"This book is incredibly complete and easy-to-understand for anybody. I certainly recommend it for patients who want to know more about atrial fibrillation than what they will learn from doctors...."

Pierre Jaïs, M.D. Professor of Cardiology, Haut-Lévêque Hospital, Bordeaux, France

"Dear Steve, I saw a patient this morning with your book [in hand] and highlights throughout. She loves it and finds it very useful to help her in dealing with atrial fibrillation."

Dr. Wilber Su Cavanaugh Heart Center, Phoenix, AZ

"Your book [Beat Your A-Fib] is the quintessential most important guide not only for the individual experiencing atrial fibrillation and his family, but also for primary physicians, and cardiologists."

Jane-Alexandra Krehbiel, nurse, blogger and author "Rational Preparedness: A Primer to Preparedness"


"Steve Ryan's summaries of the Boston A-Fib Symposium are terrific. Steve has the ability to synthesize and communicate accurately in clear and simple terms the essence of complex subjects. This is an exceptional skill and a great service to patients with atrial fibrillation."

Dr. Jeremy Ruskin of Mass. General Hospital and Harvard Medical School

"I love your [A-fib.com] website, Patti and Steve! An excellent resource for anybody seeking credible science on atrial fibrillation plus compelling real-life stories from others living with A-Fib. Congratulations…"

Carolyn Thomas, blogger and heart attack survivor; MyHeartSisters.org

"Steve, your website was so helpful. Thank you! After two ablations I am now A-fib free. You are a great help to a lot of people, keep up the good work."

Terry Traver, former A-Fib patient

"If you want to do some research on AF go to A-Fib.com by Steve Ryan, this site was a big help to me, and helped me be free of AF."

Roy Salmon Patient, A-Fib Free; pacemakerclub.com, Sept. 2013

Catheter Ablation Benefits Your Heart’s Pumping Ability

A-Fib is a progressive disease that over time re-models and changes your heart. One of the remodeling effects of A-Fib is a reduction in the heart’s pumping ability (that’s why you might feel faint or dizzy during an A-Fib episode).

Ejection Fraction: A Measure of Pumping Ability

A key indicator of heart health is your Ejection Fraction (EF), the percentage of blood that is pumped out of your heart by the left ventricle during each beat. A healthy heart has an EF between 50 to 75 percent; an EF below 50% means your heart is no longer pumping efficiently. An EF of less than 35% means a seriously weakened heart.

In a meta-analysis of 26 studies, researchers found additional ‘side’ benefits to catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation. The studies involved 1,838 A-Fib patients who had undergone a catheter ablation. Post-ablation follow-up averaged 23 months.

EF Benefits of Catheter Ablation

Examining the patient follow-up data, researchers found a significant 13% improvement in left ventricular ejection fraction (EF). In addition, there was a significant reduction in the number of patients who formerly had an ejection fraction of less than 35% (this means their EF ratio improved). Blood pressure levels were also improved.

Are there benefits from a catheter ablation even when the patient’s A-Fib has not been eliminated?

Benefits from Failed Ablation?

You may ask, do these side-benefits depend on the catheter ablation eliminating the patient’s A-Fib? No. Researchers have studied the follow-up data of failed ablations and found a few other ‘side’ benefits.

Some patients found their A-Fib symptoms were less intense or shorter in duration. (Might this ‘side’ benefit be attributed to an improvement in left ventricular ejection fraction?) In addition, some patients found they could take certain medications that prior to their ablation had been ineffective.


So, either way, a catheter ablation offers benefits. Even if you need a second ablation (or a third), know that you may still reap some substantial benefits from the previous “failed” ablation.

Dr Robert Fishel

Dr Robert Fishel

Videos to learn more about Ejection Fraction: Your Heart’s Ejection Fraction (EF): What You Need to Know. In several short video clips, Dr. Robert Fishel, discusses the ejection fraction (EF) and why cardiac patients should know their EF.

♦  What is an Ejection Fraction? (:34)
♦  What is considered abnormal or low EF levels? (:44)
♦  Who should know their EF? (:54)

Dr. Robert Fishel is Director of Cardiac Electrophysiology at JFK Medical Center.

References for this article

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