Appointment with electrophysiologist at the Northern General Hospital, Andreas Kyriacou. Strange that the cardiology department should be placed in an area where the parking situation is likely to produce excess stress; after arriving at the hospital gates with half an hour to spare, the parking situation meant that I literally walked into outpatients at my allotted time. In contrast to Chesterfield, it seems that the average age and weight here is much lower.
Apparently my chances of successful ablation are reduced from 80% to 50% as I have now been in persistent AF for more than a year. Obviously this change didn’t happen overnight on the anniversery of persistent AF, but it is very frustrating as from March last year I was pointing out to everyone I came into contact with in the NHS that I needed an ablation sooner rather than later. I had thought that the process: test, wait, test, further wait, test, another wait etc, was designed to fix the low percentage of easy cases while incurring little cost, and put off the higher spends until later. Unfortunately, it makes the other cases harder and more expensive to treat. It also allows the disease to develop further and given the increased inputs required from procedures and medications as well as the side effects such as lethargy and weight gain potentially causing other issues, this must be much more expensive for the NHS in the long run.
It seems that there are two treatment options for which I am a suitable candidate: catheter ablation and the mini-maze procedure. I could choose which procedure I would prefer, but there would be a three to six month wait for catheter ablation and a longer wait for the mini-maze. I do have some luck; there is a research project underway at the NGH to assess recovery rates between the two options. If I choose instead to be on the trial, then I would be randomly selected to have one or other of the procedures, and waiting time would be significantly reduced. Also, a follow up ablation would be automatically scheduled after three months, rather than join the queue again. For me this is not a difficult decision to make, the earlier the intervention the better.
I will be contacted by the hospital, either tomorrow or the day after. If not, I should ring them on Thursday; this haste is very refreshing after the last months of dawdling.