Is ablation ever successful?: Have become... - AF Association

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Is ablation ever successful?

Suntanann profile image
Suntanann

Have become increasingly depressed and feel totally hopeless now .

Diagnosed with afib in January . Have tried bisoprolol which made me feel like the living dead, flecanide which seemed to make afib worse and now on 160mg of verapmil a day but it's not controlling the afib . I now have episodes on and off all day everyday and it's destroying my QOL ...I've gone from being active and positive to being confined to the house most of the time and scared to do anything because of the afib attacks are so aggressive .

I'm due to see a EP next week for first time as felt my cardiologist wasn't very helpful or understanding and I want to push for an ablation but am concerned at putting myself this procedure if it isn't successful and then I'm back to square one .

Am needing help and advice .

Should I up meds ?

Should I go for ablation

At 53 yrs old I feel like my life is over

87 Replies
BobD profile image
BobDVolunteer

First I must say I am a fan of ablation so maybe biased.

Any and All treatment for AF is generally only for quality of life (QOL) as it is not life ending and any treatment may need to be repeated.

In 2005 I was finally diagnosd with AF after ten years of missed oportunities and an incompetent doctor following a house move. There followed three ablation to 2008 since when I have had no AF.

In 2017 I developed a different arrhythmia for which I also had an ablation which unfortunately hasn't completely solved the problem althought the extremes of it are reduced.

Simple answer is yes they can and do work but so does life style modification and mental approach .

Contra21 profile image
Contra21 in reply to BobD

How did one know what afib feels like , how would I know as I have ectopics and pacs

BobD profile image
BobDVolunteer in reply to Contra21

Ectopics are premature beats so Ectopics and Pacs are the same thing.

Atrial fibrillation is an irregular non rhythm coming from the left atrium. It is easily felt on the pulse as a chaotic jumble with no regular rhythm and uaually (but not always) over 150 or even 200bpm. In stead of beating properly the atrium writhes like a bag of worms.

Contra21 profile image
Contra21 in reply to BobD

So if my pulse beats boom boom boom after ectopic no afib? but if my pulse feels like a.fish out of water which I have felt for 5 secs or so so scary but then goes back to regular rhythm still not afib?

BobD profile image
BobDVolunteer in reply to Contra21

My EP told me years ago if it last less than 30 seconds it doesn't need a name.

Contra21 profile image
Contra21 in reply to BobD

I've suffered ectopics over 6 years ok and bad and currently a bad phase and it trashes away my happiness.

Hi I'm in exactly the same position as you. I paid to see private cardio as 8 month wait at my hospital. Now paying private to see EP. I am on a waiting list on NHS for EP but when I asked cardio how long would I wait he said I've no idea in current times. Least he was honest. My 120mg verapimil not stopping afib, flutter or ectopics. I've had so many meds. Fed up. Feel your pain.

mannyhoss profile image
mannyhoss in reply to ETHEL103

Verapamil for me caused more Afib, only removed afib with Flecainide 150mg twice per day and one 100mg of Metoprolol after three years not one single afib episode .

ETHEL103 profile image
ETHEL103 in reply to mannyhoss

Hi is metropol a beta blocker. My HR is on the slow side and when I tried bisoprolol and Carvedilol my rate went down to 40 and I felt dreadfully. Did an EP prescribe flecanaide as the only one I've seen so far I paid for. Thankyou.

Suntanann profile image
Suntanann in reply to ETHEL103

I take verapmil 160mg a day and come 6ish of an evening my HR drops to 50's and bp down to 90/60 and i to feel dreadful ...at rhe same time I have afib and flutter going on ...it's a living hell .Roll on next Thursday when I see my EP ...cause I need something to change dramatically as can't keep going like this ....

Literally my life has fallen apart ....am unable to work now and my relationship has broken down as I've become very disabled by afib and at 53 am feeling life is over

ETHEL103 profile image
ETHEL103 in reply to Suntanann

Yes partners only have so much patience don't they? Because a fib is a hidden thing, we look OK to everyone else. My EP appointment is a long way off on NHS. Trying to go private but haven't even had a reply from them. We need different drugs. Pm me if you need private chat. Be happy to compare notes. I don't know anyone else that has afib or ectopics.

mannyhoss profile image
mannyhoss in reply to ETHEL103

Yes metoprolol beta blocker my heart rate is slower than before70 to 75 resting BP 135-80, now after meds 55-65 HR and BP now 116-73.

ETHEL103 profile image
ETHEL103 in reply to mannyhoss

Ah thought so. Thanks for replying.

mannyhoss profile image
mannyhoss in reply to ETHEL103

Cardiologists gave me the flecainide as pill in the box at 150mg worked but got tired of having weekly episodes and being in afib 4 to 6 hours before it worked, then he gave me flecainide 50mg twice a day-did not work still random afib lasting 6 to 12 hours especially after eating dinner, then 100mg twice per day less afib but still got fluttering and shorter random afib 3 to 6 hours. Lastly went on flecainide 150mg twice per day and have not had an episode in three years. Added metoprolol as it lower BP and help lower headache incidents also. I also noticed that the only position to sleep and does not exacerbate the heart to afib is to only sleep on my right shoulder. Strange, move to left shoulder sleeping and heart starts acting-up.

fluttered profile image
fluttered in reply to ETHEL103

Metoprolol is a beta blocker. It slowed my heart

TracyAdmin profile image
TracyAdminAdministrator

Hello there, I am sorry to read your post, having AF does not mean your life is over - Please do not hesitate to contact A F Association if you require any advice or support. Next week will be the perfect opportunity to discuss with your EP how you feel about taking meds or having the ablation procedure - but if you feel you need support now then please do contact the Patient Services Team.

Like Bob, I too favour the ablation route but fully appreciate why folk must weigh up all the pros and cons before deciding. Firstly, it is important to follow all the self help advice regarding life style, thyroid and other health checks as these will have a dramatic effect on reducing AF burden. Once all this done and if your quality of life is still wanting, the choice arguably becomes easier. In simple terms, there are two options, medication and/or medical intervention. Both have their issues, medication often brings with it side effects, possibly long term effects and it’s effectiveness may not remain consistent which is an important consideration for someone your age. Ablation obviously has risks, often one is not enough and the procedure is still relatively new so long term effects are a bit of an unknown.

I’m afraid there are no easy answers because we are all different and not only does AF impact differently on our lives, we all respond differently to the treatment options which are available. Very often, folk with paroxysmal AF develop persistent/permanent AF over time and very often we hear that this does not have such an impact on their lives.

So it’s not surprising that it’s a bit of a dilemma to know what to do for the best. As I have said on this forum many times, thousands of ablations are performed in the countries which this forum has most of its members and its very rare (if ever) that someone has said they wish they had never had theirs. Yes, we get many comments from people experiencing problems in the first 3/6 months but this is a well known factor which forms part of the healing process. Most of us are upset and apprehensive if we don’t have instant total success, but that rarely ever happens. Even if people continue to experience arrhythmias, as Bob says, they tend to be less troublesome but it’s still not an easy decision to make for many.

My advice is talk to your EP, make him/her aware of all of your concerns, go on the waiting list on the basis that it gives you time to reconsider your position and cancel if necessary without significantly adding time to your treatment. Hope this helps.....

Geoffa1 profile image
Geoffa1 in reply to FlapJack

I am now 3 1/2 months post PVI ablation, all the experts suggest I am doing well.The trouble is I am also 9 months post a RTKR and I KNOW I AM DOING WELL (sic)!

Hence the dilemma of progress, it seems so hard to quantify, no AFIB just fatigue and the two steps forward maybe three backwards syndrome!

With knee recovery you work hard make progress, you can measure your extension! Yes you get tired and swollen but you can control you recovery.

With an ablation there seems no control just patience and frustration!

My advice, don't have a TKR and a PVI proximate as you have too much information to benchmark against and you end up frustratingly comparing apples with artichokes!!

I was booked in for ablation but having done all the reading about the chances of it failing, the potential for increased problems afterwards and possible bumpy long recovery decided it wasn't an option for me.I manage quite well on Bispoprolol but will reconsider if things go downhill in the future.

I am somewhat unusual as I have had a number of ablations.

I consider it was worth it for me in the end and now my quality of life is significantly better than when I had AF very regularly.

It can improve QOL after one procedure for many but there is also the potential for the need to have more than one.

Pete

Hi

It’s early days for decision on ablation as there may be lifestyle factors that can be changed or underlying health factors eg thyroid problems that then settle down Ablation is often successful and doctors can predict chances depending on your medical condition. Sometimes repeats are needed as scar tissue heals and opens gaps which let signals through however it is a risky procedure fir AF and best to try everything mentioned above first. Sometimes other arrhythmia develops after ablation and can be more symptomatic so careful thought is needed. As you are young a lot of the drugs used would be too burdensome but lifestyle and medical reasons for AF need looking at as a priority

Hi, I have had A Fib for about 7 - 8 years. I get it about once a week at the moment and it lasts for about 12 - 15 hours each time. I did try propranolol and another similar beta blocker and found they made it worse so stopped. What does work for me is being present/mindfull or meditation. I am also learning about pranayama which is breathing exercises (Yoga) ONLY CERTAIN TYPES OF PRANAYAMA are suggested for heart problems. Simply watching your breath as a form of meditation is helpful. Does your A Fib start at any time or shortly after you lie down at night?

Suntanann profile image
Suntanann in reply to BlueCrysta

Hey There dosent seem to be a petter to it anymore ...mostly the mornings aren't to bad but come lunch time onwards my heart starts to flutter and sometimes afib kicks in ...most often it will start come around 4pm and then on and off for a couple hours sometimes but sometimes longer ...sometimes I wake up in the night and it's started .

I've always eaten healthy ans I'm only 8 stone have never smoked or drunk alcohol and have cut out caffeine ...am at a loss as to what else I can try lifestyle wise .

It's certainly changed since I first started in its onslaught on me ...

I do find of an evening my Hra drops down into the 50's and my bp is around 90/ 58 and not sure I'd that plays a part .

Maybe I need to up the verapamil dosage from the 160mg 4 times a day ...I just don't know to be honest

J2josy profile image
J2josy in reply to Suntanann

Yes it is scary ,and very depressing ,nobody seems to know how it happens ,find a medication that works for you .I was on verapamil for over a year, found it ok ,but 4 stays in hospital I had an ablation at Harefield hospital in 2016, for flutter ,so far it’s been successful, take Apixaban,1.2mg Bisoprolol daily ,not real problems with it so will stick with it .You are quite young ,I was in my mid 60s when first diagnosed,74 this month ,try think positive, do all the research you can .you will be fine I’m sure.

mannyhoss profile image
mannyhoss in reply to Suntanann

Verapamil for me caused more Afib, only removed afib with Flecainide 150mg twice per day and one 100mg of Metoprolol after three years not one single afib episode .

beach_bum profile image
beach_bum in reply to Suntanann

Did I read that right? Your resting HR is...50? And your BP is 90/58? Sorry, but if that was mine, I'd be concerned. I know everyone is different, but those numbers seem quite low. I was first prescribed Metoprolol, and it instant turned me into a zombie who couldn't walk 50 metres without gasping, and like you, I am "match fit"...well for a 66 year old lol. My resting HR is low 60's and BP is typically 125/80...which my doc told me was Ideal...after taking the "zombie" drug, it dropped substantially....55 HR and BP 105/70. I emailed those numbers in, they were concerned, and switched me to 1x180 mg Dilltiazem and 1x 20mg Xarelto daily. *Boom* instant improvement, and I had my life back 🤞.Having said all that, as you are well aware, we are all different, but considering your background is similar to mine... healthy lifestyle, no other heal issues, I thought I'd chime in.

From everything I've read on this forum, is there are way too many factors to get my head around. Mine is Paf triggered by a large meal too close to bedtime, easy fix, equally lucky I nailed the meds second try...my EP and Cardio and GP all said some times it takes much experimentation to get it right, so don't dispair. I know that sounds hollow considering my good fortune, but I do clearly remember the feeling the desperation..." This can't be my new normal...please say it isn't", so you will get through this, they will sort it 🙂

Sambaqui profile image
Sambaqui in reply to BlueCrysta

Hi BlueCrysta, I'm interested in trying pranayama to help AF. Would you please tell me the recommended exercises, and maybe the definitely not recommended? Thank you.

The ablation has a real good chance to change your life. In the summer of 2020 I had AFlutter ablation and in Feb of 2021 I had AFIB I had a cryoablation. My afib was triggered by my Vagal nerve. I have no structural problems with my heart. I am on only taking bp meds. No more flecainide/metoprolol or eliquis. He said he is pretty certain it won’t happen again. If you are a candidate for the ablation I would go for it.

Regardless of treatment options, I think there are a number of different things we need to come to terms with once diagnosed with AF. Back in 2014, I was diagnosed with lone persistent AF. Although I went to see my GP with fairly mild breathing problems, I was absolutely unaware that I had any problems with my ticker. The GP whisked me off to my local hospital for an ECG and they confirmed that I had AF. I was told to go back to my GP where medication was prescribed, arrangements made for the Warfarin clinic, referrals made to see a cardiologist and goodness knows what else. Like you, my life was turned upside down, I didn’t even know if I would be able to drive my new car ordered days before the diagnosis. On the day I saw the GP, I felt fine, by the same evening I was almost a gibbering wreck and in essence, nothing had changed.

However, in time, with help from this forum and my local support group things gradually began to settle and I also began to realise that there were well over 1 million folk in the UK who had AF and the majority managed to lead relatively normal lives. It was a huge physiological impact on my life but I managed to come to terms with it and now, I generally do all the things I want to do except, to the massive annoyance of Mrs FlapJack, gardening and decorating 😉

YES, there is life after AF!!!

BobD profile image
BobDVolunteer in reply to FlapJack

Convenient FJ?

Hi,

I too am unsure about the actual success rate of ablation.

Please keep on investigating, there are other procedures available. I have been free of the affliction for a several years, ablation failed me too

J

RaySyl profile image
RaySyl in reply to Globe-J

Ablation has a very high success rate, although how long that success lasts is the frustrating thing!

Globe-J profile image
Globe-J in reply to RaySyl

Could you please point me to some statistical data?

Thanks

J

I remember this feeling all to well! I thought my life was over when I had my second episode. Up.till.then (3 months earlier) I wasn't in reality. Without this forum I'd have fallen apart. I remember saying to my husband that it felt like I'd been sentenced to a living death. As I battled my attitude, the effects of the Beta Blockers and the lack of info from the medics plus the pandemic!! things got better. Not the AF, but the way I handled it. It sounds like your AF might be vagally induced if it comes on after lunch and at night. But if you're getting it every day then it sounds like your meds aren't working. Perhaps you need a different regime? Push your EP to help you with management. As for ablation - I went for it and am about to see if my heart will behave when I come off the meds. Whether that works or not what I can tell you is I already feel different - and that's been worth it for me. A tip for management - slow breathing really can help calm you down.

My friend, DO NOT feel like that. Perhaps MY story will help you. I had my FIRST ablation shortly after getting getting my heart shocked back on rhythm on my 56th birthday. Three years later, I'm in the hospital having 55 lbs of water weight taken off and my heart WOULD not go back on rhythm, this after SEVEN ablations over THREE years. Finally, I told my EP that I could afford the hospital bills anymore. Had a pacemaker put in and have had a completely different life ever since, to wit: I'm about to marry my 25 yr old fiance in Las Vegas. NEVER EVER give up hope. The BEST part of YOUR life is still ahead of you.

Your young an ablation done now so soon after the diognosis gives you the best chance of completley getting rid of AF.My friend had hers about the same age as you and hasn't had an episode since.

Mine was too late to cure me completely as I'd had it for years long before ablations were done in New Zealand

Do everything you can to get an ablation soon it will give you your life back.

Hi there, I am also 53 and after years of failure to diagnose my AF due to its intermittent nature I have my life back. In 2017, I felt exactly as you do now and made a big push to get a Diagnosis. Once diagnosed, a year of various Beta Blockers and I felt even worse. In 2018 I had an ablation which had the effect of making me feel bulletproof and my AF went for 3 months. It then came back with avengance. In 2019 I had Ablation 2 and my EP said it just needed a top up as one Valve wasn't quite isolated. I was told to stop the Beta Blockers immediately and for nearly two years have got my life back. My heart will drop out of rythmn occasionally but doesn't race like it used to and can be overcome with some deep breaths in in minutes. To answer your question, Yes, an Ablation can work and it can give you your life back. I can remember the feeling of being 'owned' by AF and having no hope for the future. Please look forward with hope and optimism, Ablation, combined with some lifestyle management can return your life to you.

Hey Ann, don't think it's over, far from it . Honestly I started with bad afib at 45 ish, went downhill over nest few years and suffered terrible like you.Had my cryo ablation in 2019 and can honestly say it has changed my life. Been afib free, and lead a happy, active life again. As Bob I'm a fan of ablation, it's just important to chios the right EP and ask loads of people for that choice.

As anything you may hear good and bad, but lost here myself included aren't around as much as those with problems as we get on with life due to the success, people sometime post only when they have problems.

It does get you down, and makes you feel as you are, but please don't let it get you down, get in and get it sorted, i was the same, nothing to lose, and everything to gain. Technology had made massive leaps with Ablation procedures, high success rates and much improved quality of life.

I speak to half a dozen who used to be on here regular, who now live afib free and we chat privately about the success and our lives now, so you don't always read success stories, as those now afib free live their lives .

Please don't let it get you down, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and form my perspective, many success stories like mine and others to give you comfort and hope.

Hi - I am 47, I have had two. I was 44 when I had my first and 45 for the second (about 20 months apart). So far so good. I am taking only a anti-coag now.

I would say give it a try. Ask the EP to double up the rows of burn lines ;)

The trick for a successful ablation is not to allow your heart to stay in AF too long. "AF begets AF;" the more you have the more you will get. The old thinking was that you had to have failed two or more meds before an ablation could be considered. The newer thinking, supported by trials , is that ablation is superior to like -long meds meds especially with all their side effects. So, for the best outcome, get the ablation as soon as possible while you are still paroxysmal, and definitely, definitely do not get to persistent and remain in persistent because then you are guaranteed to have more than one ablation, and possibly several ablations but still be on meds.

In my case, the incompetence of the health system ( a combination of a not up-to-date GP and months waiting time just to see an EP ) , all in the persistent stage cause me to have to have three ablations. But, recently my AF is back. Who knows what kind of fate awaits me now.

Take action now and you will re-gain your life. I am still struggling for mine.

Morning your story is exactly like mine. I am a similar age and afib was ruining my life. Please don’t give up and speak to your consultant. Things can improve I promise m.

After my first ablation for AF I went into A Flutter a week later and three months later had my second ablation. I was reluctant to have an ablation at first because my mind chose not to understand it all, but a new consultant seemed far more understanding to my concerns so I went ahead with confidence; I truly believe it was the right decision as I a feel so much better now and not having regular AF episodes is wonderful and allows to me to have a life. I still take medication but I can live with what appears to be a winning combination. Keep the faith.

I had an ablation Eight years ago, never looked back since ( he says with fingers crossed ) it took me two years to get an ablation, meanwhile being self employed and unable to work due to Af.. (up to three episodes a week) ..Id lost my income no state benefits savings drained to zero wife and two children in tow, My wife was able to work thankfully that kept us afloat.. feeling utterly depressed and washed up etc.....but at the present time life has never been better in some ways it was a blessing in disguise ..I've rebuilt and prospered.. it doesnt mean the end but more like change is a foot and you need to adapt to your new circumstances, I didnt seek counselling or get professional advice.."they " can never fix it as "they've" probably never been faced with your situation...I wish you luck

In short, yes. But success can also mean different things to different people. The Afib cure is a very interesting read and ablation gets talked about a lot. I keep seeing the statement that Afib treatments are generally only for quality of life. I think this is a statement that should be qualified as it may well be true for some but not for all Afib sufferers so don’t think it’s quite correct to generalise. Other lifestyle improvements are also key to battling this condition alongside ablation. By the way I’m the same age as you. I’ve not yet had an ablation but the time will come no doubt (had lone PAF for 17 years now and it is is well controlled with 200mg daily flec at this time). I have also had to stop drinking alcohol, I eat fairly healthily and running unsettles my heart so I limit the running. I know I have many things to be thankful for when it comes to my AF compared to others. Try to stay positive and good luck.

I’m like bob I’m a fan as I’ve not had a blink since ablation Jan 2019, I’m still taking tablets .I guess we r all different and must weigh up the pros and cons.

I get what you say about bisoprolol , living dead is a good anomalies, but can I ask how long u took it and what dose.? Personally 2.5 was make me feel tired bodily and if we went for a walk I started off the walk feeling as if I’d finished it. We dropped to 1.25 and I was much better, ok I described it to my cardio as in 2.5 I was in second gear, and now I guess I’m in fourth but never top gear, but I feel it’s a compromise. Plus I didnt t want to start another different tablet and be worse off. I started bisoprolol and flecainade at same time and I reckon it took about ten weeks for them to settle in my body, as I did get a few side effects like blurred vision...it was the cardio that said stick with them they take time.

Have you looked at changes in certain things! I lost weight and maybe that helped....there’s a lot on this site about lifestyle changed folk have done.

I get the feeling totally when you say you feel your life is over....we all felt like that at first, it’s a huge shock finding somethings happening to your heart isn’t it. When I came in this forum folk told me hey AFIB won’t kill you, and nobody had even told me that st the hospital in fact I didn’t get much info at all, it was folk here that built my confidence back and it gets pretty low doesn’t it when this starts up.

Of course you will be scared to do stuff I was too in fact I think I was like a bird hiding under a bush frightened young come out. As my tablets settled down I got more confident.

I looked upon ablation very simply that I had nothing to loose and so much to gain, it was just a day out of my life. I didn’t go down the route of worrying about risk as it’s I was told a procedure that lots of people have. I know some folk weigh up and weigh up all the facts but my choice was have this cloud hanging over my head and never be confident to get on a long haul flight again, or have the ablation and hope it works . I’d best touch lots of word as I type now(!) but so far so good, who knows what the furniture bring, but I’m lucky so far. And yes I had the confidence back to get in a long haul flight to Australia. Yes it takes a while to get back to normality, after ablation, it’s something to expect, and not rush at, it’s more of an amble back into life energy wise....

We’re all different and you are in the right path seeing the EP, ask him lots of questions,

Chin up, good luck with next week and let us all know how u got on,

Sue

I feel your pain. I have been on bisoprolol since August last year. Had 3 episodes of fast af and cardioverted 3 times. I between each episode I have had on and off paroxysmal af episodes. Recently changed to sotalol and frequency of episodes dramatically increased. Yesterday the episode wouldn't stop and went into fast af again. Another cardioversion and changed back to bisoprolol with flecanide as a pill in the pocket. I feel it's inevitable it's going to happen again. Especially as bisoprolol didnt really control it in the first place. I'm seeing a cardiologist consultant at the end of the month. I'm 38 and just feel like giving up.

I too, like Bob, am a fan of ablation. I had mine done 5 years ago the first cryoablation didn’t work, after nine weeks it came back, but within the same year I was called back in for second attempt and have had no trouble since. I am now 70 and wouldn’t hesitate to have it done again. Good luck in whatever you choose to do.

Poor you - I think most of us on here felt the way you do now for various lengths of time. It took me 18 months to stop panicking but since I have, things have improved. The thing to take from this site is that you're not alone in this and as Bob told me - AF won't kill you, but it can make life very uncomfortable. I tried mindfulness and it worked to calm me down. Think about what to say to your Ep (lots of good suggestions here) and write them down. I'm in the same boat - seeing an Ep on the 21st.Let us know how you are? Good luck x

“Is Ablation ever successful ?” Yes, It most definitely is.I had one in 2016 aged 54. I’ve had zero episodes of AF since. I take no medication and am able to live my life exactly as I wish.

I’m currently training for the London Marathon in October.

I reckon that qualifies as success for me.

Pigleywigley profile image
Pigleywigley in reply to CliveP

Wow 🤩 good on you

CliveP profile image
CliveP in reply to Pigleywigley

Thanks PW. I’ve been very lucky.

Pigleywigley profile image
Pigleywigley in reply to CliveP

I would love to do a marathon Clive! I enjoy my running but my max is 10k & I worry about pushing any further. Maybe a future goal. Please share your story when you have done it! We all need some motivation 🥰

I am 33, I first had Afib in October 2017 (28). Had a cardioversion which did the trick until reoccurrence in Feb 2020 after which I had 4 cardioversions Feb-May prior to an ablation in October 2020.

Since the day of the ablation, I have not had a single reoccurrence of AF, I am on no meds and it couldnt be further from my mind.

As such, I do not come onto these forums and post very much - if at all.

The point is, these forums are great and a very useful source of information. Be aware however that they can be full of people who have had bad experiences/ongoing issues as those who are cured/do not have any issues dont have the need to come on. I think it can skew the general vibe towards the condition.

There will of course be exceptions, but just my view :)

I read a lot on here prior to my procedure and worried myself - only to find out there was no need. I am 100% happy I had my ablation and didnt stay on meds long term.

I should say everyone is in a different position and there are a million factors to all this. My mum also suffers and has not had an ablation but rather controls hers medically - funnily enough, she spends a lot more time on this forum than I do.

Hi I was in permanent A-Flutter which started Jan 2020 after all the drugs they could think of including Amiodarone which is the devil’s invention I had ablation 14 Dec 2020 it’s a pretty painless affair I was back in sinus when I left the hospital I get the odd run of ectopics but nothing to worry about the left ventricle myopathy has improved by 90% life is back to near normal. Just Apixaban twice a day. If I was asked would I have another if it becomes necessary. Dam right I would. Good luck with what ever you decide

I know his situation is slightly different (extreme sports athlete) but my son who is 51 had an ablation 16 years ago, takes no medication, has regular check ups (his cardiologist is also an extreme canoeist), carries on with his normal sports, albeit not so intensely, but up until now has not had the slightest hint of AF. We come from a family of Afibbers, myself and 3 sisters all have PAF, thankfully we are symptomless, but take medication and were diagnosed at a more advanced age. I take Xarelto and 2,5 mg of Bisoprolol, but hate it, especially as I take 0.5mg of alprazolam for anxiety with it. I'm seeing my doctor in a couple of weeks, the cardio is too busy (I live in South Africa, and there are not many in my area), but in the meantime, I have experimented and have been taking half of my Bisoprolol per day, see no noticeable difference in my heart rate, but feel more alive and much less tired. The last time I saw the Cardio and went through all his fancy machines, he declared my heart to be 'strong'.

Having and ablation has changed my life. After contracting a horrible virus (very similar to Covid-19) my, sometimes, irregular heartbeat became constant. After a couple of years of different drugs, all of which I didn't react well to, I was offered an ablation and said, 'Yes, please'. Once fairly active, I was finding it difficult to walk up the hill to my home...having to stop 3 or 4 times on the way. My family was upset at watching me pant and pause several times when walking up steps when we were out together. An ablation changed all that. I can now get up that hill easily in one go. I can get up those 30 steps without having to stop.

But, I must add....

I have never been overweight (except when I was pregnant!) and the specialist who carried out my ablation was very happy about that...having carried out 4 procedures prior to mine on rather overweight individuals., he couldn't believe that I was the right weight for my height. Also, he pointed out to me that he was performing the latest procedure on me, which he explained. He was one of the pioneers of the method at Nottingham City Hospital. Ablations are their 'Bread and Butter' I was told.

Since then, just over 3 years ago, I have had small episodes of palpitations and some ectopic heartbeats...all of which are classed as normal eg, my cardiologist gets them. I have kept my weight down, actually lost a few pounds. I eat very healthily, a little meat, a lot of veg, lots of nuts....no grains, very little sugar. Sugary foods are only a treat...maybe once a week. I used to eat lots of sugary food and I'm sure this contributed to my heart problems. I walk every day for at least 2 miles and I use an exercise bike a few times a week.

Does all this make a difference? I believe so. At 69 years old...I want to be here for as long as I can, in as healthy a state as I can possibly be.

I'm so sorry to hear of your despondency -- & I totally understand it as a fellow sufferer. I've never had an ablation but will go that way when the time comes. Have you tried all the lifestyle changes that others have suggested? I found that cutting out caffeine, alcohol, fatty foods, & avoiding stress & big meals has really helped, as has regular gentle exercise. It was a pain to give up treats like wine, but it's really helped. Good luck x

My heart goes out to you. My a-fib increased year by year, to month by month, then almost daily. That was years ago. It got to the point that I no longer feared ablation, but yearned for it. I feel it's the only route to go when meds stop working. An alternative, of course, is a change in medication. I hope your new EP gives you the answers you need. Good luck to you.

Hi SuntanannI had an ablation on November 5th 2019 following nearly 3 years of afib which often made me very ill and sometimes hospitalized. After about a month after the ablation I ceased to have af and have not had an episode since. It has been a complete success. I was apprehensive about having the ablation but should the af come back I would have another ablation in an instant. My quality of life has improved dramatically. My younger brother is now looking forward to having an ablation after having a pacemaker fitted due to his heart stopping. If you get the chance to have an ablation, go for it. The alternative of af is not good.

Good luck and take care.

Regards Flyer.

I had my PVI cryoablation at 57 , Jan 2018. No afib since.If I develop AFib again tommorrow morning I wouId happily have another ablation tommorrow afternoon for another 3 yrs plus afib free. The procedure is not a problem.

Verapamil is a rate control drug. It does not put your heart back into rhythm, merely limits the high heart rate that afib can cause.

Flecainide IS a rhythm control drug but can also cause high heart rates.

I originally took 120mg Verapamil, but my afib progressed and it could not control my AFIB

I then took 50mg flec ×2 and 200mg mod release diltiazem × 1 for the last 10 months of my drug use, before stopping them 3 months post ablation. Diltiazem is a calcium channel blocker as is verapamil

The EP IS the way to go, he will advise you of if you are a good candidate for ablation.

I am not medically trained, just lived it.

Also I had no structural heart problems and no other co morbidities.

I was in the exact same place as you. But please don’t lose hope. Life will get better and you will get there believe me. It took years of afib and 3 PVI ablations and cocktails of different drugs but I finally ended up with what I would class as good quality of life. I’m now 53 and still get a visit now and again from the little afib monster.! But I’m not taking any propafonone anymore or some of other meds I was on. It’s a pain in the backside is this afib thing but you’ll get there.👍x

I had first and only ablation in 2013 and with the exception of anticoagulants have been med free and in NSR since then. So I would say it definitely worked for me. Not a cure but who cares if it stops the bloody things!!I have recently noticed signs of it trying to make a comeback but so far nothing much. I will be looking for a second if it does.

I could have written exactly the same post word for word except what meds I was on. I too was diagnosed with afib in January . Not sure what caused it but had theory it was either high BP, mineral deficiency (electrolyte imbalance), or dehydration. All heart tests were normal.

Beta Blockers made me feel like the living dead, and increasing meds when they did not work, seemed to make me feel worse. I had every side effect imaginable with the worst shortness of breath where I couldn't walk. I felt like someone had their hands around my neck, nausea, low heart rate etc.

Went for Cardioversion March 26th. Out of Afib for 2 weeks then reverted to Afib again.

Debated what to do. Researched and researched more. Posts discouraging on repeat cardioversions and ablations. It was destroying my QOL. I had gone from being active and positive to being confined to the house most of the time and scared to do anything because of the Afib attacks were all day and aggressive .

Always had high BP, hereditary. On Losartan and Amlodipine Besylate. I decided I had nothing to lose to try the natural alternative ways with supplements first before any drastic measures although research stated "no evidence it works due to limited trials," and may interact with other meds, and it may take up to 12 weeks to take effect. It was my body so I was willing to try and take that gamble.

On April 12, 2021, I added Magnesium Triple Calm Taurate/Malate/Glycinate, Hawthorn Berry, Co-Q10/LCarnitine, Wild Alaskan Fish Oil, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C and D3.

Divided doses 3 times per day. As each day passed, results eliminated most palpitations, reduced flutter, reduced ectopic occurrences and made my QOL better. I was just going to live with Afib from this point on. However 6 weeks later, I noticed I was in sinus rhythm!!!!

I don't know how long SNR will last but I am happy I now have a QOL. Bottom line, it pays to do your own research and make the decision for yourself depending on causes for Afib to begin with. I no longer feel depressed and hopeless. Worst case scenario I slept better with these supplements too!

My symptoms were similar to yours, daily attacks that would come and go. Made it difficult for daily life. Meds helped but never stopped the a fib. I had cryoablation in November and never looked back. I’m 48 and haven’t felt this good in a long time. Totally worth it, able to workout without fear of afib. Life can be better.

I was just like you, felt like end of my life, eventually the cardio got my medication stable and I was ok for a couple of years until eventually the af got worse and I was offered an ablation. I jumped at the opportunity as I was very symptomatic and was getting them often. I had the ablation on mar 9 this year, a few bumps and turns along the way and it is still early days but I do feel so much better. I had two afib events in the first two weeks but none since. I would chat to your cardio about an ablation because apparently if done early there is more chance of it working. Your young and and you will be fine, it is just a matter of your GP and cardio team getting the right treatment for you, it takes time but look forward and ALWAYS think positive it really does work. And smile there are people much worse off than us. Take care 😊

I went through the same drug process 12 years ago. My EP encouraged me to go through the ablation and I put it off for a year. Had the ablation procedure done 11 years ago and it was a Godsend. All issues ceased and QOL returned to normal. I had my last stress echo 4 months ago and am doing well still. I have had a few atrial tach episodes over the years, but carry Flecanide as a "Pill in the Pocket" and always resolves.

Bottom line, find a good EP that does the ablations frequently and don't look back.

Good luck

My Afib went from yearly, to monthly, to weey, to daily...Had ablation a year and a half ago...and have been living Afib free since, with maybe slightly a couple hiccups. Your EP should be able to advise if he/she can improve your QOL or not with ablation, mine thought he could and was right. Sign me up for another if it’s needed.

So hang in there, find the best dam EP you can get your hands on, and be ready to hopefully have days where you forget all about this Afib business!

Firstly, regards to upping meds, that's definitely something to speak to your gp/Cardiologist/EP about. Whilst people may give you their experiences of meds, and there may indeed be people on here qualified to answer, I'd definitely speak to one of the afore mentioned. Secondly, I'm sorry to hear you are having such a bad time with your AF.

I was diagnosed last June and its been a case of trial and error with medications since.

I now take Bisoprolol, Flecanaide, Rivaroxaban and Lanzoprasol of a morning and Flecanaide & Losartan Potassium of an evening.

This has managed things to a point of an episode once every 2/3 weeks from 2/3 times in a single week.

I am though now having a number of issues relating to the condition and medication which are potentially leading to Cardiac failure.

I'm at the point of waiting to get on a waiting list for an ablation!! I really hope you find a solution soon.

regards

Rob

Diagnosed with AF in 2009. Avoided AADs (the so-called "game changers"); tried naturopathic approaches which helped but did not have enough impact to improve my QOL. Waited 7 years before having an ablation in 2016. Seven wasted years of living in fear and having no real QOL for myself or my wife. Finally, decided I couldn't live like this and had an ablation in August 2016. After 2 months of 'bumpy' recovery I have been in NSR. I wasted 7 years of my life being afraid of an ablation. Don't waste your life. Ablation is a reasonable medical approach and likely the only one that will let you take your life back. Take care.

Get the ablation. I am now 11 months post ablation and so far so good. Longest I have been without a run of Afib in about 8 years.

I had a Cryo ablation done and I should have had it done earlier it really worked !!! Also off all meds except a baby aspirin and metoprolol was on flec, verapamil, elquis and metoporol.

Hello, I understand how tough it is and I followed your beta blockers, flecanide then verapamil with no success. I had an ablation in Sep 2019 and no AFIB to date (but so as not to tempt fate, I understand it may come back!). It was hugely worth it for me and while I still have ectopics and odd days of feeing fed up it was massively helpful for me. Lifestyle as others have said is also key and there is loads of advice on healthy eating etc. Best of luck!

My ablation (cryoablation) was partially successful. For several years I would have an AF episode maybe once a year but in the year I had the ablation done, I was having 3 episodes a week. After my ablation, I had maybe 2 or 3 episodes over the next 2 years but I haven't had an episode in almost 2 years now. The only medication I am on is a very low dose beta blocker for blood pressure.

And to add a bit to this, the year I stating having 3 or more AF episodes a week, I wasn't sleeping, was missing work, and was wondering if I would eventually have to retire or go on disability. The ablation almost eliminated all AF episodes immediately and I got back to normal pretty quickly.

Its is a simple procedure and I had it done 5 years ago. My symptoms before the procedure were similar to yours. Having an ablation did help with the afib, But still on blood thinners after 5 years, but was on Sotalol but now have been taken off. To me this is success(so far) I believe the ablation did help, But did not cure the afib, I understand what your going through and it is a nightmare. Hope if you do decide that your results are positive

.

I was where you are .... 12 years ago, at age 55. Active .... good health ... then AFIB hit. It was aggressive and, after a short time, became 3 attacks a week.

Ablations seemed the way to go .... even though my Cardiologist of the day was not very supportive because of the risks. However, I went ahead and got 10 glorious years of normalcy and peace ...... and left the 'nightmare' behind.

In the middle of covid, the AFIB returned in AUG. I immediately scheduled another ablation and had it in OCT. I hope to get 10+ or more years from this one (or perhaps Lifetime cure). The current ablation was so much better tech-wise and healing wise than the older one (however, even older weren't that bad).

Don't worry at all. Get the ablation. Don't listen to GP or Cardiologist concerning arrhythmia (they're not knowledgeable). My one recommendation: source the best EP possible. Outcome is directly related to skill, experience and knowledge of the EP. Fly there if you must.

Finally, get book THE AFIB CURE by EP John Day. He's pro ablation ... and will give you all the info as an AFIB sufferer charting a path forward, whichever path you take. Good Luck!

When I was first diagnosed, I was told that I needed to figure out my own situation as everyone is different. My conclusion is that it is not very well understood.

I did a lot of research and have hopefully eliminated it at least for the time being. I have been afib free for about two years.

NOTE: WHAT HAS WORKED FOR ME MAY WELL NOT WORK FOR YOU.

I noticed early on that Prilosec would cut my episodes short. (Again, I stress that this may not work for others).

I actually have seen comments from others that Prilosec seemed to make their episodes worse.

However, I started eating smaller meals and avoiding meals late in the day. I also quit drinking alcohol.

I occasionally would do a two week course of Prilosec or Nexium, but most literature doesn’t recommend long term use.

I use it rarely now.

I also found a study that noticed thst some people were able to quit taking other meds through use of PPI’s such as Prilosec.

I would paste a link, but it appears that this forum doesn’t make that easy (or maybe I’m doing something wrong).

You should be able to find the article by searching “ep europace atrial fibrillation and gastroesophageal reflux disease”. It’s an article from 2016-2017.

The link is also in one of my previous posts.

Good luck in learning about your particular situation !!

Very good info here: drjohnm.org/

I was diagnosed with Afib in 2004 at age 47.It was pretty much under control for 12 years with Metoprolol until it wasn't! I would still go in to Afib occasionally but always went back to NSR on my own. It would happen when I would ignore my triggers. In 2016 I was under a lot of stress which is one of my triggers and I was going in to Afib a lot. This caused me to have a blood clot which caused a stroke at age 60. I was blessed to walk out of the Hospital 4 days later with no deficits. For the next 9 months the Afib got worse while we tried several meds. Finally an ablation was done in November 2017. I have not been in Afib since...3 1/2 years. My EP is clear that I am not "cured" . I could still go in to Afib at any time or I may never go in to Afib again, I hope that my story gives you hope. Afib does not mean your life is over.

Suntanann profile image
Suntanann in reply to Anniep11

Thank you Annie for sharing your story with me ...I need to hear these msgs of hope as I'm struggling with afib daily on and off ....and become so debilated by it all ....Am counting the hours till i see the EP Thursday ...a long list of questions currently being drawn up ....and hoping he will be able to adjust meds and put me on the ablation list as I feel sure it's the road I want to take even though it scares the hell of me ...if it'll give me some QOL back at the age of 53 then bring it on

I had 2 unsatisfactory ablations and like you Qol was getting worse was suggested to have the cryobaloon ablation which is a freezing method I went private been nhs previously it is nearly 4 years now and qol is pretty much back to normal so I completely understand your situation- of course everyone’s cardiac problem are unique and not every one can have the various treatments but it can offer hope good luck

Hello Suntanann. I can so appreciate what you're going through. AF can be absolutely dreadful.

I suffered with Paroxysmal AF for several years and it gradually worsened to the point where I was having a lengthy extremely symptomatic AF episode about every week. I was put on all the various medications over the years, but eventually they weren't doing much for me. My QoL was absolutely terrible and I wasn't able to plan for anything or go anywhere for fear I would experience another episode. My EP finally recommended an ablation, and after some brief deliberation I decided to go for it, because I just couldn't go on the way I was going. When you reach the point of total desperation the decision to proceed with an ablation becomes much easier.

I ended up having my PVI cryo-ablation in August 2018, which thankfully went extremely well. My EP deemed it an "acute success". I have not had one episode of AF since nor even any ectopic beats. My QoL has been fully restored and I couldn't be happier or more grateful. Should there ever come a time where I need another ablation I wouldn't hesitate for a second to have one. My experience with ablation was a very positive one.

I hope your appointment with the EP goes well for you next week, and I hope your QoL will return in the shortest possible time. Hang in there and don't lose hope! I didn't think the joy of life could return for me but it did. :)

Best wishes,

Richard

Suntanann profile image
Suntanann in reply to Breezera

Thank you Richard for your msg ....and for giving me hope ....when I feel like I'm losing sight of ever being me again .

I was diagnosed with AF in August 2017 at the age of 61, had 2 cardioversion with no success, started on medications which have been changed many times due to side effectsMetoprolol dropped my BP to 80/50 and HR to 40, ended up with pacemaker but AF continued

Had ablation in June 2020 and have been in SR since, only just starting to feel normal again a year later and so wish I had the ablation sooner than I did

Still on Verapamil 160mg daily to control my BP and Blood thinner Pradaxa 150mg twice daily but they seem to be agreeing with me at this stage

My cardiologist stressed that ablation do not always work, may have to be repeated but I decided that I had to give it a go as I was feeling the same as you, and so happy that I did

Recommend that you give it a chance. Good luck

Ann, so sorry you have to go through all this! It sounds dreadful. I have had one ablation, and although it hasn't made everything go away, it seems to have helped. I take 3 Flecainide 50, , Bisoprolol 1.25 and Candesartan 2. I just get the odd flutter, no serious episodes any more. Well. maybe one, once, but I just had a lie down and took 2 extra Flecainide, didn't go to hospital. If you can get the ablation I hope it will work for you and make you feel a lot better.

Suntanann profile image
Suntanann in reply to babayaga

Thank you for your msg of support . Yes I am feeling very much like is this is for the rest of my life . The meds just don't seem to help and in fact would say they are lowering my bp to far in the evenings making me feel more unwell then i already do .

Just want some sort of QOL back .

Praying the EP will be be able to help Thursday as really feel left to get on with it by the private cardio who once I said I had to return to nhs has disappeared leaving no advice or guidance unless I obv pay another 150 to see her privately .

Hi Suntanann, I am not sure that this post is going to be particularly helpful, but after going on and coming off most of the different types of meds (apart from Flecanaid) , three cardio versions and two ablations, I am, I think, qualified to have a view on the elusive frustrating condition we call Afib. My view is that ........ the only pattern is no pattern! All the cardio versions and ablations were successful, but not, alas, permanently. On some occasions I was in normal sinus rhythm for many months, on others just a few months. The MOST FRUSTRATING element in my history is that there would appear to be no cause and effect to explain why one day I would feel just ,fine but the next day my heart would be all over the place; why one morning I felt as if my internal batteries were flat but later on that same day I felt 'okay'. I really wish I could say that life style, diet, mental attitude were identifiable variables but, as I say, I cannot see any pattern. On the positive side I have not, I am pleased to say, run out of treatment options because I am waiting to have the PACE and ABLATE treatment sometime soon which should see the return of my quality of life, but who knows? Stay positive, if you can, and do trust your cardio team to do the best for you. Let's hope that normal service will be resumed in the health service very soon so that the doctors can get on with their job which is to do their best for you.

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