say coffee and alcohol in moderation should be OK. In my experience, after being in denial about alcohol being a trigger for 33 years, I can say that it most certainly is a trigger and also will support the condition getting worst over time. I have never been a heavy drinker but I have regularly consumed around 2 bottles of wine a week for 42 years (never drank spirits) and I am in no doubt that red wine does the most significant damage. I had my ablation 2 weeks ago and have not drank alcohol for nearly a year and to be honest feel better for it (though it was difficult at first). What I do not know is if abstenance together with ensuring the key electrolytes etc (that are needed to produce the electrical charges your heart needs to work properly) will reverse the condition over time. Two things alcohol does is deplete your body of Magnesium (needed to balance the electrolytes) and make your blood more acidic which can erode the insulation in the heart making rouge electrical signal more likely (can happen days after consumption). Unfortunately the levels of things like magnesium, sodium, calcium and potassium are needed in the cells of your body and do not alway present in blood tests, especially if you take PPIs (Omeprazole etc) as well. So it really depends on what is causing your condition and I believe no one knows what causes these conditions in nearly every case.

Bob, I had a PVI cryo-ablation for PAF about 6-1/2 months ago. Since that time I've thankfully had zero a-fib episodes and no ectopics whatsoever- just continual NSR. :) Prior to my ablation I drank alcohol moderately (mostly beer) and it was rarely a trigger. About a month ago I reintroduced a small amount of alcohol to my daily regime - I began to drink one bottle of light beer (341 ml / 4% ABV) per day. My EP advised that my consuming one beer a day is "acceptable" (i.e. it's not a significant concern).

Best wishes, Richard

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