"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

 FAQs A-Fib Ablations: Odds of a Stroke/Clot 

Catheter Ablation

Catheter Ablation

“During an ablation, how much danger is there of developing a clot? What are the odds? How can these clots be prevented?” [Someone emailed me that she suffered both a stroke and a blood clot in her lung during her ablation. She is recovering. Why did this happen?]

Depending on how long one has been in A-Fib, clots may have developed in the heart, then be dislodged during the ablation.

Most centers do a TEE (Transesophageal Echocardiogram) before the ablation to check if there are any clots in your heart. If they find any, they administer anticoagulants to dissolve the clots before the ablation. If your center or doctor doesn’t plan to do a TEE before your ablation, you should probably go somewhere else.

However, most clots during an ablation come from RF charring. The heat from an RF catheter chars the heart tissue. Some of the char breaks off and becomes a clot. This problem has been minimized over the years by the use of irrigated tip catheters and the administering of heavy-duty anticoagulants like heparin during the ablation. The skill and expertise of the doctor also play an important role. But even in the best of hands, accidents can still happen.

Your chances of developing a clot during an ablation vary according to the institution and doctor. (You should ask about the medical center’s or EP’s rate of clots forming when considering an ablation.) For example, the Bordeaux Group in 2010 reported an embolic event (stroke) rate of 0.2%.

With the newer technique of CryoBalloon (freezing) ablation, there is no charring and theoretically no risk of developing a clot from charring.

Last updated: Saturday, February 11, 2017

Return to FAQ Catheter Ablation and Maze Surgeries

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