Ablation whilst in AF?: Does anyone know if... - AF Association

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Ablation whilst in AF?


Does anyone know if you can have your ablation done whilst in fast AF? I’m due on Tuesday and went into AF yesterday evening. Would it help them pinpoint the problem area or would it be too much extra stress on the heart? Has anyone been in this position and knows the answer? Thanks in advance.

34 Replies

My understanding is that they would try to stimulate AF if you weren’t already in AF so they can successfully map the area that is to Ablated. Your medical team will advise.

Herbie_uk in reply to CDreamer

Thank you very much. That makes perfect sense. It can be a nightmare to get through to them, especially on weekends so I though I’d ask here first.


It makes no difference Herbie. If you are in NSR they administer a drug to put you in AF or do so by electrical stimulation I understand.

Herbie_uk in reply to BobD

Thanks, I have had an ablation before but it was for atrial flutter back then and I don’t remember the whole procedure.

good luck on Tuesday Herbie 👍

Herbie_uk in reply to Mariajoy

Thank you very much

Yes, good luck & wishing you a speedy recovery & long lasting NSR.

Herbie_uk in reply to CDreamer

Thanks. I’ll be over the moon if that happens.

My last ablation (May 2019) I was in atrial flutter (AFL) while having the procedure. I had been admitted six weeks before in AFL and was successfully cardioverted but put on the waiting list for an ablation. I was told the wait would be six months+. Six weeks later I went back into AFL and my EP decided it was better to do the ablation as an emergency while I was in AFL. She felt if I had another cardioversion I would have to go back again if I didn't remain in NSR until the ablation. Her feeling was it was better to do it as an emergency, because I might get trapped in an endless cycle for the next six months. If I remember correctly I had it the day after I was admitted into hospital. I have had all four of my ablations under sedative but not general anaesthetic. I can't remember this one feeling any different from the others. I had a bit more faith they would find the troublesome area because I was already misfiring.

.I went into flutter whilst in hospital with 2 nasty infections, which I guess caused it. I had a cardioversion which worked, but no ablation was mentioned or offered. As far as I knew it was a one off problem that was cured but 4-5 months later it recurred. I had an ablation but that took about 4-5 months. They quoted about a 91% success rate so I was very blasé about the whole thing. It failed after a few weeks. I can’t help wondering if I’d had a quick ablation to begin with would I have avoided the subsequent nightmare.

Is yours still flutter? Mine has progressed but I don’t know exactly what to. I should leave the same day so I must be having local.

My AFL is caused by scarring from multiple heart surgeries which I had in childhood. A lot of the work I had done was around the right atrium so there is a build up of scar tissue there. This occasionally interferes with the electrical pathways in that part of my heart causing them to misfire. When I was a teenager I was warned I could develop arrythmias as a result of the earlier surgeries. I think as survival rates for children improved, the cardiac teams were starting to see this happen a lot more. So I was forewarned it might happen eventually. I was not forewarned it could take four ablations and possibly more to resolve the issue though.

I had my first experience of AFL in 2014 when I was 28. I think I was walking around in AFL for a week or more before eventually going to my GP. I remember telling her something just didn't feel right with my heart. I didn't have a Fitbit then so I had no idea my heart was pumping away at 160bpm. Anyway she sent me straight to hospital where I was anticoagulated. After 3 days I was given a TEE (to confirm no clots) and a cardioversion. I was assigned an EP and she said she would perform an ablation at a later date. I initially responded quite well to the Bisoprolol so I didn't have my first ablation until 2017.

Four ablations later and I'm still experiencing arrythmias. I recently went for a check-up as I've not been feeling well, I had a 24 hour holter monitor which detected "significant and sustained runs of atrial tachycardia". I've got a telephone consultation with my EP on Weds to discuss what action can be taken going forwards. My understanding is atrial tachycardia also originates from the atrium like AFL. I've yet to find out much about it though. Hoping it can be fixed 🤞

Good luck for Tuesday.

So sorry to hear of all your problems. I really hope they can do something more.

Good luck for Tuesday and please let us know how you get on. I see you have only been on the forum for a couple of weeks so you may not be aware of two very helpful factsheets, links below.



All the best......

Herbie_uk in reply to FlapJack

Thanks so much - I’ll check them out.

I know it has been said before but they much prefer you in afib so they can map / identify and solve the problem. Good luck I’m sure it will work brilliantly

Herbie_uk in reply to Sfhmgusa

I've read the factsheets that FlapJack recommended and realise what a newbie question that was now!! Thanks for the reply.

Good Luck Tuesday! Same for me! ❤️

Thanks so much.

Yes, I went into AF..140+bpm on the morning of my admission for my last ablation , shortly after getting out of bed . I stayed that way until ablated.

Good luck !

Herbie_uk in reply to Jalia

Thank you.

I was in afib and they ablated that area first as I was told. As others mentioned, they try to trigger it with drugs.

Herbie_uk in reply to Spoiler

Thanks, I appreciate your answer.

Yes it is ok. I had an ablation with permanent AF.

Herbie_uk in reply to Gincalpe


I can remember during my last AF hospital event the doctor saying it was a shame my consultant wasn't working that day as he would have loved to have done your next ablation there and then as an emergency whilst having an AF episode as it is so much easier! Good luck, Max

Thanks, now I have to hope to stay in!

Yes. The stress of going for my second ablation caused AF as I entered the hospital. It is easier for them to locate the areas to a ablate if it is actually happening.

Herbie_uk in reply to RichMert


I was in AF when I went if for mine last year, worked a treat, NSR now long may it reign, good luck and hope it goes well 👍

I was in fast AF when I went in for my last ablation in Aug 2018. The procedure went ahead and apparently it reverted during the time I was on the table. They did a "very thorough" job including mapping etc then tried to induce AF again unsuccessfully, Dr Broadhurst told me afterwards that they cranked me up to 280 bpm to see if it would induce AF again but it didn't and (fingers crossed) all is good still today. Good luck with your procedure.

Thanks for the info and I really hope you stay AF free.

Hi.I had an ablation(one) done while in afib march 2019 and am still afib free now

Herbie_uk in reply to Longmolly

Thanks. Hope you're AF free forever.

its actually better if yu are in AF as they can see exactly where the heart is misfiring. My brother had it doine when he was in AF and it took one go at it, he has been totally AF free for nearly 12 months...

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