What can I expect following ablation for AF?
Expect to stay overnight. You will be at bed rest for three hours after the ablation. You can be up and around after that, but avoid heavy exertion for one week. While we do the ablation to prevent atrial fibrillation, the actual ablation itself causes irritation and in the first week in particular it is not uncommon to have recurrences of irregular heartbeat or even atrial fibrillation. Depending on our risk assessment, we may or may not therefore prescribe an antiarrhythmic drug. It is common to have mild chest discomfort for the first 2 or 3 days. We frequently prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication such as prednisone to prevent this. We also treat with antacid therapy for 1 month to protect the esophagus. It is common to have some bruising at the puncture sites. Usually it is fairly local, but it can extend a good way down to the knee on occasion. That in and of itself is not alarming. Progressive pain or swelling at the puncture sites is more concerning as it could represent continued bleeding. Late onset of chest pain or pain on swallowing requires immediate attention to prevent atrial esophageal fistula.