Hi. I had cardiac ablation a week ago. On my discharge I was unable to speak to the Dr. and the nurse just told me they did 1/2 the house and that the other 1/2 still needed building (on the discharge paper it read something like "she will need pulmonary vein isolation/ablation". I was discharged 1/2 hour after waking up from gen. an. .My heart was beating 120 pm but was given a tablet and then asked to go home. I was asked to rest for 5 days, including no driving. 9 days on I still don't feel good. I attempted 2 short walks but yesterday's one got me feeling tired and at night I started feeling pain in my chest, which I still have now, similar to that I had during ablation. It would have been useful is someone could have advised me on what to expect and how long will it take before I can go back to work. Initially I was told I only needed 2 days off! My admission was for electrophysiology study and radio frequency ablation, but no one has told me what they actually did. In clinical details it also mentions: Atrial turly + AF. Investigations: provoked. Could someone please assist? I've contacted the hospital but still wait for feedback.
So they gave you general anesthesia? That's unusual. I've had 3 ablations and only had conscious sedation (didn't feel conscious, just drifted in and out) and pain medication to control any discomfort I might have felt during the procedure.
I'm not familiar with "atrial turly." I know about AF. Ablation for a-fib can be more complicated than for general atrial tachy. Any idea how long you were in there? The longer you're in there and the more zaps they do, it takes longer to recover. My second ablation took about 7 hours lab time. Then there was the recovery time. I did have fatigue and chest aches for awhile but was still able to do general everyday things.
You do need to sit down and have a talk with your cardio EP. They need to explain it all more clearly (yes, they can tone it down so you'll understand what's happening) and tell you the options ahead of you.
General anesthesia is becoming more and more common with ablations. I just really am surprised that they let you go home so soon due to the fact the you were totally put out. Usually they like to monitor you for alittle while to make sure you have no reaction to the anesthesia.
My ablation for a-fib and flutter took almost 8 hours. I did have some chest discomfort after. My chest pain went away in a couple of days, but everybody is different. I was told I could return to work in a week (desk job), and return to normal exercise in a month.
Is your heart rate still at 120? Can you call the doctor who did the procedure instead of waiting for the hospital to get back to you? Your whole situation is really strange to me.
Good Luck with finding answers and your recovery. I wish you well and I wish you enough...
The procedure took about 1 hour. General anesthetic was given to me following provoked tachycardia using drugs as they needed to bring my heart back to normal beat. I wasn't sedated during the procedure. Heart rate between 74 and 90 at the moment but I've only rested so far. Took 2 weeks off work as I teach in FE and it takes all my energy when I am in class, so I felt uncomfortable challenging my body this far. I just wished someone told me what they did and what to expect etc. I can only contact the doctor via his secretary.
I might contact the forum again when they call me in for pulmonary vein isolation as I don't wish to go through the same experience again and really want to know all the pro and cons. So far, I got inform. mostly from the web.
Thanks for your feedback. Much appreciated.
There's something strange about the doctor not giving you better information. You should get a copy of the written record. When an ablation is performed the doctor writes down in the report pretty much exactly what he did.
pulmonary vein isolation is another ablation. This means that the firing spots that trigger the arrhythmia are located in that area of the pulmonary vein. It is not unusual for people to have more than one ablation. For different reasons than yours, I have had 4 ablations.
My ablation was pretty uncomfortable and failed due to the bad signal being to close to the main artiery of the heart. They feel since I have a "lazy" lead that there is a slim chance that it will go into tac. I did not have a very pleasant procedure and did have very bad chest pain and pvc's and pac's the day after and still have a year later. I was admitted 4 days after the procedure for chest pain and recieved intervience "motrin" forget what it's called that really helped and i continued to take motrin at home for a week. I had a longer recovery than what they told me. Just run down and I think pretty upset about the whole thing. I think in shock. I got diagnosed on a tuesday and was in the lab on Friday for the procedure. Keep being insistant on what went on and move on to a diffrent doctor. I wasn't satisified and wound up at University of Pennsylvania and what a diffrence in just the way the doctor talks to you and any questions you call and the nurse or assistant calles right back to find out whats going on. Move on and get your records sent to the new doctor and you will get you answers you are needing.
Thanks again. I am in the UK and it seems obvious that it depends whose care you are under. I have now received an appointment to have another ECG 24 hours in 3 weeks' time and then to see the cardiologist at the end of June. Also today heart played up again, so I don't know if this is normal or how long it takes before one can say if ablation is working or not.
Thank you all again.
Sorry to hear you are still uncomfortable. I absolutely second those who suggested you insist on speaking to your physician -- and if he is not responsive, then insist on speaking to one who is.
From what I have seen and read, it is not uncommon to have some chest pain, tiredness, elevated heart rate and some PACs/PVCs, or even short runs of arrhythmia, after an ablation -- especially when ablated for AFib. Studies suggest it can take as long as 3 months for the heart tissue to heal from the lesions they make inside your heart wall and patients do commonly report needing from as little as 2 days to as long as a month or more to start to feel better afterward. I'm really sorry they didn't provide you with more accurate and usable information before hand since I think that would have helped you in your recovery. Because EP specialists do this type of procedure so frequently it has been my experience that they may sometimes be a bit blase about the whole thing and forget that while it may seem minor to them, it IS a major deal for the patient!
However, that being said, if YOU feel uncomfortable, anxious or just plain lousy, then you (or your family/friends who may be able to help advocate for you) need to insist on being seen and heard by someone who is familiar with your case in particular and/or ablation procedures in general.
I am really surprised at how little information and support you report being given after discharge. In the US we do have "same day" ablation procedures, but it is equally common to hold ablation patients at least overnight for telemetry monitoring. While it is unlikely that anything is wrong, you have the right to be provided with support and more information about your condition and recovery, no matter what country you live in. It may help to call your usual physician and explain your concerns since they may be able to reassure you or get you in to see a cardiologist sooner. It might also help to have your family and/or friends advocate for you and make the calls since often medical staff will listen to them even when they don't listen to the patient and an advocate can fight for you when you are feeling badly or when you are concerned about "upsetting" the medical staff.
I believe with AFib ablations it can take as long as 6 months to say with some certainty that the procedure was "successful". Some studies speculate that the continued episodes are caused by the heart recovering from the lesions and from the heart trying to "re-map" itself as it finds the electrical impulses may not go down the paths they used to after the ablation. If you need more information, there are some excellent sites about this on the internet - here is a link to start with http://www.a-fib.com/Overview.htm Some studies report that patients who are not "successfully" ablated do actually find a lessening of their symptoms and it is not uncommon to require a second ablation, especially with AFib. But, you need to get this sort of info from YOUR Cardiologist so do consider doing a follow-up sooner than your currently scheduled ECG and June appointment if YOU feel you need to.
Best wishes and I hope you are feeling better soon!
Thank you so much for the information. I am definitely going to ask lot of questions but also make sure they don't rush me into things again. I normally tend to ask in any case. It is just the way things have unfolded so rapidly during admission to hospital and then discharge. Without being pessimistic, I don't really wish to be just a case study for them. I also read that if you undergo too much ablation you may need to have a pacemaker inserted as the heart's tissue becomes too scarred and therefore less functional. This is something I don't wish to have to do, really. I will also ask if it isn't too soon to do an ECG to establish the outcome of the ablation. The problem, at least here, is that when you start asking too many questions (and I do try my best to be diplomatic) many doctors take this as a challenge and then feed you with either jargon or adapt an attitude. I am not saying that it is the case with my cardiologist as I haven't had the chance to actually speak to him yet, but I have experienced this with other doctors.
I will post updates in due course, in case my experience can also be informative to other patients. Heart still playing up yesterday and also so far today. It more or less feels again as it was prior to ablation, but let's wait and see.
It is extremely frustrating to have a doctor that is not available for discussion. Especially when they don't allow the nurses to give you any information.
I had a non-communicative doctor and started googling tachycardia, post-ablation side effects, VT, SVT, etc... to find out anything I could on after affects. This website has been the most informative. I actually found a website this morning but now cannot find the link that actually gave the most complete explanation of the procedure, before/after instructions and possible issues and any warning signs.
Your BPM is a bit high. My cardiologist thought it best to put me on certain medications that could lower blood pressure AND regulate the heartrate. It took two different medication attempts before one worked. However... the side effects were pretty bad for me. Some people have no problems but the worst might be fatigue and brain fog (cannot think).
For me, it wasn't that the heartrate was about 110 it was the heavy beat of the 110 that drove me insane. It felt like that Edgar Allen Poe short story Beating Heart... ehhh.
I spoke to on of the cardiologist nurses yesterday and she told me that it will take up to 3 months before the heart heals from ablation, also because I had problems for a long time (but then on above cited websites it can also take as long as 6 months...!). BPM now between 64 and 85 but it has now started missing beats and sometimes I still feel it pounding in my chest. Since about 10 days now, when missing beats it also hurts and it hurts for no reason time to time. The nurse said it is normal because of the burns and that it will take a bit of time but to go to A&E if it gets worse. I went to A&E wednesday night and they did ECG, blood tests and also chest X rays but told me that all came out ok. I am waiting to see the outcome of 24 hours ECG on 15th. In any case I don't think they will do pulmonary vein isolation before 3 months if it take this long to heal.
Thanks all for your support again
That sounds like a rediculous discharge! Where'd you have this done? You need to talk to your EP as soon as possible. I doubt they would discharge you if there was any danger but the fact that they didn't thoroughly inform you after is alarming but not unusual.
I was up and about right after my ablation but everyone is different.
I had it done in Eastbourne (uk). Third day back at work today and, whilst teaching, the pain increased when missing a beat and I felt like fainting. Have agreed with college to teach less hours. Went to see my GP and he also said to take it easy and only do what I feel I can. The way the whole thing is being managed still seems odd to me. I sometimes feel I'm making a fuss, but trust me, I really felt bad today and still do bit.
Just an update, my ablation finally after about 7 months felt normal. However, now in my 10 month I am starting to feel the heavy beating again but I think I may just be sensitive to low potassium and dehydration. I still freak out when it relates to my heart. I am refusing at the moment to go back to doctor as I got SOOO angry at him for his lack of compassion and bedside manner (lack there of).
I had such problems with the meds that I finally (against my advice to anyone) "fired" my doctor and really researched several supplements. I was taking CoQ10 (gel form only) anywhere from 400-600 mg daily broken down into 200 mg twice or thrice daily along with multivitamin and ATP. It helped immediately but after several months of the CoQ10 it REALLY helped. With weight loss, blood pressure, heart rate lowered, sugar more normal (I am diabetic type II). My regular doctor is amazed at my success and annoyed because I refused to go back to cardiologist. In my town there is basically only a small handful of cardiologists and they won't usually take another cardiologist's patient.
I had an ablation almost four months ago for PSVT and thousands of PACs a day. I went thru hell for 3 months after. I couldn't do any exercise or walk around at a store w/o my heart pounding and going tachy. I felt like I was suffocating because the ablation triggered some reactive airway disorder in me. All I could do for the first 2 months was sit on the couch. Anything else would overstress my heart.
Four months later, I still have PACs every day and wierd beats, almost like one every now and then is harder than the others. beat, beat, beat, BEAT, beat, beat. Very jarring.
I am also worried this ablation didn't work.
It's disgraceful that people have to turn to the Internet for support and information about their ablations.
I agree partly with what you say. There are too many doctors out there that won't take the time to explain what's going on. They just tell us it's benign or you're fine. But we know our hearts are beating funny, not regular and quiet.
On the other hand, there are folks that are reassured over and over again, being told their heart is still healthy even though it beats weird sometimes. Nothing other than a perfect heart beat will make them feel better. Sometimes that's just not possible.
I've had 3 ablations, my heart does not beat in perfect rhythm all day but it's so much better than it used to be. The occasional moments of racing heart or the heart hiccups sprinkled throughout the day just don't bother me. I know from years of experience, they won't kill me. And as I said, I feel so much better than I did 5 years ago.
That recommended book is not good reading for those about to undergo catheter ablations! There are places which always go for general anaesthesia and others for sedation only. I have one ablation under sedation and it was not an experience I would like to repeat really. Next week I have a second one, this time under anaesthesia. In both cases it is an overnight stay in my hospital, so I am astonished that you were discharged after a couple of hours only. I would think that warrants a complaint.
I had general sedation and was partially intubated with my electrophysiology procedure for AVRT. I awoke at 1:45, was eating a sandwich at 3:00, up walking around by 4:30, dressed and out the door by 5:45. It has a lot to do with the physician you choose along with the anaesthesia that's administered. In my case, I believe it was propofol. My electrophysiologist uses general sedation whenever possible.
I was advised by my cardiologist that I need an ablation but said I wanted to think about it as the risk element of a stroke or heart failure I felt was quite high. My heart is now getting worse and is permanently tripping with uneven rhythm which is making me feel quite ill and a bit breathless and very tired.
I was only offered the procedure under a local anaesthetic which I do not want as I was told it would take approx 5 hours during which time I would be sedated and that I must keep very still and not move. I have been sedated in the past for a different procedure and find it impossible to keep still for any period of time as I am a very fidgety person, so because of that I declined the procedure. However, he fibrillation is getting worse and I am increasingly concerned about having a stroke. I live in the uk, and am wondering if anyone else here has had the procedure done under a general and if so, at which hospital.
It sounds like you might have AFib, and if so I will defer to other with experience in that area. I can tell you in the meantime that there are many on here who have had an electrophysiology study with ablation. I've had it done for SVT. For my procedure, I was fully sedated, and was out for the entire time, awaking afterwards in the recovery room. It was a very positive experience, and should I ever need it a second time, I won't hesitate doing it again. The procedure is a technological mavel, but carries only minimal risk. You must weigh that risk against the quality of life you are presently experiencing. For me, it gave a normal life back to me which had been taken 54 years earlier..
Good afternoon... I am not sure how I feel after reading all of these posts... Two months ago I went to the Dr because I was very tired. I figured it was my thyroid out of whack and she would have to adjust my meds. My husband takes his bp every morning so I started do this as well. My blood pressure was fine, except for a few skipped beats :) but my pulse rate was in the low 40's if it even registered... Most of the time it just said low.... Since my Dr told me my thyroid was alright and she didn't mention anything about my low pulse rate and skipped heart beats, I asked her about it... She listened to my heard and told me my heart rate was all over the place and ordered and EKG before I left... She didn't like it at all and sent in an order for me to see a Cardiologist ... But before seeing him I had to wear a monitor for 48 hrs... In that 48 hr time span I had 48,000 + PVCs.... When I saw the cardiologist he said he had never seen anyone have that many... No wonder I was tired and light headed. He put me on meds and I started feeling fine. I went through all sorts of testing... My heart is in great condition... no damage anywhere... I went back in to see him and he stated I could do one of two things... Have an ablation or have a pace/difib put in... I am going with the ablation... as I don't want a pacer, so hopefully I will only have to do this once... I have what is called ventricular tachycardia.... I hope I only need a couple of days to recoup... He did mention my procedure can take from 2-8 hours depending on my pvs... I want to thank all of you in advance for any advice you can give me....
I rexommend this user's journals to anyone anticipating an electrophysiology and ablation procedure. http://www.medhelp.org/search?utf8=%26%23x2713%3B&query=jannie411&camp=top_nav_search. While your procedure for vtach may differ slightly from what Jannie411 and I experienced for SVT, most of it is the same. Now if your procedure was like mine was, you won't remember very much about it. I was under general anesthesia for the entire time. I was out before the electrophysiologist even entered the lab! I just remember him peering into my eyes in the recovery roomand saying, "....should have seen me sooner!" Hope your turns out as well as mine did.
No one can make the decision for you but if it keeps you from needing an ICD it seems worth a shot. From what I understand ablations involving the ventricles are a bit more tricky than fixing run of the svt but from the patient standpoint I would think it wouldn't be much different. For me to correct my avnrt it was like having a couple of IVs put in and they give you plenty of meds most people fall asleep. You can read about my ablation by clicking my name and reading my journal entry. That said, I believe the setup for you ablation might be a bit different. Anyways, like I said, it is a decision you have to decide for yourself. There is a bit more risk of complication with pvc ablations but I know a few people have been by here who have had them and they haven't been back so I take that to mean their ablations were a success. For me I try to make my decisions based on which options give me the most calm. They may both seem scary but one will feel more right then the other and I will choose that option. I wish you the best of luck which ever route you choose to take. Please do keep us posted on how you are doing. You might want to think about starting your own thread though to get the most feedback. Take care.
I want to thank both of you for responding to me... I know I am going to have the ablation as I don't like taking pills and I don't want a pace/defib put in... Reading these stories has helped, as there are more positive then negative. Tom, thanks for posting about Jannie... Her story as great....
Michelle, I am off to read yours now.
I got a syringe of Vallium just before being wheeled away. "It's not working, it's not working", I remember saying. The anesthesiologist just looked at me and smiled. I kissed my wife goodbye, and off I went on my back down the hall. Halfway down, the overhead lights began to blur. When I got to the cath lab, they raised the gurnet to match the table. I scooted off the gurney and onto the lab table. They propped my arms up so I was nice an comfortable. By that point they could have done practically anything to me, and I wouldn't have cared less. The anesthesiologist placed a mask over my nose and mounth and said I was breathing justy oxygen. That's the last thing I remember until waking up in recovery. Within 10 minutes, I was wide awake within 10 minutes. The new anesthesia is wonderful. I suspect I've had more operations for broken bones, hernias, etc. than the average person, and I remember the old stuff that kind of drew your conscienceness away from you. The new stuff is great. You feel a little drunk, then you're awake, refreshed.
They have slowed down considerably. I still have days where I can get quite a few but for the most part I only have a few a day and I don't feel them as intensely as I did. The thing is I had an extra muscle fiber ablated and not my pvcs so for some of us with avnrt we do seem to notice a rise in our pvcs after an ablation though that might just be that we are aware of them when we weren't before. I can't say how many pvcs I was having on a daily basis prior to my ablation. I know towards the end before I got my avnrt ablated i was noticing more jumpiness so I possibly was having a lot but I really thought it was all related to the svt. I also noticed a poking in my chest that I believe was from pvcs but that has pretty much gone away. The thing to keep in mind in your case is you are correcting your pvcs so you may actually come out of your ablation symptom free. That is the goal is to stop your pvcs but if you do have them from multiple spots they may only ablate the most troublesome spot to keep from over doing it so you may still notice a few but for the most part you should actually see a marked improvement from the amount you are having now. Though I can't say with the excitement your heart will go through if you also have pacs which are extra beats in the atria you may still have those as I wouldn't think they would bother with those. But I would think since you are having pvcs ablated you wouldn't come out with a further or worsening pvcs problem like some of us do after having our avnrt ablated.
I think it might be a good question to pose to your EP so you are aware and cognizant of what you will experience afterwards. I really wish someone had told me. I hadn't actually found this place till after my ablation mainly because I was freaking out about the pvcs so it would have been nice to know it wasn't unusually or anything to worry about which makes them worse. Anyways, what is done is done and my heart is quieter than I ever remember it being so definitely worth it for me and the long term health of my heart. It is great your heart is overall healthy and I think doing the ablation will help keep it that way. Well please do let us know the day and I will send prayers your way for a successful ablation.
I had my ablation last Friday 6th... I really hope it worked, as it is something I will never do again. I am so glad most of you had a good experience... I on the other hand did not. My worst nightmare came true. I got to the hospital and had no PVCs... No PVCs means no ablation. So they weren't going to let me get away that quick... They pumped me full of an adrenalin drug and got my PVCs to come out... No a lot, but enough that they felt they could map it. I got into the procedure room, they got me on the bed gave me the shot in my leg to numb the area where the catheters were going (the shot really hurt)... It took 3 shots to numb the area so they could insert the catheters... Now comes the fun part... PVCs stopped again.. so here comes the drugs again... Mind you when they first go them going it was at a 3 (when the stopped the drug, it made me shake and cry) now we are up to a 9, I am shaking uncontrollably and really crying.. Nasty drug! They want to increase it to 10 and at that point I say no... If you can't get what you need at this point, it's not worth it. Please keep in mind, nobody is telling me what is going on... After I tell them they can't increase the drug she then states they are going to start ablating.. I then say hello... (they haven't given me anything to sedate me) am I going to feel this... my nurse starts telling me that younger people sometimes do, but people are age... and then it hit... It felt like they were ripping my entire chest out... It hurt like HELL! and then my crying got worse... They gal mapping my heart came out and asked how I was doing... I guess the look on my face told her... At that point the Dr told them to give me something, I don't know what... and then started ablating again... Same result.. I felt it.. I went through this for 4 minutes.. Now 4 minutes might not seem like a long time to you, but when you are in that much pain, it feels like a life time.... NEVER, NEVER again... Anybody reading this, I don't want to scare you, but please make sure you and your Dr understand each other... I think at this point he rushed the procedure.. If he had waited and let the PVCs come out on their own, I might have had a more pleasant experience... Thanks you guys for being here for me...
I had my ablation on Friday :) I was partially sedated but fully aware of what was happening. I felt everything, it was uncomfortable and alittle scary but no pain. I have AVNRT and the surgeon said he believed it was 97% successful and felt I had a 1-3% chance of a reoccurrence. I was released the same day and feel good. I feel tired if I try to walk too much but overall fairly normal.
I live in Ontario, Canada. The only piece that was missing for me was how long it would take my heart to heal. Obviously, it would be different for everyone. I know it's only been 4 days but I'm excited to get back to my workouts and busy lifestyle :))
My ablation was 5 weeks ago and I experience similar symptoms as you describe. The doctors never told that recovery would take this long. My primary just told me that he has had 3 patients that took 3-4 months to recover. My heart rate at rest used to be 67. Now it's 84 and rises to over 100 is I e erg at all. I ha e to get dressed in 2 phases to let my heart rest. My oxygen is fine but I often feel breathless. I just had a cat scan to see if the surgeon wrecked my pulmonary Val e or tore my lungs. I'm angry that no one discussed any of this. The first 2 weeks, I just sat around all day. Ecosystem I was weak and exhausted.
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