I was diagnosed with afib and a flutter this past summer and had a couple of "events" where they ended up restarting my heart (cardiovert?) to get it back into rhythm...the drugs just were not working in the ER. After the second event they put me on a low dose of atenenol and flecainide. It took a little while but it is now mostly under control but my cardiologist said that I am an ideal candiate for the ablation procedure...40 years old, no other major medical problems and fairly active lifestyle. The meds are low dosage and do not bother me too much but I am not sure I want to be on them Forever. My mother has almost the same diagnosis and she has been on the same meds for 25 years and they have had to increase hers and change them to keep her heart in rhythm
I guess I am asking for opinions. I am nervous about the thought of anything with my heart. I have lots of questions and some fear of rocking a boat that appears to be stable at the moment...
Does this permantly cure it? I have sinus problems and I have been told to not take decongestants...will I be able to take them after the procedure?
Thanks for any suggestions or answers that can help me make the best decision.
Hi. Im 48 yr old female. I too was diagnosed w/ afib & flutter after several trips to the ER. I didnt want to be on the meds for the rest of my life, so I chose the ablation. It's been 1 year in February. I was terrified, but am so glad I did it. No meds. My only complaint is occasional palpitation. The one piece of advice I kept getting from cardiologists is to go to a facility that does a lot of ablations. ( I went to Med Univ of South Carolina. ) The thought of the procedure is frightening, but the actual procedure is not bad at all. Out of the hospital & walking around the next day.
Hope this helps.
How often are you having a-fib or a-flutter? How long did they keep ypu in the hospital before they converted you? What meds are you on? I think ablations must be one of the fastest growing procedures performed today. And they're performing them everywhere. I don't think it's something to just jump into. When all is said and done, you are the only one who can make the decision. Just be sure you can make an informed decision.
Sorry, I just realized you are on atenenol and flecaininde. The only thing about the flec, or a number of arrythmics is that eventually they usually stop working or start causing you a pro-arrythmia effect. When I say eventually, it might be 6 mo or 6 yrs. You also have to learn what triggers your episodes and deal with trying to avoid them. Welcome to the Palpatations Room is a good thread to read on this. Good Luck.
Based on your entry, I assume you have not seen an electrophysiologist (EP). If you haven't, you need to see one for his/her opinion. I agree that going to a LARGE medical center where they have done many ablations is good advice. is there such a facility near you? I drove 2.5 hours to be treated for my AFIB and still go every 3-6 months. My doc and medical center is well worth the drive. I think getting a little nervous about your heart is a normal reaction but in this day and age, you can do something about it. Do your research so that you can get on to enjoy your life.
Thanks for the comments. Every piece of information is helping me decide what to do. I was in the er about 8 hours each time before they convinced me to convert. All the meds they gave me did nothing except speed up my heart rate and give me a bigger headache. I was very blessed that the first episode the cardio on call was a PE specialist and he convinced me to convert...I was a lot scared of the thought of them restarting me heart. My mother has afib and her cardio is not a PE doc and he was not comfortable with the ablation but mine trained at UAB and he has strongly recommeded it since I am younger and it is being controled by a low dose of meds. My biggest concern is the meds not staying effective and have to continue to increase. I am leaning more and more toward having it done but I don't know if I should wait it out until I start having more break through events or get ahead of the game.
Yes my cardiologist is a EP (not PE...I am typing inept today..LOL) and I am grateful to have someone trained in the specialty to help me. You said you go every 3-6 months for treatment...can I ask why? Did you have the ablation and this is followup or are you still have the procedure redone? I have a co-worker who had to have it done 3 times before her problems finally settled down but she did not have afib so I was unsure if this was common.
Hi i read your post......i had some pretty scary incidents of a fib and chose the ablation over the meds a couple of years ago....the bottom line is that for many the ablation is the cure....if you have underlying issues alot of time they can handle that while the catheter is in there. If your co worker had it done 3 times is probably was not a straight foward case of a fib there were no doubt some other factors involved because everyones heart is like their fingerprints...one of a kind to you....as far as taking your decongest. after the procedure yes you can but only when your heart doc says its a go...you need to remember that for most this is a cure if its straight forward. This procedure to me was easier than a root canal and i would seriously think about having it done...it takes alot less time to do it than do your yard work and the actual procedure itself is usually done within an hour...what takes so much time is the EP doc sitting on the stool listening to music and mapping out the electrical pattern of your heart by watching it on a large screen T.V. in the O.R, that can take hours alone to make sure that they catch everything.. the worse thing about the ablation to me was that i was stupid and didn';t have it done sooner because there was virtually no pain, i didn't remember a thing because of the meds and 3 days later i was at Starbucks and ordered a triple expresso to test out my "new heart" and guess what ......no problem....good luck
This may be coming out of left field, but have you ever considered seeing a naturopathic doctor? I have a relative that had the same issues, AFib and a flutter. He was in a situation very similar to yours a few years ago. After seeing a number of different cardiologists, trying different medications, and undergoing two cardioversions at the Cleveland Clinic without any success, he decided to look into an alternative treatment. He began seeing a naturopathic doctor who put him on a regimen of natural supplements and within six months he was able to completely stop taking all of his medications. This was about three years ago. He continues to take a small number of supplements each day for "maintenance," but hasn't had a single episode since.
I started seeing the same naturopathic doctor about four months ago for my arrhythmia. After taking atenolol for eights years, I finally decided I needed a change because I couldn't stand the feeling of being constantly tired anymore. My cardiologist tried to wean me off of it twice before, but I would begin having episodes within a few days. An ablation was an option, but I considered it a last resort. Anway, my ND had me completely off of atenolol within less than two months. I had a couple episodes after I stopped the atenolol, but since my doctor made an adjustment to my regimen of supplements, I haven't had a single palpatation.
Obviously not all alternative medicine doctors are created equal, but it's something to consider.
I suffered from both a-fb and a-flutter and the occasionaly v-tach. Like the post above, I too at one time saw a naturopathic doctor. Unfortunately, I did not have the results like the post above. After two years of researching and meeting with EP's across the country, I decided to go for the ablation. That was in January 08. I have been in NSR ever since. I went into the ablation procedure knowing that I might need to have a second or third ablation, thankfully, that has not been the case. However, if for some reason I needed to have another ablation, I would not hesitate to have it. I feel my ablation was one of the best decisions I made. The procedure gave me my life back. The best advise I could give you is try to go to the best EP you or your insurance will pay for. I feel the better and more experienced the EP, the better the outcome. Good Luck!! Wishing you well, and wishing you enough...
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