Atrial Fibrillation Ablation Procedure Preparation
- Our nurses will let you know of your hospital arrival time.
- Make sure we know your cell phone or contact number.
- Have someone with you who can drive you home. You can’t drive for 72 hours.
- Blood thinners – If you take Coumadin or Warfarin, please have your blood level checked each week for 3 weeks prior to the week of your procedure. Please call and tell us your INR results each time at 205-971-7566. If your INR drops too low or goes too high, we will need to reschedule your procedure
The Night Before the Procedure
- Nothing to eat or drink after midnight before the procedure.
- Remove your contact lenses before you arrive at the hospital.
- Make sure you bring your glasses, if needed to read.
- Bring your insurance card and driver’s license.
- Bring all of your medications with you.
- Hold all medications the morning of the procedure, unless it is your blood thinner.
- DO NOT STOP your Coumadin, Eliquis, Pradaxa, Savaysa or Xarelto. Take it as usual with a sip of water.
- Stop your anti-arrhythmic meds (Heart Rhythm Control) 5 days before the procedure.
Prep and Recovery
- Nurses in the Prep and Recovery area will begin to prepare you for the procedure. They will ask your medical history, allergies and your current medications.
- The nurse anesthetist and anesthesiologist will meet you. Please remember to disclose any previous anesthetic problems you or members of your family have experienced.
- An IV will be started and blood drawn.
- You will be asked to sign the procedure consent forms.
- Staff will remove hair from both groins using clipper as necessary.
A TEE (Transesophageal Echocardiogram) may be done by another cardiologist depending upon the type of catheter ablation procedure you will have. The TEE is performed to make sure you don’t have a blood clot inside of your heart – if you do, the procedure will be cancelled. Our physicians perform the TEEs early each morning so that patients can then go to the EP Lab. The TEE is performed in the Prep and Recovery area. You will receive medicine to make you comfortable for this procedure. Once the TEE is complete, you will wait until an EP Lab is available. It is difficult to predict when your ablation procedure will start.
Your family should stay on the 2nd floor waiting area while you are in the EP Lab. Shortly after the procedure, your doctor will come and update your family. An average ablation procedure takes about 2-4 hours depending on the complexity of the case. We ask for your patience and to be prepared to wait most of the day. If the procedure lasts longer than usual, your loved ones can ask the front desk clerk to call Prep and Recovery for an update. Coffee is available in the waiting area and the cafeteria is located on the first floor.