I just found this, which contains a fair amount of technical information.
Over the last year of treatment there have been a number of false dawns; on several occasions I received a form of treatment and declared myself so much better, sometimes almost claiming to be back to normality. This happened after the successful cardioversion, a few weeks after the first ablation and immediately after the second. Each time it took a short while to realise that these were just an overreaction to a slight improvement or perhaps even self-delusion. Confusingly, the first treatment step that did not leave me feeling instantly improved was the removal of Beta Blockers which was the one thing I expected to give a magical change.
The run-up to Xmas was tiring, in spite of me using saved holidays to reduce my last month at work to a number of two- and three-day weeks. The two and a half weeks of rest over Xmas certainly helped. I have been feeling greatly improved since January started (with the exception of New Year’s Day) and have not regressed.
This week was my first real test. I had a busy day in the office followed by a trip to London, which involved parking at Luton and getting the train in, arriving at the hotel in the Barbican at 8:30 p.m. After an 8:00 a.m. start in the morning, a long intense meeting finished at 4:00 p.m., after which I returned to Luton. I then drove to Norfolk, stopping for food on the way and arriving at 8:00 p.m. This was followed by another 8:00 a.m. start delivering a pilot environmental course to our teaching and support staff. I had planned a 4:00 p.m. finish, but I was not sure exactly how long the exercises and discussion would take. It finally finished at 5:10 p.m., leaving me to tidy up and drive the 120 mile back home. None of this was any problem, but would have nearly killed me physically and mentally two months previously.
On the bike recently, I had noticed that the small inclines on the canal were not impacting on my HR as before and my rested pulse is also starting to trend downward. Bad weather and too much work away from home has kept me from putting my health to the test with further exercise over the last two weeks, but this time, I think that I can finally say that I am on the road to a proper recovery. The weather is still atrocious, but I will attempt to get out for a few walks and rides, not pushing yet, but working steadily towards improvement for the summer.
I have been taken readings of my HR while relaxed. This is not my resting HR, which is lower, but a standard reading taken around the same time each evening while sat watching TV.
The slight rise in Oct 16 seems to correspond with my cardioversion. I am not sure why there is a blip in Feb 17 prior to my 1st ablation; I don’t recall anything unusual at the time. I also don’t understand why my HR rose steadily after the first ablation and then fell before rising again at the end of June; I expected it to rise immediately and slowly get back to normal. There does seem to be a similar response after the second ablation with a gentle rise over the first six weeks. The elimination of the beta blockers caused a significant sudden rise, but there seems to be the expected slight downwards trend since then.
It was 100 days post ablation on Saturday 13th. I am all but signed off by the Cardiologist, but still apprehensive about trying to get back to normal. I am currently exercising fairly regularly but I am still in the blanking period, so keeping my HR to a peak of 160 (generally averaging 140 during exercise). I am doing similar distances at a similar level of effort as I was at the same time period after the first procedure. I am ½ mph slower, but then the weather is much worse and the ground is wet and energy sapping.
On Sunday, I tried the road bike for the first time in a year. It was nice not to get muddy, but I did feel restricted on the hillier parts. It wasn’t a problem going uphill with a 36 x 28, but my progress was slow.
I am about 5Kg heavier than six months ago, mainly due to reduced exercise and indulgence in comfort foods; ironic considering I haven’t been drinking. I now need to get back to a reasonable level of fitness, without risking a return to AF.
I did not have an official review three months after the second procedure as the Cardiologist did not think it was necessary after my six week review; my next visit is in April, which will unfortunately include a TOE to check the Atriclip.
Overall, I am much improved on how I was two years ago, and am far better than I ever expected or even hoped for. I don’t actually feel any better after the second one than before it, but the EP had severed re-connections on two of the pulmonary veins and dealt with Atrial Flutter so there must have been a further improvement. The biggest bonus is no longer being on the drugs; no need to take Anticoagulants because of the Atriclip and no need for the bisoprolol as the AF is no longer present
I have tried alcohol; no effect from one or two units, but got a little carried away on New Year’s Eve and regretted it.
My current resting HR is around 90BPM, compared with 57BPM before I went into persistent AF. I am not sure how much of this is due to inflammation and how much is a drop in fitness level.
I am still struggling for fitness; I am not pushing too hard on the bike, but I am still slow and walking is more of an effort than it should be. I will continue light exercise and see in April what the views of the cardiologist are on my steadily increasing my efforts.
I am now back to normal, although with a cold. I am in sinus rhythm with an occasional ectopic. No more binges for me.
New Years Eve started well, with no ectopics experienced in the previous week. I was drinking slowly, a small glass of wine followed by a cup of tea. Then a small glass of wine, followed by a pint of water. I checked the Kardia at 1:30 a.m., there were no irregularities and no ectopics. Unfortunately the party went on until 3:00 a.m. and I think I drank a bottle and a half in total; 14 units in one session, textbook binge.
In the morning, I was in suspected AF according to the Kardia; which resolved within an hour to “Normal”, but with lots of ectopics.
The wine was not the only factor; I woke with a severe cold and sore throat. But I am pinning most of the blame on the alcohol.
Not too shabby for an invalid who had two heart procedures during the year.
Light Xmas drinking continued; ectopics have dropped to nil.
I have now finished work early for the Xmas period and have tickets for the Beat/Selector Xmas tour. Since there were no problems after the 16th, I decided to start the holiday period with a drink. Eventually three and a half pints were consumed; not much of a problem, not drunk and heart felt fine.