Hi guys. I'm 17 years old. I've had two episodes of SVT in the past 2 years. Each time my bpm reached 200+. The first time they were able to stop it with ice and bearing down. The second time they had to give me two dosages of a potassium blocker (I think). I also had a really hard time breathing and had to have oxygen fed to me. I still have heart palpitations pretty frequently, at least a few times a week. I guess I'm not really afraid of another episode, because I know my body, and I know it'll happen. I'm just scared that they'll become more frequent and serious as time goes by. I did have the option to have a catheter ablation procedure done, but I don't know if it's worth it. The ER doctor told me that if I came in at 65 he would've had to use an AED to get my heart back to normal and I don't want that ever to happen. So-- thoughts? Should I let my heart be or get the catheter ablation? Thanks.
No one can make this decision for you but I will say there are pros and cons to you getting it done now. For one it will likely get worse as you age. It usually does. It will become more frequent and may start to last longer but I was kind of oblivious to the fact I had it until my forties. For some reason I always thought I was just hyperventilating so I never gave it much thought. It wasn't until I had an episode that lasted 8 hours that I realized something more was going on. So at some point you will probably need to get it done. If you maintain a healthy lifestyle you may not but there is always the risk of it happening so it will always be in the back of your mind. The only issue I see about doing it now is your young age and infrequency of episodes. It may be hard for the EP to induce the tachycardia and he needs to in order to map the signal and know where to ablate. In the states it is very expensive and would cost your whole out of pocket for the year to get it done. Mine was 4 grand. Money should not be a factor but I would question the doctor on how successful he thinks he would be with your infrequent episodes. The other issue I have heard is with the younger people there is a higher chance of the heart healing itself. I would think if it came back it wouldn't be as bad but there is a chance you may need to do a repeat down the road but in general if the EP thinks he can successfully ablate your issue then it is an extremely effective way to rid yourself of your svt for good. It is pretty painless in general, you can read my ablation account by clicking my name and reading my journal entry. I was terrified to do it but when it was all over the fear was way way worse than the actual ablation. In any event, you do have to make this decision for what is best for you. To do that I always suggest that people hold each option close to their heart and which ever option gives you the most peace take that route and you can't go wrong. Even if they both frighten you a bit one should feel worse than the other. This will help you choose what is best for you but we are always here to talk you through doing it or not doing it. I wish you the best of luck and health whatever you decide to do. I will say if you do have it done, the little extra beats you feel won't necessarily go away. I was getting them pretty bad right before I did the ablation every day and quite a bit afterwards but now 2 years out I hardly feel them but they are a different issue and may continue on just so you are aware. They are ectopic beats just so you know. Take care and keep us posted on what you decide.
Hello there Michelle--
Thanks for the reply. There are definite pros and cons, and I'm weighing them. It's nice to hear from someone who has had similar experiences. I decided for now that I will wait until at least my 20s to see how frequent the SVT episodes will be. If I find that they are too often, I may have the catheter ablation done then. If not, I think it's best that I wait. Thank you for your help.
I am a proponent of the procedure, and had it done myself. But one episode a year does not warrant it. I was up to three to, five per month when I finally had it done. I don't advocate waiting 54 years as I did, but I would give it a little more time. I close to 60 at the time I had mine done. My doctor feared that the high rates I was experiencing could damage an aging heart. That's when I decided to have it done.
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