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Vertigo after catheter ablation
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Vertigo after catheter ablation

Hi, I am a 26 years old female who just had a AVNRT cardiac ablation about 5 weeks ago. I have had SVT since I was 15 years old and after using beta blockers that didn't work decided together with my doctor to have the procedure done. I had no other underlying heart diseases or any major problems before the procedure. The doctor suggested the procedure because I am young and health and the chances of complications would be very low. Three days after the procedure I had mild dizziness that lasted for seconds, four days later it happened again. A week after the procedure, after my heart racing from having a nightmare, a sort of constant dizziness began together with a strong head throbbing. My cardiologist sent me to a neurologist who checked for any blood clots which was clear, no signs of migraine. My ENT doctor says that the procedure could have disrupted the normal blood flow to my ears affecting my inner ear which resulted in vertigo. My cardiologist says the procedure could have not triggered this but maybe the anesthetics. Last week the dizziness was very mild but came back stronger this week. I do not have any nausea or vomiting and am capable of walking. It is just this constant feeling of being on a sailing boat whenever I move my head. By the end of the day I feel very tired and just want to lie down and not move my head. Please, I don't know if I should get a new cardiologist for a second opinion or if I should wait for this vertigo to go alway. Is it even possible to develop vertigo after this procedure? I don't want to have this for the rest of my life. What should I do? Please somebody help me because this whole thing is getting me really depressed.I would really appreciate any help!
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230125_tn?1193369457
Vertigo is a not a complication associated with AVNRT ablations.  Thinking about the procedure, I am not sure how to related them.  AVNRT ablations are right sided procedures and are not typically associated with neurologic complications /side effects.  I don't think you need to find a new cardiologist because you have vertigo.

A neurologist is probably the best person to see for vertigo.  It is hard to say how long it will take for the vertigo to go away. I hope this helps and that your vertigo ends soon.
12 Comments
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357549_tn?1213721143
Years ago I was lying on a couch reading a book. I finished reading, closed the book and sat up. I immediately felt dizzy. The feeling subsided that night, yet I felt "off" the next day. Within a year I was hospitalized with a severe episode of "vertigo." It took several days for the dizziness to stop. That was over ten years ago and the sensation has never reappeared. I was checked for a stroke but no evidence of a clot or anything was found. I was given some head tilting exercises  to keep the inner ear fluids stirred and functioning correctly. A very mild sensation of possible dizziness has reared up from time to time, but the feeling has not persisted.
I know what you mean when you say you can get depressed over this problem. See a neurologist, and if you don't get satisfaction see another. My problem seemed to have no reason for appearance, and I to worry about recurrence. You might also try doing some balance exercises. When I can think of it I will stand on one foot for 30 seconds to a minute, then stand on the other foot. I have no idea if it helps but it does force me to try to maintain an upright position and I have to believe the inner ear mechanism is required to work a little harder. Good luck and I wish you well.

Tom
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Avatar_n_tn
I also have had randomly appearing dizziness not associated with nausea for years.  Neither my old nor my new GPs worried about it.  It may be something called Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, due to debris in the ears.

I realize it must be worrying to you, especially since it coincides with your ablation.  But it might not be related to that, as the doctor said, and perhaps the stress of all this is causing some anxiety also.

In my case, lying down for about thirty minutes makes it go away.  There are apparently postural things you can try to stop it (see the web or ask your doc), but I have no experience with those.

I can have one episode and then not another for a year or two, or 5-6 episodes in the space of two weeks, etc.  It comes out of nowhere, pretty much.
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Avatar_n_tn

Medication could be causing your vertigo. What medicines are you on?  FYI, beta blockers caused me to have mild vertigo. I'm getting used to it, and the vertigo is lessening.

Good luck,,,
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi there, thanks for your advice. I already saw a neurologist and also had MRI done. The doctor treated me with corticosteroids and gave an anxiolytic medication. Nothing worked and both my neurologist and cardiologist don't know what to do but tell me to give it time. It is being 4 weeks already. I went ahead went to my ENT doctor because these are the ones who really understand about vertigo since it is a problem in the inner ear. He just told me it will go away on its own but it is driving me a little crazy. However, he wants to do more tests in my ears. Thanks for your comment.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hey there,

I just got an ablation done about 3 weeks ago and have been dizzy and nauseas since.  For instance all day today I have been dizzy and feel like I might need to leave work at any moment.  The doctors are confused as to why this would happen but I believe it must have something to do with the ablation because I neve had these issues prior to the ablation.  It's extremely frustrating and debilitating.  If you hear anything new please let me know.  I am scheduled to see a bunch of doctors this week to try to figure this out...

Cheryl
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Avatar_n_tn
hey,
I just read your comment and have had the same thing happen to me. I had an ablation done 6 years ago and have had intermittant feelings of dizziness ever since.  I have not found any answers because I was told by many doctors that one thing had nothing to the other but I know something happened to me.  I was wondering if you found any answers?  
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Avatar_f_tn
Hey there,

It's been 5 weeks and I still have some dizziness and unsteadiness.  I went to another doctor on Monday who said that theoretically I could have had some nerve damage during the ablation that is effecting my sympathetic system.  I guess my body might not be regulating itself correctly and the blood flow isn't getting where it needs to be.  He put me on a drug called midodrine which is supposed to increase your blood pressure which should force the blood to be more evenly distributed and ease the dizziness.  Not sure if it works since it only has been a couple of days.  I will let you know.  You can also look into POTS which is something they mentioned to me.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have had an ablation due to Wolfe Parkinsons Syndrome.  The procedure was a success, but I do not have a normal ECG.  I have been experiencing vertigo since leaving hospital last Thursday.  I feel like I'm on a rocking boat.  I sit down and it goes.  I think it is something to do with the procedure as I have never had vertigo before.  I am going to see the consultant in October and will let you know info that I get.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi there,

I have being away for a while because I have being dealing with this symptoms since the ablation. I am sorry you guys are having the same problem but am relieved I am not alone. Well, I have new updates. So, the feeling of dizziness that I felt since the ablation turned out not to be vertigo. If you have nausea, vomiting, and things are spinning around you, you probably have vertigo. However, I did not have those symptoms except for the feeling of dizziness or imbalance. I never had these before the ablation. My cardiologist was very firm about saying that it had nothing to do with the ablation which was very frustrating since I was the one debilitated. His final word was that it would go away and I should not worry about. But I was beginning to get very depressed and annoyed. I did my research about vertigo since they first thought it was vertigo. I learned that vertigo is caused by the imbalance of the vestibular system (inner ear), so I went to my ENT doctor ( ear, nose and throat doctor) who also said that it would go away but he also said that if I had insurance , I should go to an audiologist to get some tests done. The audiologist (it has to be one who specializes in hearing and balance diagnosis) did some tests ( using the VNG equipment that test for inner ear disorders) and found that I did not have vertigo at all. I have "Vestibulo-ocular Reflex instability"(VOR). The VOR is responsible for the head -eye coordination( you guys can read more about this at : http://www.emedicine.com/ent/topic482.htm#section~VestibuloocularReflexDysfunction)

Basically, when there is a malfunction of the VOR it feels as if you are taking a picture with a shaky hand and that is what i feel when I move my head. As if something is delayed or moving inside my head. I am not capable of looking at an object too fast and will get dizzy around too many people walking like at the grocery store or  at the mall. Everything just seems out of balance. The audiologist said that my VOR instability is due to a unilateral weakness of the right ear( she could not explain why it happened after the ablation).

Anyhow, whether you  are experiencing VERTIGO(dizziness) or VOR instability like myself and have ruled out any neurological problems( no blood cloths) , go to an ENT and get reference for an audiologist specialized in balance disorders diagnosis( the audiologist can also tell if it is neurological)... The treatment is simple for both but it will depend on each case and how serious it is: I was recommended to a vestibular rehabilitation physical therapy ( the physical therapist has to be specialized in vestibular rehabilitation) and so far it is working. I pretty much do exercises with my head  and neck focusing on objects while moving my head. I just started therapy and already noticed some improvement but depending on the gravity it could take a while for full recover.

My physical therapist thinks that not only the ablation but the whole procedure itself ( position while lying down, anesthetics, lying down for a long time-I noticed that when I first tried to walk I felt some dizziness-, the catheters could cause nerve damage, blood insufficiency to the head), pretty much everything that happened that day, could have caused this. I think that we will never know the single reason for it. I have never had any kind surgery before which could be one of the causes. Our body is so complex and I think that anything done to the heart could affect a lot of things despite to the opposition of our cardiologists. I don't think they can really tell what happened because it is out of their control. Now , I have copied everything I found about my specific case and will pay a visit to my cardiologist tomorrow and will request that he records that balance disorders could be a side affect depending on the person... and he should warn patients about it.  I just know that my ears are so imbalanced since the ablation that even though I am getting better from the imbalance, just last week I began to experience moderate tinnitus(ringing in the ears) and my ears are constantly popping.

I also have read somewhere that some people who have cardiac ablation have had to do physical therapy because of instability after lying down for a fairly long time.

I hope you guys get help and don't give up because it can be very debilitating. I f I had just trusted my doctor saying that it would go away I would have never found out all this and would not be able to even begin to feel better.

Hope this helps all of you.

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Avatar_m_tn
If your brain MRI is clean, find an ENT doctor who sub-specializes in vertigo.  If you are capable of travel, I can recommend one at UAB in Alabama...long wait, but absolutely top notch.  If you are nowhere near, find one at a major hospital near you.
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465516_tn?1302556928
I am sorry I had dizzinss and faiting after my procedure but it was dehydration and very low blood pressure
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