Patient Accounts

I had problems with atrial fibrillation for 10 years and saw many specialists over this period, including in Manchester and Cambridge. Finally I was referred to Dr Gupta who agreed to take me on for ablation treatment. I have to say how pleased I am after 10 years of atrial fibrillation, I am now finally on the road to recovery after my ablation operation. My heart seems to be working better than it has ever been and touch wood it continues to do so.

I want to thank Dr Gupta for the cardiac procedures he has carried out on my heart this year.  I was extremely ill during 2007 and 2008. I spent most of 2008 in fact lying down in a dozy tired-out state, and had to attend hospital as an emergency admission three times. My breathing was poor, I became breathless very easily, I had almost constant nausea, itching, aching, kidney impairment and tummy swelling. I had cardiac palpitations and severe arrhythmia. I was discharged late on Christmas Eve and was very unwell over Christmas and New Year, again tired, breathless, dozy. My sleep was interrupted at night, I could barely walk or exercise. I continued to be determined to fight on but the battle was getting very hard.

Dr Gupta fitted me with a biventricular pacemaker and defibrillator early in January and the changes in my condition were apparent within hours. My breathing improved, my mental alertness increased, my morale rose and I began to feel much more alive. After discharge I improved still more, doing light exercises and light work in my garden. Nine months on my breathing continues to be better and I feel far more able to make plans and look to the future. I would recommend this procedure to others in my condition, and I strongly recommend Dr Gupta and his team at the Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital.

Keith Maxwell, Wrexham, Wales

Treatment: Biventricular ICD implantation for heart failure


Stephen Bleasdale 59 years, Liverpool

Treatment: Ablation for Persistent AF

Mr George Cockayne, 67 years, Bebington, Wirral

Treatment: Catheter ablation for Persistent AF

I originally became aware of AF approximately 10 years ago, 3 years later I was referred by my GP to my local consultant cardiologist. I went on to have 3 electrical cardioversion treatments over 4 years, but AF returned each time. Now I was in continuous AF and was keen to have an alternative treatment because of the impact AF was having on my fitness levels and sense of well being and continual tiredness. Finally I was referred to LHCH at Broadgreen where I was fortunate to be given an appointment with Dr Gupta. Dr Gupta after making an assessment of my physical condition and age (then 66) decided to proceed. The ablation was performed in March ’09. It is now 9 months since the ablation and with much thanks to the skills of Dr Gupta and his team I have been given a new lease of life. I am in normal rhythm all the time now and can feel the difference in my health.

My only wish is that I had been made aware of this option and had the opportunity earlier.

Mary Mawdsley, 76 yrs, Formby

Ablation for Paroxysmal AF

In my early seventies I started to suffer from bouts of palpitations which can be very worrying and quite scary. I soon realised they were also very unpredictable, thus impinging on my daily life. Holidays abroad were dreaded in fear of having to be hospitalised and all that entailed. Therefore when I  learned that there was a procedure which could cure this condition I sought advice on whether my age would stop me from having it.

Luckily Dr Gupta felt that my age did not matter and I was fortunate to undergo the operation in June last year. Now eighteen months down the road the operation has been a complete success, and the fear of experiencing bouts of palpitations has gone. I would advise anyone, regardless of age, to have this procedure and get back your quality of life.

Patricia Fryer 71 years, Oxton, Wirral

Treatment: Catheter Ablation for AF

My AF started two years ago as a mild form of indigestion (or so I thought). However over several months it became more persistent. My GP suggested several options including ablation therapy. He told me to go and think about it and maybe talk to someone who had had the treatment. I went on a cruise the following week with great trepidation due to the AF. On the ship I asked the doctor what he thought of the procedure and his response was very enthusiastic. On returning my doctor sent me to Dr Gupta who explained with great clarity the pros and cons of ablation. As I am an OAP I was interested to know if this would affect the outcome. However I was reassured that the success could still be in the over 70 percent range which satisfied me.

The procedure was performed about a year back under local anaesthetic. It was uneventful and the biggest problem was having to lie still for three hours. After an overnight stay in hospital I arrived home feeling no effects whatsoever. For the first few months I had a few minor episodes but after that I have felt absolutely nothing at all and my general health and fitness have improved.

If on reading this you may be encouraged to try the procedure I say ask to see Dr Gupta whom I think with the support of his team is nothing short of a miracle worker!

In the early part of 2006, I suffered a stroke, which left me with numerous difficulties and medical problems. In August 2009, I developed a dry and hacking cough and I found that my ankles were swelling up with retained fluid.

I was referred to Dr Jason Causer, at Countess of Chester Hospital, where after further tests, I was informed that my heart problem was now 'severe', and that I had such damage to my heart that I actually qualified for a "Heart Transplant". You can image my shock!

I was then referred to the Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital for the insertion of a biventricular pacemaker. There I was seen by Dr. Dhiraj Gupta who decided after some tests that I would benefit by this treatment. Accordingly in September 2009, I was given a bi-ventricular defibrillator as a day-patient. I was aware of the whole process going on, but suffered no pain, only some minor discomfort.

I returned home the same day. That same evening I started to feel better, and my swollen ankles were almost back to normal. It was some days before I got used to the sound of my new 'heart-beat'. I had heard the sound of my old and failing heart, and this new sound, to me seemed to be like "Big-Ben" sounding the rhythm of a new life.

Some 3 weeks after the implant, I returned to Chester Countess Hospital, for photographs to be taken of the back of my heart. I could hardly believe the result when Dr Causer told me that my heart was back to its normal size, that it was no longer twisted, and that the leaking valve had sealed apart from a minor jet. My heart function had improved from 15% to 50%!

Since that date I have gone on to recover very well, and am now resuming my life. Or should I say, "Getting on with my new life". I now look forward to playing golf again and going for walks in the mountains. I feel privileged to have met all those members of the Cardiac teams working with Drs Causer and Gupta, and who have looked after me during a difficult period of my life.

Mr John Burton,Elton, Cheshire

Treatment: Biventricular ICD implant for heart failure

I suffered from a massive heart attack at the young age of 31, in 1998. This left me severely impaired both physically and mentally. I suffered from severe heart failure, which left me feeling very weak, and breathless at doing the slightest of exercise. In 2005 I was fitted with a bi-ventricular pacemaker, which helped the damaged part of my heart work more efficiently.


In June 2007, I started to feel very sick, light headed no energy and very lethargic. Even walking upstairs was a major achievement. I was told I had Atrial Fibrillation (AF). I had no appetite, no energy and I spent the next few months in bed. I was so ill that I even bought myself a plot to be buried in.

I had my first Cardioversion in June 2008. Everything felt fine for a while, then my heart popped into Atrial fibrillation again. I had 3 further cardio versions in 2009. I could not go on any longer in this condition. My consultant referred me to Dr Gupta.

Dr Gupta was very honest with me, which I totally admired. He told me that as my heart was so damaged, and being fitted with a bi-ventricular pacemaker already, the operation had only a 50/50 chance of success.


I had my operation in October 2009, I am pleased to say that the operation was a complete success. I have not had Atrial Fibrilation for nearly 8 months now. Each day I feel stronger, life has meaning now. This is all thanks to Dr Gupta and his wonderful team. I am totally indebted to Dr Gupta. This man’s pioneering work into heart arrhythmia is fantastic. I have nothing but praise for Dr Gupta, and would recommend him to anyone.

Mr Thomas Atherton, 43 years, Warrington, Cheshire

Procedure: Catheter ablation for persistent AF (images here)

Ms Ann Taylor, 70 years, North Wales

Procedure: Catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation

My first encounter with A. F. came totally out of the blue, was really scary, as I had no idea what was happening to me.  My heart was beating so fast for about 30 seconds, then very slowly for about 30 seconds. This pattern continued for about two hours leaving me feeling dizzy and breathless. A trip to my GP the next day showed normal heart rate, and the diagnosis could not be made.

Over the next 8 years or so the attacks became more frequent and longer, lasting up to 15 hours a time. During this time all my confidence had gone, and I was too scared to do things I enjoyed, especially riding my horse.

My GP prescribed medication, which was not much help, so an appointment was made for me to have tests done at the local hospital. This was the turning point for me, as the palpitations returned, and finally showed up on the ECG.

I was referred to Dr. Gupta, who put me at ease, and made me feel I could have my life back.    I had the Ablation done in November 2008, but although the attacks were less severe, they were still present. In April 2009, Dr Gupta performed a second ablation using new technology. This worked and I immediately felt the benefit. Two months later I was back on my horse (see picture!) and for the last 15 months, I have my old life back again. I shall be ever grateful to Dr. Gupta and his brilliant team.

I first noted an irregular heartbeat in my 40’s but my doctor said that it was just a few dropped beats and not to worry.  In my 50’s, I had recurring, short-lasting attacks of Atrial Fibrillation but a cardiologist didn’t believe me and said my ECG was normal and not to worry.  In my early 60’s I had a severe attack of AF, could barely feel a pulse, and thought I might wake up dead in the morning.  My doctor put me on Beta Blockers and told me not to worry.

After that I had visual disturbances in my right eye and a scan showed a completely occluded right carotid artery so I was put on Warfarin.  I decided to start worrying!

Attacks of AF got worse and more frequent, and at times disabling, and I was referred to Dr Gupta in 2009.  I was immediately reassured with his concern that I was right to be worrying, and his confidence that he could put things right.  An ablation procedure was advised.  The investigations prior to surgery were meticulous and I could not fail to be impressed by the way that he and his team carried out the procedure; the standard of patient care from all concerned was exemplary.

That was 9 months ago and I have been in sinus rhythm ever since, feeling better than I have done for years, with increasing levels of exercise tolerance and diminishing levels of anxiety down to zero.

Many people, including physicians, do not realise what a disabling and scary condition AF can be; nor do they seem aware of the availability of the curative treatment that specialist cardiologists like Dr Gupta can offer.  Dr Gupta has turned my life around and I can now look forward to watching my grandson develop and grow.  Thank you

Dr Alan Russell, 68 years, Sefton

Procedure: Catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation

I was aware that something was not right with my heart in 1967 when I had a period of around one and a half hours where the heart rate went up to over 140 and appeared irregular. The doctor I went to said there was nothing really wrong and gave me breathing exercises to do. These were successful for many years, but by 2002 I was experiencing shortness of breath, dizziness and occasional pains.  A diary monitor showed these to happen on average 10 times per month. The heart specialists I saw at my local hospital could find nothing wrong, even though they used a couple of types of monitor, as the intervals between attacks were unpredictable and there didn’t appear to be any particular trigger. Most occurred when I was relaxing. The breakthrough came when I had an attack while talking to my GP.

I was referred to Dr. Gupta who explained that I had an extra circuit in the heart and that it was treatable with around 98 – 99% success. Naturally I went for it – even though I was also nervous. On the day, the worst part was the waiting as I was about the last to go in. The procedure from a patients view is easy in that you are awake all through it, given relaxants and if you so wish watch what is going on. I found it extremely interesting. 2 hours later it was all over and I was back in the day ward. My first words to my wife were “I can’t feel my heart”. She found it amusing as she never feels her heart unless doing strenuous exercise, but I have always been aware of what my heart is doing and how it is beating. 2 hours after the procedure, I was on my way home and 3 months later after not having one incident in that time, I was pronounced completely cured. Life is good and I am now on a fitness regime to lose weight and get fitter for the coming golf season.

Mr Jim Draper, 66 years, Chester

Procedure: Catheter ablation for SVT (accessory pathway)

Mrs Josie Whittaker 63 years, Warrington, Cheshire

Procedure: Catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation

I started with Atrial Fibrillation 13 years ago. Although the attacks were very few at first they started to become more frequent. Over the last 3 years I spent many occasions in hospital trying to get my heart back in rhythm. Various drugs were unsuccessful so my GP who was very supportive referred me to Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital, where I was offered Catheter ablation by Dr Gupta.

I did not have to wait long, and in August 2009 I was admitted as a day patient. I was very nervous but the staff members were all very kind. The operation itself was uncomfortable and because it’s your heart you are aware that something is happening. However it was not painful, a trip to the dentist could be worse! Luckily there is a lot of sedation to hand. The procedure did take a long time so a suggestion would be to take an Ipod in with you.

I stayed in overnight and the following week I was very tired. Don’t be alarmed if after the procedure the attacks continue; its just the heart settling down. I haven’t had an attack for quite some time now, and I feel that the procedure has been a success.  With atrial fibrillation not knowing when an attack may happen makes the procedure worthwhile.

My sincere thanks to Dr Gupta and his team for their excellent treatment and aftercare.

I first went into AF in January 2008. I lasted about three weeks in AF before I ‘flicked back’ into sinus rhythm whilst swimming, I knew the exact moment.

One evening in November 2008 I had a coughing fit and knew straight away that I was in AF. My heart rate was back up and I could feel the irregular heart rhythm with the palpitations.  Walking up a slight incline and I was out of breath. I could not climb a single flight of stairs in one go. Basically any physical activity took it out of me. I just felt so low and could not see a way out of my situation. My passion is gardening. Previously I would spend the whole day in the garden, now I was lucky if I could do 20 minutes of gardening. What made it worse was being told how well I looked.

Things went slowly with my local hospital. I had a cardioversion in January 2009. I only lasted in sinus rhythm for less than a week before returning into AF. My next appointment was a long way off so I spoke to my GP for advice. I am so pleased I did. He suggested a direct referral to Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital.

This was when everything changed for the better. Just over four weeks later I had an appointment with Dr Hall at LHCH. He spent time explaining AF and answering my questions.  We decided that the best way forward was an ablation which was the approach my GP had discussed with me.

At the start of June 2009 I had my ablation. Unfortunately it only lasted a couple of weeks before I went back into AF. Dr Hall then suggested that he wanted to do a joint procedure with Dr Gupta.

I met Dr Gupta who was very honest and explained the success rate. He was so positive. In preparation for the procedure he advised me to exercise again. I am so pleased he motivated me to get back in the gym. For some unknown reason in October 2009 I returned into normal rhythm one morning when I was in the gym. Although I was back in normal rhythm we made the decision to carry on and have a second ablation. In fact I did not need any convincing, I wanted the procedure.

I had the ablation just before Christmas. It was the best Christmas present.  I was back home the day after the procedure. I was soon back at work. It has now been over six months since I returned to sinus rhythm. How do I feel, quite simply, great. I am back running and in the gym. Jobs around the house are now getting done and walking around the shops is enjoyable! My advice is if you are offered an ablation please consider it. Like others who have given their account I now have my life back. The staff at LHCH certainly has the knowledge and skills to help you.

A big thanks to all at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital. I am now living a full life again.

Mr David Lightfoot, 47 years, Wirral

Procedure: Catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation

Mr Anthony Ridley, 67 years, Greasby, Wirral

Procedure: Catheter ablation for persistent AF

Late in 2008 I visited my GP complaining of a major loss in energy. Investigations established that I had become a type 2 diabetes patient. Then at the beginning of 2009 my condition worsened whilst abroad on holiday. I could not walk further than 100 yards without becoming seriously breathless and dizzy. On my return to England it was discovered that I had atrial fibrillation.

I underwent cardioversion late in April 2009 which worked for exactly 20 minutes before the irregular heart rate returned. I was no longer able to work as a concert violinist because of unpredictable bow shaking.

Consequently I was referred to Dr Gupta. I was immediately impressed with his honest assessment and was thrilled that he agreed to accept me as a patient for an ablation procedure. After the disappointment with the cardioversion treatment, I did not dare to hope for a miracle. The website really helped to increase my confidence in the operation and to allay any fears I had.

Imagine my joy to later discover immediately after the ablation treatment that I felt so much better. All my symptoms had gone and now eighteen months after the operation I feel rejuvenated and 10 years younger. I have suffered none of the unpleasant sensations again and now thanks to Dr Gupta and his team I am beginning to believe in miracles.

Brian Forster 77/M, Chester

Procedure: Successful Catheter Ablation for AF

I am 77 years old and still a dedicated athlete. I run, cycle, row and weight train regularly.  My AF has always been silent, but I use a Heart Rate monitor (Cardiosport) when exercising, and this used to show wildly fluctuating readings when I used to get an AF attack. The AF attacks seemed to be brought upon mainly by running, and I had been unable to run without (as a rule) inducing AF since the year 2000. I suffered from stroke and 3 TIAs over this period, but the diagnosis of AF was difficult to make for the doctors as I used to be in normal rhythm at each of these times. Finally, the diagnosis of AF was confirmed on 24 hour ECG, and I was referred to Dr Gupta for ablation treatment.


I had my PVI ablation procedure on 13th of July this year, and came home the following day. I have gradually built my exercise work load after the operation, and now I have started running again (my favourite exercise) for the first time in over a year. My basic conditioning run is 4 miles steady and I have done 3 such runs of late without (to my considerable delight) any heartbeat problems.


I would like to thank Dr Gupta and his team very much indeed for performing a PVI operation on me to cure my Paroxysmal AF, especially at my age. In my more lucid moments I realise that I am fortunate indeed to be able to exercise at all considering my age and my stroke/ TIAs. However now I find it difficult to be satisfied merely with a gentle amble around the village!

I am a 64 year old patient of the Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital who has undergone a recent Catheter Ablation with Dr Gupta.

In 1982, aged just 35, I had open heart surgery for a surgical repair to correct an Atrial Septal defect, which was a very successful procedure and has lasted just over twenty years. However, in 2002 I began to experience problems and as a result required a pacemaker to be fitted. I have a long history of Atrial Fibrillation / flutter for the last ten years and the Arrhythmias continued despite the pacemaker and high doses of Flecainide. My pacemaker confirmed that often each episode lasted as long as four hours.

My health was becoming difficult and I hate to admit that I was beginning to struggle and felt that I couldn’t cope any longer. Usually an active person, this condition was really beginning to make me feel terribly unwell and became quite debilitating.

My first meeting with Dr Gupta was in March 2010 and after discussing my case, Dr Gupta very kindly offered to take me onto his list and undertake a catheter ablation. By August 2010, I had my procedure. The procedure took over 2 hours and required an overnight stay, but was extremely successful and Dr Gupta and his skilled team took great care of me and were very pleased that all went well.

It is now 12 months since my procedures and I feel absolutely great. No Atrial Fibrillation or flutter in sight and my fitness and general health has improved greatly after years of debilitation. I had excellent treatment and care from Dr Gupta and his team, for which I am eternally grateful. I am now looking forward to my 66th birthday in December and this is with sincere thanks to Dr Gupta and all his team. Thank you.

Mrs Barbara Jones, 64 years, Little Neston, Cheshire

Procedure: Catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation

I was diagnosed with AF in Jan 10, after I went into hospital for a routine knee operation. It was discovered I had AF after I was general anesthetic (Apparently I gave the team a real scare!)

Naturally I was extremely worried as to what AF was and what treatment I needed to cure this, I did a lot of research on the internet to help me understand this. Prior to being told this I thought I had not suffered any symptoms at all, apart from the odd flutter. Once I was aware that I had AF, I felt I was going into AF 4-5 times per week, each episode lasting 2-3 hours approx. After each episode I felt extremely tired and run down.

I was referred to Aintree Hospital to discuss the best course of action for my treatment and it was here that I discovered about the work that Dr Gupta carries out.  I was offered an appointment with him. To be told that I required an operation was a bit daunting, particularly at my age! I had my consultation with Dr Gupta who immediately put my mind at rest, explaining how the procedure would work and the chance of success the operation carries. After my consultation I felt a lot better and more confident about what was to come.

I had my procedure in August and was discharged the next day being told the procedure was a complete success. I was then told that I had to take Warfarin and Beta Blockers for 3 months, this seemed to be the hardest part of my treatment overall.

From the date of my op to present day (1 year later), I am pleased to say I have not had any flutters in my heart or any episodes of Atrial Fibrilation.  I have found that I have a lot more energy (which is required when running after my 2 year old little girl) and I feel a lot better in general. I have recently had my follow up appointment with Dr Gupta and have now been discharged with a follow up appointment in 6 months. My treatment seems to have been a complete success and I now feel ready to get back into my old regime of football, cycling and walking.

I would like to thank Dr Gupta and his team for the treatment and care I received.

Stephen Maddocks, 32 years

Procedure: Catheter Ablation for atrial fibrillation

Mr Geoffrey Forman, 65 years, Warrington, Cheshire

Procedure: Catheter ablation for AF

After 25 years of rising at 5.15, and managing a landscape contracting business, I was very pleased to retire in 2007. As a retirement 'present' I asked my wife to cycle with me from Warrington to Copenhagen. This was a great adventure and we both felt very fit afterwards. I am also a very keen hillwalker and was looking forward to enjoying many years pursuing both hobbies.

In 2008 I began to suffer from palpitations and shortage of breath , even climbing the stairs at home took all my wind. My GP assessed me and in due course I met Dr Gupta. After a thorough examination, he advised me that a Catheter Ablation operation would be beneficial.

Accordingly, after a three month wait, the simple procedure was carried out by Dr Gupta. He felt the operation had gone very well and I was discharged the same day. Throughout the operation I focussed my mind on favourite walks and the time seemed to pass very quickly.

For the next two weeks I could feel the after effects; mainly a tiredness and slight pain. I went back to walking, but taking things easier. Your body tells you when you have done enough. Now, twelve months on I am back to my previous fitness and planning some new adventures.

I would recommend the operation to anyone.

Mrs Ruth Peberdy, 68 years, Southport

Procedure: successful catheter ablation for AF

I had a pacemaker fitted in Aug 03 as I was diagnosed with Sick Sinus Syndrome.  I still felt quite tired and was then diagnosed with AF.

I was prescribed beta blockers and Warfarin in 05. I was admitted to Southport hospital in 08 with an episode of AF where I was a patient for 5 days. I was then under the care of Dr Pulya who referred me to Dr Gupta in the middle of last year. At that time, I was feeling so tired I could hardly walk on some days and was so breathless I couldn’t speak. I was talking Sotalol 2X 80 mg daily.

Dr Gupta went through the PVI procedure with me. I had the procedure and it was amazing-not immediately but certainly after 2-3 weeks. I came off beta-blockers after 7 weeks, and was a little nervous at first but my heart settled down again.

I have my energy back and it’s lovely to get in bed and know I can sleep. The breathlessness has gone and I can again walk very quickly. I can plan holidays.

All in all this is the best I have felt for more than 9 years. I cannot thank Dr Gupta enough for this procedure.

Andy Harrop-Smith, 53 years, Llandegla, North Wales

Procedure: Successful Catheter Ablation for Persistent AF

Firstly may I thank you and your excellent team for performing what appears to data to be a 99.9% success in correcting my irregular heartbeat. Since the procedure I have had no significant irregularities in sinus heart rhythm apart from the odd ‘extra’ beat now and again. This infrequent occurrence lasts only momentarily, before my pulse returns to normal.

I have had none of the symptoms that were present during my arrhythmia, and the feelings of abnormal deep fatigue have gone completely.  In fact, I am back to fully firing on all cylinders, which is a marvellous feeling! No longer is my nose cyanosed and purplish. You can imagine how very pleased I am with the outcome of the catheter ablation. I would highly recommend it to anyone in two minds about undergoing the procedure.

May I also say how impressed I am with the LHCH experience as a whole. From the pre-operative checks and discussions with staff, I was kept fully informed in all respects. At all times I was made to feel valued and ‘cared for’. This is so very important at what can be a rather scary time. All the staff I encountered were efficient, pleasant and professional. The hospital itself is of the highest standards, and a credit to the NHS. And the website is a brilliant idea, and answers many of the nagging questions that arise during the pre-op period.

My big test was last weekend when I scaled one of the highest peaks in Wales…I completed the hike without problems, and can now once again fully enjoy the outdoors without feeling tired out or physically drained.

Mr John Stanley, 66 years, Waterloo, Merseyside

Procedure: Catheter ablation for Persistent AF

By the age of 66 I have a chequered history of severe ischaemic Heart Disease which has seen me undergo several angiograms, a quadruple heart bypass, an angioplasty, two heart attacks and a list of hospital admissions I would like to forget.

The effect of heart disease on my life has been fairly traumatic but none quite so bad or as fearful as the change in my heart rate and rhythm over the past 18 months. I constantly felt sick and dizzy, always tired, very irritable, unable to forward plan anything in my life because I never knew what each day would hold for me. Many times, arrangements were made, even holidays, which had to be cancelled because the only way I was able to deal with the irregular heart beat was to go to bed and remain quiet for as long as I could. Such periods could last less than an hour but more often as many as four or five hours and, on several occasions, they would keep me awake throughout the night, leaving me fearful, anxious and exhausted the following day.The problem came to a head in November-December 2010 and January 2011 when I was admitted to hospital with a racing and irregular heartbeat which quite literally took my breath away and left me nauseated and permanently tired. What was worse to me at that time was that my heart took much longer to settle down than in the past and so increased the fears and worries I had.

Then, a referral by my consultant Dr Chuah to Dr Gupta, began to bring some light into a pretty dark tunnel. An Ablation was suggested to cure the irregular heart beat. My medication was changed I went on to Warfarin to prepare for the operation. There is a very good pre-op system in place designed to both inform and reassure anyone undergoing the ablation procedure. I was afraid especially after undergoing so many invasive procedures already and wondered what effect this next one would have on my heart and me! I need not have worried.

The operation was carried out in May and lasted a little more than 3 hours. I was awake and given sedation and pain relief as required. I felt immediate improvement the following day after a night on the ward. I went home that day and the improvement continued. My heart beat in normal sinus mode for the first time in months and has remained in sinus mode since. I saw Dr Gupta in August and go back to see him in November, and, as long as the improvement continues, my drugs will be reviewed, I hope to be taken off Warfarin then and will only have my former Angina medication to cope with. Everyone is different and I still take one day at a time and notice improvements as they come and am very grateful to Dr Gupta and his team for this. Since the operation, I have been given a normal life back in that I can now plan ahead and enjoy the experience. I sleep much better and more comfortably and am not woken up in the night with irregular heart beats. My natural worries and anxieties are lessening as my confidence grows and I take my time over my recovery.

I ought also to point out that after the surgery, there is a support team in place at the Heart and Chest hospital. If you have any worries or concerns, they are both invaluable and very supportive and helpful. I would urge anyone with similar heart beat problems to consider this procedure and remember at the same time that in Dr Gupta we have here on Merseyside one of the most highly respected and experienced surgeons in this field, ably supported by a very professional and accomplished team. You will be in excellent hands.

Ms Maureen Clarke, 70 years, Drogheda, Ireland

Diagnosis: Persistent AF- tachy-cardiomyopathy

Successful Catheter Ablation March 2011

In 2008 I was placed under a rate control program to treat what was initially Paroxsymal AF. However my condition deteriorated to persistent AF and by September 2010 I could not walk for one minute without getting breathless. In November 2010 I required hospitalization. At this point I was told I had heart failure with an ejection fraction less than 20%. One attempt was made at electrocardioversion in early 2011. This worked for 4 days only. When my doctors started talking about inserting a defibrillator we knew the seriousness of the situation. We began the search for alternatives. Ablation seemed like it had some merit, but my doctors dismissed it for various reasons such as my age and my heart failure. By this time I was also on the toxic anti-arrhythmic drug Amiodarone to help control the AF. With Amiodorone my heart did maintain sinus rhythm. However I felt uncomfortable about staying on Amiodorone because of its significant side effects.

We decided to seek a second opinion and after emailing Dr Gupta we thought it would be well worth our time to take a short plane ride to Liverpool for a consultation. We found Dr Gupta to be very professional and very personable. He didn’t believe my age was a disqualifying factor and thought I was still a good candidate for the procedure. Moreover, he believed that my heart failure was likely induced by the AF and if we could stop the AF, we could perhaps stop or even reverse the heart failure. I decided to go for ablation.

I had the ablation in March 2011. The procedure itself was comfortable and uneventful. After one night stay over I returned to Ireland in sinus rhythm. A few weeks later I stopped the Amiodarone. I've stayed in sinus rhythm ever since (now 7 months since the procedure). In addition I'm no longer in heart failure (ejection fraction > 50%).

From my experience I would highly recommend Dr Gupta and I would encourage others to seek a consultation. I thank him so much for his help and professionalism. It is a world apart from some other experiences I've had.

I first noticed an irregular heartbeat about 10 years ago but after several visits to the doctor and a spell in hospital nothing untoward was found. Then about 6 years ago I was making one of my regular nightly visits to the toilet and suddenly felt very dizzy, the next morning I again visited the doctor and was immediately admitted to hospital.

This time AF was diagnosed, then followed a regime of tablets to try and put my heart back in rhythm. This was successful for a time but then I started to experience Persistent AF.  My hospital tried cardioversion (shock to try and put heart back in rhythm) which was unsuccessful.

Finally I was referred to Dr Gupta. My immediate and lasting impression of Dr Gupta was one of complete reassurance and expertise. He explained that ablation was the answer and talked me through everything involved. He also said that because of my long history of AF, plus the fact that the Cardio version did not work, it might mean that more than one operation may be required.

At this stage my life was at a complete standstill, I could not walk far or participate in my regular golf sessions. As with every operation there are known potential complications and these were explained to me. Having already had two successful major back operations which involved potentially far greater risks I was confident that ablation was the answer.

About 4 years ago I had my first ablation; this was successful for about 2 years. Then I once again started experiencing AF. There followed a period of tablets and a further cardioversion but again without lasting success. Finally this year I had another Ablation so at the time of writing I am in excellent health. I have also started on a diet, have lost 2.5 stone. I have joined a local Gym and can go for one hour pushing my heart rate up to 130 beats per minute increasing weekly.

I would advise anyone with similar health problems to take the experts’ advice on board and have any operation required. My view is that for few days of upset you can enjoy the rest of your life.

Finally it is very common to hear negative comments about our National Health Service. I personally only have positive comments. A great big thank you to Dr Gupta and all the staff both in Liverpool and Wrexham. 

Mr Anthony Davies, 66 years, Wrexham, Wales

Diagnosis: Persistent Atrial Fibrillation

Treatment: Successful catheter ablation

Mr Geoffrey Sharpe, 65 years, Frodsham, Cheshire

Diagnosis: Persistent Atrial Fibrillation

Treatment: Successful catheter ablation