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Anyone had an A Fib ablation?
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Anyone had an A Fib ablation?


Ive gone into A Fib twice in less than 36 hrs.  I also get RVR with mine.  Its miserable, painful ans SCARY!  BOth times I converted on my own within an hour.  The only reason my EP admitted me the second time was because I was pretty much losing it.  I felt horrible and needed answers.  I have always thought you could get an ablation and "fix" the A Fib.  My very well respected EP says the ONLY cure to A Fib is AV node ablation with pacemaker.  He said an ablation will not work.  I thought people did get ablations for A Fib.  HE said we start with a more aggressive BB treatment and we could escalate to a rhythm medication.  I think before I did that I would want to get an ablation.  Im too young to get a pacememaker and my EP says it would be total overkill a this point.  I guess Im really confused now because I always thought if I could get up the courage, ablation was the way to go.  HAs anyone has success with BB's or an ablation without a pacemaker?  
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14 Comments Post a Comment
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1807132_tn?1318747197
I am a bit surprised to hear that they didn't offer an attempt at an ablation.  I do believe there have been successful ones but I also know there is a gentleman on here Jerry I believe who is in permanant afib and they won't try one on him for some reason.  Maybe he thinks yours is in a spot that is too tough to fix or maybe there is more literature out there that it doesn't work as well as they thought.  I know there are a few on here who have tried a couple of times and it didn't work but in general you only get people showing up here who mostly have problems.  There is also a gentleman here who had an sa node modification.  He already had an ICD in but I am not sure they actually burn out the whole node or just try and modify it.  That said, I am sure there is a high risk of needing a pacemaker if it was attempted but I would ask the doctor to clarify if they make you pacemaker dependent with no matter what with that type of ablation.  I might also go and seek a second opinion.  I do hope people with successful afib ablations jump on as well to let you know of their successes.  Anyways if I were you I would go see someone else just to see what they have to say and maybe question your current doctor why he thinks what he thinks when you know ablations are performed daily for afib.  I think it would be good to know if he suspects something in particular about your case or if it is a general opinion.  Considering his livelihood depends on ablations it is a bold statement in my opinion.  I would definitely get him to clarify it.  Take care and hang in there.  I do hope you can find some resolution to your afib.
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1569985_tn?1328251082
My Afib was controlled for 7 years on Atenolol.  Then I had 2 episdoes 3-1/2 months apart and I had to be electroconverted.  Right now I am on Norpace Xr and have been Afib free for 1-1/2 years.  Hope some of this helps.
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996946_tn?1385991151
Ablations can be amazing...if done by a very experienced electrphysiologist.  The key is the experience.  I had mine in Sept '10 for a-fib and then had to have a "touch-up" ablation in May '12.  Sometimes women, moreso than men need this..something abiut their septal wall. I would definitely do it all over again.  Just don't wait too late...sometimes your left atrium can get enlarged to the point where they won't perform the ablation.  Don't be afraid...it's a piece of cake.  Good Luck!
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Avatar_f_tn
I developed paroxysmal AF in Jan 2011. Had 4 episodes which lasted about an hr each but alwayz came out on my own. Drugs had too many side effects and did not work. Had ablation at UVA in June 2011are and it worked great! Don't wait to long because heart will remodel itself to accomodate the arrhythmia. Go to a good EP group.....makes all the difference. Procedure itself is a piece oc cake.
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116881_tn?1189759423
For those who has the ablation..were asleep the whole time?  My A Fib is so uncomfortable.  Do they have to make the A Fib happen when you have the ablation.  
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Avatar_f_tn
Yes you are out the whole time. IV anesthesia. You will not feel anything and will be comfortable. They fo induce the AF to find the electrical misfires....but they can control it and you will not feel it at all. I was very scared before the procedure..... and it was a waste of worry. :)

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1569985_tn?1328251082
It is really good to hear some success stories.  Makes me feel like I could handle it if I need to.  My EP thinks since my sleep apnea is well controlled that the heart may have changed from going into the afib arrythmia.  I am not convinced, but I am going to go off my meds after the first of the year, so I guess I'll know then.  Carey I also have the rapid ventricular response, which is the worst part of the whole thing.  It just wears you out.  I was in it for 3-4 days each of the last 2 episodes and I was exhausted by the time they converted me.
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Avatar_f_tn
I had the rvr too and i know how nad it makes you feel! But take heart because it sounds like you are on the righ path! Also.....keep in mind that a good potion of what you read on the net are the negatives.......the large majority of successes go on with their lives and never post.....only reason i do is because i want to change that. Best to you......i am rooting for ya!
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Avatar_f_tn
First of all, I cannot believe your doctor would even suggest an AV node ablation, then pacemaker. That should be the very last resort. And even that is sometimes not a 'cure" . I agree, that you should start with the BB,s and see if it control your a-fib, if not then move on to rhythm meds. Some insurances will insist that you try meds first, before they will approve an ablation. In my case, I tried every med out there for years. In 2006, my EP wanted me to have an ablation. In January 2008, I finally had it done. My ablation was for both a-fib and a-flutter. Besides an occasional PVC or PAC, I have been in NSR ever since. I am also off all meds except for an aspirin a day. Good Luck.
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351404_tn?1299492730
I am now 12 days since my ablation for paroxysmal AFib.  I had been quite well controlled for about four months with Flecainide, but this is not a cure but a really good drug if ablation is not possible for any reason.  My ablation experience was unusual in that I was prepared for a general anaesthetic only to be told the anaesthetist had gone off sick and would I consider a sedation instead or reschedule the whole thing.  I chose to go ahead, so was awake for much of the 2.5 hours it took.  I was sometimes aware of pain in my chest, but whenever I groaned, more morphine was sent down the line, so I mostly drifted in and out.  However, it was really interesting to watch the mapping and zapping on the computer screens, seemed like many clusters of red dots.  I obligingly went into AFib during the process so they could see where the problems mostly lay which was not the node although they automatically isolate this.  No, mine was the other side than was expected, so I got some extra unplanned work.

Well I did eventually come around and was heartily sick from all the morphine, but was sent home the following morning anyway, only to go into AFib within a couple of hours and felt really bad.  It reverted about two hours later and I have since been okay, though becoming addicted to feeling my pulse!

Don't worry if you get some episodes of AFib following an ablation, it is quite normal in most cases.  There is no 'cure' until the heart heals with scars which will prevent the passing through of the rogue signals which trigger the arrhythmia, which of course will take a while.

I have been told that if I go four weeks without episode, I can halve my medications (Flecainide and Pradaxa) and then a further month, wear a monitor for a week before stopping them completely and considering myself cured.  So it is a long process which I hope won't need repeating, but I would do that if necessary.  
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1970283_tn?1326215399
`I had just about the same conversation with my EP just about a year ago.  My EP is very conservative.  I was admitted after an episode of sustained V Tach caused by a prolonged (About 12 hour) episode of AF in the 170 - 200's.  I said I want an ablation - I've had enough of this.  He went into the meds discussion and the AV Node Ablation/Pacemaker discussion and then went into the Ablation is not a cure all discussion.  I went home on enough metoprolol to floor me and Flecainide.  I continued to have Daily AF episodes into the 170 - 200 range.  Two months after this I went in for my ablation, had two more episodes of AF the week after the Ablation, and none since.  I went for a 9 month follow up appointment today and the EP finally said we will discuss stopping the Metoprolol and Flecainide - at the one year anniversary mark!

I found out that most insurance plans require you to fail a medication regiment before they will approve the ablation.  I think it's pretty common for EP's to start out with the worst case scenario (AV Ablation/Pacemaker) in order to talk you into going the medication route.

I would suggest taking the Meds - they might work for you - at least for awhile.  If they don't, call your EP regularly to remind them your still in A Fib and the Meds aren't working.  You'll get your ablation before you know it - without knocking out your AV Node and installing a pacemaker.
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1970283_tn?1326215399
I had General Anesthesia for my Ablation.  I was given sedation and went to sleep before they intubated me.  I woke up about 5 hours later - having to PEE like a race horse!  They put a number of large catheters in you ( I had one in my Right Subclavian {Right Shoulder}, one in my Right Femeral {Right Groin} and two in my Left Femeral artery and Vein).  They irrigate these catheters with a couple of liters of Saline - along with 5 - 6 hours of IV Fluids.  I was shaved from my neck to my knees.  They cover you with sticky electrodes (Like EKG Stickies - but literally cover your chest and back).  They inject you with a chemical called Isuprel to chemically induce your A Fib, map the sites - and zap them.  The worst part of the whole ordeal? I would have to say have three nurses hold pressure to my Groin sites while I had a full baldder.  And having what seemed like every nurse in the Hospital checking my catherter sites for bleeding.  I told my wife a should start asking for tips - "Mr Matthews, can I chek your catheter sites?  I don't know, do you have a dollar???"
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116881_tn?1189759423
Thanks for all the responses.  I have an appointment on 10/23 to discuss the procedure with an EP.  HEs supposed to be really good.  Im in St Louis so we have 4-5 very good EP Docs that were recommeneded/  Im just so scared that somehting will go wrong and theyll damage my heart! Im also really scared of them INDUCING the thing I fear most, the A Fib.  I dont know how anyone could handle that when your heart is racing so fast.Im miserable beyond belief when I get A Fib.    
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Avatar_m_tn
I have had two ablations for a- fib in the last year.  Well let me define that the first was for a-fib which I had.  Now i have a-flutter which was treated by a second ablation.  I am 51 years old and have had a-fib for over teen years.  When I first received treatment for it I used just meds, flecinide and that did a great job.  However, for the last year it got less effective.  So my ep reccomended ablation.  Also, not I was in afib 30 percent of the time.  I can honestly say I am in much better shape since the ablation, im not perfect but much happier and have far less incidents.

I would reccomend a second opinion on the a-fib.  If you want to do it, it is an easy proceedure to go through.  Both of mine lasted eight hours, easy for me ****** for my wife.  Yes you have to pee after the surgery, as perviously stated,  Because the give you lots of liquids, 4 liters in my case and a strong diaretic to keep your kindneys happy for the long proceedure.  I spent one night in the hospital and was home by 830 the next morning.  They say the recovery is a day or two,  both times I was ok in a few days but the anthestia kicjk my *** for about 5 days.  Good luck!
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