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Typical Recovery from Ablation
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Typical Recovery from Ablation

I am slated for an ablation to treat SVT.  1) I neglected to ask my doc whether there is typically any pain involved during the recovery.  As I am sensitive and/or allergic to the more commonly prescribed pain meds, I wanted to inquire.  2) Are any other drugs typically given following an ablation?
Many thanks for your input!
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230125_tn?1193369457
Hello Hyatt,

In general there is more fear of pain prior to the procedure than any discomfort during or after the procedure.


1) I neglected to ask my doc whether there is typically any pain involved during the recovery.  As I am sensitive and/or allergic to the more commonly prescribed pain meds, I wanted to inquire.

I don't think I have ever needed to send a patient home with narcotics after an SVT procedure. Most cases are done with a benzodiazepine like versed and a narcotic like fentanyl.  Versed works on the same receptors as alcohol and gives a relaxing feeling as well as affects your short term memory so you don't remember much of the procedure afterwards. The fentanyl is a narcotic pain medication.  It also helps you relax and treats any discomfort during the procedure.  After the procedure the venous access lines are removed.  This is usually just a pressure sensation rather than pain.  If you are one of the 2-5% that gets a bruise or hematoma, you may have a bit more discomfort after the procedure.  In general, most patients do very well with minimal discomfort.  If you don't want narcotics, ibuprofen often works just as well as percocet.  It helps to stay ahead of the pain (request the pain medication before you have the pain).  It takes time for them to work.


2) Are any other drugs typically given following an ablation?

Some hospitals/doctors will give an anti nausea medication before people get they get nauseated.  This is usually reglan, but other medications can be used for this purpose.

If you think about, after the ablation add comments to this post thread about how the procedure when so others can learn from you experience. It is helpful to read it from the patients perspective and you comments may helps someone else.

I hope this helps.  Thanks for posting.
9 Comments
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187666_tn?1331176945
I've had 3 ablations and never needed any meds afterwards. My second ablation which took the longest (about 6 hours) was no worse than the third which was the shortest (2-3 hours). All I had was some bruising in the groin area (I wore soft boxers for a couple of days), a little fatigue but was able to do all my normal daily activities.

The anticipation of that first ablation is far worse than the actual procedure. Getting the IV put in was probably the worst part. Well, having my clothes taken away wasn't fun either but that's the way it goes. I had this fear that I would feel the catheters poking around in my heart. Nope, nothing. I just felt a little pressure in the groin which could have been the doc's hand resting there to guide the wires up. The meds are great! I remember very little. During the first time in the meds were light and I was able to watch some of it on the screen. When it came time to zap they gave me more meds and I was out. Or at least I don't remember it. They were very good about watching me, watching for any discomfort. I can't stand going to the doctor for anything so it must have been pretty easy for me to go in 3 times.
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21064_tn?1309312333
Helloooooo!!

I have had two ablations, both were for frequent pvcs.  Each procedure was 6-7 hours and required an overnight hospital stay.  I was pretty nervous and worried over what to expect, but it turned out to be fine (both times) and I couldn't be happier with the results.  

Each time, I was given versed to relax and fentynl for pain (discomfort).  For the first ablation, I had absolutely NO pain, but a little discomfort.  The discomfort was very tolerable and was a result of having someone apply pressure to the entry site.  The assistant had his hands clamped down on the place where they inserted the catheter, so that caused a little soreness.  Other than some bruising, I was fine and back to work in a couple of days.  

The second procedure was a tiny bit different in that the doctors had to enter my femoral artery (didn't feel a thing) so when it came time to close up everything, they inserted a "plug" to close off the artery.  That was a bit more uncomfortable, but again, manageable.  After the second procedure, I stayed off work a few days b/c my leg (groin area) was kinda sore and I was tired.

All in all, the procedures were very manageable and the recovery was just a matter of catching up on some sleep and adjusting to my "new" heartbeat.  After the procedures, my HR increased for a few weeks, so that was a little weird, and kind of unexpected.  

Nothing more than Tylenol for discomfort if I needed it....

Hope the ablation goes GREAT!
Connie
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Avatar_n_tn
I had an ablation about a week ago to treat SVT. The procedure took about 4 hours, and I remember very little of it. I had no pain during the procedure, but I was given Darvocet about 5 hours after the procedure due to pain in my groin. I was told to take ibuprofen for discomfort and aspirin to thin my blood at home. I've been very sore and have had some bruising, but no signs of SVT. Hope all goes well for you.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you to everyone for sharing your experience with the ablation procedure.  I am 26 years old and I am having an ablation the 2nd week of September for lone a fib.  I am VERY nervous about it.  My runs of a fib are usually about 45 mins at 190bpm...I haven't had one since May 24th (but who is counting).   I have one child and would like to have another as soon as I get the green light from my doctor, but I am willing to take how ever long I need to have a safe pregnancy.   I am trying to stay optimistic that I will only need one ablation to be successful.  Does anyone have any advice for me?  My doctor requires one night in the hospital following the procedure.  How long did it take for you to feel like yourself again? Thanks again for the encouragement from your experiences!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
You mentioned it took you a while to adjust to your "new heart rate", did it ever go back to what you considered normal?  I had an ablation done 10 days ago and my heart feels like it is constantly fluttering.  It is very uncomfortable and seems to get worse with exertion.  I am still resting, hoping it gets better.  When did you start feeling like yourself?  I am getting anxious as I need to go back to work soon.  The doctor said it is an acclerated junctional rhythm, was yours ever given a name?
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21064_tn?1309312333
Sorry to hear about your post-ablation discomfort : (

It took several months before the doctor would consider the procedure a true success.  I was able to work and go about my daily life within a few days.  My heart rate was faster than I was used to, so that felt weird. The change in my HR was never given a name, but the rate did slow down within a couple of weeks.  Does your doctor think your post-ablation "flutters" will resolve on their own?  

Oh, when I would exercise and try to lift my hands above my head, it also felt weird.  The palps would stir up again.  That took awhile to stop, but eventually it too resolved.  

What was your ablaiton for?  Hang in there!  Hope everyday is a bit better : )

Connie
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177337_tn?1310063499
okay, I'm sorry to bust in on this post and I did ask this question on the patient to patient forum but as my date draws nearer (not ablation but colonoscopy) I'm worried about the versed/fentanyl (not the procedure).  My doctor assures me that it won't make my heart flip out (I get PAT and PAC's).  I imagine that if these drugs are used for ablation that they are  pretty safe.  I'm thinking about trying to go without any sedation.  My doctor said he is happy to try that with the drugs on stand by.  Am I worrying over nothing??????  Isn't it always something with these crazy hearts.
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Avatar_n_tn
My ablation was for SVTs.  The doctors does not know if it will get better or not.  They have not given me a lot of info on this so I am searching on my own.   I am very discouraged at this point since I have not returned to my normal daily activities.  Did your palps get better or worse with anything?  I really appreciate your input, thanks.
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21064_tn?1309312333
OMYGOSH!!  I had a colonscopy (June 2003) before I had my ablations (Aug and Nov 2003) and had versed and fentynl - no problems : )  Like you, I was pretty worried about the meds!  My heart LOVES versed.  The doctor said the pvcs were soooo quiet, but I can't stay on that stuff.  It is a great medication for the colonscopy.  In my opinion, you should NOT consider going it without sedation.  My BIL did that and regretted it!!  OUCH!!!!
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21064_tn?1309312333
My palps revved up now and again, but the doctor said I could take Inderal if I wanted to.  I had the second procedure early Nov 2003 and on Christmas Eve I was in bigeminy for about 6 hours.  I thought the ablation didn't work, but that was the last time I had it for that long.  

I'm so sorry to hear you are still struggling.  Any word from the doc on why?
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Avatar_f_tn
Are you free of PVC's now after both your ablations? Where did you have them done and by whom?
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21064_tn?1309312333
Yes, I am free (except for occasional skips) of pvcs after having thousands upon thousands of them for many years.  

I had the ablations in Cleveland.  Dr. Kara Quan was the doctor who did the actual ablations.  I have a cardio at Cleveland Clinic and also an EP at Metro (Cleveland).  Dr. Quan was selected by my EP.  Are you near Cleveland?  
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177337_tn?1310063499
thanks for your feedback.  I will try not to worry.  Like I said, if they use it for ablations and ablations are to fix irregular heartbeats then it must be pretty safe.  I'm just not looking forward to whatever feeling it brings on.  I've never been sedated for anything in my life.  Thanks again!!
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21064_tn?1309312333
I was also very nervous about the sedation.  But, I gotta tell ya, that stuff was grrrrreat!  The nurse anesthetist gave me the medicine (in the IV) and I ever so gently relaxed.  Next thing I know, I'm awake and being moved to recovery.  I was not sick to my stomach and was hungry.  The fentynl seems to be much easier on the stomach than demerol (what they used to use).  I bet you're gonna be very surprised at how gentle the medicine is.  You'll wake up and be ready to go home.  I was so hungry after the colonscopy : )

Good luck.  Keep us posted!

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Avatar_n_tn
I'm 75 w/ablation for irregular atrium scheduled in a few weeks. AFib has not been much of a problem even though it is constant. Take coumadine plus meds for high bloodpressure and have a pace maker. Off of irregularity meds as I have been in constant AFib anyway. BUT I have had no palpations lately and feel good, just not the energy I used to have. I've read about a few difficulties that post-ablation patients have had. Anyone out there that can comment, I would appreciate ASAP.

trombonej
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21064_tn?1309312333
I have had two very successful ablations for frequent pvcs.  Hope you have the same great fortune.  Wishing you the best outcome.

connie
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Avatar_f_tn
HI,
I had ablation a week ago today.  I havent felt any missed beats and my HR has seemed to slow down.  I usually have a fast pulse , close to 100, and it has been hanging aroun 80 since i got home.  The only thing I am having is once in awhile an uncomfortable feeling in my chest , like breathless , for just a bit and then it goes away.  I assume it is just healing going on.  Other than that, I feel pretty good.
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