Skip to main content

Ablation gets John ‘back to his old self’

At the start of the year, John was only able to work light duties building his new home. He could manage just ten minutes of putting screws in with an electric screwdriver before needing a rest. Since his ablation, his health has completely changed.

Listen to John talk about how his ablation has improved his atrial fibrillation

What John knew as “heart fits”, when his heart started beating faster, had been taking a toll on his health for several years. He had assumed it was some sort of virus, but in fact he was living with atrial fibrillation. Things came to a head for John when he ended up in Lower Hutt hospital for a week while attempts were made to slow his heartbeat down below 200 beats per minute.

“I’ve always been a tramper and go shooting occasionally and a bit of diving but in latter years I’ve had to give it up, I felt it was too dangerous with my situation.”

After many cardioversions, it became apparent that John needed further treatment to keep him out of atrial fibrillation. When an ablation was first suggested, John wasn’t convinced. “The operation sounded horrendous before I went into it, but I can assure people that it is nothing to be frightened of.

“The ablation took about four hours for me, and I was awake the whole time, but I wasn’t in any distress at all. They went to a lot of trouble to make sure I was completely comfortable and relaxed.”

Improved health after the ablation procedure

Since the operation, John has found that his heart rate no longer increases when he lies down, meaning it doesn’t keep him awake at night. He’s also noticed that the back and shoulder pains which had plagued him for several years are gone.

“My whole health has completely changed, and I’m feeling fit and well.”

A fitter and turner by trade, John has gone back to building his new house with renewed enthusiasm.

“I’m now full steam ahead at building our new home myself, carrying heavy loads and climbing ladders, putting in nails, and I’m having no problem at all.”

John has just one warning for people having an ablation, or any other heart operation – get your teeth checked. “For the last few years, I’ve had a problem with my teeth. I didn’t know it, but I had an abscess under two teeth,” he says. After his ablation, a dental surgeon ended up pulling out those teeth. His surgeon emphasised the importance of getting your teeth checked before having a heart operation to help prevent any infection. 


Shared December 2017

Please note: the views and opinions of the storyteller and related comments may not necessarily reflect those of the Heart Foundation NZ.

Find similar stories

View all stories


  • Caroline 18 February 2022

    Thank you. I have been advised by Greenlane cardiologist to have an ablation for paroxysmal AF that is affecting my active lifestyle at 65. This info was very helpful.

  • Dan 9 June 2021

    Hi - I also had WPW in my early 20’s. An ablation cured me of the debilitating syndrome in 1994 when they were only just starting ablations at Greenlane Hospital. I believe I was the first or second ablation in the country.  They have had alot of practice since then. All the best with your nephew’s treatment.  kind regards

  • Simon 22 June 2018

    Hi - my 20 year old nephew has been diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome - which we have been told heart has too many extra pathways and the treatment for him is laser ablation of those extra pathways.