AFIB and ablation

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Submitted by Dr T on May 23, 2012 – 8:32am

My 36 yr old son developed AFIB a few yrs ago, his cardiologist prescribed a take as needed medication, I do not know the name, but he never prescribed a blood thinner, each passing year the AFIB progressively worsened, this past year my son was placed on several different daily meds (Not all at once but different as in months in btween a new med change) but never a blood thinner, fast forward to this coming June, 2012. My son is going to have a Cardiac/Heart/Catheter/Ablation, I dont know the difference between the names if any.he is now on Coumadin and his levels are all over the place. under 2, then over 7, etc.Could you shed some light on what ablation can do for AFIB, also I am interested in aftercare, especially lifting, as I want to help him with his “chores’ such as lawn mowing and trash removal.   I do not want him doing these 2 things especially, he will have a 2 week period off from work, so hopefully that will help, he works in  the construction field, he has been forewarned to be careful about cutting himself, also he was told he will be on coumadin for months afterwards , but not for a extended/forever period of time. My elderly Mom had AFIB and was always on a blood thinner, from the 1st DX right up to her death.I am so confused . I hope I made some kind of sense and you can find my question among this babble.Thank you kindly.Jen aka “worried mother”

Hi Jennifer,
In patients with atrial fibrillation (AFib), a blood thinner like coumadin is used to prevent blood clots from causing a stroke. Coumadin is a powerful medication that can have dangerous side effects. You’ll need to have regular blood tests to monitor whether you take too much or too little and if the values go up and dwn like you mentioned, it means he needs to be tested more frequently till it becomes more obvious how much he needs. There are new drugs available like dabigatran (Pradaxa) that don’t require regular testing, but all have their drawbacks. Dabigatran is as effective as coumadin at preventing blood clots that can lead to strokes but doesn’t require special blood testing.
Ablation is used for some patients, but I cannot judge whether your son is a good candidate.
There are some other things can be done to try to prevent recurrent spells of atrial fibrillation, such as reduce or eliminate caffeinated and alcoholic beverages from your diet, because they can sometimes trigger an episode of atrial fibrillation.
Hope this helps,
Dr T

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