My 19 year old son just had this done last Wednesday. He was diagnosed with WPW just last Sunday. The procedure lasted about 3 1/2 hours. He was not given general anesthesia, but was given sedatives. He wanted to watch the procedure, but ended up falling asleep during it. The inserted 4 catheters in the groin and one just below his shoulder. They didn't end up actually doing the ablation. They opted not to after doing various tests through the catheters. He said it was not painful, just a little uncomfortable. He slept for a few hours after the procedure and seemed okay after that. He did say he had soreness and bruising in his groin area, but he was able to walk/run the next morning.
I know this is a second hand account, but I hope it helps a little.
I had an ablation done at Mayo 4 years ago for afib. I was on the table for 7 hours. I slept through the entire procedure because of a sedative. Mayo pretty much puts you out, but some don't. I was pretty sore for two to three days in the groin area. Expect some irregular heart rythmns after the ablation. I did for about 2 to 3 weeks. But after that it worked wonderfully, and I have been AFIB free for 4 years. My energy level was lower (but not bad) for about one month after procedure probably because it was quite extensive. I started running again after my re-examination at Mayo 3 months after the procedure. I could have done so earlier, but I wanted to make sure that everything was OK first.
Everyone is different how they react to it. You will most likely hear about the horror stories, because bad news travels faster than good news.
The success of the ablation depends upon the condition ablated. The more complicated the ablation the more experience is needed. My brother had an ablation for atrial flutter this year. They tried to do it "on the cheap" the first time. It didn't work. They tried it again, and it didn't work. The third time they got it right, and it appears to have worked. The key is going to a very good center.
I had an ablation for atrial flutter by an Electrophysiolgist (EP). Anaesthesia carries it's own risk so the procedure is easily accomplished using "conscience" sedation, you're sort of in and out of it. They are generous with the medication and will increase the sedation if you start feeling any discomfort or pain. I wanted to watch the procedure too, but it's difficult to see the monitors all of the time. Minor soreness in groin and some weird feelings in heart - but nothing major. So far the flutter is gone but A-Fib is still there. Flutter ablation is much shorter than Fib ablation - lasted maybe 2 hours at the most. There are risks with this procedure (as any procedure), but the odds are way against anything bad happening. You can search online for "webcast ablations" and find some prerecorded or live ablations. Mercy Hospital just had a flutter ablation the other night that was worth watching, lasted an hour. Good luck - I hope it works out for you.
I had an ablation last Monday for WPW. It was the second time I went through the procedure although the first time they didn't actually "ablate" anything. I went to the University of Michigan this past time because they have cryoablation which is safer and was necessary in my case because the accessory pathway is very close to the AV node. My procedure was at 5 pm on Monday and I left the hospital before 11 pm that night. I didn't go in to work on Tuesday until 2 pm and had no problems. I'm not sure if it's normal, but I felt great the first couple of days and then over the weekend I felt on several occasions like my condition was trying to act up. I'm hoping not because I desparately want it to be a success.
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