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signs of successful heart ablation and time frame
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signs of successful heart ablation and time frame

My husband recently had an ablation due to a continual racing of his heart and his defibulator going off many, many times in succession.  How do we know if this is successful?  He is on drugs to lower his heart rate and his blood pressure to the point that all he does is sleep and has very little energy.  Please advise.  His quality of life has been reduced greatly. The procedure was done at the beginning of the month in January 2007.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello,

I am sorry to hear that your husband isn't feeling well.

How do we know if this is successful?
The only way to know is time -- I know this is probably not comforting, but unfortunately is the only thing you can do.

Beta blockers can have a sedating effect or make people feel lethargic.  Sometimes the benefits of medications must be balanced with the side effects that compromise quality of life.  The only way to work through this is to talk with your physician.  These decisions can be very difficult.  There is no right answer.

I hope this answers your questions.  Thanks for posting.
22 Comments
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187666_tn?1331176945
Do you know specifics about the ablation - what arrhythmia was being treated? Considering he has an ICD I could guess it may have been for v-tach. That would be helpful to know. I've had 3 ablations but they were for atrial tachy and flutter. Not so serious. I did experience some fatigue for a few days afterward but his level of tiredness may be due to the meds. So many people mention feeling tired when they first start a new med but the body adjusts in time. If it's too bad perhaps he could talk to his doc about adjusting the dosage and working up from there.
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Avatar_n_tn
HI...I am due to have an ablation on Friday, and Im quite nervous about being awake and experiencing the tachy etc. Would like to hear how things went for you..were you awake, how long it took etc...dont hold back.  Thanks.
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Avatar_n_tn
Ablations for VTach take 4 to 6 hours.  For the most part you will be asleep.  There maybe some positional discomfort because you cannot move.  The most important thing is not how you feel but for the doctor to be able to reproduce the problem.  Then he can zap it out.  If he cannot reproduce the problem then he may have to guess at the location of the offending spot(s).  If he can locate the spots and zap them out then you can be almost 100% sure your problem will have been eliminated.  After the ablation there is a healing process for the burns which may take 4 to 6 weeks.  During this process the burns themselves may generate PVCs or arrhythmias.

All in all I think it is worth it.  And incase it is not fuly successful you can go for another ablation.  There's people on this board that have gone thru 3 or 4 before their problem was finally resolved.

Good luck to you and keep us posted on your progress.  Let us know where you are having it done and the doctor that is doing it.
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Avatar_n_tn
I think you need to have a talk with the EP that did the ablation.  Maybe the doctor wasn't able to burn all the bad spots, or he just missed them all togheter.  I just had an ablation (Ventricular) and the doctor was unable to reproduce the arrhythmia.  So he just guessed as to where it originated.  At this point I would have to say he missed it.  So I'll probably go for another ablation.

Whether your husband has a structurally sound heart is also a factor.  The meds he may be taking may have nothing to do with the ablation.  The symptoms you indicate do not seem to be ablation related.  You need to have a long talk with his cardiologist or EP.

I hope he gets better.  Please keep us posted about any developments.
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187666_tn?1331176945
Mariop covered it pretty well. A bit of a back ache from lying flat while the tiny incisions seal up, some bruising where the catheters go in but not a big deal. As for feeling anything during the procedure - they give medications that make you feel foggy, even doze off at times. You may feel the arrhythmia when they induce it but it's no different than your usual tachy times and considering you're medicated, it's even easier. I avoid going to the doctor except when I absolutely have to so having 3 ablations tells you it couldn't be all that bad. Take soft boxers to wear afterwards for comfort. That's my little bit of advice.
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170935_tn?1225374676
Hi, i have svt and am considering an ablation too. I just wanted to ask you why did you need 3 ablations? Also how frequent and severe were your attacks for you to opt for the ablation route?
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187666_tn?1331176945
I'm new to this board and don't know all the rules and etiquette yet. I feel bad that we're getting off topic from the original post. Maybe general stories about tachy's and ablations are supposed to be on the other board for support (?) I personally would feel more comfortable chatting over there. I got the impression this was more for getting input from the doctors. I'd be happy to explain my little bit of experience over there.
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Avatar_n_tn
I had an ablation for AFIB and Flutter 3 years ago.  Mine was successful.  I did suffer some Fib and Flutter after the ablation for a few weeks.  However over time it went away.

My doctors at Mayo said they wouldn't know the success  for about 3 months after the ablation.

I would say if he isn't having a racing heart right now after two months that is probably a good sign.

I would surely talk to your doctors about decreasing the dosage; especially after 2 months.  He might even be able to try a different type of beta blocker.  Keep us posted.
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Avatar_n_tn
I had frequent palpitations hence i was put on aten 25mg.
and tonact 10. I continued with this medication for abt 7 months, became quite complacent and missed medicine for nearly 7 days. 4 days later I suffered from severe palpitation, sweating and chest pain. Thankfully there is a nursing home in my builging and within 10 mins I received med attetnion. My heart rate at that point of time was 250 and bp was 90/60.
after a couple of days in the ICU I was discharged.  Thereafter I was put on aten 50 twice daily and razel 10.
Since then I have taken medicine religiously, not missing a single dose.
nearly 5 months later I again experienced similar flutterin and so once again was put into the ICU. this time the heart rate was 160 and bp 157/110.
The doc now advises I shd go in for cathter ablation.
No one in my immediate friend circle or for that matter even remotely known has ever heard of it.
I would like to know the success rate, safety factor, chance of recurrence and the after effects.

would appreciate exp of similary affected members
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you both for your replies. Im actually living in Ireland, so Im having the ablation done in Dublin. Best Wishes to you all. I will let you know how things go.
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187666_tn?1331176945
Well, it seems others are posting about ablations so it must not be a problem. I'll try to give a brief rundown on mine.
I've had arrhythmias all my life it seems, earliest memory was in grade school of heart pounding suddenly while doing penmanship. Just lived with it. What does a kid know? It wasn't until I was pregnant I was told I had PSVT. No further comments other than taught to use Valsalva. Around 2000 I got a new doctor who seemed concerned. She sent me to a cardiologist who told me that although it wasn't life threatening, it could be fixed. Seemed silly to me but I finally went in. 1st ablation showed PAC's, PVC's, PSVT and atrial flutter. Zap, zap. Thought they had it fixed but it came back. 2nd ablation - they knew they didn't have it under control. Finally went in for a 3rd. Well, it's improved. Still have the premature beats all day long and occasional tachy times but not so fast and not so long - less than 15 minutes. So I'm happy with that. I'm done with it all. No meds either.
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm happy to hear that you are satisfied with the results.  This gives me hope that sooner or later I will be fixed too.  Right now I'm in limbo: I can't say if my ablation 2 weeks ago is a success or a failure.  I still keep on getting PVCs, not as bad as previously but you never know how bad they may get.  That is the frightnening part.  I think I'll wait about 3 more weeks before I make a judgment for ablation #2.
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Avatar_n_tn
Last October, I was  lying on the couch watching TV.  I felt  like I was falling head  first into a dark hole.  I sat straight up and my heart  started  going crazy (palpitations) and my heart rate was 165.    I  was unable to get it to lower by coughing, bearing down  (all the typical stuff),  we called 911.  In the ambulation I converted  to atrial fibrillation (not my idea  of a good time).  At the  hospital, they kept giving me nitro (after the 5th  tablet my heart  rate went to 222).  I found out later that the the nitrostatin is a vasodilator and opens the heart.  So my heart rate sky rocketed.  Too bad the emergency room physicians weren't aware of that!  It took two shots of adenosine to get it to  normal (a truly horrible experience, as it stops your heart).  I was in the hospital  for 8 days and the ablation was performed at that time was partial success.  He said it was like trying to round up geese, only 1 atrial tachycardia was ablated.  The other could not be sustained enough to ablate them.  About the middle of January I've started with the dizziness again.  It last just a few minutes, no visual disturbances, my ears usually start to ring.  I've never lost consciousness.  There are no stressors (food, illness, anxiety) that I'm aware of.  I usually have a hard chill afterwards and when the chill is over, my nose and finger burn (like you would feel after coming in from the cold.  My tachycardia has improved, but the PVC's (trigeminy, bigeminy) are miserable.  I started seeing a psychologist and they have ruled out panic disorder.  I take Toprol XL 25 mg. twice daily and Lopressor 25mg and Ativan .50 mg  when I'm having an episode.  I had 20 year history of sinus tachycardia (for which I had learned to live with) prior to October,  My new diagnosis is supraventricular tachycardia and atrial tachycardia. I understand the tachycardia, but wonder if the chills and dizziness are part the phenomena?  My Cardiologist says he doesn't think it's my heart
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Avatar_n_tn
I was also taking ativan but had to go off because they were creating more anxiety than I already had.

I also had chilly-freezing sensations in my head.  I went to a neuro because I felt it was a neurological problem.  He explained to me that when the heart is pumping out of synch, blood can back up in the brain and force blood vessels to enlarge.  This may explain why the chest feels chilly when you get those PVCs.  Of course the cardio doc denied all this, but never gave an adequate explanation.  However I think it is true because when the heart goes normal all these symptoms disappear.

Let's face suesouth, another ablation is the only real alternative we have.
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170935_tn?1225374676
Thanks for the reply :) I am sorry that you are still getting tachy!! I am considering ablation but am very scared at the moment. Did you notice an increase in the ectopic beats after the ablations? I once read that the ablation can cause an increase in ectopics!!
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for the reply.  I think you may be right about another ablation.  Next time, I will go to the Cleveland Clinic.  I had my ablation at the Medical College of Georgia.  It took six hours, I was given Versid and I was not aware of anything during my the procedure. Even though I'm so thankful the tachycardia has improved, the daily irregular heartbeats keeps me on edge.  Any questions, can also be directed to my email sue.***@****.
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187666_tn?1331176945
I'm not the least bit concerned about my ectopics. Whether they increased after my ablations I can't say for sure. They've always been there but I don't keep count. Only last winter when I had a bad time with them - coming 15 - 25 a minute for hours at a time and with great force - was I annoyed with them. Now they come as they wish, sometimes with a bang, sometimes very lightly. That's why I affectionately call them my heart hiccups. That's how they feel. My tachy times are not bad, averaging 120 - 150, barely qualifies as tachy. Compared to what I used to have this is a relief. Do note that it takes up to 6 months to really know if an ablation has worked. Initially the heart will be irritated and may flip flop a bit after. But don't be discouraged.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi, im really new at this but i just need advice. I'm an 18 year old female, who was just recently diagnosed with supraventricular tachycardia, and boy has it been scary. I had chest pains, shortness o breath, palpitations, numbness in my fingers, and i just felt awful. When I was finally diagnosed, i went to a clinic in florida to have a catheater ablation done, to burn the extra node i had, causing me all this trouble. When the procedure was over, the doctor told me that he didn't get everything, but i should not experience any more problems, despite this procedure being sucessul 95% of the time. After a few weeks, i still thought my heart was racing and my hand and feet would start racing. I went back to the doctor, and he told me to take a stress test. My stress test showed that everything was back to normal. I have been taking beta blocker medicines for about 1 month now, and am basically suffering from anxiety, because o all i have went through. i hope im ok, but i still worry that my heart my race again or might simply just stop.. anyone have any advice, suggestions or encouragement?
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187666_tn?1331176945
Sorry to hear you're having such a difficult time. When these heart issues pop up it's hard to get used to them. You aren't sure what's going on or what comes next. I've had mine all my life so it's easier for me. You've done all the right things so far. It's too soon to know if the ablation was a complete success or just an improvement. In the meantime your heart will act up. Remember, it's been poked, prodded and zapped. Pretty irritating. In the meantime stay in touch with your doctor. Be patient (no pun intended) and stay hopeful. Don't give up yet.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello  I am a scared 48 year old with premature vent contractions.  Does anyones contractions hurt?  mine kill and it feels someone is pinching my chest.  I am seeing a doc about ablation  They have put me on 50 mg atenenol but it hasnt stopped anything.  Does atenenol need time to work?  Are there other meds that can help with the pvc's?
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello  I am a scared 48 year old with premature vent contractions.  Does anyones contractions hurt?  mine kill and it feels someone is pinching my chest.  I am seeing a doc about ablation  They have put me on 50 mg atenenol but it hasnt stopped anything.  Does atenenol need time to work?  Are there other meds that can help with the pvc's?
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Avatar_m_tn
A related discussion, ablation or cardio conversion twice a year ? was started.
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