I have had atrial fibrillation for over 10 years and have been treated with various meds. I now take Amiodarone among a lot of other meds. My cardiologist says that I am a good candidate for left atrial catheter ablation. I understand the risk is around 4% total. I am 69 years old.
I would like to have this problem resolved but really afraid to try this procedure. I understand I will be on coumadin for the rest of my life.
Does anyone have knowledge or experience with this problem?
I am male and soon to be 64. I had ablation December 4. I had a routine check up yesterday, and everything seems positive. I am completely off medication except lipitor and a daily aspirin. I have had no abnormal rhythm since the ablation.
I, too, had concerns about the procedure. I was in fair control with medication (sotolol), but opted for ablation because I did not like feeling like I was being slowed down. Another reason was that my a fib flared up again following a reaction to a flu shot. I felt that I did not want to live on the edge wondering if it would come back at some inopportune time.
The procedure was described to me as being "low risk" ad compared to "no risk." I was also informed of an 80% chance of a "cure." I thought cure was a pretty strong word from a doctor, but he stood by it. I don't understand what is meant by a 4% risk. I do know the chances of a fatal event are extremely low.
For me, it was indeed scary. Now almost four months out, it seemed worth it. What I don't understand is why blood thinners other than aspirin are indicated if the ablation is successful and your heart is in sinus rhythm.
My aunt, age 70, had a successful ablation over a year ago--no abnormal rhythm, but she does take cumidin. The blood thinner question is most certainly one for your doctor. On the plus side, my father in law, a hard working Wyoming cowboy, had a heart attack in his mid 50's and took cumadin until he wore out at 85. He had no problems with it.
It is a difficult and very personal decision. Amiodarone is a very powerful drug and not without side effects. I am sure that will figure into your decision.
For me, would I do it again? Absolutely!
Good luck, and I hope this helps.
Thank you so much for your support. I am pretty commited to doing the ablation. I don't like the risks for long time amiodarone use and like you, I don't want to worry about when I will have this next "attack" Hopefully at some time I will be able to get off coumadin too.
Some words of encouragement...I had my second ablation last Wednesday...I felt 99% better today. The success rate of the 2nd ablation goes into the 90% range...I exercise regularly and absolutely hate taking any medications if I don't have to..The last ablation lasted 2 years (I had chronic afib), if not for an entirely different issue I doubt I would have needed another ablation. However, since the first one was so easy and the benefits where overwhelmingly positive (no meds after 1 month), I opted to go for it a second time. YES, it is scarey, but what isn't when it is related to your heart? The doctor gave me Xanax a few days before the procedure (my procedure was an emergency) to calm me down which worked well...Good luck. I wish you the best of luck and good health.
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