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Avatar universal

Atrial Fib Ablation

I had several episodes of atrial fib over a period of a couple of years.  The last episode lasted 4 or so hours and finally resolved with an increase in IV Cardizem.  When I say my cardiologist the next day, he said, "you are going to have a stroke", "you need to have an ablation".  Well I believed him, made an appointment with the EP doctor, and had the ablation on June 20th.  The procedure took about 4 hours and when I woke up I had the worst headache ever.  The headache was intermittent that day, but the next day after I got home I had blurred vision in the left eye and an almost immediate headache.  The headache lasted for hours.  The next evening the same thing happened.  I called the EP doctor office and my call was not returned.  The next evening around the same time, again blurred vision and headache.  Finally got a return call and was instructed to go to the local emergency room, was told by the local ED physician that it was a vascular headache.  I did not ask for pain medicaiton, I just wanted to make sure I was not having an aneurysm or stroke.  The next day called the EP doctor was told this was not a complication of the ablation and that I should see my primary care physician.  Called him and he ordered an MRI of the head, which was negative.  I still have a dull headache, the vision problems are better, but now I have this pressure in my chest and can feel an abnormal beat every now and then.  I have also noted some increased shortness of breath and a cough.....If I had it to do again, I would not have the procedure.  I would take my chances with Atrial Fib once or twice a year.  I am in hopes that this does get better as it has only been about 3 weeks.  I have been very upset about the entire process, I am 53 years old and want to feel normal again.
14 Responses
1569985 tn?1328251082
From reading posts on this board, I think it is normal to have different and more symptoms after an ablation.  I will let someone more knowledgeable jump in with comments.  I have afib also and an ablation may be in my future, so I will be interested in your outcome.  Keeping you in my thoughts . . . let us know how you are doing.
1807132 tn?1318747197
Though I can't speak about afib ablations I do sympathize with what you are going through.  I had an ablation for avnrt and was not told there may be an increase in number and/or sensation of pacs and pvcs so when the ablation was done and I found myself in a pvcs/pac storm I was beside myself upset about it totally regretting having done the ablation but with time things have settled down.  I am getting to the point where I am not feeling them as much so on one level I think it just takes some time for our bodies to heal when issues with the heart show up.  I do somewhat recall seeing another post of a similar nature from someone who had an afib ablation but I am unable to locate that particular post so it is possible the fact that a vein is involved with afib it may have been affecting your blood pressure or something and it may not be something that is all that uncommon. In any event, I have my fingers crossed for you that this will go away with time.  Hang in there.  Take care and we are always here if you need to talk.
1970283 tn?1326215399
I had my ablation the end of January.  I too had a persistant cough following the ablation.  When the do the ablation - they heat everything up - including the esophageus which is next door to the left atrium.  I was also put on Pradaxa which caused heartburn.  I was given Nexium, and the heartburn and cough went away in a couple of weeks.  I had chest pain for about a month.  After all they did burn some scar lines around the inside of your left atrium - after puncturing your atrial wall with a big A$$ catheter.  Will take some time to heal - but it will get better. the FLB's (Funny little beats) will subside.  I started out with 1 -2 Afib attacks a year - ignored them until they were happening every week.  Oh - and remember what the cardiologist said about a stroke?  A fib is the leading cause of strokes and strokes due to A fib tend to be the most severe.  Next time you develop the worst headache ever with blurred vision - or not - go immediately to the closest stroke center

But take it from someone who went through it (Well, execpt for the vascular headache) it will get better and in the long run - it will be worth it
996946 tn?1503252712
A lot depends on who you get to do your ablation.  They usually check and make sure you don't have any clots in your left atrial appendage...that could spell trouble for sure.  Were you on a blood-thinner already?  I had an ablation in 2010 but I had to go back for a "touch up" procedure this past May. No problems so far... sometimes it does take a 2nd ablation.  
1317224 tn?1378708734
I've had 3 ablations. The last one was 5 weeks ago and (crossed fingers) no episodes yet. I had been told that the first 3 months post-ablation was considered a "blackout" phase where the healing might cause more episodes. This didn't happen the first time, although I had 2-3 small episodes the first month. After the 2nd ablation, no episodes the first month, then scary episodes the 2nd and 3rd months, leading to another ablation 4 months after the 2nd one. (sorry that's confusing!).
The coughing could also be fluid accumulation. I had that after the 1st ablation and they gave me a diuretic which decreased this. The chest pain, in my experience, is normal after an ablation. Lots of healing going on inside there. It does seem to take a few months for things to sort out after an ablation. From my experience, it soon becomes clear that you feel better or worse. If worse, then you and your cardio-EP need to decide what to do next.
I wish you the best. This is a frustrating condition and I feel your pain.
Avatar universal
Wow, sure wish I had found this site, before I actually had the ablation done. This week has been terrible, to the ER with severe chest pain, an EGD to make sure there was no fistula...I have also had a skin rash that comes and goes which itches like crazy.  This has been a ride, that I do not want to take again.  
Avatar universal
This week has been eventful as well.  On Wednesday I was working and could not say words (aphagia), which I spent two days in the hospital.  It seems I had a TIA.  They have put me on Lovenox & Agrenox and I am going to have a trans-esophageal-echocardigram next week.  As I said earlier, sure wish I had not had the ablation procedure.  
1317224 tn?1378708734
So sorry to hear this. It does sound like your med team is working with you
to figure out what's going on. I'm keeping you in my prayers for a positive outcome.
It's been a hard week. I've had another a-fib episode less than 2 months after my last cryoablation and it's not stabilizing. Starting a scary med today: Amiodarone HCI, a heavy duty antiarthymic for the next 5 weeks so my heart can heal from the ablation (within the 3 months period).
Scary stuff this a-fib is. I'm so glad we can come on here and do a scream of sorts!
let me know how you are doing please. hugs...
351404 tn?1299492730
I am due an ablation in September.  Here in UK they anti-coagulate you four weeks before and eight weeks after as a minimum.  This will be Pradaxa as I have refused Warfarin due to side effects.  I am now anxious after reading on this thread.  I am doing quite well on Flecainide and have only had a few brief episodes of AFib since the beginning of the year.  However, a stroke scares me more I think - oh dear it is like being between a rock and a hard place!
612551 tn?1450025775
I have been in permanent AFib since April 2007 (with a one month and a  one week period of Normal Sinus Rhythm following heart surgery and electrocardioversion, respectively).  This is AFib 24 hours a day.

I get along well with Warfarin, and am told as long as I hold my INR between 2 and 3 my stroke risk is similar to that of a person who doesn't have AFib.  Crossing my fingers, no stroke or known clot yet.

No one has a zero change of having a stroke.
351404 tn?1299492730
When I was on Warfarin, I lost a lot of hair, my fingernails deformed and I had insomnia and it was difficult to maintain any INR up to 2 even on high dose, so I went on low dose aspirin only.   They are very reluctant and even refuse to prescribe dabigatran (Pradaxa) in UK so I have had a battle to get it.

My husband also had permanent AFib for three years but is doing well after a cardioversion back to sinus three months ago.  He is also on the ablation list but is on Warfarin.  The different between us is that he feels more or less normal in AFib and tolerates Warfarin well, but I feel really ill when I get an episode and have low output.  So many variations...
1317224 tn?1378708734
Yes, AFib does come in many forms. I'm like you Jo, I can't function when I have AFib. I've been sitting around since Tuesday night, trying different medications to get my BP and pulse back in sync. Started the Amiodarone yesterday and it's already working enough that I can walk a few feet without having to hang on the wall. It also seems to cause wakefulness though as I didn't fall asleep until nearly 4 and was wide awake at 10:30.

Lots of time to reflect lately. Would I have started the ablations if I'd known it might get worse instead of better? Do I still have hope it might turn around? Not sure, but know that I have this condition and I have to move forward. This board makes it feel less lonely and I'm grateful...

Best to all...
351404 tn?1299492730
Hi Mary - Yes it is good not to feel alone.  We are all so different in our symptoms and toleration of conditions and medications, but we do have in common our anxiety once we became aware of our unstable hearts.  Can't recall listening to my heartbeat in younger days, just took it for granted - now it pounds in my ears most of the time, so I can't ignore it!

It scares me to hear of the unsuccessful ablations or those which made things even worse, but stroke is the dreaded thing which hangs over us all and that is the worst of all, so in my book we have to take every further chance we can and pray for a good outcome.  Hope you are feeling better now and find the right medication.  I bless Flecainide at present which allows me months now between episodes.
Avatar universal
Have you healed up now?  I'm now 2 weeks post op from a pvi ablation for afib and keep fearing the possibility of a fistula...   ( burning in my chest still pretty bad).   Would be nice to know you've made it through this and on the road to recovery
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