It is now the second anniversary of my ablation: a Mini-maze procedure including a Left Atrial Appendage closure. I also had a further RF ablation six months after this, which was always planned and completed the Maze lesion set. Apart from a few dodgy Kardia readings, I have been AF-free since the Mini-maze and drug-free since November 2017.
Immediately after the Mini-maze, I was unsure whether it had been a good idea, my heart rate was still erratic and I felt like I’d been hit by a truck. It settled down quickly and although I had a few ectopics and a few “Possible AF “ Kardia readings, I had no symptoms and my recovery seemed good.
The hybrid ablation seems to be gaining ground, particularly for treatments of Persistent AF; a meta-study edited by Katriina Aalto-Setala https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5752005/ shows a success rate in cases of Long Standing Persistent AF of 69% for single-stage treatments and 78% for the two-stage version I had. (Success was defined as no episode of atrial fibrillation or atrial tachycardia lasting longer than 30 seconds without administration of antiarrhythmic drugs within the follow up period, which was at least a year, depending on study). The success rate for PVI ablation was given as 70%, but only in the case of paroxysmal AF. It was stated that it is much less effective in cases of longstanding persistent AF, but figures were not given.
It took me a while to get back to proper exercise (the probable cause in the first place) although this was deliberate rather than my inability. I have lost a little fitness but hope to regain this during the year. Prior to my AF, my resting heart rate was 57. The beta blockers and ablations played havoc with it over the last couple of years. The graph below shows my heart rate on a daily basis over the last few years. This is not resting heart rate, but a regular reading taken in the evening when relaxing. My actual resting heart rate is currently plateaued at 67, ten higher than before my treatment.