I'm a male, 61, in relatively good health, although I've got medically controllable high blood pressure. Having been recently diagnosed with AFib my doctor recommended having an ablation. I agreed and had the procedure on 5-17-12. It appears that I was as uninformed about what to expect after the procedure as so many other people whose comments I've read.
Having spent the night in the hospital, as so many ablation patients do, I found myself awake at 6AM. And 45 minutes later, while still lying in bed, I felt myself go into AFib. I was so disappointed and depressed when it appeared obvious to me that the ablation had failed. A nurse came into the room and asked if I had gotten out of bed because her monitors indicated my heart rate had increased. I told her I was in AFib. Did she tell me this is not at all uncommon? No. I'm in my community's newest heart hospital and my nurse seems as mystified as me as to why my AFib has returned. Later that day another doctor from my doctor's medical group came into my room and said they'd like me to stay one more night so they can continue to monitor my heart activity. I agreed to stay and concluded that things must not have gone good. Did the new doctor mention AFib after ablation was not at all uncommon? No. Early in the afternoon the AFib stopped and my spirits slowly climbed through the day. Perhaps the AFib earlier was a fluke or aberation. I went to sleep around 11PM. At 4AM I awoke and found myself again in full AFib. And, like the previous morning, it was as strong as any AFib I had ever felt.
When I finally spoke with my doctor before I was discharged later that day he told me that AFib for several months wasn't uncommon. But I wasn't sure how much confidence I could take from that info or was he just trying to prop up my spirits. But, the info I've received from other ablation patients on this site has done an enormous job in easing my sense of disappointment or failure. My experiences have been identical to so many other patients. And it seems to be universal that doctors do a poor job in informing ablation patients of what to expect after the procedure. The feeling of fatigue alone is so obvious I'm amazed the doctor didn't warn me what I'd feel, like so many other patients have said. And its not the kind of fatigue from which you can recuperate from by resting. While resting you still feel the fatigue. You're heart is simply going to have to heal before you can feel better. At least, that's what I'm telling myself one week into this. This might also have been something good to know.
My AFib is daily now, as opposed to once a week BEFORE the ablation. And, like so many others have said, its more intense. I would have seen a doctor much earlier if the AFib felt like it does now.
When I awoke in Recovery I quickly noticed that my ring and pinky fingers were quite numb and my hands and arms felt as though I had hit both of my "funny bones". The feeling was quite intense and unpleasant. As I opened and closed my hands anticipating a quick recovery I mentioned to the nurse that my fingers and hands were numb and she said a lot of patients say that. And she could offer no explanation. I asked the doctor and he told me my arms were held closely and tightly to my sides while I was under anesthesia. The numbness took 3 days to leave and spot on the inside of your elbows where you're "funny bone" is was sore on both arms. My doctor's theory of how this happened seems feasible. I'm just surprised he hadn't heard of this before. The nurse certainly had.
My gratitude to everyone who has shared their experiences. Its been extremely informative and valuable.