I have a history of AFib. I have had 3 ablations (2 left artial ablations and 1 right atrial ablation) and a dual chamber pace maker implant. I am currently on Tikosyn, diltiazem, atenolol and warfarin. With all this, I still have daily breakthroughs. My options have narrowed. I have been presented with the option of having an AVJ ablation that will ablate the AV node and therefore make me totally dependent on the pacemaker. What are the risks and quality of life issues I will face if I choose to go ahead with this procedure?
As with any choice that we all face, there are pros and cons. Benefits of ablating the AV-Node are, resumption of a regular heart rate (even though a pacemaker may be determining the heart rate), relief from symptoms associated with palpitation, dizziness, syncope. Most likely allowing you to discontinue most of the meds with the exclusion of warfarin.
Potential complications of ablation of the AV node include bleeding, infection, heart attack, stroke, introduction of air into the space between the lung and chest wall, and death. These risks are the same for all that choose any type of ablation procedure.
Candidates for this procedure are those who respond poorly to both chemical and electrical cardioversion. These patients experience repeated relapses of AF, often with rapid rates of ventricular contractions despite medications. Ablation of the AV-Node also a decent option for Afibber's who develop serious side effects from the medications that are used for treating and preventing AF.
Ablation of the AV node only controls the rate with which the ventricles beat. It does not convert AF to normal rhythm. Because you will still have afib, despite the ablation of the node, you will still need to take your anticoagulant.
I was scheduled for this very procedure this past Aug. However, due to unforseen circumstances it was postponed. For me, the decision wasn't easy, but I felt that if this would bring some quality of life back to me...it was well worth it!
I wish you the best as you come to terms with whatever decision you make. Please update is with your plan and outcome:)
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