We use this patient information to welcome you to the Heart Clinic at Private Hospital Molholm and to provide you with information on radiofrequency ablation of atrial fibrillation.
Our staff will do their utmost to ensure that you feel safe and comfortable during your stay. Our aim is to combine professional treatment with good personal contact.
Between 85 and 90% of patients with episodic atrial fibrillation are helped by the treatment. If the atrial fibrillation is chronic or long-lasting, the anticipated success of the treatment is slightly less - around 70 %.
The purpose of this treatment is primarily to treat abnormal heart rhythm – named “atrial fibrillation”.
Toiletries, slippers and comfortable clothes. Also, bring your usual medication.
You do not strictly need being accompanied as you are permitted to carry a weekend bag with a change of clothes and toiletries and are also permitted to use public transport on your day of discharge – including travelling by airplane.
Continue taking your usual medication until your time of admission. This also applies if you take Marevan or Pradaxa/Eliquis/Xarelto/Lixiana.
The responsible cardiologist may also have assessed that there is no need for you to take blood-thinning medication prior to the ablation. However, you must always take this type of medication for a minimum of three months from your treatment.
Please shave your right-hand groin area using a single-use razor on the day prior to your admission as illustrated below:
You are not allowed to eat solid food for at least six hours prior to your appointment. You are permitted to drink until two hours prior to your appointment (avoid any dairy products).
You are not permitted to smoke less than two hours prior to your appointment.
If your appointment is at 11:00 a.m., you can have breakfast no later than 07:00 a.m..
During your admission, your relatives may call the secretariat on telephone number +45 7642 7420.
Your spouse may be present at the hospital before, during and after treatment.
Mobile telephones are permitted.
On your day of admission, you will be received by a nurse who will help you settle in and provide you with information about your hospital stay. You will be given the actual time of your surgery and specific precautions in connection with the surgery.
A line will be inserted into a vein in your arm. Your blood pressure and pulse will be measured, and blood samples may also be taken and an ECG may be performed.
Immediately prior to surgery, the responsible cardiologist will meat with you and inform you of any details, including any specific circumstances relating to your arrhythmia, which may impact the effect as well as any side effect of the surgery.
There will be plenty of time for this consultation and, naturally, your relatives are welcome to participate.
The treatment takes approximately 2-3 hours. You will see a fair amount of technical equipment in the treatment room, such as computer screens and X-ray equipment.
Learn more about the use of X-rays here: X-rays (In Danish)
Prior to the catheter treatment being performed, a special ultrasound examination will be performed of your heart via your oesophagus (TEE). This is carried out to rule out any blood clots to be present at the inside of the left atrium despite the medicinal treatment with blood-thinning medicine. If clots have formed, there is a risk that these may detach during surgery which means that the surgery must be postponed. This examination is carried out during a brief general anaesthetic.
The remainder of the treatment is performed in a combination of local anaesthetics and heavy sedation. Catheters are threaded to your heart from the veins in your groin area. Using the catheters, the electrical impulses in your heart may be monitored. By increasing the temperature of the catheter tip to approximately 65⁰C, the cause of your arrhythmia is treated.
If you display atrial fibrillation during the surgery, we will endeavour to achieve normal cardiac rhythm (sinus rhythm) during the treatment by also applying an electric shock (DC conversion) to your chest.
After the procedure, all plastic tubes are removed and you will be monitored by a nurse for the next two hours, during which time you will need to lie flat on your back due to the risk of bleeding from the incision in your groin.
If you feel any discomfort, pain, sensations of heat or swelling in your groin area, you must tell the nurse of this.
Prior to discharge, your cardiologist will meat with you. This will be an opportunity to discuss any future precautions.
In the morning of the day of discharge, your incision will be checked.
You will receive the discharge papers and we will send a discharge letter with a description of the treatment to your general medical practitioner and the hospital which referred you for treatment.
You will be discharged after breakfast at approximately 08:30 a.m..
You are permitted to drive or to use public transport immediately on discharge. This includes air transportation.
In rare instances (a total risk of less than 1%), complications may arise: A significant accumulation of blood in your groin area incision, an accumulation of blood in your pericardium, air in your pleura, small blood clots in your vessels, in your heart or in other organs (brain, kidneys, lungs).
These complications may require observation or specialist treatment, which may be carried out locally.
Within the first week of discharge, you must avoid heavy lifting and physical strain, including sporting activities loads due to the healing of the incision. You may return to work approximately one week after discharge. However, if your job is physically demanding, you must allow yourself two weeks’ recovery before going back to work.
You may expect to develop a small bruise in the right-hand groin area around your incision. A few patients develop a slightly larger bruise (haematoma) which may be bothersome for a couple of weeks after the procedure.
Many patients experience slight pains/pressure/a dull ache in the chest for a couple of days after treatment. If you experience this, Panodil may be taken to ease discomfort.
Usually, we recommend that you continue to take the heart-stabilising medication taken up to the procedure for an additional three months.
Similarly, you should continue to take your blood-thinning medication for at least three months after the procedure.
Changes to your medication should only be undertaken on the advice of your general medical practitioner or your cardiologist. It is particularly important that you consult your general medical practitioner before you stop taking you blood-thinning medication.
Some patients experience palpitations or atrial fibrillation after the procedure. This may be caused by an irritation of the cardiac scar tissue caused by the procedure and is not necessarily an indication of the procedure being ineffective. Some experience an increase in the number of attacks during the first 2-3 months after treatment, after which time the symptoms usually decrease. For this reason, the actual effectiveness of the procedure can only be ascertained after approximately three months or more.
It may be necessary to repeat the procedure. Experience states that approximately 15-20 % of patients require a further treatment to achieve the optimum result.
If you experience palpitations/atrial fibrillation, we suggest the following:
It is a good idea to record the frequency and duration of any symptoms and bring this information to your outpatient check-up approximately three months after treatment.
Please seek immediate medical assistance in case of strong chest pains, difficulty breathing or fainting.
You are always welcome to call Privathospital Mølholm: +45 8720 3040
PRIVATE HOSPITAL MOLHOLM