A question for SLOW AF & Ablations - AF Association

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A question for SLOW AF & Ablations


Hi Everyone - huge thanks for all the posts which I’ve found incredibly helpful.

Question: From reading posts, most AF on here seems to be flutter or tachycardia. I can kind of understand how burning out pathways (Ablation) would reduce the ‘dodgy’ messages reaching the heart and therefore reduce b.p.m. BUT my AF is just erratic beating, usually below 70 with gaps of 1.5secs. and sometimes below 50bpm - so how would burning out the dodgy pathways help this scenario - logic would tell me that with less paths, my heart would beat even more slowly!!

Any thoughts anyone and apologies if I’m being thick! Thank you in anticipation.

13 Replies

I think it is important to understand that Atrial fibrillation is just one of a number of arrhythmias although the most common. Atrial flutter is quite different as is atrial tachycardia although treatment for both may be similar to that for AF.

Bradycardia (slow heart rate i e below 60) is not AF and neither are pauses which may well be caused by other electrical problems such as lack of conductivity. between the various chambers. These would not respond to ablation and may need to be addressed by pace maker and in extreme cases of profound bradycardia by an implatable cardiac defibrillator (ICD).

wilsond in reply to BobD

Mine is classed as slow AF..but have Flutter too. Heart beat on AF is all over the place but rarely fast,but sometimes converts to flutter!! Just to be different?! Hope you are recovering well x

Good question! Shall be interested to see replies,I'm the same in AFib..slow,erratic lurchy.. in Flutter different matter.

I have PAF and rate rarely goes above the 70s or 80s, my Cardio has suggested either ablation or pacemaker.

I had an ablation for AF which was just irregular, no change in speed, fast or slow. It worked by the way.

Rodders7777 in reply to Cyrtis

That’s great to hear - thank you!

AF is characterised by an erratic heart-rate so is termed an irregular, irregularity and originates from the left atria. Atrial Flutter is a steady conduction of electrical activity originating from the right atria and is therefore slightly easier and quicker to ablate.

Tachycardia = fast heart rate - Bradycardia = slow heart rate

Rate and rhythm are very different. AF & AFL affect the rhythm and can occur in slow or fast rates although Flutter is normally fast.

The ablation burns are to cause scar tissue to form so that the erratic - actually completely random would be a better description - block the random signals. Much easier to see on this video


Hope that helps explain.

On the NHS site it says AF is ' more commonly' fast irregular but can be within acceptable levels and still be AF,so we are rare birds!


Try this first before burning out anything ...


After 9 years of trying different foods and logging EVERYTHING I ate, I found sugar (and to a lesser degree, salt – i.e. dehydration) was triggering my Afib. Doctors don't want to hear this - there is no money in telling patients to eat less sugar. Each person has a different sugar threshold - and it changes as you get older, so you need to count every gram of sugar you eat every day (including natural sugars in fruits, etc.). My tolerance level was 190 grams of sugar per day 8 years ago, 85 grams a year and a half ago, and 60 grams today, so AFIB episodes are more frequent and last longer. If you keep your intake of sugar below your threshold level your AFIB will not happen again (easier said than done of course). It's not the food - it's the sugar (or salt - see below) IN the food that's causing your problems. Try it and you will see - should only take you 1 or 2 months of trial-and-error to find your threshold level. And for the record - ALL sugars are treated the same (honey, refined, agave, natural sugars in fruits, etc.). I successfully triggered AFIB by eating a bunch of plums and peaches one day just to test it out. In addition, I have noticed that moderate exercise (7-mile bike ride or 5-mile hike in the park) often puts my Afib heart back in to normal rhythm a couple hours later. Don’t know why – perhaps you burn off the excess sugars in your blood/muscles or sweat out excess salt??

Also, in addition to sugar, if you are dehydrated - this will trigger AFIB as well. It seems (but I have no proof of this) that a little uptick of salt in your blood is being treated the same as an uptick of sugar - both cause AFIB episodes. (I’m not a doctor – it may be the sugar in your muscles/organs and not in your blood, don’t know). In any case you have to keep hydrated, and not eat too much salt. The root problem is that our bodies are not processing sugar/salt properly and no doctor knows why, but the AFIB seems to be a symptom of this and not the primary problem, but medicine is not advanced enough to know the core reason that causes AFIB at this time. You can have a healthy heart and still have Afib – something inside us is triggering it when we eat too much sugar or get (even a little) dehydrated. Find out the core reason for this and you will be a millionaire and make the cover of Time Magazine! Good luck! - Rick Hyer

PS – there is a new study out backing up the above observations. You can see it at


willywombat44 in reply to Hidden

So how do we get our 5 a day?


This is an earlier report that shows the link to be the other way round - AF causes hyperglycaemia!

Hi Rodders7777,

My HR was always around 45 with dips to 36 occasionally. I had and still have persistent AF. The Bradychardia was caused by Left Bundle Branch Block, LBBB, that was preventing the rapid signals from the Atrium reaching my ventricles. Also my right and left ventricles were not beating in synch with each other and this was causing a low Ejection Fraction,(low ventricular output). My treatment was a Cardiac Resynchronisation Therapy, CRT, pacemaker with ICD. The one with ICD was my choice since I live in a remote area and am a candidate for Sudden Cardiac Arrest and paramedics would never get to me in time if anything happened. My resting HR is now set at 70. My pacemaker has Anti Tachycardic Pacing, where if it detcts my HR goes above about 130, it increases it even further and then brings it back down to around the 70 mark again. The ICD kicks in if my HR gets to 200 or above. Fortunately it's never done that yet, since it would mean an automatic driving ban for at least six months. My pacemaker is monitored/interogated about every four months with a unit at the side of my bed,(spy in the bedroom), and automatically sends the result to the hospital. Also if anything unusual happens, like shorts bursts of VT, it will send a report to the hospital. That's happened three or four times in the four years I've had the PM.


Wow, that’s quite a setup!! Glad to hear it’s working for you. Thanks for the reply - all of this information ‘informs’ us better as to what’s going on around our condition. Thank you for your comments.

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