Im having an ablation in a week and Im sooo afraid. Ive cancelled many times prior to this and can't seem to find a successful story on here that makes me feel okay with this. I keep hearing about pain in the chest and fast heart rates after surgey. They say Im going to be semi awake during this and I already have severe anxiety caused by the svt and thats another problem.Can someone tell me what to expect during and afterward? Give me some kind of peace of mind about this.And how long it lasts, my dr says up to 2 hours and no pain or discomfort, but Im reading otherwise..help!!!
I had an ablation for SVT in October 2008. I was 27 at the time. Here is a brief synopsis of what to expect. Get admitted the day of the procedure, have an IV started, then go into procedure room. They will put oxygen on you, give you medicine to relax. They want you to be awake enough to tell them what you are feeling, but relaxed enough not to care too much about what is going on. When they find the area they want to ablate, they will tell you they are about to do it. I felt a pretty strong burning when they abalated. My procedure took about three hours, but the medicine they give you makes it go by pretty quick. The procedure worked well for my arrhythmias. I have only had about two episodes since. I did end up with pericarditis following the procedure, which causes chest pain and pressure. I still get bouts of the pericarditis now, but it is slowly improving. That is about it. Good luck to you and I hope things go well for you.
I understand exactly how you feel -- I've put off having an ablation for nearly 20 years! However, the technology and protocols have really improved in the past 5 years so your chances of success are higher than ever. In fact, I'm finally scheduled for mine next month! A few things that might help ease your mind a bit...
First of all, most of those of us who find our way to this site do so because we are having issues or problems of some kind with our hearts so be aware that there is a sort of "self selection" going on here in a sense that tends to skew toward the "negative" and is probably not representative of the population as a whole. So just keep in mind, as Wisconsin said, that most people who had successful, uneventful ablations have moved on with their lives.
Secondly, if you do a search, you will find MANY of those posting here have had wonderful success stories with ablation and NO problems and luckily for us they are still hanging out here sharing their experiences and offering encouragement to those of us still struggling. Hopefully one or two will see your post and add their encouragement personally!
Thirdly, I strongly encourage you to call your EP specialist's office and tell them how you are feeling. Ask if you can speak to one of the EP nurses and have them tell you, step by step, exactly what to expect on the day of your procedure. Tell them about your specific fears so they can be aware of exactly what frightens you and can help allay your fears by letting you know all the steps they plan to take to keep you safe and comfortable. Most EPs have a few options when it comes to sedation and pain relief so tell them you are very worried and ask to speak to whomever will be doing the sedation / anesthesia BEFORE the day of your procedure if possible. This used to be a rare request as it was "standard" to first meet and discuss with the anesthesiologist the actual day of the procedure, however, it is becoming more common to have a "pre-procedural day consult" as studies show many patients prefer it and outcomes are often improved.
Fourthly, it is not too late to down load a relaxation / guided imager Successful Surgery Preparation CD! Studies show that patients who use these tapes, even if only a few times before surgery, have less fear, are more comfortable during the procedure and have improved outcomes. A few I think are especially good are Peggy Huddleston and Belleruth Naparstek (you can google them) -- but there are many, many others. One of the things you want to have included in whatever CD you choose is some element of "guided imagery". If you decide this is for you, get it ASAP and listen to it twice a day until your procedure. Ask if you can take an MP3 or CD player and headphone in to your procedure when you go -- many facilities are now allowing that whenever possible.
The biggest keys to overcoming fears around medical procedures like this are: getting the information you need so that you feel as comfortable and as prepared as possible -- this means open communication with your health care providers; getting the support you need from family, friends and your health care providers -- tell them specifically WHAT they need to do to help you through this and don't be afraid to ask, it's their job; dealing with anxiety and stress through positive, proactive means -- such as talking to someone about it, doing meditation and guided imagery and taking the time to take good care of yourself, and even pamper yourself a bit as needed.
Your doctors and some other patients may not be nearly as concerned about this as you are because this IS a common procedure that is done all over the country (and indeed the world), everyday -- which should be reassuring to you. But remember, this IS a big deal to you and you deserve all the care and support you need and that IS the job of your health care providers to take care of you, but you have to help them do their job by letting them know what your concerns are and what you need. Finally, it is always your right to change your mind and cancel -- even at the last minute -- you are never totally powerless in this decision. Only you and your doctors can really evaluate the risks and benefits in your individual case and I would hope that you both feel that ablation is your best option at this point so that you are able to consider the very real positives this procedure has been show to have, too.
I have svt and had catheter ablation in March. I too was petrified especially when they tell you the possible risks of the op, which are very low. My ablation took 3 hours, but as i was semi sedated i drifted in and out of sleep, which made the whole procedure seem as though it took a few minutes. My wound site in my groin was barely visible and the whole process was far less traumatic and scary than i ever imagined it to be. I stayed in hospital overnight and returned home the next day, even going to collect my daughter from school. I was up and about straight away. However a week later i climbed a flight of stairs and went into a fast heart rate and eneded up i ccu for the night. This can happen after ablation while everything heals, symptoms can last a few weeks. I too had funny sensations and discomfort in my chest for about a month afterwards, but this was probably inflammation. My ablation has been semi successful, but i am still having to take meds. I am waiting to see if they will repeat the procedure again.
Don't worry i know of people whose lives have been transformed by having this done, and i would definately have it done again.
Had an ablation a year ago: 8 hours on the table, was uncomfortable and makes you very nervous when they are stimulating arrhythmia. The ablation itself is a bit painful but not so intense that it is not worth it. Its sort of like being really drunk and burning yourself with a cigarette..it stings a bit but you kind of don't care.
All in, it is worth it. The risks are extremely low for someone with a normal heart and of your age. It's not going to be fun but you will just have to accept that. One comforting thought is that they will give you all the drugs your want. You are fearful now because you are not medicated. But let them load you up with the meds and you'll be wanting to try to do the ablation yourself!
I had a successful ablation for AVNRT in Aug. 08. I know just how you feel because I too was terrified. All I can say is I got myself in a tizzy all for nothing!! My procedure lasted about two hours. I felt no pain at all. I was awake for the entire procedure. When they did the ablation I felt a mild burning any problems since. It was the best thing I could have done.
I had the ablation when I was 52. I only wish I had it done when I was your age. I wasted a lot of years putting it off and suffering with the tachycardia episodes. You are very wise getting it done now. Good luck and please feel free tro ask me any questions!
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