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Nervous about Ablation
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Nervous about Ablation

I'm scheduled for an ablation day after tomorrow for paradoxymal atrial fib. I've been busy so put off thinking about it until Saturday night when I woke up scared.
I've been watching UTube videos to see what happens. I plan to return to work on Monday (ablation on Wednesday) and am wondering if that's enough time to feel better.
I'm finding it hard to read about how I will feel in the few days after the ablation. Would appreciate any feedback on that.
Thank you! I'm so glad to have found you.
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Hey Mary....okay i can definately weigh in on this one.  I had my ablation done 3 years ago and it was the best thing i ever did for myself.....i had some pretty heavy duty a fib that sent my pulse rate into the 300's among other things and the ablation was a success for me.  Don't be afraid i swear you are going to tell yourself the next day that is was dumb to be so scared because it is such a simple and easy procedure. Going back to work should be fine as long as your doc says so and there is no heavy lifting at your job because thats a no no for a couple of weeks while your heart calms down after you assaulted it with the ablation.  For me it was like taking a day of relaxation .....for the first few days after you may be just a little sore in the groin area where they insert the almost hair thin catheter that they thread to the heart only lasts about 3 days and your doc will tell you ice will take care of it and it will.....if you are given amnesia meds like most of us are you really won't remember a thing for a couple of days at least after the procedure and then things come back slowly but surely. You may get a couple of feelings like its going to start up again but it won't...or maybe it will while the electrical pattern tries go go back to the bad way not the right way.  No big deal only lasts a couple of seconds and as each day goes on you feel less and less and less until surprisingly one day you'll say wait a minute i don't feel my heart anymore and that is a great thing believe me.  You'll be tired for the first 48 hours because of the meds still in your system...you may feel a couple of little sharp pains that are so fast you can't believe it really happened, you will learn as each day goes by how you feel so lucky that you got a second chance at life, you will feel panic-y a few times worried that its going to start again when it won't, you'll feel happy, scared, a little anxiety, sometimes very quiet because you'll seriously thnk about how lucky you are......Mary don't stress it...this is alot less to me than a root canal was and i wouldn't even hesitate for a nano second to do it again if i needed it....ablations were developed specifically for a fib so there you go......please post and let us know how you made out....you're going to laugh at yourself when its all said and done and hopefully stick around to support others.  Look up lane Fortin in our community he just had one done a couple of weeks ago and his posts are amazing and honest....we're here for you Mary....
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503607_tn?1275675179
Cindy covered everything!  I had my ablation 4 months ago.  It was so much easier than I was expecting.  I would do it again tomorrow.  I had my procedure on a Wednesday stayed overnight and came home Thursday, I had no pain in the groin,  I had to keep it bandaged for 5 days.   By Friday I felt so great I spent the whole day shopping and returned to work on Monday.   I agree root canal is worse than this procedure.  
Good Luck!
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Avatar_m_tn
Hello MaryLL,

As Cindy707 stated I am a new man ever since my successful ablation. First thing I can recommend, even if it's just a few hours away for your ablation, is to stop looking at videos and reading too much about the procedures, complications, etc... I had been doing that a week before and all it did was just make me more and more nervous. Best thing that worked for me was the support I had from this site. We have some good people on here with actual experience and a story that goes with it. You can't beat that can kind of help and good people are hard to find ( especially those who have the exact same health condition ;) ) but there a quite a good few people here ( you know who you are ). For this reason I too am sticking around for a bit to try and help out when I can.
Good Luck with your ablation, it'll be a breeze, I'm sure of it!

Iane F.
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942410_tn?1274050674
Hi MaryLL. As other members have stated, ablation is the way to go and the support from this site is wonderful help. I was ablated almost 6 weeks ago and the scared feelings I had before are just a distant memory. Take is slow and easy and give your heart a chance to heal remebering it takes some time for it to do so. Best of luck. You'll sail through it.
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I am sure you will do well Mary.  I am scheduled for my ablation 4 weeks today and I wish it was happening this week for me.  The waiting part is the worst.  However, I keep reading lane's posting and others who have had the procedure done recently and it makes me feel very calm about the whole thing.  I know it's the way to go, to improve our quality of life.

Best of luck, let us know how you get on!
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Avatar_f_tn
I agree with all those who have posted.  I had my ablations on Wednesdays and was back to work on Monday.  You will be a bit tired the first day after the ablation but it is all good after that,  I, too, feel the procedures have given my my life back. Stop worrying and start thinking positively about what your life will be like after the procedure.  

I'll be thinking about you on Thursday.  And when you get a chance, give us an up date!

ksig
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Avatar_f_tn
I had an RFA 5 weeks ago.  They thought it was AVNRT, but it turned out to be "automatic atrial tachycardia".  Good thing they do the mapping first!  For me, they only needed to access the right atrium, so they only needed to go through the right femoral vein, right at the "underwear line", if you know what I mean.  The only significant discomfort was when they inserted the catheters.  After all, they are punching holes in your leg.  It wasn't unbearable, but it wasn't fun.  I also had some bruising and discomfort in that area.  I didn't feel anything when they were doing the mapping and ablation.  If having some pain in your leg is the worst that happens, you can deal with that, right?  I think it hurt just about as much when they started the IV.  I can't say, don't worry.  You are going to worry.  But know that the results will be well worth the anxiety and any slight discomfort.

I'm going to post another message about this, but read this article about risks other diseases you are going to be avoiding by getting the ablation:

Cardiac Procedure Significantly Reduces Risk of Alzheimer's Disease and Stroke, Researchers Find
ScienceDaily (May 14, 2010)
"...patients with atrial fibrillation treated with catheter ablation are less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia, and have a significantly reduced risk of stroke and death compared to A-fib patients with who are not treated with ablation..."
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100513123825.htm
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1317224_tn?1378708734
Thank you everyone for the support. It helped me alot. I'm home now. Was on the table at the hospital for 10 hours and didn't get it all taken care of. Apparently, my pulmonary veins are supposed to be 2 in one place but instead, I had a big ball of them which branched into 2. It was the site of the most abberancy, so he worked on it primarily. Cardiologist said a place in the right atria has several areas but he wasn't able to get to those so I may have to do it again.
Bad sides, I bit my tongue very hard while under (bruised and bloodied), and had several small episodes of spiking last night. Am tired but okay otherwise. I just gave myself the shot in the stomach and it was no big deal inspite of my fear of doing it! I'm hoping that things will continue to improve. My goal in doing this was to get off the meds, and we're just not sure at this point if that can happen without another ablation. Just wait and see.
Thank you again for helping me walk through this with less fear and isolation. You give me hope...
You are great!!
Mary LL
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Thank you for sharing your story MarryLL. The good, the bad and hopeful. Those Lovenox shots are no fun and it sounds as if you had a real go of it. There are many on this site who have had a second and even third ablation so it's not uncommon. Just know we are all here for you. Hoping you heal quickly and well.
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I was having trouble breathing today so I called the Cardiologist's office. I was wheezing and coughing up blood/green junk, so they told me to come in.  They tested for blood clots in legs (vascular), echocardiogram, and did a heart X-ray. They decided I have fluid in my lungs and gave me a prescription with the orders to: eat and drink more...no one has ever told me that before.
I feel better knowing that it's something like that. Am glad I went in instead of fretting all weekend. He also told me to call him Monday and we'll do some more tests if I'm not better.  But if I am, we'll discuss when I can return to work.
The shots are okay, maybe I could have become a nurse after all (I flunked out on giving the shots to the oranges!).
take care all...
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Avatar_m_tn
You are a true trooper Mary,

I am sorry to hear you ablation wasn't a complete success, but  you seem like you see only the positive in your case, that is a fantastic way to feel better.  Have you though about doing a second ablation when the time is right? Like always we are here for you as much as we can.

Iane F.
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996946_tn?1385991151
I'm sorry to hear of your ordeal.  I hope you are feeling a lot better by now.  I am also contemplating an ablation but am so apprehensive about it.  So are they telling you you will have to have another ablation? If so, how soon?  The thought of all that makes me cringe. I am almost your age but I don't have the stamina I used to and I wonder if I could even get through this procedure.  Please let us hear how you are doing and are you glad you had it done?  How bad was your a-fib before?  Weekly?   24 hr episodes?
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Hi Linda,
We're in the wait and see period right now. My cardiologist refers to it as the "3 month blackout" after an ablation when we aren't sure how things will settle in. He did say because of the problems on the left side, he didn't get to the identified areas of abberancy on the right atria.  I haven't talked to him about when or anything, so will talk about then and see where I'm at at 3 months.
I totally relate to what you are saying. I went into the ablation burned out, exhausted and not taking care of myself at all. This has taught me that cannot continue. My afib has been around since early 50's, first every few months, then once or twice a year and recently every week. Episodes lasting from seconds to 7 days with beats in 150-200 and erratic.
I will have to see what the results are before giving a qualified YES to ablation. But I can say that I have learned so much about myself, my life, and how off track I was with my priorities, it has already been a gift regardless of what happens with my heart.
Keep in touch and I will too!! We're in this together...
MaryLL
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1137980_tn?1281289046
Okay so that was a good thing Mary that you probably either caught a little bug or had a little residual after the procedure but sounds like its under control.  All good then.....like the doc said it seriously does take up until that 3 month period to really know and i know of other people who they told they couldn't get to specific areas that another ablation may be needed and wasn't.  We have to remember that our hearts are so darn sensitive after the procedure and while your heart is firing off its electrical patterns it is being forced to re route itself around up and over the bad areas and things are still shifting in the heart.....for the others that i know once they hit near the 3 month mark things changed drastically for them when the pattern set in and it was all for the better...tell yourself this time next week, this time next month, this time in 2 months.....believe me it will get better every day and if you haven't had a full blown episode by now sounds to me like you are following the yellow brick road to Oz here and are on the mend........you go girl!!!!
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996946_tn?1385991151
Yes, Mary, Cindy is certainly the proverbial cheerleader. Every ablation and every patient is unique and it's a very personal decision to make on a very private situation, not to be swayed one way or another by overly-enthusiastic outsiders.  It's fine to offer encouragement but realize that this is a procedure that does not always come out successful.  Someone quoted 95% success rate and that's not true.  My Dr pioneered the tecnique used in PVI and he quoted me 70-75% success in women because they usually need a second ablation.  I don't want to sound discouraging....but realistic.
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1317224_tn?1378708734
I week post-ablation and things are good!!!!!!! Whether I have to have a second ablation, I am able to begin trusting my heart again. This is huge. Even wrote a poem:

Waking to ticking clock
1921 house still settling in
Quiet enough to hear/feel
Heart beats steadily
Thank you God
Heart beats strongly
Thank you God
Falling back asleep
To heart’s lullaby
Thank you heart…

The gifts for me so far are  greater than my heart though. I feel back in touch with the real me and have rearranged my priorities as such. I'm in the midst of painting a picture today, something that's been on my to-do list for ages. I've called work and told them I will have to look for another job if I am not reassigned (I asked 1.5 years ago). Surprise there, supervisor called and said they may have someone for the job I've been trying to transfer from...Life is good.

Bless you all fellow heart-healers!
MaryLL

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Avatar_f_tn
Way to go Mary - see how the energy/dynamics change when you do ...
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996946_tn?1385991151
Mary, I am so happy you are feeling better.  Painting....wow, that's inspiring. And a "heart-felt"  poem too! That was really nice.  Keep in touch with me and if I do decide on the ablation we can compare notes.
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1137980_tn?1281289046
I definately will not take your post personally and we are all outsiders....and you are very very right Linda it is a very personal decision that we all made...the ratio anyone would want to see is in the 70% and above percentile....because i had the ablation for the same thing...had a very difficult time also during the procedure and managed to flat line 5 times during the procedure (i had other issues as well) and walked away i wear my cheerleading outfit proudly......i also am on the same page as you Linda...i want everyone to be realistic with what they are facing and to me who better to be sitting in the bleachers than those of us who are success cases......i had a single ablation and if what your doc is telling you is true then that may be news to me...i do know that Dr. Natale and Dr. Scheimann were the two docs that developed the procedure and trained basically thousands of other docs the world over in the procedure...my doc i got lucky with he was one the their proteges so i got lucky...like with anything we all need to do our research because it is our own body and the heart is like a fingerprint it is all our own....and Mary congrats on your successful procedure and i am soooo happy you are doing so great!!!!!
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For this site's members, cheerleaders are enormously helpful and encouraging.  Reading about others' experiences, positive outcomes and overall good-intended raising of the spirits can only do good.  Many of us are already anxiety ridden and get strength from the posters who encourage and uplift.  Even if their own experiences were unfavorable, seeing how people can overcome and stay positive and optimistic is extremely helpful during those times when everything seems bleak to the reader.
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You made me almost want to cry Tati....thank you.......
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503607_tn?1275675179
Cindy, your the best!!   Go on with your cheering!!!!! You helped me get through my first week after my ablation when I was in the crazy transition phase.    Cheer on girl!!!!!
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1137980_tn?1281289046
Debbier glad to see you back in the community!!!!  Thanks also to you.....i understand that Linda is pretty scared too of the procedure and is erring on the side of caution which we both know is a good thing here and just giving Mary all of the facts like we all try to...we all have so many different types of personalities and that is what makes this site so awesome...thanks Debbier....still doing great????????????????
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503607_tn?1275675179
I never left the community, lol.  I am now 4 months after the ablation and doing great, I am down to 12.5 of the Atenolol.  Dr told me to go off totally but its my security blanket right now.    He told me no more aspirin is needed. The small runs of SVT have completely resolved (knocking wood).
I am very hopeful my afib and svt is gone for good.  Its nice not be nervous to go out with kids alone anymore.

Have a great weekend.
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1317224_tn?1378708734
What great news 4 mos post-ablation!!
Glad to hear you are able to have a more comfortable life and enjoy your family without the stress of afib and svt!!
Thanks for sharing the good news. Yes, I'm finding that every bit of sharing (negative and positive) helps me to move along in my recovery. The Cardiologist's are the pros in the procedure, but I'm finding the answers to day to day living definitely come on this site and the other like it.
Linda, please keep posting!! I appreciate your questions and your support...
take care all,
MaryLL
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1317224_tn?1378708734
Hi all,
I returned to work for a half day last Friday and have just had 2 full days (Tues and Wed). It's going well. I have had only a couple of small A-fib episodes which lasted a few seconds.
I feel like a different person since the ablation. Not sure why, but my priorities are different. I have no patience with drama and feel more centered inside. Another odd thing I'm wondering if anyone else has noticed: my eating has totally changed. I've lost about 10 pounds in 2 weeks because I'm just not hungry. I eat but fill up quickly. This is a good thing as I have weight to lose, just odd that it's happening without a struggle.
I tease my cardiologist that he did a lap band while he was in my heart!!
Anyway, I feel very good and at this point (2 weeks post-), am really glad I had the ablation.
Hope everyone is well,
MaryLL
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Avatar_m_tn
Very happy for you Mary. Glad that everything seems to be getting better for you.


Iane F.
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996946_tn?1385991151
Cindy, yes , my Dr, Dr. Andre Natale who pioneered the PVI ablation is the one who quoted me the percentage, something about women having a thinner atrioseptal? something, but he did say the odds are overwhelming that women have to have that second ablation because of that.

Also you mentioned that you had your ablation 3 yrs ago and on another thread you said you were prescribed MULTAQ.  I was just wondering why you were prescribed MULTAQ if you had had a successful ablation and when did you take it?
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1137980_tn?1281289046
Hi Linda...wow you are impressive you had Dr. Natale you are the first i have actually known that had the doc.....my doc was his protege....unfortunately i had an episode a couple of months ago (closer to 5 months i think) where i woke up out of a dead sleep w. no issues at all before this happened and had a weird one....i woke up at one thirty in the morning in a fib and tach and knew i was done for....i sensed more than anything that this was bad bad bad and like an idiot drove myself to the hospital 5 miles away ...sat in the parking lot not wanting to go into the E.R. because i just sensed i wasn't going to ever make it out and it got worse and worse and worse....finally gave in...went in...they didn't even ask my name just rushed me into the back in a cubicle, lined me w. an I.V., i suddenly had 8 people around me and once again my heart rate had zoomed into the lower 300's and unfortunately was irregular....they converted me chemically and Thank God it worked ...did my follow up w. the heart doc two days later...and he gave me 6 sample packs of the Multaq and Linda every day i feel so lucky i haven't had to take one...he said i am only to use it to convert myself w. it at home if it happens again and to give it an hour after i take it and if it doesn't work i have to go back to the hospital.  That is the only time i have had an issue after the ablation..my doc said i did it to myself....burned the candle at both ends for a week before, started smoking again like an idiot, didn't drink enough water the week before and was dehydrated, was super stressed out (my youngest daughter was getting married), was going for it with the coffee and not getting enough sleep.  So i modified everything and so far so good...we won't even talk about the 30pounds i gained in 3 months....so God willing i won't ever have to take the Multaq but feel safer knowing i have it....if i had to have a second ablation if i could use the same doc i wouldn't even hesitate...i had alot of issues going on w. my heart and thanks to your doc and Scheimann i got a second shot at life.....there isn't a nite i don't go to bed and thank God for the extra time i have been given Linda....each day to me is a miracle.............
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1317224_tn?1378708734
Just returned from the cardiologist. Good news after almost 3 weeks post-ablation: more energy, less fatigue. At 4-6 weeks next visit, we can consider taking me off one of the heart meds if things are continuing well. Also, I've lost 10 pounds since the procedure. Something shifted in my eating and I'm much pickier and only eating when I'm hungry.
Feeling so good!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks again for all the support through the scary times.
Enjoy summer,
MaryLL
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I was wondering since I am in constant high heart rate without Atenolol, do they need my heart at max for the procedure or a certain bpm is enough? What was the rate going for some of you guys? I am terrified of it going over 170, I just feel death is certain at that point. It's why I haven't gone through with it. I've felt 170 the first time it happened and was on the floor thinking I'm a goner from just 2 minutes of this.
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1137980_tn?1281289046
Hi SenseRebel i read your post.....relax a little i know 170 is high but some of us including myself have gone into the mid 300's and are still here posting every chance we get in support of you and others.  First things first.....when we have our ablations they actually want us off of the meds so our body will do what it doesn naturally and the doc that is doing the ablation actually generates and stimulates our hearts and tries to get it to the max the see where the bad areas are and are misfiring or where there is an issue w. your electrical pattern of the heart.  That does make perfectly good sense right?  Once they find the troublesome areas they will either zap the area or re route the electrical pattern.  Believe me its no biggie and during the procedure the doc gives you an amnesia med so that you don't even remember the procedure or may recall just bits and pieces and as days wear on your memories become less and less.  So in a nutshell the doc is in control and can reverse it at any time ..and what better place could you possibly be than in a hospital in the heart unit to do have this done?  They are prepared for absolutely everything believe me and they are all heart specialists.  Death is certainly not certain if your heart rate goes over 170 trust me and if you can believe it or not once our heart rates hit in the high upper 100's it all feels the same whether it be 190 or mid 300's....more than anything it is scary i know and it has to be the weirdest thing we feel in this life physically because it is the heart and the panic we all feel.....you say 2 minutes of this?  You are lucky then try being in the 300's for more than 2 hours of it before they can knock it down....you just get to the point that you are beyond panic and get super tired because your darn heart is working so hard and the second it gets converted back to "normal" you feel such a feeling of relief that it is over...until the next time unless you chose to get proactive with your treatment.  What i don't understand SenseRebel is when you said you are in a constant high rate "without" the anenolol...the med is used to relax your heart and block out adrenaline so why would you be without it except during the procedure...the doc is your navigator SenseRebel..they are the ones who set it off and yep we have to be off the meds or it stops the doc from getting a real picture of what is going on.....Are you thinking about having an ablation done?  Good luck at any rate we are here for you.......
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They said to help me out if I decide to have it done, they will switch me to an IV beta blocker for a day which has a rlly short half life till atenolol is completely out of my system, and work from there. Thank you for all that info cindy.
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And isn't over 250-300 usually turning into an unsteady pulse and a-fib?
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1137980_tn?1281289046
Personally what i think anything over 150 is unsteady and a fib comes anywhere i believe from 140 up but because we have a fib does not mean it cannot be corrected.........don't focus on the negative focus on the getting better and doing somethng about it SenseRebel......
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Avatar_n_tn
They never diagnosed me with anything though. I don't have any idea what my chances are of correcting anything to begin with. Even two top cardios are unsure and said an EP study would at least reassure me. I don't know if they can correct a hyper sensitivity to adrenaline and pounding just from having to go the bathroom. Closest thing that comes to mind with such symptoms is IST and I don't know if ablation has a good chance of blocking unnecessary adrenaline to the heart.
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