Hi, I'm awaiting an Ablation.: Hi, I'm... - AF Association

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Hi, I'm awaiting an Ablation.

LMCPL profile image

Hi, I'm awaiting an Ablation. I'm told it's a 50/50 success rate & if so, maybe only last for 1 to 2 years before a 2nd Ablation. Any experiences please, I'm trying to decide if it's worth all the trouble.

57 Replies
BobD profile image

I think it depends where you are and who is doing your ablation. I had three before my AF was terminated in 2008 but well worth the effort. That said, any and all treatment for AF is only ever about improving qualiity of life(QOL) by symptom control so it really depends on how symptomatic and troublesome is your AF.

I would put the success rates much higher than you have been told by the way.

LMCPL profile image
LMCPL in reply to BobD

Hi BobD, I'm in Hampshire & my main concern is even when successful the 1 to 2 years

seems to me to be hardly worth the 3.5 hour procedure....?

BobD, after the 4th, were you completely sorted....?

I would say I'm very active & this has knocked me for six & some.

I don't sleep like I did, maybe 4 or 5 hours at most & tired all the time.

Dizzy a lot of the time. Sometimes I won't drive.

Try to walk every day, even when I do I feel nausea coming on but some days just not possible.!

Up until last summer I could work a 11 or 12 hour day, on my feet all day (Non stop )

Now doing the garden for 2 hours requires at least 2 X 15 min breaks.

Not particularly over weight, don't drink, never smoked, no nothing, just unlucky so my

Cardio Consultant tells me

BobD profile image
BobDVolunteer in reply to LMCPL

I have not had AF since 2008 . That is well more that 2 years by my watch. My 2019 ablation was for atrial tachycardia not AF. Still no AF.

Gowers profile image
Gowers in reply to BobD

You have done well Bob. I remember you sharing with us your experience after last ablation (think it involved an empty carrier bag!)

BobD profile image
BobDVolunteer in reply to Gowers

It was empty after I threw the contents over my shoulder. lol 😁

Gowers profile image
Gowers in reply to BobD


Buffafly profile image
Buffafly in reply to LMCPL

Your QOL doesn’t sound great to me 😕 First thing to say is that predicted success of ablation depends on various factors which your EP must be aware of so general stats mean nothing really. I had one ablation, not advised to have another but it lasted 2 years, I’m on the lowest dose of a calcium channel blocker and take an anticoagulant. Even though I have quite long episodes about once a month they are mostly quite tolerable and I don’t have the horrible symptoms you describe. As you say, it is expectations that count, I was never very fit and energetic so no change there! 💜

I believe that success rate in the UK is around 90%, I had an enlarged left ventricle so was told success for me would probably be c80%.

3.5 years later I am still in NSR, so for me I would say it was worth it, and I would do it again if I had to.

Being back in NSR has transformed my life, I was crippled whenI was in fast AF and all the drugs I was having to take too away any Quality Of Life I had pre ablation

LMCPL profile image
LMCPL in reply to

Hi Mikee69, may I ask where your from & what age...?

I'm down in Hampshire & 66

in reply to LMCPL

I was 48 when I had my ablation, I'm from Leicestershire and my procedure was at Glenfield hospital

LMCPL profile image
LMCPL in reply to

Thank you for your input...!

I weighed up the pros and cons and the cons won so I decided not to go ahead with ablation, the possibility of ongoing symptoms and needing it done several times just wasn't a sensible option for me.

LMCPL profile image
LMCPL in reply to bantam12

Hi Bantam12, this is precisely the situation I'm finding myself in.

I have a fairly good Quality of Life at this moment. Just used to it

being so much better. This is not how I expected my retirement to be...!

It wasn't how I expected my retirement to be either. I imagined myself doing long rambles with various walking clubs.

I had my first ablation before I retired and if anything that made my PAF more frequent, a second one followed a couple of years later and I felt dreadful for months afterwards, with no improvement. After my third I immediately felt better and although I still have AF (constantly now) it no longer exhausts me. I get good days and bad days.

What I wish was, that before I'd any ablations, someone had explained to me the value of eating natural additive free foods. Artificial additives were a sure trigger, especially sweeteners. Cutting them out could well be why l feel so much better now.


It is very much an individual choice but, regular contributors Bob & Jeannie & many others have shared their experiences of ablation many times & also given great advice. It is such an individual decision but for me having felt really poorly while in af & for days after it was a decision I made thinking nothing could be worse than living with the uncertainty of when af would happen. Part of my reason for going ahead with a 2nd ablation within 4months & just before lockdown was reading through the success stories on here & also - realising recovery is different for everyone. I think someone posted that they actually went home same day on train. Well, there is no way that could happen to me as I was quite ill after 1st ablation & spent 3 nights in hospital. I didn't hesitate to have 2nd ablation & although not af free it is nowhere as bad as before. Tweaks to the medication & great cardio nurse helped me loads. I checked patient reviews before selecting my cardiologist & had in- depth discussion as well as asking lot of questions before going ahead. (Do let us know how you get on.)

Salvatore68 profile image
Salvatore68 in reply to Gowers

What meds were u on after ablations and For how long

Gowers profile image
Gowers in reply to Salvatore68

Still on meds & don't think I could manage without them = Digoxin 62.5 x 2 or 3 a day. + Diltiazam 300mg x 1 at night (highest dose there is) no real side effects though I will have to have regular blood test to check Digox levels & - I had to reduce Digoxin strength due to side effects. Also I couldn't tolerate Bisoporol or - the af flutter that happened when on Flecanaide & my cardiologist took me off the Flec within months of ablation) We are all different & I was hoping that, like other contributors on here the Flec would give me peace of mind. Af nowhere as bad as before the 2 ablations

in reply to Gowers

Where do you live?

Rosemaryb1349 profile image
Rosemaryb1349 in reply to Gowers

I think that was me who went home on train the same day. I have had three goes at ablation now the first altered the afib but did not stop it. The second had to be abandoned mid way for medical reasons but the third one in 2018 has made a huge improvement in my QOL. All were done under general anaesthetic. I now get bouts of flutter occasionally which can be terminated using the overdrive method and my Pacemaker.

Gowers profile image
Gowers in reply to Rosemaryb1349

I think it might have been you! My cardiologist said I was only his 2nd patient in over 30years to stay in for 3 nights

Hi, I know what you're feeling as I was in the same situation a year ago. I'm 65 and have had good health generally apart from a short period when a nasty gallstone required surgery. Having been sport mad since a kid I've been pretty fit and strong so when first experiencing AF it was a shock to me as the first episode happened while relaxing watching TV at aged 63. It turned out after exploration to be PAF and apart from minor symptoms and anxiety it didn't affect me greatly. The episodes were self resolving, lasting up to 24 hours at most and usually weeks and sometimes months apart. I had a good private cardiologist who after about 18 months recommended a cryo ablation which I had in December. His attitude to me was that it was highly successful in my situation, up to 85% and a relatively minor procedure. It all went well on the day so I had high hopes. As has been said to you on here each persons experiences are different so my outcome is not what you may expect if you go ahead. Since the ablation I've had much stronger PAF, digestive issues, bouts of ectopics and a generally pronounced lack of energy. I have to say it is very slowly improving except for any sustained physical exercise. As mentioned by Jean I have also moderated certain aspects of my diet to avoid triggers, one of them being alcohol and another being sugar. I have a review at the end of the year but after discussion with the EP who carried out the procedure it's possible I may have to have another. As Bob says it's how you rate your QOL as much as the successful outcome as there is no current cure for AF.

This site is excellent for sharing information from people in our situation so keep asking questions and sharing your thoughts, it's certainly a big help.

Let us know how you get on, stay safe 👍😊

I’ve just begun to think ahead to ablation. My cardiologist said effectiveness partly depends on the individual heart. In my case he said 70% effective with serious complications for 0.5%. He is flagged as the most expert on AF in my area, Brighton, which has a very well regarded cardiology unit. My AF is awful but about once a week for 4 hours. However my anxiety about when/if/how is affecting me. I am 71, up to now medically fit ie blood pressure, weight, blood sugar, cholesterol fine but physically unfit due to complications from osteoarthritis. You sound badly affected, maybe worth the try?

Hello, I’ve had two ablations and am waiting for my third. The first ablation didn’t last more than a few months and by the time I’d recovered I needed a second My second ablation lasted for two years and even though I’m now in persistent AF I definitely feel better and am in better health than before I had either ablation. Also techniques and success rates are improving all the time and as others have so rightly said we are all different. I do hope it goes well for you and that you can enjoy the quality of life that you had before.

I'm 65, and had my Ablation 4.5 years ago. I was in and out of the hospital (University Hospital, Coventry) all on the same day. I was back at work within 12 days. Medically, it was the greatest relief of my life. I had no symptoms post procedure for almost 4 years.

My AF returned after 4 years. Now I'm on 300 Flecainide, and 10 Bisoprolol / day, and I'm on the waiting list for a second Ablation.

I'm 100% delighted I had the first procedure, and would have the second today if the opportunity was available. It gave me my life back.

Ducky2003 profile image
Ducky2003 in reply to Challiefan

I'm under UCHW too. Supposed to be a centre of excellence for cardiac stuff so fingers crossed.

Gowers profile image
Gowers in reply to Challiefan

That is a good recovery - i was in hospital for 3days so, you did really well to return to work in just 12days. I'm glad I went for 2nd ablation as I couldn't tolerate the Flec it made me go into af flutter & Bisop also made me feel quite poorly

Challiefan profile image
Challiefan in reply to Gowers

Blimey, sounds as though you suffered. Just as well the 2nd Ablation worked out for you. All the best!

I am awaiting my third but between them it is marvellous.Had the first in Wales 2 at the Radcliffe.The space between I felt great.Third one is needed due to relplacement of my replacement Mitral Valve which failed spectacularly this year!!!!!

Gowers profile image
Gowers in reply to 4874

Where in Wales is the Radcliffe - not heard of it before

4874 profile image
4874 in reply to 4874

Radcliffe is in Oxford

Gowers profile image
Gowers in reply to 4874

I thought it was in Oxford. - I read your message wrong. Where in Wales did you have 1st one done?

4874 profile image
4874 in reply to Gowers

University of Wales The Heath when I had first Mitral Valve replacement .Professor Von Opel .

I too am in Hampshire. EP at QA wanted me to have an ablation but refused. Next he decided to try me on Flecainide and now only one episode in 9 months and that brought quickly under control with PIP

LMCPL profile image
LMCPL in reply to

Hi Hylda, I’m at QA too, & on the waiting list. It’s a real quandary knowing what to do for the best. There are so many different results, just in my one post alone. Cheers

in reply to LMCPL

People tell me plump for Southampton General. Cardiology centre of excellence.

Christine2606 profile image
Christine2606 in reply to

I agree. I am under the care of Dr Ullah at Southampton General Hospital. Couldn’t ask for better!

Diagnosed AF SEPT 2015 had 12 attacks up to July 2015. Always high rate 130 to 190 resting. Actually asymptomatic at these rates, running at 243bpm no problem , until I saw the rate on my Garmin. Was lightly medicated on verapamil rate control initially. ( tried beta blockers at first but terrible side effects, I do not tolerate them hence the verapamil) . But Afib begets afib. The attacks got more over frequent over 20 months . The 12th attack lasted 8 days and I was only cardioverted by flecainide infusion in the CCU of my local hospital. Then put on high diltiazem rate control , and flecainide rhythm control. Several side effects Inc , tiredness, excercise intolerance, poor memory, brain fog, the latter getting worse . Reduced QAL. So I had a LEFT ATRIA PVI cryo ablation jan29 2017. No afib since. Unfortunately developed rentrant atrial flutter in the right atria. 9 days after the ablation, according to EP probable cause the flecainide I was taking . 140 bpm fairly constant. I was very symptomatic with the flutter , breathless walking from lounge to kitchen to make a brew. Low QAL. Luckily got an ablation for that on the 26th Feb. 2018. No flutter since.

I came off ALL drugs May 15th 2018. I got my memory back and lost the brain fog about 4 to 6 weeks later. I do everything now what I did before, but A bit more careful about what I eat and drink, but I never had any triggers anyway - afib just happened. .I can go anywhere without worrying I will go into afib. And as I am not having afib attacks, my heart will not be getting worse. Afib begets afib. It's not perfect as I do get ectopics, Inc long runs. I ignore them mostly unless they last days, but so far even those stop. And so i am not worried. Worry csuses heart problems. I am more and more believing i have always had ectopics and just never noticed as i was not so heart sensitive. If I go running I can sometimes have an erratic heart beat for first 5 or 7 mins, for some reason never get this on my bike, but again it resolves so not worried.

I cannot say that I am cured of afib, but definitely if afib came back tomorrow morning I would happily have another ablation tomorrow afternoon to keep off the drugs and avoid the inconvenience of the attacks.

I am now 60 year old. I was reasonably fit. I have no other co morbitities.

Best wishes.

I apologize for going off the subject, but does anyone have a trick or some type of advice on trying to sleep during an episode

Marjoram27 profile image
Marjoram27 in reply to Racerx

Hi. It seems to be a common problem and you can find quite a lot on that subject, but I’d say find the things that work for you.

If it’s too uncomfortable I might get up and walk about, sit in a cold room for a short while, have a cold glass of water.

If I think I can avoid getting up I try to relax, particularly my shoulders, and focus on something else. I also always tell myself that all I need to do is relax back into sleep and it will have gone when I wake up, stay positive. Only once recently have I still had tachycardia on waking, and getting up in the morning shifted it. I hope you find what works for you 🤞

You are currently struggling to do the things you want to do. The nature of AF means that that situation won't improve on it's own. ... You are being offered the possibility of returning to the life you had before. I can't understand why there's a decision to be made.

I went back into AF beginning of the year after 5 years free with my 4th ablation. Feeling a 110 (I am 67.) Waiting to see if I can have a 5th and get my life back.

Gowers profile image
Gowers in reply to Barb1

My cardiologist is not keen to more than 2. To have af return after such a long while must be very hard to cope with

Barb1 profile image
Barb1 in reply to Gowers

It is but I trust my EP and if he recommends when I can eventually see him then I'll have a 5th.

If you're not convinced it's worth it then your AF is probably manageable. I know people with AF who hardly know they've got it. However, if your symptoms are significantly robbing you of QOL, then ablation is a no-brainer in my view.

The 50-50 success rate doesn't sound right to me. It's much better than that. And if it doesn't "cure" the problem, you can always have another one - my wife has had 2, 1 cryo (which they couldn't complete because of damage to the phrenic nerve, now resolved) and 1 RF which appears to have done the trick. The RF ablation was done under a GA which allows the EP to be more "aggressive" in seeking out and putting paid to the rogue cells.

I'm under investigation to clarify if I have Afib or ventricular tachycardia. Which ever it is it's relatively infrequent and I find deep breathing and a simple meditation technique (clasping each finger alternately for 5 breaths so ten times five in all) helps to restore NSR and thereby sleep. I'm no expert but the Vagal nerve is key. Good luck.

I was in a similar quandary. My AF appeared from nowhere 4 years ago on my 50th birthday. I was put on Bisoprolol but this didnt help the AF and made me feel dreadful. I couldn't walk more than 50m and going upstairs was like climbing the north face of the Eiger. 20 hosp admissions in 6 months as the meds still didnt control it. Begged cardiologist to put me on Diltiazem instead and felt a lot better, albeit with swollen feet. Cardioversion after 6 months lasted 4 days so then put on Amiodarone and cardioverted again 3 months later and stayed in nsr. Was supposed to have been on ablation list but then got taken off by accident. I was taken off the Amiodarone last October after nearly 3 years to see if I stayed in nsr, without having to have the ablation. I had lost 4 stone so we thought it worth a try. Lasted until this month but AF back and I'm back on the Amiodarone again awaiting another cardioversion and then ablation. I had forgotten how debilitating the AF was which has pushed my original ablation reluctance to one side. I really didn't want one which is why I didnt chase when the appointment didnt come. Only you know how rough you feel and what you can cope with but as someone else said, AF begets AF. I hadnt fully appreciated how wonderful nsr is until this kicked off again. Also, I cant stay on Amiodarone too much longer because of the side effects at my age. Are you on any meds as these may be contributing to or causing your issues? Also, have you had a cardioversion? Best wishes.

LMCPL profile image
LMCPL in reply to Ducky2003

Hi, my AF came out of nowhere last August. Had 2 Cardioversions & awaiting the 3rd in July. I’m beginning to think I’m not as bad as I could be ( reading all the replies ) One person said if I’m thinking about it then maybe my AF is manageable.

He or she may well have a point.

Thanks everyone, for all the input ...!

Ducky2003 profile image
Ducky2003 in reply to LMCPL

That's what I thought too, perhaps I should just try and cope, usually on the days when it's not too bad but then bam! I get an awful few days when I'd happily try and ablate myself with a soldering iron 🤣

LMCPL profile image
LMCPL in reply to Ducky2003

If that works, then let me know. I’m all for DIY.... cheers

I had my ablation Oct 2019 after several trips to Resus, blackouts etc & fitted with a reveal monitor. I would highly recommend it you have nothing to lose and mine personally has been a success so far! No hospital admissions or episodes since - I take sotalol that’s it. I have other heart issues but ablation wise fingers crossed x good luck if you decide to go ahead x

I had my one and only ablation in November 2013 and still AF free. For me, definitely worth it.

I do a lot of reading on research to do with arrhythmias but I have brain fog so forget most of what I read.

What I do clearly remember for obvious reasons is that the success rate over 48 months for AFIB is 48%.

For Atrial tachycardia/flutter and other re-entry arrhythmias such as the very common AV node re-entry it is much higher in the 90% + over 48 months.

I am also waiting for a cryoablation and sure that it is the right thing for me. I have at least 1 attack a day and it is wearing me out. The meds don’t fully work anymore so I need to try something!

Hi. My doctor told me I have afib a day or two after I had brain surgery when I was 60. The brain surgery was very successful, but the afib lingered on for many years. Then a doctor friend suggested ablation. It didn’t work very well , then I had a second and a third ablation since. The third was 3 years ago .” IT WORKED”. Wow . Now I have QOL. I still take flecainide andBisoprolol, and it does make me tired and I feel it makes me gain weight as I eat like a bird, but I really am not complaining. I am now 78 ,female and living the dream. ( in Canada)

** my life was crap the first 13 years of afib.

I do not post very often, however I read the posts almost every day.

I really appreciated the positive posts that I read here. THANK YOU,


Hi yer my son is 17 now suffered from svt since the age of 7 his just had his 3rd ablation in March this year the first 2 never worked but we are now 3 months since the 3 rd and so far so good fingers crossed for this one good luck on what you decide



Believe me it’s worth it. It’s one year since I had mine and so far no problem at all. I exercise daily And take metoprolol and that helps a lot. I can’t compare with the way I was before. I don’t see myself needing another one.

Let me channel the responses in a different direction. Since you are awaiting your third cardioversion in July, you are in persistent AF. AF begets AF, with one year persistent, the condition is long-standing AF. After that you are on the road to permanent AF. So the decision is do you want to fight to get back to NSR or do you want to accept permanent AF? I decided that I wanted to be back in NSR which took three ablations to be in NRS for a year and counting. What I am trying to say is that you cannot re-visit the decision in the future.

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