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Ablation anyone?
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Ablation anyone?

Im so sick of the skipped beats and their frequency that Im seriously considering an ablation.  Can anyone tell me of their experience?  Im worried about it and feel like being in a lab where they make your arrythmia occur sounds real bad.  Im trying not to imagine things -- Id love to hear about everyones experience.  Thanks  
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1089281_tn?1314571114
I had afib for about 12-13 years and finally had an ablation 3 years ago.  It wasnt bad at all just a few days of recovery.  It has stopped the afib completely.  However last year a dang Pulmonary doctor gave me some Duleria (steroid)  he told me it wouldnt hurt my afib!!! well in about 30 minutes I was having about 8-10 pvcs and pacs per minute and they wouldnt go away... I had an ablation to "touch them up" six months ago and have been fine..  my only  thoughts would be to find a good heart hospital and a good EP who has done several successful ablations.  Then after having the ablation avoid things that can cause afib, pvcs , pacs and etc... mainly be very careful about taking new medications...check them out to see if they can cause you a problem... plus dont use tobacco,alcohol,  or caffinne...no chocolates, no coffee etc.. anyway thats what I do and its working.. Just because your pvcs have been fixed, dont start doing things that can start them back up.. life is much better now that I dont have the problems.. Hope this helps you.. Claytex
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1807132_tn?1318747197
Do you have pacs or pvcs?  How many do you get?  Are you under any sort of stress at the current moment?  I had an ablation for avnrt last Sept and it worked but I have read that ablations to cure ectopics is a mixed bag. If your ectopics are unifocal you have better chance of cure then if they come from different spots.  You also need to have a certain number of them for the doctor to be able to map their path to be able to ablate.  The most concerning thing is I have read that ablations for them can actually create more problems.  The problem being, every cell in your heart has the ability to conduct and as such you may get rid of one irritated spot only to have a new one created down the line.  I would suggest if you haven't been examined in the past couple of years to at least go and get a check up.  Especially considering your other post about the long pauses just to make sure the long pauses aren't something other than a bigeminy pattern or a couple of pvcs or pacs in a row.  After that really dig deep in your soul to search the best route.  For me I try to choose my path basically by what feels the most right.  One path will make me feel jittery and uncomfortable and the other choice will be more calming.  Even if both choices are tough one will stand out.  Your gut knows if an ablation is the right choice for you so go by it but do indeed get a check up if these symptoms are new and worsening and you haven't been to the doctor in a while.  Best of luck with whatever you decide to do.  I know ectopics can be very annoying as well as distracting.  Take care and feel better soon.
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116881_tn?1189759423
Very glad to hear youre doing well!  So the experience itself wsnt frightening?  Keep in mind I am a person who freaks out going to eh dentist and have a HUGE fear of both getting put under and dying.  Im so worried theyre gonna kill me on the table.  
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116881_tn?1189759423
Hi Michelle-

I havent been to the EP for about a year.  I think, based on how it feels, that my PVC's ans PAC;s are coming from many different spots because I feel them in so many different places -- my throat, stomach, right side of my chest, left side -- does that mean anything?  I dont know.  All I know is that IM MISERABLE! And I am scared to take Flec or a similar medication.  I also had my forst ever 6 hour episode of A Fib 2 years ago which I would have never tought would have happened.  THe Dr said that was because of my HBP, not the skipped heartbeats. I just dont know how to live with them when Im getting like 20 per minute!
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1807132_tn?1318747197
20 a minute is a lot.  I had a bout of them around that amount for a week once that made me feel pretty sick but lucky for me they didn't last.  I may get 20 in a minute from time to time but not all day long.  That said, stressing about them will make them multiply.  I know easier said than done but do whatever you can to ease your mind about them and they will bother you less.  I would say revisit your EP about the ablation and see what his thoughts are on a successful outcome.  Maybe if he gets one of the bad spots it will at least help you to feel a little better even if you are left with a few of them.  But just a note of warning, it is a very expensive procedure in the States.  Mine was around 50,000 for about 2 hours of EP lab time.  You would likely be in longer for an ectopic ablation.  I have heard numbers around 75,000.  That said, you would likely only need to pay your yearly out of pocket.  Mine was 4,000.  I don't say this to scare you out of the ablation only to make you aware of the price tag so you don't wind up with sticker shock.  Again, good luck with whatever you decide to do.  Go see your EP and see what they have to say.  Take care and stay strong.
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1569985_tn?1328251082
I have not had an ablation, so I can't comment on that, but I have had Afib for the past 9 years, worsening the past 2 years. An ablation may be in my future.   I am now on an anti-arrythmic med, Norpace XR, and it is keeping me out of Afib.  I do also have some pac's and pvcs and short runs of tachycardia.  

Are you on a beta blocker?  They are relatively benign and I stayed out of Afib for 7 years with them.  If your symptoms are distressing you daily and disrupting your life, you might want to try an anti-arrthymic med.  It was a good trade-off for me.

What does your doctor say about the odds of an ablation helping?  I think Michelle is right in going with your gut feeling being a good way to decide.  The way I try to think of it is it is a calculated risk:  on the one hand, I am miserable and my life is on hold -- on the other hand, meds or ablation may help.  I decided on the anti-arrythmic after 2 hospitalizations 3 months apart that ended in electrocardioversion after 3-4 days.  I did not want to repeat that, so the anti-arrythmic seemed a better option and it has helped.

It sounds like you are having constant irregular beats.  Does the chance that medication or an ablation will help sound like a better place to be?  Consultation with your EP may help you decide.

Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.  Good luck.  Keep us posted on how you are.
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1423357_tn?1373023915
There are many of us on here who've had it done.  I had a successful ablation for SVT (AVRT) in November 2010.  I was under general anesthesia for the entire procedure, so for me, the experience was fine.  Ablation for PVC's ie. skipped beats is hit and miss, and doesn't share the success rate as SVT.  Your cardiologist  would be best to call that.

Yes, it's expensive.  My insurance company was billed a shade over 76,000 (US) for the 10 hour hospital stay and procedure.
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1398166_tn?1358874123
Yeah, be prepared to pay your full out of pocket. Mine was $8k. Between the procedure and ER visits and tests and this and that and the other the billed amounts was $100,000.
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116881_tn?1189759423
I consulted with my EP who sais that an ablation would be extremem for my skipped beats right now.  He said it would basically be ablating symptoms.  Dosnt want to do it but will go down that path if I insist.  He says Flec has a 1-2% greater risk than taking a BB, which I already take.  I take a very light dose of Toprol XL.  .25 twice per day.  Do you guys think increasinf the Toprol XL would be a better starting place?  He says  I can try that too.  Up to me.  I feel like Im trying to fix, manage and diagnose my own problems.  I know hes a good Dr but I just feel helpless to these things.
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1807132_tn?1318747197
When it comes to cardiology I think to some degree the doctors are not as excitable about the issues of the heart as the patient.  I can't really speak for all cardiologist because I am not even one myself but I think on one level they are aware how resilient the heart really is and how it can keep operating even when in a bit of disrepair.  I also think they may have some sort of training to learn how to be calm in high stress situations.  Any heart problems are very frightening to the patient.  If the doctor was also in an alarmed state it would be that much more stressful for the patient so I think they can sometimes come off as a bit uninterested when it is really more a matter of experience.

I think the key word I see in your post is Fix.  When the cardiologist stated that he would be ablating symptoms he basically was saying your health is not in danger because of the ectopics.  That is not to say there isn't an issue it is just that the issue isn't a threat to the health of your heart and its ability to distribute blood through your body.  The reality is Pacs and Pvcs cannot be fixed.  I saw a clip on heart attacks once and there was a statement in it that said the reason for a heart attack is due to a lack of blood getting to one part of the heart causing the muscle in that part of the heart to die.  Once the muscle is dead it is dead.  It then becomes a matter of managing the rest of the heart to insure that it is still operating as best it can.  When a spot gets fired up in the case of pacs and pvcs it is now an active cell that will not become inactive.  It may not always be firing but it always has the potential.  So when they talk about ablating them what they are really doing is essentially isolating the problem area so that it cannot release the errant electrical charge to the rest of the heart but it is not really curing or fixing the situation.    It is more a matter of destroying some of the heart cells to keep those cells from causing mischief.  But in doing this scar tissue is created that can lead to other issues.  So unless ones health is in danger they really try to shy away from doing the ablations.  And I have to say pretty much most of the people that have come back from ectopic ablations I seem to recall most of them found a certain amount of relief but the procedure did not totally rid themselves of their ectopics. And so for most it becomes a matter of Managing the ectopics.  Finding what triggers are the most bothersome and trying to avoid those and learning ways to reduce stress.  These things are key at helping one to cope with living with a condition that is not easy to resolve.   And once you do this you may actually find one day you wake up and realize your ectopics aren't bothering you like they were before.  

In any event, if you think raising your bb will help give it a try.  As much as doctors have the degree and knowledge to help keep us healthy we really do have to be our own best advocates and do what we feel is right for us.  So rather than let the ectopics make you feel helpless get determined to not let them keep you down.  Choose to live a full life despite of them and the ectopics will loose their paralyzing grip they have at ruling your life.   Take care and stay strong.  
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