Not sure if this is the right place to post this question, but thought i'd share my experience of my Heart Ablation.
I'm Andrew, (28, UK), I've suffered palpitations for years, though not very frequent. About 8 years ago, whilst at university I collapsed with a pulse of over 180bpm, that lasted a very long time (30 mins or more!) i was rushed to hospital and was very close to having my heart stopped by drugs then restarted, lucky my heart rhythm returned to normal just before they were about to do the procedure. I was kept in overnight and released the next day. the years after that my hear was a little more 'excitable' but i learned to calm it down with breathing and relaxing techniques, always found lying on my left hand side helped!.
My heart hadn't really caused me any further trouble over the years, but looking back over the last two i was starting to get more episodes, though increasing at a very slow rate. Then last summer, after a few really stressful days at work, i suffered 3 days of palpitations, and heart was far more excitable since. I was put on a 24h ecg by the GP, and referred to the cardiac department at East Surrey. I did have a 2nd 24h ECG, but luckily the first had recorded an episode that happened when i was going to bed! I had SVT. I did not wan't to go on medication at 28, and as i ha
I had heart ablation to the left accessory pathway to treat my SVT in Brighton. The team and ward staff there were fantastic. The operation was a little larger then i thought it would be. I'm small 5'7 and only weigh about 9 1/2 stone. having the catheters put in even with local and sedation was still painful because of the amount of pressure they have to use. I stayed awake during the procedure, the dye does 'burn' but you get used to it. it was interesting, 19 electrodes were place in my heart (is this a large amount?). They ablated once and waited, in the 9th minute my heart started to palpitate again, the felling of having your hear turned up and down is strange!. They had to try to go two different ways to get to the right part. After 4/5 hours i was taken to ward.
After 2 hours laying flat, i had my blood tested for clotting, i wanted the catheters out, they were very uncomfortable, it turned out i had 1 arterial and 3 venus catheters inserted (is that a lot?), my blood was thick enough. I was expecting having them taken out to be quite easy. it was the most painful thing. i don't think my skinniness helped!, they have to apply a lot of pressure obviously with other caths still in, and the arterial one they push for atleast 10 mins. My heart rate shot up, my hands went in to spasm, i was given morphine and oxygen. I remained on the oxygen all night, i did not have further palps, heart rate remained low - kept dropping below 50 (i had been doped up and had lost quite a bit of blood), but was steady. i was sent home the next day.
When i got home my eyes suddenly became very sensitive to light and got a big migraine and dizzy spells. I went straight to bed. I was very bruised at the top of my leg, was getting the 'chest pains' and dizzy spells.
Things steadily got better over the week, chest pains going, still getting dizzy spells, bruise 'sliding' down leg. I returned to work the following monday. on the tuesday in the morning i started to get pain at the cath site, I had had pain on the sat night but it went away. I went to the GP and got signed off for a further week with precautionary AntiB's.
By last week, my Heart was doing fine, still the occasional dizzy spell, still pain at the cath site, right ball, and sometimes after walking going down my leg to the sole of my right foot.
I completed the course of antiB and as i was seeing the consultant this week (thurs) i didn't worry too much.
I went to the hospital for the follow up on thurs (31/03) I went to see the Consultant at East Surrey, for the follow up after my catheter heart ablation operation. My ECG was fine, blood pressure slightly high. Heart is doing well and i have to continue with taking aspirin for the next 4 weeks. He could not explain the dizzy spells i have been having, but as they have been happening less often. he said not to worry but to just keep an eye on it. I think it would be a good idea for me to collect an eye care voucher from HR and get my eyes tested just to rule out anything wrong there...
With regard to the catheter site and pain is surrounding area and nausea, he does not feel it is infected, for which my GP signed me off last week, but thinks it may have something to do with lymph or something. He is writing to my GP and referring me to a lymphatic specialist. I then made a emergency appointment at my GP's this afternoon to discuss.
I spoke to my boss ...I'm feeling just a little knocked down at the moment cause i was hoping everything would be fine now and i'd be back at work in the swing of things weeks ago (not keep being signed off or sick at home going slightly mad) and this is taking much longer then i expected, but instead am finding it very frustrating and quite difficult with this constant dull ache and now the unknown of whats going on down there! hopefully the GP can do something or give me something tonight.I'm just clearly not as well as i thought i would be by now and think i have been kidding myself that i'm better then i actually am...
then went to see the GP. I have very swollen lymph nodes that appear to be spreading from the top of my right leg. I have no obvious sign of infection, however, as its in the lymphatic system its going to be something to do with my immune system that they need to do further tests for. He said damage could have occurred during the operation when the catheters were inserted/removed in the veins and arteries, i could have had a reaction to the dyes used or it could be a number of other things like an infection passed from the catheter site or something, all i know is I'm in quite a bit of pain and the pain is spreading. His signed me off for the week and i will need to be assessed before returning to work. The first blood test appointment I could get was Wednesday, no further antibiotics (thankfully) yet until they get the results of the blood test to see what might be going on. Any changes to my condition, if it gets at all worse (no matter how slight) i have to contact the GP ASAP. The referral by the heart consultant to a lymphatic specialist is also still going ahead, I'm not sure when that will be but it gives them more avenues to find the root of the problem.
Oh i forgot to say, during the operation, near the end, i got a strange pain in the back of my shoulder,, behind my shoulder blade, i mentioned it to the staff and they seemed surprised, but could be from being still for so long.
I have had the same pain since, but it goes quickly, however, now with my lymph nodes swelling i'm getting similar pains elsewhere...
Interestingly my mum was speaking to my gran and she said my granddad had a slight reaction to some of the dyes they used whist he was having tests and treatment for stomach and other secondary cancers... I wonder if this could be related??
I'm not sure what to say about all of this. Your ablation was so different than mine (I've had 3 done). They never used any dye during my ablations. I've had dye used for other tests and it did send my heart into brief tachy but that was all.
I don't understand the part about 19 electrodes "in" your heart. They do place ECG electrodes on the chest to monitor the rhythm.
I had my 4 catheters inserted in my femoral veins, 2 on each side. I've never had an artery used. From others who have had arteries used for stent insertion, the doctors typically use a plug to close off the insertion site because the blood pressure in the artery is much greater than that in the veins. The plug dissolves on its own over time.
It is quite possible to get an infection since there are open sites. That would cause the lymph nodes to swell up. I hope the next round of blood tests give them some answers so you can feel better soon. Your experience was quite different.
Hi Andrew, I'm Tom from central Massachusetts, US. It's interesting to hear others experiences with the procedure, as they can be different from person to person. For me, I was sedated throughout the entire procedure. I got a hit of Vallium just before they rolled me down the the cath lab, and I barely remember scooting onto the exam table. By the time I hit recovery, When I awoke in the recovery room 5 hours later, all the catheters had been removed and the puncture site was tightly covered, and sealed with that film they're using today instead of adhesive tape, The only catheter I had was a Foley. No one told me about that! But I had already passed a lot of fluid, so I guess it was good that they put it in. Standard procedure they told me for sedated patients.
Now, I did have a large hematoma at the punture site wich looked like a large lump about the diameter of a tennis ball. During the procedure, Heparin is often administered to prevent clotting, and this contributes to the bruising and bleeding there at the insertion site.
Did you experience this? Within a day, the hematoma drained into my thigh, and I had the most horrible looking bruise I've ever seen. The purple are eventually drained down as far as my knee before is was eventually absorbed, 2 months later, it was gone. If your lymph nodes are swollen, to me this would indicate an infection. They're located all over your body, and I believe including where you leg join your torso. Keep an eye on this. A systemic infection is not a good thing! I hope your ablation was a success, and hang out around here. Your experience is valuable information to those who are looking into the procedure with questions and/or fear.
thanks for your responses guys. :-) The actual ablation went really well, heart wise everything's fine and been settling down nicely. It's the lymph thing that is a bit of a bother!!
In order to do the ablation, they use radioactive dyes to guide the catheters with xrays to the heart, and to image the heart whilst they are in there. The bed had a movable xray plate mounted above it that is remotely moved around the body. i believe up to 5 electrodes can be placed in each catheter (each cath is about 3.5mm) and placed around the heart to map how each beat is conducted across the heart. I also had the ECG stickers placed in my chest to monitor too!!. The generally only like to use veins for ablation from what i have read on NHS and the British Heart Foundation Site, i was surprised that they used an artery too, in addition i had 3 in the vein, all at the top of my right leg (quite a lot to fit in in one spot), but this maybe so they could get to a different part of my heart. They did have to try to access the left accessory pathway from a variety of 'angles'.
They like to keep you awake here, they were asking questions during the procedure, i was only under light sedation with the local, i did fight the feeling of sleep though as wanted know what was going on - think that was my way of getting through it, and i'm nosey!!
when i had them taken out, no plug was inserted, just a lot of pressure on the removal site for more then 10 mins, the heparin levels in my blood were still quite high, i did bleed quite a lot, but did stop after the 10mins, then a plastic type rubber skin bandage was put on top, i only had very slight bleeding over the night. I did end up with a big hematoma which turned in to a very nice bruise, bigger then my hand!! its now nearing my knee and almost disappeared.
I'm glad the heart side of things is going really well, my hearts recovery and the associated side affects afterward are similar to what others experience, missed beats, plalps, chest pain, dizziness, but like what most people say, this is becoming less and less frequent as the weeks progress.
The lymph node problem is just a bit of a unknown, i'm showing no outward sign of infection, no temperature, no infection signs at the actual cath site, which is why the heart consultant is referring me to a lymph specialist. Having already been on a precautionary course of antibiotics, my GP does not want to give any more until they have a clearer idea of whats going on, hence the blood test. he did do a urine test while i was there, but that showed nothing either. As he said it could be damaged from the op or a reaction to the radioactive dye used too... over the past two weeks it has been spreading to other lymph nodes which is worrying, and seems to almost have a pain cycle during the day!!
I guess i'll have to play the waiting game to see what these tests say, of course, this could just settle down on its own too.
I'll keep you posted, again, thanks for your input guys.
Just wondering if you ever got to the bottom of all this. I have recently had a cardiac catheter (I've had two before some years ago without any problems). This time my lymph nodes in my groin have swollen - and I'm 3weeks post op. I'm on a precautionary dose of antibiotics - but like you no sign of an obvious infection. Had an ultrasound - blood flowing well - no clotting. Just swollen and tender lymph nodes that seem to be slowly spreading up the groin. What resolution did you have?
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