Existing surgical treatments and medications
Catheter ablation is now the mainstay surgical treatment for atrial fibrillation. However, it is an extremely undesirable thing to look forward to, and that is the reason for having worked so hard to discover any underlying causative factors which can be manipulated by the sufferer. After all, at least the following considerations apply:
Many patients require multiple operations to achieve even initial success.
Any beneficial result is frequently temporary. Repeat operations are then required.
Even a one year duration of success is achieved in only a portion of cases.
A significant amount of heart tissue is burnt away.
A large dose of radiation is incurred.
The Mayo Clinic’s list of short-term risks, many of which are very serious, for each separate operation, includes:
1. Bleeding or infection at the site where your catheter was inserted
2. Damage to your blood vessels where the catheter may have scraped as it traveled to your heart
3. Puncture of your heart
4. Damage to your heart valves
5. Damage to your heart's electrical system, which could worsen your arrhythmia and require a pacemaker
6. Blood clots in the legs or lungs (venous thromboembolism)
7. Stroke or heart attack
8. Narrowing of the veins that carry blood between your lungs and heart (pulmonary vein stenosis)
9. Damage to your kidneys from dye used during the procedure
10 Death in rare cases
Any long term adverse effects may not yet have shown up in overall surveys of ablation outcomes, since heavy use of the procedure is only approximately ten years old.
The following are quotations from UpToDate.com, the medical profession's pre-eminent source of overall current medical wisdom, regarding catheter ablation (numerous reference brackets have been removed for readability):
“The best available evidence on the rates of AF after RFA comes from the DISCERN AF study, which evaluated episodes of symptomatic and asymptomatic AF (as well as atrial flutter and atrial tachycardia) before and after RFA in 50 patients using an implantable cardiac monitor. The total atrial arrhythmia burden was significantly reduced by 86 percent from a mean of 2.0 hours per day per patient before to 0.3 hours per day after RFA. However, the ratio of asymptomatic to symptomatic episodes increased significantly after ablation from 1.1 to 3.7. After 18 months and a mean of 1.4 ablations, only 58 percent of patients were symptom free.”
“A 2013 meta-analysis of 19 observational studies (n=6167) with outcomes at ≥three years found that freedom from atrial arrhythmia at long-term follow-up (mean ≥24 months) after a single procedure was about 53 percent. With multiple procedures, the long-term success rate was nearly 80 percent.”
“The optimal method for screening for episodes of AF after ablation is not known. In the above studies, late recurrent AF was detected by patient symptoms, serial electrocardiograms (ECGs), 24 to 48 hour Holter monitoring, and implantable cardiac monitor. Rhythm transmitters were also used in the first few months. With the exception of implantable cardiac monitor, these methods may underestimate the incidence of recurrence due to sampling error. In addition, as has been well demonstrated, patients with AF have a high rate of asymptomatic episodes.”
The eminent cardiologist Sanjay Kaul of the elite Cedars-Sinai Hospital in the US made the following stunning comment in 2014 about catheter ablation:
“There are many examples where the “scam” of some device-based therapies has been exposed by the “sham” procedure. How can anyone forget the classic examples of laser TMR (TransMyocardial Revascularization) or Pacemaker for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, both touted as breakthrough interventions. It would not surprise me one bit if RF ablation for atrial fibrillation ends up with a similar fate!”
In other words, an eminent expert is suggesting that catheter ablation may deliver overall health results no better than sham surgery! Sham or “placebo” surgery is a method that has been used in recent years to assess the effectiveness, or lack thereof, of various surgical procedures, by comparing the operation which is under study with an equal number of completely fake ones -- with the patient unaware which category he has received. Comparison of overall health outcomes (mortality and morbidity) has yielded devastating results in the case of numerous previously common operations. So, very serious caution is certainly warranted!
Available medications are largely unsatisfactory. They all have either dangerous risks, or limited duration of effectiveness, or both. In some cases, when one antiarrhythmic drug loses effectiveness in a particular patient, he or she can be transferred to another. But, in most cases, eventually the safely usable doses of all available medications cease to be effective.
So, overall, existing treatment options are unsatisfactory and many specialists in the field acknowledge this and are very eager for improvements. That is why any dietary protocol or lifestyle variation, that a sufferer can undertake him or herself, is so valuable. Using any such protocol will avoid or delay the risks of the medical and surgical approaches, and even a mere delay gains the sufferer extremely valuable time while medical and surgical techniques improve.
These factors would make even a difficult or unpleasant diet or lifestyle variation well worthwhile. However, the protocol described on this site is not difficult or unpleasant (I certainly enjoy the food) and the fact that the diet very much fits a Palaeo pattern gives great comfort that one is doing oneself no other harm and may well be doing the very best that can be done for oneself in a dietary sense -- because it is certainly a very reasonable bet that any all-natural diet which successfully diminishes something that is as persistently incurable, and that otherwise deteriorates as absolutely relentlessly as atrial fibrillation, is also very likely to be pushing several other underlying health issues in exactly the right direction!