Can Ablation make Afib worse?: I am scheduled... - AF Association

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Can Ablation make Afib worse?


I am scheduled for an Ablation next month and I have a question, can Ablation make Afib worse. This is a scary thought, now I am questioning my decision!

17 Replies

In my opinion, almost certainly not, for a first ablation at the hands of an experienced EP. After multiple ablations, I wonder whether scar tissue generates more AF/Flutter in the longer term.

I’ve had three ablations. While the first two failed, my quality of life was better. Less pounding Afib and better sense of well being.


Short term maybe as the heart is quite annoyed by what it goes through but seldom once healed. Never met anybody who regrets having ablation.

Slattery in reply to BobD

Thanks Bob, this helps my fears. I guess it is normal to feel nervous as you get closer to the Ablation date.

Buffafly in reply to Slattery

Yes it is! It will get much worse 😰 so be prepared - 'feel the fear and do it anyway' 💜

Slattery in reply to Buffafly


Was this your experience? Is your Afib better today?

CDreamer in reply to Slattery

Everyone reacts very, very differently. It could make things worse but is very, very unlikely to. It is perfectly normal to question your decision as the date draws close. I think I picked up the phone to cancel several times but I’m really glad I didn’t.

Slattery in reply to CDreamer

How are you doing sense your Ablation?

CDreamer in reply to Slattery

I have a complicated history but after 2nd ablation it worked for 3 years - no AF. Unfortunately it is a only treatment, not always a cure & other underlying conditions triggered mine again so I went for Pacemaker & thinking about AV node ablation. Blissful 3 years with no AF - Yeah! Good luck to you.

Oldiemoldy in reply to CDreamer

I am miserable now - but expect to improve. One month into 3 month blanking period. I got a whole 4 days w/out AFib breakthrough but am having one now.

I stopped the Multaq with doctors knowledge and permission due to terrible cough - which will last a few more days because Multaq reportedly has a 14 day wash out period.

Expect heart to get back in rhythm and if it does not by tomorrow I can go to clinic for a cardio version.

Going on and having ablation now only 2 years in and before permanent AFib was the better choice. For one thing I have quit alcohol entirely for now and may never go back. I liked my beer - too much I fear to stick to 1 only 3-4 days per week. My GP is pleased as punch. Me not so much.

In sum, recovery is HARD but I expect a payoff by mid June.

Thanks for all the thoughtful and supportive posts!

Buffafly in reply to Slattery

I was petrified on the day of my ablation and as I told the kind nurse I couldn't understand it because I was completely calm before my back operation which was much more risky (see the TV programme 'Surgeons on the edge of life'). She simply said 'It's your heart', I think she'd heard it before! Also I was totally committed to the back op but like you I felt the ablation was optional. The EP told me he'd advise me to have it if I was his mother! I was taken straight off meds except anticoagulation and had no AF for a couple of years but then it crept back slowly. I still just take the smallest dose of Diltiazem and I seldom have episodes except when I am already unwell so I have no regrets.

Best wishes!

Kingslip in reply to BobD

I did!

All the medical literature predicts an increase in arrhythmias during the post-ablation “blanking” period, not necessarily afib, but pac’s, pvc’s, and ectopic beats. After that time, if the procedure is successful, the arrhythmias should subside, and afib should go away, at least for a year or so. There is no permanent “cure” for afib, but ablation gives extended relief.

I had my ablation nearly 4 years ago and have been AF free since. Best thing I ever did.


I'm now 8 weeks post catheter ablation (pulmonary vein isolation), the procedure was very good, I had doubts initially, but all went to plan and I was home 12 hours later.

I have the consultant next week for the check-up, but I'm experiencing some weird sensations (Pauses?) double beats and fast pulse but no sign of the Afib like I'd previously experienced.

After reading a few peoples feedback on post ablation, this seems to be fairly common.

Good luck with the procedure

Thanks everyone for your support at this time when I am anxious.

Obviously everyone is different, as is the procedure. My experience was long history of flutter and on 40mg sotalol twice daily plus anticoag. I was advised by my EP that I could Just stop my drugs and get on with life, so why not just have an ablation. He convinced me and, it was the worst decision I ever made. Within three months my sotalol was gradually increased from 80mg daily to 240mg daily with increased side effects and this still would not control the flutter. Eventually I was doing 148bpm for nearly a year non stop. Four further ablations to try and restore sinus rhythm were unsuccessful and, the only way to avoid heart failure was to undergo pace and ablate. My feeling is that if you can have a reasonable quality of life by maintaining sinus rhythm with medication for as long as possible, until there are no other alternatives, then take that route. There are many people that do regret ablations. They are not always an ideal answer. If you decide to go ahead I wish you well and hope you get the outcome you need.

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