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Nervous about ablation
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Nervous about ablation

I am 34 years old and have been suffering from rapid heart rate for the past 7 or 8 years. All but two episodes have happened while at work. I have been to the hospital several times and have wore a heart monitor, but they never have been able to catch it. Once it happened at work, (I work at a major retailer) and I was able to get to the pharmacy and check my pulse and blood pressure on the free monitor thing they have set up there. My heart rate was over 200 beats a minute.

My doctor has me on a couple of medications, Metoprolol 50mg and Lisinopril 10mg a day. I have took these for a few years now and they help, but are not a cure all. My doctor says I have SVT and has recommended I have the ablation done. He says it is not a life or death matter at this time, but I should go ahead and have it done while I am still young and just get it out of the way. I did see a heart specialist a couple of years ago and we discussed having the ablation done, but I have just been to darn scared to go through with it.

Well, last Monday I had another episode at work (I work in a meat department and they most always occur when working in the cooler, bending over to pick up a box seems to be a trigger). This was one of the worst and longest I have had and I went to the hospital. Of course it had stopped  by the time I got there. Well, I have had enough. I see my family doctor in two days and I am going to tell him to go ahead and get things in motion to set up the ablation. Since taking the medication, episodes have been reduced to about 3 or 4 a year, but I am tired of also being worried when one is going to strike and having to pace myself so as not to trigger another episode.

I am just scared to have such a thing done, as I have never had any kind of medical procedure outside of a colon scope and xrays done. The colon scope was due to IBS I also suffer with. I was just wondering how other people's experiences were when having this done and look for some words of encouragment from other folks who know what its like to have this.
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612551_tn?1247839157
Being "scared" is normal, but an ablation sounds like the right thing to do.   I think this decision is off really until you get a diagnosis from the specialist:  a cardiologist and better an ElectroPhysicologist (EP).  They are the ones that can give the most accurate risk/benefit prediction.  

Ablation is a well tested and procedure and while there is a risk with everything, if the doctor(s) want to go forward, I'd say "if not now, when?"  It just gets harder and getting well gets slower with age.
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1465650_tn?1316234760
Hi there,

I had an ablation done 10 days ago.
I am the worlds biggest wimp but this procedure was a walk in the park compared to lets say a gatroscope.
I was scared of the whole being awake, no sedatives or pain med thing, but to be honest it was easy and also quite interesting to be able to see on the screen what was being done. Chatting with the nurse and also the cardiologist was very interesting.

The worst part was inducing the SVT, but as you are in a controlled environment there is little to worry about.
I was ablated 10 times, but it seems it hasn't cured me and will more than likely having another ablation in the near future.

If you have any questions then let me know
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612551_tn?1247839157
Congratulations on the first try, included 10 ablates on that try... here I assume you are saying the doctor ablated 10 spots in your heart.

I have never had an ablation, so I write based on what I read, and that says to me you are being hasty saying your ablation didn't complete the job, I think healing is necessary to get the full benefits, and 10 days is way short of enough time to heal.
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1465650_tn?1316234760
Yeah the doc burnt 10 times, but he wasn't able to get to the right spot as it was too deep in the heart muscle. He said he couldn't get the right wattage to the catheter, without causing AV Node block.
He said he did enough to make a difference but it was 50/50 and said after 2 weeks if I am still having the heart palpitations then get back in touch and he will reschedule a 2nd ablation.

Have to say though my paps have been worse since the ablation, but I know that is to be expected as they were inside my heart prodding and burning.

My cardiologists is one of the best in Finland, I trust his judgement as he was very straight with me after the procedure.
I hope that after another week or so that my paps start to settle down and the one ablation is enough, but if not then I am more than willing to give it another try.
My Cardio also said he will do the ablation as many times as is needed and when all else fails then he will put in a pacemaker.
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1423357_tn?1373023915
There isn't anybody wound tighter, or more apprehensive than I, but I'm waiting for the  scheduler to call with my date for ablation.  I've endure 54 years of SVT's and if it works, I hope to be free of this millstone.  Mine have increase in frequency over the years from 4 or 5 times per year to now 4 or 5 times per month.  Although I'm only on 100 mg. of Metoprolol, my doctor feels that medication carries more risk than the ablation procedure.  Mine is being done at UMass in Worcester, MA.

Regarding your episodes, have you been given instruction on how to convert them yourself without going to the hospital?  You see, mine never convert on theor own, and would probably run on until my heart gave out.  I must convert them by doing Valsalva, taking a short breath, and bearing down hard.  I usually do this in a certain position too, ideally sitting on a step to bring my knees up, sort of in a seated crunch position.  This always (eventually) converts them, and I've never been to a emergency ward for intervention.

All sorts of things trigger mine; landing flat footed, twisting my torso,  and bending over and straining to lift something of significant weight.  But it can also happen while watching TV as it did the other night as well as doing strenuous activities like sports or working outdoors as I often do in my large wooded property.

ALthough I haven't had it done yet, the EP study and ablation procedure carries a fairly low risk factor and take comfort in knowing that there are different specialists there to insure that if anything goes wrong, they can immediately step in.  My doctor who is the head of EP at UMass does 150 studies per year himself.  This does not include his staff of fellows who work with him.

I find it comforting to know that I'm not alone here.  In my 59 years, I've never run into anyone else who has had SVT problems, so I kind of felt isolated.  I was a small, but wirey kid in high school who excelled in strength activities; wrestling, hand over hand rope climbing and gymnastics.  I remember having to hold my hand up and either forefitting and pulling out becasue my heart was "racing".  My teachers all knew about my "condition" and handled me with kid gloves even though I wanted to be treat like the other kids.  Here, it's great (well not great) to see that other share my malady and are here to talk about the problems associated with it.
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1423357_tn?1373023915
One other thing......

My EP refuses to talk anyone into the procedure, but wants the patient to be ready and to want to get it done.  Although apprehensive, I am ready.  If he called today and said he could squeeze me in this afternoon, I'd be there ASAP.
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1472718_tn?1292357361
I saw my doctor Thursday and he is setting up the procedure with the EP doctor at the local hospital. He apparently has many years of experience and has performed alot of these. My doctor said he has had a few patients over the years to have this done and all of them came out well. In some ways I am looking forward to hopefully getting this fixed and behind, but I am also really nervous about having the ablation done. I will keep everyone up to date on how things go.
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704329_tn?1391204528
Hey, good luck with the ablation, go for it, if your suffering you need some kind of help, and with having a chance of an ablation you can't get any farther with a specialist in that field with your condition. You have nothing to lose and all to gain. And hey, if the ablation isn't a success, you will at least (awake, semi, or not) get to know what it's like having one, so if you need or try to go for a 2nd you'll have that confidence you never had at first. These Ep's are vey highly trained, the room is full of people who are monitering every corner of the operation and you'll have nothing to worry about! If you have anxiety, make sure you mention before so they can give you something extra to help you be calm. You'll be fine! Good luck, keep us updated!
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi,

I am scheduled for my ablation on Thursday, and like you I am very afraid.  It has helped me tremendously to hear from everyone here though.  I am at the point where I feel like I have to try this, I have frequent attacks, some resolve, some take hours.  I am tired of the fear that goes with them and having every ambulance driver near where I live know me by name!  I have put this off for almost 2 years...
I wish you all the best,  I think being afraid is probably normal :).  I have heard a lot of good stories though, and I am starting to look forward to posting mine!!

Michelle
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968809_tn?1288660510
Congrats on moving forward with your ablation. I'm counting down the days to mine on Oct 26 and I too am frightened like crazy about it. I had an EP study before and freaked during the procedure...they had to tell me to calm down. Being awake during the procedure is not fun. Now that I know what to expect, my anxiety has worsened but I am mustering up all my courage. I can't stand having SVT and want to be rid of it. I can't afford another ablation so I am hoping my doctor gets to the source of the problem. Good luck on your ablation!
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1472718_tn?1292357361
Sorry about the lack of updates. I am finally seeing the EP doctor on Thursday morning. Should get things moving in the right direction to fix this then. Will keep you posted.
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1423357_tn?1373023915
Excellent!  I'm going in on 11/16.  Check back afterwards (....hopefully) for the blow by blow details. I'll tell you what it was like.
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1472718_tn?1292357361
I hope everything goes well for you Tom. I look forward to hearing about the procedure so I can get an idea as to what to expect.

I saw the EP doctor today. He has scheduled me for a stress test and heart echo for next Tuesday. He knows what the problem is and we went over the ablation procedure today, but he wants to get a good workup on my heart and check everything out before moving forward. He also wants me to wear a small 21 day heart monitor and for me to stop taking the Metoprolol so we can try to capture an event and get some info from that. I am wary of this and do not look forward to going off the medicine. I'm sure this will provoke an event, but I very much dread it.
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1423357_tn?1373023915
This is the exact route I took to where I'm at now.  Stress, followed by Echo Stress, then a 30 day monitor.  Like you I have been taking Metoprolol for 3 years.  I along with the doctor have played with the dosage during that period and settled on 100mg.  I still get frequent breakthroughs, but it made conversion very easy compared to the old days.  I'm now down to 25% of my dosage in preparation for Tuesday.  Tomorrow night will be my final dose, then nothing Saturday to Tuesday.  So far it hasn't been too bad, and I hope it's the same for you.  Up until the long term monitor, the only thing I manage with previous 24hr. holters were a handful of PVC's; nothing to write home about.  But what sealed the deal for me was the 30 monitor.  While using it, I got 3 classic SVT events.  I recorded it starting up, and I made sure I got the conversion using Valsalva.  That way they were able to see me coming out of it as well.  When you get the operational instructions, you'll quickly understand how to do this.  Basically, when you press the button on most monitors, they'll jump back and record the last 1 or 2 minutes which are always in buffer, then record the next minute or so.  So when you convert, just press the button, the recorder will jump back the preset time, and you've got it in memory.

I dread the events too.  I've dreaded them for 54 years; each one.  As I've aged, it always feel that this one is the big one.  It isn't, but it feels that way.  I hope you can resolve them and move on with your life.  I certainly plan too!
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1472718_tn?1292357361
I had the stress test and heart echo today. The heart echo still has to be read, but everything seemed fine with stress test.. I'm finally getting the monitor Thursday, as there was some sort of mix up with the company that was supposed to be shipping it to me.
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1423357_tn?1373023915
Please see my question "Post Ablation Observations" for some of my experiences today.  It was relatively cake!
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1472718_tn?1292357361
I have my ep study and hopefully ablation this coming Monday. I am nervous, and will more than likely be moreso by Monday, but it is for the best. I want to get this problem fixed and out of the way. I of course had no episodes while wearing the heart monitor. I also live in a very mountainous area and had trouble getting a signal with the communicator that came with it, so I don't how helpful it would have been if I did have an episode. I'm hoping for the best and will let everyone know how things go next Monday.
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1465650_tn?1316234760
Good luck for Monday.
Take a deep breath and it will be over before you know it.

Let us know how you get on
Take care
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1472718_tn?1292357361
Still nervous as the day draws nearer. I don't worry about it being painful or anything like that. I worry that something may go wrong or that they don't find and fix the problem. We also have a major winter storm about to hit my area, so my wife and I are going to stay at a hotel near the hospital tomorrow night, since I have to be there at 6:30 in the morning on Monday and I live about 30 miles away from the hospital. That may be my biggest worry. They are giving up to a foot of snow for us and we got a storm like that this time last year and was without electricity for a week. My wife will have to drive us home in that, if we can make it home Monday evening. Just a lot of things weighing on my mind at once.
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1423357_tn?1373023915
Good luck on Monday.  I'm telling you, afterwards you'll say, "Piece of cake!"
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1423357_tn?1373023915
By the way, have you stopped your meds? I was instructed to stop 3days prior to the procedure.
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Avatar_f_tn
Best of luck for tomorrow. After it's over you will wonder what you worried about.  I had my procedure done 6 months ago and wished I had been able to get it done sooner;  I had AVNRT for 28 years and couldn't take any more ...
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1472718_tn?1292357361
Yes, I took my last dose of meds Thursday. I've got a little more reassurance last night when I spoke with a friend of my wife's. Her father in law had this same procedure done back in July by the same doctor and has been symptom free since September. The doctor told him it would take a couple of months for the scar tissue to build up and be effective, and that seems to be the case. He had afib, which of course is something different from what I'm suffering with, but knowing of someone who went through the same thing is I am going to does ease my mind some.
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1423357_tn?1373023915
I forgot to mention the "dirty little secret" my hosptial failed to inform me about. Be prepared tobe catherized.....no not there......a little lower.  This was a first for me. But considering the amount of.time you have to lie still afterwards,  I guess it was for the better.  I filled a bag to near capacity during my stay.
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1472718_tn?1292357361
Is that painful? I have never had the pleasure to experience that particular little medical gem before, so that is something else for me to worry about. I don't understand why that would be necessary. Can't they just bring you on of those little urinal things to use if you gotta go. I'm sure my wife would help me with that if I needed it.
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1423357_tn?1373023915
LOL! I don't know man!  Talk about humiliation! I was out when they "installed" it!  Coming out, it just felt like one heck of long garden hose! Didn't hurt much except for my pride. Talk about "shrinkage factor"!!
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1472718_tn?1292357361
Getting ready to head for the hospital. Stayed at the hotel last night, which was a good thing as we are really getting hammered with the snow. Fingers and toes crossed, trying to keep good thoughts and hope for the best. Will let everyone know how things go this evening.
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1472718_tn?1292357361
In my room recovering. Have to stay overnight. Doctor easily found the problem area and ablated it. Didn't have to worry about the foley cath. Hope this fixed it. Talk to everyone later.
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1423357_tn?1373023915
Great!  Good to hear you're back!  Give us a blow by blow when you're able.  Congrats again.
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995271_tn?1312416925
Good to hear, hope they got it.
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968809_tn?1288660510
Congrats! Isn't ablation incredible. A few hours and you have your health back to normal. I'm still amazed by the procedure. We are very lucky to have this available to us. Wishing you a speedy recovery.....
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1472718_tn?1292357361
I'll give you guys a detailed report about my experience when I get home tomorrow. Very sore where they put the cath in, really hurts to walk. Went into SVT very shortly after getting started. My doc keeps his ablation patients overnight in the hospital. I look foward to getting back home. Talk to you later.
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1137980_tn?1281289046
Congrats on the procedure i have been following you and tom thru this....pretty normal to have random episodes immediately after the ablation so relax there...ice is the thing for the pain in the groin area and elevating whichever leg is bugging you.....can't speak for the cath experience (thank gawd for that one no thank you) and i stayed overnite too at the hospital and was the best thing i ever did for myself.  I'm gonna enjoy reading your and toms posts you guys always put a smile on my face when i read what you post and remember we are all here for you if you have worries or questions cause as the saying goes...been there done that....
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1398166_tn?1358874123
The catheter and the laying flat for 6 hours after the procedure were the worst for me.  Catheter removal made me scream. I've had more kind things done to me down there... I'll just leave it at that.
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1472718_tn?1292357361
Luckily, no foley cath for me. They just told me to go to the bathroom before prepping me to take me back there. And when I was brought back to my room and had to go, they kindly brought me one of those little urinals to use. That was a real relief, in more ways then one!
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1569427_tn?1295556877
I just came from my 15 year old sons cardiologist appointment he has spent his whole life with SVT  Up until the last couple months episodes have been 2-4 times a year but recently it is almost every time he runs..  problem is he is football and soccer player!   So we are now on track for ablation in the next 90 days.  Reading your posts answered alot of my questions.. and i am excited for him to read them as well to maybe ease any anxiety he may have!
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221122_tn?1323014865
Were you the one who told me that they CAN give versed during an ablation?????
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1423357_tn?1373023915
I'm happy to hear that your son has a date.  Hopefully, in a few months this will all be over, and he'll be able to live a normal, active life.
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Avatar_m_tn
I am a 26 year old woman and i have been suffering with svt since i was 13! I cannot tell you how hard it is living with this condition. I can't play with my kids for fear of going into svtand it is very rough! I have been being shuffled around from Dr to Dr trying to get answers and i am requesting the ablation surgery but my Dr told me today thre is a chance that o might not come out of surgery which made me freak out all i have read is it is not a very hard procedure and then to hear that almost sent me into svt on the spot. I am scared but i want to be cured so i was wondering who has had this preceudre done and have they been cured of svt?
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1423357_tn?1373023915
Danielle, I think that comment by your physician was very irresponsible! Any time you walk into  a hospital to get something done carries a risk.  The EP procedure carries a risk just like any other procedure.  But, what are the odds? According to my EP, he personally had performed over 1200 procedures and lost one patient.  That patient had undisclosed complications which made the porcedure risky.  If you are reasonably healthy, the procedure carries a minimal risk.  My cardiologist (not my EP) went so far as to tell me that messing with the different antiarrhythymics to find the one that worked for me was far riskier than the procedure itself.  My SVT first occurred at the age of 6 and continued for the next 54 years.  I decided tonget it done, and for the first time in many years, I've been SVT free for 5 months. If you want to get this done, you should talk to a cardiologist and get the ball rolling.  Expect to follow a path to the EP procedure which will include certain tests and monitoring.  There are many folks on this forum who've had it done.  In fact we have a lady on here, who just had one done yesterday and is home, resting for a couple of days, and sounds very excited and happy.  Check my journals for more details on my ablation experience .  
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1910303_tn?1322036779
I am a 45 year old woman; my SVT problems began with a Lupus flare last year, during a bout with pericarditis. (though I may have had a few episodes of SVT before, spaced years apart.)  This year again, I developed pericarditis in March, and it is just now abating- but not gone.  I am on the immunosuppressant/chemotherapy drug methotrexate, which my EP does not want me to stop, Also, prednisone, Cholcrys, and for cholesterol, Zocor.  He stopped my lopressor (50 mg 2x day) for the week prior, and I am having nearly constant flutters and HR fluctuations.   I am scheduled for an ablation on Monday, November 28.  My EP says that the procedure carries a higher risk, as do my SVT's- both "significant"- because of the lupus and pericarditis.  I assume that he is keeping me on methotrexate and Cholcrys because of the fact that my lupus is already uncontrolled.  I am doing my best to stay calm, but I am so afraid!  A year and a half ago, I was disease-free, or so I thought.  Now, I am eight months into the fight for my life, and I'm so afraid.  Please, does anyone have an experience like mine, where the ablation is complicated by illness?  Thanks so much for any support-
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1807132_tn?1318747197
I do not have any conditions that would have predisposed me to more complications than normal for my ablation but the procedure itself is pretty easy compared to say surgery.  I will send good healing thoughts your way this Monday.  Good luck and let us know how it went.  Take care and trust all will be fine.
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1569985_tn?1328251082
I am considering ablation and will be interested to hear how you come out.  I have a few other health issues in addition to afib, but none too serious.  Sending prayers and good wishes your way.
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