I am scheduled for catheter oblation (ablation) on June 23, 2011...and I am scared to death because of all the horror stories posted about complications and bad experiences with the procedure. I think I am going to go to another cardiologist just to get a second opinion just to be safe. I am diagnosed with WPW...and according to nearly EVERY item I have researched online and based on feedback from my cardiologist, I am quite confident that the diagnosis is accurate. I do however find that WPW and AVNRT are nearly identical in describing symptoms. Both WPW and AVNRT would apply to my symptoms. Is there a risk in misdiagnosing one for the other?
WPW is in the AVRT family, not AVNRT. The symptoms may be the same, but the "mechanism" between the two differs. Rather than taking up space explaining the differences, Google it. There is a lot of information available on the differences between the two. WPW is often identified by a little slur in the delta wave. However, it can be concealed too. I was initially diagnosed with WPW, and it was only after the EP procedure that it was correctly identified as Circular (or Circus) Movement Tachycardia, CMT. I would say that of the two kinds of tachycardia here, AVRT is easier to access and ablate. Mine was super easy to antagonize, to locate, and ablate, however mine required 17 burns to bridge the conductive fiber.
Many people show up here because they may have had post ablation problems. They are actually only a small percent of those who've had the procedure. The successful ones move on and never think of coming here to discuss their procedure. There are quite a few on here presently who've had successful ablations and are free their SVT, myself included. I consider mine a very positive experience due in part to the general anesthesia I received during the procedure!
I think that you'll do fine. Ask your EP if you can have sedation or something to make you "comfortable". Read my journals, and those of Jannie. She posted a very good chronicle of events during her procedure, and unlike me, was wide awake for the duration.
...and hang out here. You'll pick up a lot of valuable information and advice. Best of luck!
My advice is to go for it! I had mine done just yesterday although it was AVNRT not WPW and as you can read in my full posting in this forum just a few minutes ago I did it awake with no sedation so I can explain most parts of the op that I went through.
I guess I'm breaking the mold from what Tom said. I came here to tell everyone what a great success mine was and to share ALL the gory detail :D
No complications so far and actually a noticable improvement. I literally haven't skipped a beat since I came out the op.
Tom_H is right - there are many, many people who have had successful ablations but you don't hear much about the success stories. I had a successful ablation a little over three weeks ago and had an appointment with my EP yesterday. He considers the ablation a success, I can do whatever I want now, with no restrictions. My SVT was AVNRT, which according to my EP, is the easiest type to fix. I had 11 burns during the procedure. I had no complications afterwards. I feel better than I have in years and as of yesterday am off Atenolol permanently. Would I do it again? YES, definitely! I never dreamed that my quality of life would improve the way it has in these few short weeks.
I have documented my SVT and ablation journey in my journal and you may read it by clicking on my name - Jannie411.
I wish you all the best with your ablation. And please, try not to worry too much.....I wish I had not spent so much worrying beforehand as everything turned out even better than I could have imagined.
Thanks everyone. I feel a little better.. and I appreciate your feedback! Tom - I'm getting it done at St. Lukes in Bethlehem Pennsylvania. St Lukes Cardiology Associates - Dr. Hummel. I plan on giving him a call to ask a few more questions in an effort to further comfort my aprehension... such as how many procedures has he done? Any complications/deaths? etc. I have been living with the palpitations for a good 20 years and while I know there are risks associated with not having the issue addressed, I also understand there are risks involved with the procedure itself, rare as they are, and this is all very new to me so eventually I will find a balance. Thanks again for everyone's feedback and words of encouragement!
Good questions to ask, as I did of my electrophysiologist. In his case it was over 2000 procedures, and 1 death attributed to complications before going into the lab. For me, talking to him gave me a feeling as to what kind of person he was; in this particular instance, friendly, but all business, confident, seemingly skilled preferring hands to machines, and RF to cryo ablation. He even gave me his personal email address for questions prior to my date.
Hopefully, you've checked with your insurance carrier to make sure everything is in order. My bill was around $76,000 of which I (gladly) paid my $250 deductable, plus $30.00 for the specialist "visit". Seems like a joke, but I wasn't arguing!
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