It is now 5 years since I had an ablation carried out by Peter Kistler and his team.  I was 54 at the time and can't imagine life without it - or if there would be any life at all.
 
I had probably had AF episodes for a bit over 10 years before that, although maybe only one or two a year.  Most happened during exercise and didn't last long, and I wrote them off as; being too hot, dehydrated, too tired, etc.
 
About 18 months before the operation I had an AF event in front of Barb, my wife, in the gym.  I couldn't just explain it away and anyway, they had been happening more often.  I ended up seeing a cardiologist who put me on a range of drugs, including beta blockers, and saying that that was it for life.  I kept doing all the activities that I always did; open water swimming, water polo and surf lifesaving thinking the beta blockers would keep the heart rate and rhythm in check.  They didn't and AF episodes kept increasing.  The beta blockers also "fried" brain function.  It was difficult to keep on top of the details of all the projects at work.
 
After a change of cardiologist, I ended up with a referral to Peter Kistler. Peter had a positive and calming approach that was infectious and I looked forward eagerly to the ablation that was carried out 3 months later.
 
From the time I woke up after the operation I resolved to assume that everything was now back in full working order and act accordingly.  I have had 5 great years that I couldn't have imagined before the ablation.
 
The benefits include;

  • being able to co-ordinate all the complex details of an architectural practice
  • another 5 years of surf lifesaving patrols
  • continuing to play water polo
  • regular open water swimming all year round
  • open water swim races up to 5km
  • 6hr 19km swim from Torquay to Anglesea
  • walk up big hills
  • play hard with grandchildren AND
  • very importantly (but not often mentioned) a big improvement in the physical part of a loving relationship

I had been meaning to send this after 5 years and a recent wonderful overseas trip.  Your radio stint this morning gave me the reminder to write something.  From my perspective, a sample size of 1, I had assumed that the effectiveness of an ablation over drug treatment was proven a long time ago.
 
Below is a link to a fun 5 minute youtube video we did after our 2 man 19km swim
https://youtu.be/A3xdnyp7MFw
 
Now considering other fun and longer swims – and possible English Channel swim in the next few years.
 
Everything is possible due to the great work of you and your team.
   
 (Michael 59)

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