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Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery
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I recently underwent a pulmonary vein ablation for atrial fibrillation. I know some people here have had the same procedure – I was wondering what your recovery from the procedure was like?

The doctor said it was quite common to experience ‘healing arrhythmias’ after the procedure. How long does it take for these to go away? It’s been two weeks since the operation and, if anything, my bouts of Afib are getting worse instead of better. I’m having episodes that are as bad or worse than prior to the surgery, with continuous Afib for 10-15 hours. My non-arrhythmic heart rate now is quite elevated from my previous resting rate (it’s 70-80 now, rather than 40-50 BPM), and skipped beats/fluttering is quite common. I’m also experiencing some deep, dull pain in my heart and lungs, I assume from things healing the damage of surgery. I’m quite short of breath, to the point where even talking is difficult – I have to take breaks to breathe.

So, for anyone out there that has gone through this procedure, what was your recovery like? How long did you have post-procedure arrhythmias? What other pain and symptoms did you experience? How long did it take before you were able to live a ‘normal life’ (i.e. function at work, do household chores, etc.)? How long before you were able to exercise again?

I haven’t been able to train consistently or race for about 4 years now, and I haven’t been able to exercise at all for over 6 months. I’ve been dreaming about being able to just go for a walk or an easy bike ride. So far my recovery hasn’t been as smooth as I had hoped…

Someone give me some hope here!

Thanks,
J
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [JAM] [ In reply to ]
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I would like to hear some responses as well.
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [JAM] [ In reply to ]
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Are you still (or were you) on coumadin? You are describing a pulmonary embolism rather well and needs to be checked out ASAP!!! The shortness of breath and the deep, dull pain in the lungs - bad! Call your interventional guy on the way to the ER would be my suggestion ...

____________________________________
Fatigue is biochemical, not biomechanical.
- Andrew Coggan, PhD
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [JAM] [ In reply to ]
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unfortunately my experience isn't one to give you much hope, but there are others with positive experiences. some report it takes up to 6 months to be feeling better.

i had an ablation (a-flutter) a year ago. a month later, i went into v-tach while riding. result: an ICD (PM + defib) inserted. a month later went into v-tach again (it's like one step removed from sudden cardiac arrest.) so drugs were added to the mix. 3 months ago i had v-tach again so more drugs.

my rides these days are limited to 45-60 minutes @around 14-15 mph. two years ago (@61) i was riding 5hr centuries.

don
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [JAM] [ In reply to ]
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I don't pretend to know much about medicality, but how dow ablating your pulmonary vein affect conduction?

Anyway, I had two ablations done for supraventricular tachycardia with a few bouts of atrial flutter after the first one. I was back exercising as soon as the entry point on my femoral artery/vein (hell if I know which one) healed. The 1st one was about 2 weeks, The second was about 10 days. The chamois pad seems to end right where they put a hole in you. Very very easy efforts for a month.

Experienced PVCs after both with decreasing frequency over time. Only 15 months between the 2, but they tapered out and I only one every so often, usually lack of sleep / excess caffeine combo. Everything good to go now.

As for your current symptoms, what do you think your cardiologist would say if you described them to him/her? Pain of any kind is a flag. Call 1st thing in the morning. Serious. Maybe even ER tonight. Serious.

---------------------------------------------------

Brawndo's got what plants crave. Brawndo's got electrolytes. And that's what plants crave. They crave electrolytes. Which is what Brawndo has. And that's why plants crave Brawndo. Not water, like from the toilet.
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [JAM] [ In reply to ]
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Hope I can offer some encouragement. First a little history: Had a successful ablation for SVT in 4/04. Fifteen months later went into first afib 10 miles into the bike at Eagleman and easy spun in before dropping out of the race after the bike and was cardioverted back to normal sinus the next day. Have been cardioverted seven more times with decreasing intervals between episodes. My cardiologist then said it was time for an afib ablation which primarily targets the area of the pulmonary vein connection to the left atria. I had been avoiding this ablation procedure because of its higher risk and lower success rate than the SVT ablation I had in '04.

It has been 7 weeks today since my afib ablation. On the 8th and 9th day post ablation I experienced a flutter which self corrected after a few hours. On the tenth day post procedure I went into what I thought was afib again, called my Doc and was cardioverted back the next day. It actually was atrial tach which my Doc attributed to the irritation and trauma of the ablation. I did experience the deep burn like irritation for about two weeks after the procedure from the "burn" of the ablation. It was most noticeable when taking a deep, chest expanding breath. I was warned by my Docs about the likelihood of post ablation arrhythmia and chest irritation until the healing process had few weeks to settle things down. My resting heart rate was about 15 beats higher after the ablation and has settled back to normal now. I am pleased to say that I have been symptom free for 5 weeks and feel good. I started running and biking 2 1/2 weeks after the ablation. Runs are in the 3-5 mile range and bike 20-30 at conditioning, not training pace. I am slowly increasing mileage as I gain confidence that the ablation was successful. I know it could be six months until the ablation can be considered a success.

The ablation was performed at the Hosp. of the Univ. of Penna. My age is 63 and have been doing tris for 15 years. Last Ironman was 2002 and been sticking to mainly olys and a few halfs since. I am on Coumadin and Metoporal both of which I hope to be weaned off of in about 4 months. My advice is to give it time, but I would keep a close eye on the chest pain and shortness of breath (I did not experience) if they persist. You want to be sure that there was no collateral damage to adjacent organs by the ablation.

Good Luck!
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [Pa Joe] [ In reply to ]
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Sorry to dig this one up .......... another recently diagnosed A-Fib patient here and I have been put on Sotalol (80mg, 2x a day). I am not liking what I think are the side effects with being slower. But my cardio. said I should be fine to continue my activities (he knows I'm an endurance athlete). Because I am low risk for everything else on the "chart" he did not feel the need to put me on Cumadin (sp) and only said to do Aspirin - which I haven't yet.

Did your procedure work itself out? Are you out the irregular rhythms yet?

_____________________________________________
Rick, "Retired" hobbyist athlete
Trying to come back slowly from acute A-Fib
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [Daremo] [ In reply to ]
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I'm now 3 weeks post procedure and feeling a bit better every day. I still have no idea of how much actual exercise I'll be able to eventually handle, but I was able to walk on a treadmill this morning for 15 min without any issue (yet).

My experience with various drugs to control arryhthmia issues is that they all suck with regards to intense exercise. At various times in my life (in addition to the recent ablation for afib, I also had an ablation for Wolff-parkinson-white syndrome 10 years ago) I've been on digoxin, fleccanide, diltiazem, rythmol, and a few other beta blockers/calcium channel blockers. Most of the drugs seem to remove your top end heart rate and ability to go at a harder effort.

The only time I've felt the drugs were worth the side effects was in the last ~6 months, when my afib had gotten so bad that I had ceased all exercise anyway. In that case the drug (rythmol this time) was effective at reducing the occurance of afib and allowing me to at least function at work, do some household chores, etc. But I don't think I could have successfully trained and raced while on it.

I spent ~3-4 years after my afib developed not on drugs and training as my heart and faituge levels allowed, with occasional 'low-key' races as I felt up to. over that time things gradually got worse with the frequency and duration of afib episodes, and about 8+ months ago things got significantly worse fairly quickly. At that point I decided to go ahead with the ablation surgery.

The surgery is not without risk, side effects, and doesn't have a great chance of success (~60-70% success after a single procedure). I don't know how bad your afib is, but I would wait until it's significantly affecting your life before opting for the surgery. That being said, if training and racing at a high effort level is important to you, I don't know if you'll be able to do so while on any of the controlling drugs.

Good luck, and let me know if you have any questions about my procedure and recovery. I'll post again in a few months to detail my recovery and (hopeful) return to exercise and fitness.

J
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [JAM] [ In reply to ]
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     I had an ablation for a-fib Feb. 4th of this year at Johns Hopkins. I developed a-fib at 40 and was cardioverted over 15 times, failed multiple anti-arrythimic drugs...finally had enough...went for the ablation. Post-procedure I had a lot of funny beats, short runs of a-fib (but they converted spontaneously) and lots of chest pain. I developed a "friction rub" heart sound after the procedure indicating 'pericarditis'. I couldn't walk up a flight of stairs without getting short of breath and chest pain. My resting heart rate almost doubled. Tried to swim the first week and couldn't go 200 yards. I thought I made a big mistake.
Gradually though, I recovered, began training. Stopped coumadin at 7 weeks and began riding. I'm off all drugs except aspirin. I do not have any sustained a-fib. I rapidly gained fitness. March 14th I did a 5K, 3 minutes slower than usual but I was thrilled. I continued to train and race. To make a long story short, I raced the 70.3 at Buffalo Springs in late June and got a roll down spot to Kona. Two weeks later I raced Providence, RI 70.3, won the age group and had the privelge of rolling down a Kona spot to someone else.
It's only been 7 months but I would characterize my ablation results as outstanding! I can train better now, more consistantly and with a higher sustained high heart rate.
Hang in there, be patient. Keep training to your tolerance and comfort level. Exercise is still good medicine even if you're in a-fib.
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [JAM] [ In reply to ]
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I follow a number of a-fib forums and read up on it quite a bit as a layman. I don't know if this qualifies as hope, but here is my story. I am an avid mountain biker, age 54, generally in pretty good shape. In June 2008 I went for my annual physical only to find out I was in a-fib, I did not even know it (called asymptomatic a-fib). Thus my saga began. Symptoms became progressively worse, I think there is a strong link between the mental and physical here, but I am glad I found out because being and staying in a-fib increases your risk of stroke 5 times compared to the normal population. My doc started me on warfarin (yuk, but minimizes stroke risk) and Toprolol (lowers heart rate).Tried several cardioversions and only stayed in a sinus rhythm for one or two weeks. Went for consult at the Cleveland Clinic and they recommended starting on Tikosyn (a new anti-arhythmic), which requires a 3 day hospital stay to load up because in rare cases it puts people in ventricular fibrillation (very bad, can be fatal in a few mimutes). Also kind of a hassle because it is very important to take it at pretty close to 12 hour intervals. More cardioversions but I only stayed in a sinus rhythm for 5 to 6 weeks then back into a-fib. Finally, for a number of reasons, I had a pulmonary vein ablation done by a very experienced electrophysiologist,David Delurgio, at Emory Midtown in Atlanta in April 2009. All in I had had 7 cardioversions. My decisions was based upon the fact that my life was too disrupted and I was missing too much work due to almost monthly cardioversions and I hated being on warfarin (when I wrecked I bled like I had been shot ! and I hated the periodic INR checkups). Now, six months later, no a-fib since the procedure. I think I am cured. I ahve dropped off the warfarin and the Toprolol and am on a reduced Tikosyn dose. I expect i will drop that soon. I had one episode of a sustained delevated heart rate of about 90 after a really long ride, but when I woke up the next morning I was fine. So, ablations can work. I think it is very important to go to the right physician, someone who has great experience in doing them.
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [JAM] [ In reply to ]
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my wife had this issue---prevented her from training and racing. Three months ago she had the ablation procedure. Since then no Affib at all. She was on a monitoring device that confirmed no problem. This result is much better than usual---I attribute it to the skill of the Doc here in Tampa---Dr bengt Herwig
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation � recovery [JAM] [ In reply to ]
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How are you now 6 weeks later?

What kind of ablation did you undergo? PVI or something more advanced?

I've been battling Afib for about 5 years---used to be a episodic occurrence monthly, which I could control via fleccainaide & atenol, but since resuming serious training about 6 months ago it has become a serious PITA. I've tried all the meds, including the newest, Multaq, and they all suck. At best they make afib livable but with little chance of serious AnThr type training. Just completed a 6 week schedule on Multaq & my avg HR was down over 25 beats vs previous months, and power dropped about 15% as well. High suck-age factor.

I'm scheduled for ablation on November 11 with Dr. Koonlawee Nademanee---supposedly one of the top 2 guys for ablation in the U.S., and the one who invented/perfected the whole Complex Fractionated Atrial Electrograms system (basically a 3-D mapping of your heart). I looked at PVI & most of the other 2D surgeries, but the results were so-so at best. Nademanee supposedly has a 90%+ success rate after 2-3 procedures (and almost 80% after 1), so am crossing my fingers.

Would be interested to know from the other posters on this topic what kind of ablation you underwent, what the recovery times are like, and what your end result is?

____________
“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.” John Rogers
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [Daremo] [ In reply to ]
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Follow up to my previous post:

I am now 15 weeks post procedure and all is going well. No issues since the single post procedure cardioversion. Was taken off Wafarin week 13, Toporol week 14 and only take 81 mg. aspirin daily. Jury is still out regarding what improvement I will experience training until I have adjusted to training without the drugs. I have slowly increased mileage and pace and have not yet reached pre-procedure performance levels. That has a lot to do with my conservative approach and this being the off season. I am gaining confidence and will consider the procedure a success if I pass the 9 month anniversary with no new episodes.
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [mileswimr] [ In reply to ]
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I'm very happy with those who are now sinus and drug free!

I was diagnosed AFib in 2003 when I was 36, but I'm not sure when I actually had it. I've been on warfarin and digoxin since then.

Last year I had my first pulmonary vein ablation and it converted me to sinus, but it only lasted for 24 hours. My doctor did a cardioversion the next day, it didn't convert.

On Jan 25, 2010 (few days ago) I had my 2nd ablation, it failed again. My doctor performed 3 cardioversions before I woke up. Failed. So I was put with amiodarone for 2 days and went on 3 more cardioversions. They all failed.

It might sound painful to you to have all these done within 3 days, I wouldn't mind if they brought me back to sinus. Now I'm on amiodarone watch for 30 days, will it convert me to sinus?

Is here anyone has similar situation like me?

I'm not sure if ablation is not working on me or I need the 3rd or 4th attempt. My doctor told me my case is rarer then some patients. I'm about to turn 44.

I really hope to be drug free for the rest of my life, if anyone knows an alternative please share with me.

Thanks,
EW

PS--I'm concerned about amiodarone since it has side effects and it meant for life threatening patients, am I wrong?
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [ewNY] [ In reply to ]
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I've had to deal with intermittent A Fib for 5-6yrs. My regiment now is
low dose asa daily and propafenone 300mg 2 as needed for A Fib.
It is a med not without side effects but it works for me and converts
to sinus within 3hrs. As with your experience my cardiologist feels
ablation is not perfected well enough for me to try(and he does the proceedure)
I've done some w/o's in A Fib but have not been when starting a race
although I did go into A Fib about 5min into the swim at Clearwater and had to
back off to finish.
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation � recovery [mopdahl] [ In reply to ]
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May I know how your ablation went? (you can find my earlier post)
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [JAM] [ In reply to ]
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My ablation was a huge success after I battled intermittent a-fib for years. Two failed electro cardioversions and several failed chemical conversion regimes led me to the catheter ablation. The ablation literally changed my life. My training/racing and job have finally settled down. Recovery was quick. Doc said do anything I want to the next day but I still took it easy for a week or so. Biggest concern were the stitches from the groin insertions. My a-fib would only appear when I was racing or training hard so I couldn't wait to run a fast 5k and see if the ablation really worked, which it did. This was about 10 days after the surgery.

Had only a few pvc's after my surgery and resting heart rate went from 45 to 68, where it has remained for the last 14 months. I believe quitting the beta-blocker I was taking prior to the surgery is mostly responsible for the rise in rhr.

As far as side effects: the prostititus I got from the Foley tube was a real buzzkill.

Anyone considering doing this -find the best Dr. you can. This surgery was a bigger deal than I thought it was going to be and I doubt I would want to go through it again if it didnt work the first time.

Good Luck!

"Boldly Going Nowhere"
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [TiPhoonTom] [ In reply to ]
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Congratulations!
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation � recovery [ewNY] [ In reply to ]
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Coming up on 2 months post surgery & I have nothing but the highest recs for Dr. Koonlawee Nadamanee. Surgery is really, really cool---basically the operating room is like something out of Star Trek---about as high-tech as you can get. Procedure lasted 4 hours. Dr Wee does NOT recommend just a simple PV procedure---do a bit of research & the results of his mapping technique vs PV speak for themselves.

First day after I was a bit sore, and ginger as had some bruising/swelling where the catheters went in on my groin. Had intermittent & frequent Afib for about 1 week after---historically my Afib would die out after 12-18 hours--these were going away after 10-60min---however they were pretty frequent--2-3x a day. I was told this was normal. After 2 weeks I wasn't experiencing Afib anymore, and was cleared to begin gentle exercise. Of course I went for a 2 hour ride day 1 & scared the crap out of myself--60 minutes in went into the highest Vtach I've ever had--300+ HR for about 20 min---just couldn't shake it. Really not a good feeling. Off the bike for another week. Then I started slowly again. Total mileage in November was 110 miles. Post Vtach episode, went into Afib once more---day after Thanksgiving (due to caffeine, travel, lots of wine, and lots of pumpkin pie & holiday sweets). Self corrected after 6 hours. Took myself off Coumadin on December 1, as didn't want to risk riding & crashing while on it. Doc was fine when I told him 2 weeks later as my chance of stroke from clotting from Afib was extremely low.

December was very good---slowly built the bike riding up, and got in 2 runs. 450 miles in December, including some very high efforts. Only went into Afib once---day after xmas, eating lots of left-over xmas chocolate after heavy wine drinking on xmas day. Self-corrected after 30 min. January has been very good---almost 1k miles on the bike, and only went into Afib once---day before yesterday after digging myself a serious hole with 4 straight days of high intensity riding/racing, and 200+ miles (with one big night of wine drinking the day before I went into Afib). This episode last 20 min, but then came back in the middle of the night for about 4 hours. However I was absolutely exhausted by the miles/effort on the bike + the usual triggers (for me) of alcohol + caffeine + sugar.

The difference between before & after is night & day. Pre surgery I was going into Afib 3-4x a week, with each epsiode lasting 12-18 hours. ANY hard efforts on the bike would trigger it mid-ride--and was starting to experience some scary Vtach episodes (watching your HR on a anerobic climb skyrocket from 180 to 250+ is not a good feeling).

They say the total healing time is up to 6 months. Maybe with PV. I'm at about 90% of where I was fitness-wise pre surgery. The rest in November was good for my body, however I gained 8lbs, and am having a heck of a time dropping them so far in January.

There was an article that just came out that said that if meds don't work, you should have the surgery. I don't know anyone for who the meds work enough to let you train at a high level. The surgery is great, and Dr. Wee is one of the 2 Docs in the US I would have trusted (the other is in San Fran/Austin). Make sure you have good PPO insurance though, as the surgery is REALLY expensive.

____________
“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.” John Rogers
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation � recovery [mopdahl] [ In reply to ]
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Perhaps you didn't read my post meds have controled my A Fib
for around 7yr and only taken as needed
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [ewNY] [ In reply to ]
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sorry to hear your story. Ablation seems to work best on those who have not been in a fib that long. I was always able recognize when I went into the abnormal rhythm and insisted on immediate cardioversion. I never wanted to be in a fib for any longer than a few hours.
I did have one recurrance in November after a drank a beer (alcohol was my main trigger). I got cardioverted right away and it hasn't been back since.
Good Luck.
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation � recovery [olddude] [ In reply to ]
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Whats your definition of occasional afib? I was going into it 2-4x per week. My Dr's experience is that for some, especially bigger guys + ex-swimmers, once you start down the afib road it is only going to get worse & most meds aren't really effective (yes they help control it, but certainly don't prevent it or give you that much of a better quality of life).

____________
“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.” John Rogers
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation � recovery [mopdahl] [ In reply to ]
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I've had 2-3/wk but that is not the rule. Last year I didn't have an episode
from Dec 2008 until early July 2009 and then seemed like I was having
at least one/per wk or 2. Always controled with propafenone 600mg taken
when I noticed the A Fib(in some cases after I would have to fight off the
denial demon) I thought for a while my triggers were alcohol and/or caffene
but I have challenged with them on several occasions with no A Fib occuring.
The only things I can relate are perhaps hydration and electrolytes but because
of the sporatic nature I may never know for sure. The propafenone converts me
to sinus within 3hrs. I've had episodes that occur while running and resolve
within 5min on it's own. I think I have only gone into A Fib once while in a race
and that was Clearwater. Had to back off to finish and once I got back to the hotel
converted within 20min of taking med which probably means it spontaniously
converted because that was a little quick for the med to have worked.
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation � recovery [mopdahl] [ In reply to ]
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i'll chime in here, too if that's ok.

i started with a-fib about seven years ago. was sporadic (maybe once a month) but for some reason this past summer i would go into a-fib after (or during) almost every workout.

went with the cardiac ablation in October. like another poster noted, my dr. advised that i had no limitations once the incisions in the groin area were healed. interestingly, the incisions were so small that they did not require stitches. got in the pool a week after the ablation and was running/biking full speed within ten days.

talk about a modern-day miracle. i can't get my HR up as high as i used to but being able to sleep through the night and finish a swim/ride/run without having to stare at my HR monitor is truly a blessing.

as others have said, ablation is very common. they were doing 39 at my facility the day i was in there. but, most of those are done by a handful of specialists. that's who you want to see.
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation � recovery [DBomb] [ In reply to ]
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I completely agree re modern miracle. 100% difference after vs before. As to HR---I actually seem to be able to go higher---hit 189 3x on my Saturday group ride---highest I've seen in years. Part of it is my fitness is finally coming around, but also I also now have confidence in my body that I'm not going to spontaneously combust into Vtach, or worse.

I would venture to guess, based on the success ratios + the # of Dr.'s who are becoming proficient at it, that within 5 years ablation is pretty common & the first line of attack vs years of trying meds.

____________
“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.” John Rogers
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation � recovery [mopdahl] [ In reply to ]
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If you don't mind saying how old are ya"ll
I'm 65
just curious
Mike
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation � recovery [olddude] [ In reply to ]
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40. looking California but feeling Minnesota.
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [JAM] [ In reply to ]
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My post isn't about ablation (yet), but I might get there eventually, plus I think it could be useful to keep our a-fib posts consolidated. If this gets ignored or any of you ablation folks object to my post here, I'll start a separate thread.

I had my introduction to a-fib this weekend at age 44 during the run portion of a hard bike/run workout. I didn't recognize what was going on (just felt...bad), so I didn't get to the ER until the next morning. After a couple of hours of IV treatment, I returned to a normal sinus rhythm without the need to resort to the paddles for an electroshock.

For now, the doctor and I agreed on 81 g of aspirin per day plus 1 dose of metoprolol per day. I just went for my first post a-fib jog, and I have to say the results were a bit depressing. My HR was about 25 beats per minute lower than normal for the pace, and my RPE was a little higher. Some or all of the RPE might have been due to heat and humidity, but I don't think all of it was, especially when you add in that I hadn't exercised in close to 72 hours (in fact, I was in the hospital a lot of that time).

Have I basically just installed a governor on the system that will prevent me from going as fast as I could 3 days ago? My "math" is: I used to need 180 beats per minute to run a 6 minute mile, but now I'm only going to able to get to 160 beats per minute. The volume of blood pushed by my heart in each pump is unchanged, and so fewer beats = less blood = less oxygen = less speed. So, is this what I'm look at with the metoprolol or am reading too much into 1 workout?

Maybe I'm willing to live with that scenario if it's correct, but I want to gather information to figure that out. I have a follow up with my cardiologist in 1 month, and I will solicit his input also, but my guess is that slowtwitch may have more experience with attempting to train with a-fib than the doc.
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [mr. mike] [ In reply to ]
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Everyone is different, and how they react to the various treatments/meds is different as well, so take all the advice with a grain of salt. Speaking for myself, I couldn't train/race at a high level on the meds/pre surgery. On the meds my power was down about 20%, and my top end just wasn't there---at 160 bpm heavy fatigue would set it. This was while I was on Multaq, Atenol, and 2-3 other different/similar anti-arrythmia medications. At best they helped me convert to NSR quicker (4-6 hours) than no meds (12-18 hours), but they certainly didn't help me stay out of arrythmia. For me the final straw was that the meds just weren't working---my arrythmia was progressing to the point that I was having Vtac episodes almost weekly/EVERY hard cycling race, and a massive heart attack was becoming a very real possibility.

6 months out post surgery I'm experiencing arrythmia about 2x a month---always after digging a huge hole for myself on training rides/races in the middle of 16-20 hour training weeks. Onset is usually in the middle of the night following a huge training day, and I always convert within 6 hours or so. Totally liveable, but we'll see if it gets worse this summer----if so I'll do a followup surgery this fall. However please keep in mind a few things:
1. I'm destroying myself on the bike---it takes a 4-5 hour ride w/8-10k climbing for me to dig myself a big enough hole to become symptomatic.
2. My diet/recovery program sucks. I drink alot of wine, and 90% of my post-surgery arrythmia episodes are after drinking moderate to heavy amounts of alcohol as part of my own unique personal recovery program. I also eat WAY too much simple cargs/sweets, and the simple sugars + alcohol + electrolyte imbalance/dehydration all combine to create a personal arrythmia tsunami for me.
3. IF I were to cut out two of the three contributing factors listed above I'm sure I would rarely, if every experience it.

Plenty of elite athletes can race/train thru afib using medication to govern the occurrences. Personally I couldn't, but also because I refused to eliminate some of the contributing factors from my lifestyle.

____________
“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.” John Rogers
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [mr. mike] [ In reply to ]
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I have intermittent A Fib Current regiment low dose asa 1 daily
and Propafenone 300mg 2 as needed for A Fib
When first treated was on beta blocker(class Atenolol
metoprolol etc) and had a TIA also tried me on coumadin which
I didn't like because of what we do. They couldn't get that regulated
so they gave up (thank god) I can w/o and race in A Fib but performance
suffers. Did Clearwater 07 and noticed I was in A Fib about 6-8 miles in bike
backed off and finished. When I downloaded my HRM at home I actually
started about 5min in the swim.
My cardiologist feels ablation has not developed enough to get consistant
results
Good Luck in your quest
Mike
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [olddude] [ In reply to ]
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all I read was the summary, but this is a pretty interesting study.

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/577981

Well, it would be interesting if this link got you to it. Here's the abstract, cut and paste:

Introduction: Atrial fibrillation (AF) may occasionally affect athletes by impairing their ability to compete, and leading to noneligibility at prequalification screening. The impact of catheter ablation (CA) in restoring full competitive activity of athletes affected by AF is not known. The aim of our study was to investigate the effectiveness of CA of idiopathic AF in athletes with palpitations impairing physical performance and compromising eligibility for competitive activities.
Methods and Results: Twenty consecutive competitive athletes (all males; 44.4 ± 13.0 years) with disabling palpitations on the basis of idiopathic drug-refractory AF underwent 46 procedures (2.3 ± 0.4 per patient) according to a prospectively designed multiprocedural CA approach that consolidates pulmonary veins (PV) isolation through subsequent steps. Preablation, effort-induced AF could be documented in 13 patients (65%) during stress ECG and significantly reduced maximal effort capacity (176 ± 21 W), as compared with patients with no AF during effort (207 ± 43 W, P < 0.05). At the end of CA protocol, which also included ablation of atrial flutter (AFL) in 7 patients, 18 (90.0%) patients were free of AF and two (10.0%) reported short-lasting (minutes) episodes of palpitations during 36.1 ± 12.7 months follow-up. Compared with preablation, postablation maximal exercise capacity significantly improved (from 183 ± 32 to 218 ± 20 W, P < 0.02). All baseline quality of life (QoL) parameters pertinent to physical activity significantly improved (P < 0.05) at the end of CA protocol. All athletes obtained reeligibility and could effectively reinitiate sport activity.
Conclusions: AF, alone or in combination with AFL, may significantly impair maximal effort capacity thereby limiting competitive performance. Multiple PV isolation proved very effective in these patients to restore full competitive activity and allow reeligibility.
Last edited by: mr. mike: May 26, 10 14:23
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [mr. mike] [ In reply to ]
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Beta blockers definitely act as a governor on the heart. I had the same experience. Because drugs didn't work and changing my lifestyle didn't work (diet, alchohol, coffee consumption), I went for ablasion. No afib at all since. About nine weeks out. I am on flecainide and coumadin and hope to be off that within three to four weeks. Flecainide hinders training as it too seems to act like a governor on my heart. I cut the daily dose in half (to 100 mg per day rather than 200) and noticed a marked improvement in my capacity to push it a little running, but then went back to origianl prescribed dose as I want to follow the docs protocal. I think all these drugs are rough on our bodies. Maybe ask your doc for an alternative Rx which is not a beta blocker. Good luck
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [mr. mike] [ In reply to ]
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I'm all in favor with keeping a-fib posts in one thread. My story:

After training for and completing a marathon in November 07, I had made a pretty sizable jump in my running fitness - I was 50 at the time, and my running prowess was actually pretty laughable, but hey I was finally able to consistently go for runs at < 10:00min/mi pace. I had a routine physical in January 08 and found to be in persistant a-fib. No idea when I went into it, but I had only done endurance training since maybe the previous October, and I was unaware of any symptoms. Was referred to a cardiologist, and we had several discussions about possible treatments. He explained that I didn't want to stay in a-fib even though I felt fine, because one of the things that can happen with persistent a-fib is that the atrium enlarges over time and eventually weakens. Not to mention the blood clot risk from incomplete ejection.

The process of evaluation (Holter monitor, various echocardiograms, EKG under stress, etc.) took a period of months partly due to my reluctance to aggressively deal with it because I still didn't feel any effects, and what I had googled about some of the meds used to chemically control it scared the bejeesus out of me. Then the first group rides of the year started, and I immediately realized that things were amiss. If someone at the front really lifted the pace, or we got into some hills, I was gasping. So I decided on cardioversion. I only stayed sinus for 3 1/2 months, so my cardiologist recommended another cardioversion, but combined with Tikosyn/dofetilide (potassium channel blocker, twice daily), Lisinopril/prinivar and one regular aspirin daily. That was in August 08, and I have been sinus ever since; although I have had at least a couple of episodes that self-corrected and I have had occasional arrythmia that is not fibrillation. So fingers crossed, I am not yet a candidate for ablation.

What I have noticed - I seem to not be able to get my heart rate as high as I used to, say during a climb or at the track. Average heart rate for a given workout also seems to be lower. Although as I continue to train, I am actually faster overall than I was when first diagnosed. Resting heart rate seems to have stayed pretty constant. When I first started the meds, my blood pressure dropped a lot, to the point where I was getting light-headed on occasion. I bought one of those electronic blood pressure things, and would occasionally see as low as 80/50. This seems to have self-adjusted over time. This was from the Lisinopril/prinivar, which was prescribed to help the atrium recover. I was found to have significant enlargement of my atrium right before the first cardioversion, but it has dropped significantly and I am getting tested again this July.

There was a further complication from the aspirin. The aspirin is an insurance policy against clot risk from an occasional bout of a-fib. It's much less risky although less effective than Coumadin/warfarin, which I was on for several months but was insistent on stopping once I was sinus for a few months. But I happened to be one of the 20% or so of the population that develop stomach ulcers from daily aspirin use. Again, I wasn't immediately aware, but as I trained again for the marathon in the fall of 08, I was doing great up until the week before the marathon. I was tapering, but wanted to do some small stretches here and there at faster than marathon pace. These felt terrible. I was still sinus, so that wasn't it, so I figured I just needed to cool it as I had done some really hard training sessions in the build up. Stuff I hadn't done for the first one, like a long easy run but several miles at the end at marathon goal pace. At the marathon, I started off running by feel, and I found that I could only run comfortably at last year's pace. I was disappointed, but figured maybe I'd at least feel stronger at the end and be able to make some improvement. Hahahahaha. At mile 17, I felt really strange, and had the sensation that I was lapsing in and out of conciousness while running. So I walked a mile, and then went to try to run again. No. Walked/thumbed a ride back to the car, didn't do anything for a couple of days. But never recovered, really struggled to run even a couple of miles, and easy bike rides were down to like 14 mph. Back for my annual physical, and I was found to be severely anemic. Family doc thought it had to be bleeding, I didn't believe him. But wasn't getting any better, so finally went for colonoscopy and upper GI, and sure enough the aspirin had caused ulcers. Stopped the aspirin. It took many months to recover my blood count, but by the fall of last year I did a couple of tris and running races, and I'm maybe even a little faster yet now that I've been able to train consistently for the better part of a year. Actually podiumed at JerseyMan a week and a half ago.

So sorry to be long-winded, but someone out there might recognize similar symptoms and at least know what to ask his/her physician. Bottom line, if you even suspect some sort of heart arrythmia, get it checked as quickly as you can, and by a good cardiologist.

Brian

Brian

In a way, I can't help but feel responsible, I always knew that you were insane
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [JAM] [ In reply to ]
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JAM wrote:
I recently underwent a pulmonary vein ablation for atrial fibrillation. I know some people here have had the same procedure – I was wondering what your recovery from the procedure was like?

The doctor said it was quite common to experience ‘healing arrhythmias’ after the procedure. How long does it take for these to go away? It’s been two weeks since the operation and, if anything, my bouts of Afib are getting worse instead of better. I’m having episodes that are as bad or worse than prior to the surgery, with continuous Afib for 10-15 hours. My non-arrhythmic heart rate now is quite elevated from my previous resting rate (it’s 70-80 now, rather than 40-50 BPM), and skipped beats/fluttering is quite common. I’m also experiencing some deep, dull pain in my heart and lungs, I assume from things healing the damage of surgery. I’m quite short of breath, to the point where even talking is difficult – I have to take breaks to breathe.

So, for anyone out there that has gone through this procedure, what was your recovery like? How long did you have post-procedure arrhythmias? What other pain and symptoms did you experience? How long did it take before you were able to live a ‘normal life’ (i.e. function at work, do household chores, etc.)? How long before you were able to exercise again?

I haven’t been able to train consistently or race for about 4 years now, and I haven’t been able to exercise at all for over 6 months. I’ve been dreaming about being able to just go for a walk or an easy bike ride. So far my recovery hasn’t been as smooth as I had hoped…

Someone give me some hope here!

Thanks,
J
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [NYCBugkiller] [ In reply to ]
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i have a-fib., have not had the ablation but have talked to a couple of doctors about the procedure. currently taking meds for the problem..
i know 4-5 people who have had it and most were back working out within a couple of weeks and they do not report episodes of A-fib.
Amanda Lavato had it done back in October. read her blog....
here is a video from a guy who had atrial flutter and he talks about his post op.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQG44Jjr0aw

hope you get better soon. i know how you feel...
jana



http://www.triontherunfitness.com
http://www.triontherun.com
http://www.ontheruntx.com
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [jana] [ In reply to ]
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Hi Jana. I don't know what I did but somehow all I did when I did my posting that you replied to was I just forwarded someone else's that I had read on here. I just had afib ablation done this passed Tuesday January 29th 2013 at St. Barnabas Hospital in New Jersey by Dr. David Dobesh. I had contemplated the surgery for the past 8 years and at last I did it. I had open heart for mitral regurgitation back 10 years ago when I was 36 and ever since I have had episodes of afib. I have also dealt with pvc's on a daily basis ever since. Sometimes the pvc's would last all day for days or even weeks. Then they would cut down to a few a day and then come back again. I noticed that when they got real close together, that is when I would get afib. I had Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation which is where I would go into afib and then they could bring me back out after maybe 30 minutes or more with drugs in the emergency room. 40mg of Cardizem was usually used to bring me out. I feel very lucky that I never had to be cardioverted. That doesn't look enjoyable. Well It's been three days since my afib ablation and I feel pretty miserable. I just feel sore, tired, weak and just a bit dizzy. Well I actually felt worse for the first two days because my heart was beating very erratic with pvc's. I was taking 100mg of Toprol every morning (which they lowered after surgery to 25mg) along with 100mg of Flecainide in the am and another 100mg at night. They just added 150mg of Pradaxa to the mix. 150 in the morning and another 150 at night. They told me that thirty days after surgery they will be dumping one of my meds and then after 60 days they will dump another and then after 90 they will dump the Pradaxa. Sounds great to me considering I have been taking 2 of these meds for the past ten years. I am so looking forward to life without drugs and afib. I feel very positive about it. The doc told me that when I was under and they induced afib that he had noticed that they afib was gernerating from more places that he had originally anticipated. That caused the operation to go from a normal 4 hours to 8 hours. He also told me he feels very confident that I won't be needing a 2nd treatment because of all the areas that were initially treated. The operation I had is actually called Robotic-Assisted Catheter Ablation. You can check it out at this link http://www.barnabashealth.org/services/cardiac/physicians/beat_dec12.html . Good luck with your decision Jana. I feel positive that I made the right one. You can email me if you have any questions or concerns. JimmyTag@hotmail.com.


James
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [NYCBugkiller] [ In reply to ]
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Did you make a 100% recovery fitness wise from ablation? I just had it a week ago and my resting HR is now 60 and was 40. Did you experience anything like that after surgery?
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [JAM] [ In reply to ]
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Did you make a 100% recovery fitness wise from ablation eventually? I just had it a week ago and my resting HR is now 60 and was 40. Did you experience anything like that after surgery? How long before you were back close to pre surgery fitness?
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [jjh] [ In reply to ]
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Had my first one in March of '11. They kept me on my meds (flecanaide and metoprolal) during the recovery. No arrhythmias. Took me off the meds at 6 week check up. Ran a half marathon in May. Boom, a-fib back strong again. Back on meds, scheduled another ablation. Got that one in July. Doc said it was basically "touch up warranty work." When they burn a lot, it starts to get enflamed and scarring. So that will often mask where there are misfires during the procedure. So going back in allowed them to get the places they missed before.

After the second one they took me off meds. Two years later I'm back on flecanaide again for mild symptoms. I don't want to go in for a 3rd procedure since the symptoms are not nearly the levels that they were before (I was basically useless when they were going on and it was becoming more and more frequent through '10 and early '11). I'm running 3 - 4 days a week and occassionally getting on the bike. But not racing anymore. I know I'll never be as fast as a I was, nor will I be able to go long again. So I'm resigned to that fact and have accepted it and just try to stay healthy and in somewhat good shape.

_____________________________________________
Rick, "Retired" hobbyist athlete
Trying to come back slowly from acute A-Fib
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [jjh] [ In reply to ]
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Well I wasn't able to work out that much before or right after surgery because I was afraid of getting my heart rate up which would usually send me into afib. Now almost 9 months after surgery a push myself lifting weights occasionally and walking a lot. Well I keep a pedometer on me and I try to average over 5000 steps each day. When I go golfing I usually average like 18,000. I am only 47 so I am pretty active and it hasn't really set me back much at all. To this day I am very happy I had the operation. I still get pvc's and pac's since surgery which are sometimes bothersome but I am learning to deal with them. Doctors have always told me that they are benign and not life threatening anyway. I haven't taken any drugs in the past 6 months and that is the best parts of my recovery. I was so looking forward to getting rid of them. It's such a change in my life to wake up every day and not have to look at the clock making sure I take my meds. Overall, I suggest to anyone that if you have afib, definitely consider having afib ablation. Good luck.
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [jjh] [ In reply to ]
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A friend had ablation a couple of years back. He quickly got back on the bike and, as far as I can tell, has fully recovered his pre-afib power. His resting HR is higher than before. As I recall it went up from around 28 into the low 40s. He rides ~15hrs/wk.
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [JAM] [ In reply to ]
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I had one in 2001 when there was only about two places in the country you could get them done. My afib prior to ablation pretty much halted my ability to compete. I was fortunate enough to have Marcus Wharton (then at Duke University Medical Center) supervise mine and at the time one of the leading pioneers in the field. I was back to full go about 6 weeks later with no complications. The procedure worked 99.9999% of the time with only a few bouts of rhythm disturbance lasting less than a minute in training and racing for about eight years after. The afib has started to come back in the last two years. At IM Wisconsin a couple weeks ago I was in afib for about 5 - 10 minutes on the bike, recovered to normal sinus and then for the first 3 miles of the run and got it back and was good for the remainder of the event. It killed my bike times at two other races this year as well but the duration was longer. I was in afib for about 20 miles of Buffalo Springs 70.3. What my EP told me was they are finding the procedure seems to hold well for 5 - 7 years and then starts to come back. One thing that really helps reduce the duration and extent of the afib events is taurine and l-arginine. This works fairly well and anyone listening here should at least give it a try. You need to take 6 - 7 grams , yes grams, of taurine and l-arginine 2 x a day along with 500 mg of magnesium. All are inexpensive and can be found at The Vitamin Shop. I wished I had put a dose in my T-2 bag at IMWI. This therapy is the only reason I have not yet gone in for a second ablation.
So back to your question. After my procedure I did have some flutter and small events for several weeks but they eventually went away. The procedure is now so much better than when I had it done but I would still make sure the doc doing it has done several hundred first.
Also for you afibbers avoid the following leading up to a race: tomato sauce, garlic, peppers of any kind, dark chocolate, red wine, fish oil capsules, too much caffeine, stress, or any foods that give you heart burn especially if your afib might be vagally mediated. Do not slug down cold drinks during your event sip them or store on board and let them warm up a bit. This sets some of us off frequently.

Regards and good luck.

Jim
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [jjh] [ In reply to ]
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"Did you make a 100% recovery fitness wise from ablation eventually? I just had it a week ago and my resting HR is now 60 and was 40. Did you experience anything like that after surgery? How long before you were back close to pre surgery fitness? "


I'm now at a bit less than 4 years after my two ablation surgeries for afib. My resting hear rate increased immediately after the procedure and has remained higher than it was pre-operation. before the ablations I had a resting HR in the low 40s. immediately after the operations it was in the 70s, i'm now down to upper 50s, low 60s, depending on my fatigue levels. One doctor I talked to said it is common to have a permanent increase in resting HR after the ablations.


My maximum HR has also decreased ~10 beats or so (though I am also 5 or 6 years older than when I was last able to really exercise at intensity).


So I haven't made 100% recovery of my fitness after my procedures. But my fitness before them was pretty high. One the positive side, I haven't had any incidence of afib since the second ablation, and I am able to exercise regularly for ~6-15 hours/week. I'm fit, but not quite as lean and fast as I was six or seven years ago (I'm currently 39, so there might be a bit of performance degradation due to age and career and family responsibilities as well...). I also don't have quite the same motivation to pay $500+ a year in advance for the privilege of spending my only vacation either standing in line or being swallowed up by drafting packs. :) I don't really race anymore, but I don't really miss it either. staying fit and healthy is reward enough for me.


I still feel like I'm getting stronger and healthier as time goes on - I think i'm still recovering fitness from the operations. For instance, up until 6-8 months ago, I was still getting PVCs and other 'harder, heavier' heart beats always associated with fatigue and harder exercise sessions. Those seem to have gone away almost entirely now, and I've recently bumped the cycling back up to 6+ hour hard rides on the weekend without issue.


The one thing that really hasn't returned post-ablation is my ability to really really push myself. It feels like my upper end HR has been cut off. I just can't go really hard anymore. But, realistically, I'm old, and going that hard hurts and probably isn't that healthy for you anyway- I'm probably better off with an internal governor.


So, hang in there, recovery can be a long (multiple years) time, but hopefully you'll continue to get stronger and remain free of afib.


Good luck!
Jeff
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [JAM] [ In reply to ]
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I am struggling through a lot of the same symptoms, my question is this: After all that you have endured, and BIG congrats on that, is there anything you can share as to the secrets of proper diagnosis? It is costing me my small fortune to get it figured out. Thanks and again, way to go!
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [kml] [ In reply to ]
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For me diagnosis was extremely simple as I was in a fib in the doctor's office and had been in it for weeks and my power dropped 30-40%. Get the best cardiologist in your town.

If you get the surgery I got one piece of advice for everybody, Pediatric Weenie Cathether!!!
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [kml] [ In reply to ]
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"After all that you have endured, and BIG congrats on that, is there anything you can share as to the secrets of proper diagnosis? It is costing me my small fortune to get it figured out."

by the secrets of proper diagnosis, do you mean how the diagnosis of afib was finally achieved?

assuming this is the case - if you search for posts by me (JAM) you can dig up pretty much my whole history of heart issues.

The short answer is have your girlfriend leave you, go on a multi-week angst-fueled orgy of excessive endurance exercise and sleep deprivation, wait until you're in afib, then go to the emergency room complaining of heart problems and be hooked up to an ECG faster than you can think. Then you finally have an ECG trace you can show your disbelieving cardiologist demonstrating that there is, in fact, a problem, even though their various tests over the last few years didn't find anything.

In a bit more detail-

I developed a heart arrhythmia at a very early age (like 7 or so) that was mostly controlled via medication until my early 20s. At that point it was frequent enough that I underwent an ablation for what was later called 'Wolfe-Parkinson-White type II syndrome' (spelling might be off). My understanding is this was a single-point ablation to fry a node in my left atrium, a much less complicated procedure than what is used to treat afib. The side effect of this is I was highly sensitized to heart issues, and had confidence in what did and did not feel right with my heart beat.

At this point I was symptom-free and had the best ~6 years of my athletic life filled with excessive ironman racing, getting faster that I ever believed possible. At some point I started getting weird fatigue symptoms and occasional highly elevated 'jumpy' heart rates with excessive intensive endurance exercise. With my history of heart problems I of course went to see a cardiologist and got hooked up to the treadmill stress test, the 24 hour holter monitor, and the month-long event recorder. None of these showed an issue.

After a few more years, a few different cardiologists, and a bunch more testing the afib episodes got a little more frequent (every few months, rather than once a year) and a bit longer duration (10s of minutes, rather than a few minutes). It was during this time that I had an episode trigger after a hard swim on little sleep, and it lasted long enough that I was able to get to an emergency room to get that 'proof' that there was a problem.

I waited another couple of years for things to get worse before I decided the risk of surgery was worth it due to the impact the (now almost daily and hours-long) afib episodes were having on my life.

I'm afraid I'm not much help in how to diagnosis the problem cheaply. The best I can offer there is stress yourself out as much as possible and make sure an emergency room is handy (disclaimer- i am not a medical professional and I don't actually recommend this as a method of diagnosing heart problems!). But I can at least offer some sympathy and my experience - It can take a long time for modern medical science to track down and diagnose intermittent medical problems. In my experience, how I felt was a much more sensitive test than anything the doctors were able to do.

I have heard of a small, implantable monitor that can be used to diagnose heart issues with more confidence. if you're really having issues this might be something that you could discuss with you cardiologist. The one I've heard about is the Medtronic Reveal:
http://www.medtronic.com/...ing/device/index.htm)

(Disclaimer: I work for Medtronic, but in an unrelated business unit. I don't know anything about this device other than seeing it at a product fair once)

Best of luck, and know that you're not alone.
Jeff
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [JAM] [ In reply to ]
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Sounds so similar (even the GF part) except mine is HR too slow (low). There is no pain just a dull thump in center of chest, lightheadedness and neck, jaw irritation. This has been a constant since Feb. PCP said take ibuprofen and get more sleep. EKGs show nothing out of ordinary. All fitness is gone, I struggled yesterday on a flat 5K. Two trips to ER in last three years drained the account (recessions didn't help either), nobody knows what it is, latest diagnosis is idiopathic pericarditis. The next round of testing is estimated to be 10K which I do not have. I read with great interest your story and those of others thinking I should sell the farm and hire a cardiologist, but I keep hoping that one day I'll wake up and be 'normal' again. It appears that I my qualify for some assistance with the affordable health care, so I am keeping fingers crossed. Good luck mate, sounds like you are fighting the good fight. My last Ironman I took a DNF on the run in Penticton. There is not a day that passes that I wish I could have that decision back.
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [NYCBugkiller] [ In reply to ]
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Hey James.
glad to hear you are doing better. I was wondering how your recovery was going. I am still "waiting" on making my decision. still taking my meds. still get A-fib every couple of weeks....
do not exercise at all. tried running ( even walking) a couple of times but went into A-fib when my heart rate went up to 100+.
I am hoping I wake up one morning and my life and heart are back to normal and this was all a nightmare....( I know, that's not going to happen)
OR they perfect the ablation to be easier, quicker and more successful... I hear of people having 1, 2 or 3 ablations before it stops the a fib.
I would love to be able to train and race again. My life has changed so drastically in the past year and a half.
jana



http://www.triontherunfitness.com
http://www.triontherun.com
http://www.ontheruntx.com
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [jana] [ In reply to ]
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Jana I honestly think you should just do it. It's a routine operation for allot of these doctors these days. My surgeon told me that there isn't any downside to having this procedure done. I was thinking like you and just watching the miserable years pass me by. I think I was lucky with only having to have it done once. You could be as well. Recovery really isn't that bad. Just a couple small incisions between your legs where they insert the catheter. You'll be fine. Life is too short to live it worrying about afib. Go for it and let me hear the results.

James
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [jana] [ In reply to ]
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Just my 2 cents here. Three years ago when training for my 4th IMC I went into a-fib. One the of the 6% or so, that they have no idea why as my heart, valves, vessels are all in great shape. After my 3rd cardioversion last Dec, I went in this past Feb for my ablation. 6 hour procedure, 120 burns. No discomfort, no pain before or after the procedure. Stayed overnight and went home the next day. 2 weeks after started lifting weights again, and started taking walks. 4 weeks after on the trainer and six weeks started run/walking. A few high HR spikes at first. Now it's run 3 times a week, bike twice and lifting 3 times. Not in training, just trying to be active. Slower than I was, but more mental now, and nervous about pushing it. HR is higher, but before going a-fib my HR was really low, and was lower when I was on drugs.

5 days before the procedure stopped taking my Multaq and haven't been on it since. Off the Coumadin since May, and just on baby aspirin now. A-fib free. Next follow up in 5 months. Procedure was spendy, $74,000. Insurance cut it down to $66,000. My part was $2,000, my out-of-pocket max.
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [TPL] [ In reply to ]
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That's fantastic. I'm happy to hear it. Life is so much better when you can pull meds out of the routine. I have been off the meds for like 5 months now and it's such a relief. My procedure was 6 hours and my heart rate was elevated as well afterwards. Maybe like 100-110. Now resting it is like 70. With meds it was in the mid 50's. I definitely suggest ablation to anyone living with afib. Feeling like you are dying isn't something many people experience in life and it isn't something I feel that anyone should have to live with. Especially if there is something that could help.
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [jana] [ In reply to ]
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I had A Fib and A Flutter for a few years, but only sporadically, and the episodes usually lasted only a few hours. I didn't have the high HR, just the arrythmia and "wobble" in the chest. Last summer, I had a prolonged episode, wore the monitor and was diagnosed with flutter. I had a right side ablation done last August but symptoms returned a few weeks later and I was adivsed that the "flutter was covering up the fib". In prep for the right side ablation, I swapped from pradaxa to coumadin, so I didn't have the left side done until October. It took about 2 months to taper off all the drugs and I had a few missed beats, but I feel fine now. I'm back to training, but I also seem to have a bit lower top end HR, but perhaps that's age (I'm 44).

Good luck and take care of yourself.
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Re: Atrial Fibrillation ablation – recovery [Simple Stevie] [ In reply to ]
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Diagnosed with Afib in 1991, controlled with Beta blockers and Digoxin for years. Steadily got worse, Dr took me off Digoxin as it was slowing HR down (35-40 resting) and I soldiered on for a few more years. Finally, the Afib was waking be up at night, keeping me from exercising and just plain annoyed me constantly. Cardiologist referred me to EP Dr who first suggested Cryo Ablation in 2010, but didn't have much experience. I waited till he'd done over 500 of them and finally scheduled. I'm 5 weeks out at this point and feeling better every day. Still have slow (30-45) resting HR but that's an issue for another time. Still having some random Afib but feeling better and I understand this is likely to pass with time. I'm a cyclist and years back did such events as the cross-Florida (160+ miles in a single day) but had to back off in my late 30's due to Afib. Took my first ride today and was amazed at the extra reserve I had! Hills that were a real strain before now seem much less of a challenge. Trying to take it slow but it's hard to when it feels this good.
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