Atrial Fibrillation Ablation


What Happens Prior To The Procedure?

Once you elect to undergo an atrial fibrillation ablation procedure there are several steps that need to be undertaken in order for your procedure to be performed safely.

You need to be at a therapeutic level of warfarin for at least 1 month prior to the procedure. If you are not already on warfarin, you should see your General Practitioner 2 months prior to the ablation procedure to commence you on warfarin as it will take some time to become therapeutic. You will need to aim for an INR between 2 and 4. Occasionally other arrangements need to be made and these should be discussed with Professor Sanders.

You will undergo a specialised CT/MRI scan that will provide us images to use during your procedure. There will be some specialised preparation required for this, for which, information will be directly provided by the radiology group. This scan will require you to have some contrast. Please inform your Doctor and the Radiologist of any allergies.

During the week prior to your procedure, you will have a trans-oesophageal echocardiogram. This is a specialised ultrasound that is performed by passing a small tube through your mouth into your oesophagous (gullet) to ensure that there are no clots inside your heart prior to the procedure. If it is felt you will require an anaesthetist during the procedure, you may be asked to attend a pre-anaesthetic review clinic.

Unless other specific instructions have been provided, your warfarin will be stopped 7 days prior to your procedure. You will start a course of injections 5 days prior to the procedure. These are taken twice a day (clexane 1 mg/kg twice a day). A script for these can be obtained at your pre procedural visit or through your General Practitioner. These injections are pre loaded and the chemist will provide instructions on their administration. Most patients give these to themselves or have their partners administer them. You should not have any clexane on the day of your procedure.

Unless other specific instructions have been provided, you will need to stop taking any medication that you have been prescribed for your abnormal heart rhythm 5 days prior to your procedure. You will need to present to hospital having fasted for 6 hours prior to your procedure.

If you are unsure of any of these details prior to your procedure, you should contact the Cardiovascular Centre on (08) 8362 2272.

  • Professor Sanders says...

    Atrial fibrillation is a consequence of several reversible risk factors - high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, sleep apnoea, and excessive alcohol. Your management of atrial fibrillation must include strict control of these risk factors.