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Cardiac Ablation - side effects

Help!  My mom had cardiac ablation on Monday - was told it was a text book procedure - everything went well.  Her blood pressure has been good and her hart rate has been in the 70s no spikes in heart rate since procedure.  However, after 6 hours of resting in the hospital - she started to get burning pain in her chest and back.  Pain so severe she was given vicodin and three shots of morphine.  Today, is Wednesday - The pain is gone but she seems like she is on her death bed.  She was released from the hospital this morning but she has no appetite- can't get her to eat much - and she is beyond fatiqued.  I am extremely frustrated.  Any thoughts???

This discussion is related to PROBLEMS AFTER CARDIAC ABLATION.
38 Responses
367994 tn?1304953593
Medication may responsible for the symptoms.  Does your mother take a beta blocker?
582508 tn?1219251119
I have had two ablations, the first one in Jan '08 the second one in March '08. After the one in Jan I was VERY VERY tired. For about the first two days I didn't care about doing anything except sleeping. I would wake up, go out in the livingroom for a bit, and then turn right around and go back to bed for a nice long nap. My husband was getting pretty worried that I was abnormally tired, but by the third day I was feeling much better, not at all as tired. I don't know for sure what it was that made me so tired, but it didn't happen after the second one.. If you're really concerned you could give her doc a call, but from my experience it sounds like how I felt. Her body may just need time to rest and heal. BTW, I'm a 28 y/o female.
471949 tn?1236904026
I've also had 2 ablation procedures and they both left me wiped out.  Was your Mom under heavy sedation during the procedure?  If so, it can take awhile for that stuff to get out of your body.  

I was in my mid 30's when I had mine done.  
Avatar universal
I had cardiac ablation performed on Christmas Eve 2008.  I immediately began experiencing severe burning, cramping, and numbness in my right leg.  The doctor was informed of the problems and ordered an ultrasound of the right groin (one of the entry sites).  Nothing was found, and I was immediately discharged.  On December 29th, 2008, I was rushed to the nearest ER because of excruciating pain in my right leg.  I was told that I had a pseudo-annyurism at the insertion site and was sent (via ambulance) back to the original hospital that performed the ablation.  Of course, they could not find any problems when I got there.  Keep in mind that even Morphine (8 units) did not even begin to touch the pain.  I stayed in the hospital for a grand total of 5 days and was finally given a diagnosis of lumbar plexitis.  Now this could have happened during insertion of the catheters or while a 250lb man beared down with all his might on the right insertion site!  Either way, prior to the ablation, I could walk, run, whatever.  After the ablation, I spent a few weeks on a walker and so completely overmedicated that I could not even stay awake long enough to bathe, eat, or get up off the couch.  My husband still has pick up my right leg for me to get into the bed at night.  Not once did the EP or the hospital say anything about or provide written material concerning nerve damage severe enough that I still cannot walk across my living room without crying.  There has to be something that can be done to get me back to playing soccer with my kids and being able to work (did I mention that I lost my job because of this) and fulfilling all the duties of a loving wife and mother.
My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your mother.
Avatar universal
Hi my name is Aaron im 32 and i sufferd from WPW. i have had 3 Ablations with the 3rd being succsefull, however after nearly 9 months from my last one in oct 08, i am starting to get ectopic beats on a regular basis and for those of you who have had these will understand my concerns as they do not feel nice. im  very active and play a wide spectrum of sports and with a very active job as a PT Instructor in the forces all sorts go through my head, ive been told between my 1st and 2nd Ablation that ectopic Beats on their own are harmless but surley if this was the case everyone would have them?? What do i do as i feel if i go to the cardioligist again that i will get told the same and have wasted their time.???
963068 tn?1332041006
In response to your mother's case. I'm 40 years old and just had the ablasia surgery for SVT July 1, 09. I was extreamely tired afterward. When I came home from the hospital I would be awake for 2 hours and sleep for 2 hours and then I slept the whole night too! It's getting better day by day. I actually came back to work on July 6 but ended up taking an extra day off because I was still so tired. I was not put into a real deep sleep and from what I remember my heart was racing and then going the normal beats like turning up and down the volume on a radio. It's like your heart is running a marathon even though your body is lying still. So there has to be some kind of toll taken on your body after this. I did have something happen after the surgery that concerned me. My tops of my thighs developed large discolored gray areas about a week after the surgery. They didn't look like a bruise but just a discoloration like bad blood circulation. But I was checked for clots with an ultra sound and I don't have any. I am still having small attacks with my heart that last about 5 seconds but nothing like I was having before. I was told that I have a rare 2 electrical pathways on my heart when your only supposed to have one. I hope your mom gets feeling better real soon!!
Avatar universal
i had a cardiac ablation several years ago. Last year, I had several minor heart attacks and had to have 5 stents inserted in a branch off of my LAD. Less than a year later, I've had to have 3 more stents put in that same branch. My doctor says that the branch appeared shredded. Anyone know whether a cardiac ablation can cause this? I am not sure whether my doctor will tell me that the other doctor that did the cardiac ablation caused this or not. Just curious if anyone knows.
976897 tn?1379167602
Morphine is very powerful to some people. I had high dose recently and it took 5 days
to stop falling asleep at all hours. Morphine also destroys appetite in many people.
After my bypass surgery, I never thought I'd eat again. I was on just fluid for three days.
Then I came off morphine and just took tramadol, whammo, I was eating like a horse.
Avatar universal
Had heart ablation about 6 weeks ago, on table for 12 hours. No real issues with heart rate,which is good, However, when got out of surgery my right hand, which had no IV was terribly swollen and first three fingers had little motion. As time has gone by, swelling down, but thumb and first 2 fingers ache and tingle all the time.  Very sensative to hot and cold and limited gripping. Also, found a 3" X 3" spot (square shaped) that looks red like a burn in my back just right of backbone and just below shoulder blade. Further, the top of my right foot tingles and aches like my hand. Hand MRI done on my hand and said was OK. This all developed right after surgery.

These seem so unrelated, but have to look at when they started, and was when I awoke from surgery. Doctor, does not share my concern, but it doesn't make sense. And .....  my hand HURTS !!!!!!!!!
1278373 tn?1271124817
Hi I'm 16 and i suffer from SVT. I've had 2 ablations now, and I'm going for my third. side effects from my operation are being extremely tired. Waking up from the operation means all you wanna do is sleep. i know this may sound gross but when needing to get up from your bed and go to the bathroom, you can't even walk. browsing becomes appear 3 days after, n you're groin and arm, they seems to go away after 3-4 weeks. after each operation i felt fine for 3 months, then each time my heart would play up again. i do have a small scar the size of a pin whole on my left arm, but it's hardly noticeable. Other than this i wonder if the third time is lucky.
I hope the third time is very lucky! Maybe you could also do alternate treatments, like seeing a nutritionist, acupuncturist, etc. Electrolytes like potassium and magnesium can help a lot also.
Avatar universal
Im 20 years old and i had a very low heart rate as low as 29 beats per minute and 40 PVCS a minute! i also had shortness of breathe, lightheaded, passing out! i rushed to the ER and they Kept me there for 8 days finally went to a Electrophysiology and it saved my life!! i had an ablation a week ago and i was in there for 8 hours and there were some problems during the surgery. i stayed in ccu for two days and was released. I couldnt get out of bed for a week. i have a heart monitor and heart medicine too prevent the PVCS from coming back i still feel the symptoms i was having but they decrease so much i feel like a different person! i hope it stays this way!
My prayers are with you!
Avatar universal
I had 2 ablations in my heart 3 weeks apart. 6 weeks ago. I was told that I had several electrical pathways needing correction as they could only become worse causing heart attack, stroke .........I was told lets fix it while it is not too bad and you are still fit and healthy.  However, I now have a permanent pacemaker as the second ablation caused complete heart block.  I am told that there is no reason for this as all precautions were taken and my AV node was not touched or damaged.  My heart was also torn by the temperary pace maker placed there when my heart stopped durng the second ablation.  This caused an emergency operation to mend my heart, therefore my Sternum was cut through in order to reach the heart and the wall of my heart needed patching.  I am now devastated.  I can only pray for a miracle to restore the electricity to my heart.  
Awful! Horrible story, so sad you had to go through that. Was any of it malpractice on the Doctor's part?
Avatar universal
I have just had my ablation done on 1/7/10 , my palputation went up to 292 highest even i was lying on the bed getting ready to sleep. The process run well and i was being discharged the day after the ablation . But things started to happen 2 weeks after the discharged , my right hand and right leg and also back head started to feel numbness , besides , my lower shoulder and backbone also felt pain . I have called up to the doctor and I was being told that this is not being caused by the ablation , is that true ???  Other then that , my F1 heart beat came back in rourtine , with a tremendous fast beat lasting for 20-30 second ( But it only happened once after the ablation ) , is that normal ??? or does that mean the ablation process is not successful ???

I was also being adviced to go through the whole SVT diagnostic process again , event tracker has to be applied again , is that neccessery ??
For those who has done a few time on the ablation , can you kindly give some advice .
Appreciated with thanks !!!!
I think you should get a second opinion about what happened to you.
Avatar universal
I had ablation in feb. 2010. i was fine for about 3 mos. and 5 days after i visited my doctor i ended up in the hospital for a 2nd ablation. i am always tired and my hart is irregular every now and then. i am 45 and am very depressed. i am a used car manager and need togo to auctions and work long hours. i have not worked since my first ablation. i am scared and sad but realize other people have untreatable conditions and should be greatful i have chance tobe better. it is hard i feel bad for all of you guys and hope all is well for all of you....
Avatar universal
I had an ablation for incessant PSVT in June 2010. It's been four months. I still have PACs,  tachycardia and episodes of PSVT. They are not as bad as before the ablation but still happening.

For the first 2 months after I couldn't do a thing. My heart would get stressed out, pound and get tachy from moving on the couch. I had trouble just breathing. Felt like I was suffocating laying still. It was torture. I could barely go to the bathroom w/o passing out. (I was not like this before the ablation.) I was so miserable I thought I was going to die and I was okay with that.

Everyone is different when it comes to ablations. The side effects are dependent on where the ablation was done, how many burns were made, what condition your heart was in before, your age, etc.

The only definitive thing I can say:   ablations are not a walk in the park. You will have symptoms, some of them very unpleasant for MONTHS afterwards.  
Avatar universal
Sound like Pulmonary Vein Stenosis from the ablation: http://adventuresincardiology.com
Avatar universal
I was suggested an ablation, I am 48.  I decided not to do it.  To me, any time you deal with your heart you are at risk.  Doctors do not know everything so when I read your replies I believe you.  Good site is heartracing.com explains risks and benefits in detail.  If I were yal I would get a second opinion, find a good doctor who listens.  Don't let ANY doctor intimidate you!!!  I have worked with doctors for years and they are only human.  There are okay doctors, greedy doctors and great doctors, keep looking even if you have to drive further.  I have driven a 300 mile distant for some specialists and it is worth it.  I understand why you did the ablation, I live with SVT.  I want the surgery but am too unsure right now.  I feel for all of you who have problems with this.  You are all in my prayers because you deserve it.
Avatar universal
Had my 3rd ablation done June 23rd 2011. It was a success, i had a difficult pathway behind the heart. My question is i still have chest discomfort and a few PVC'S. Dr. said not to worry because the ablation in very invasive and i will have side effects for the next 3 months sometimes up to a year.
Avatar universal
I had ablation surgery last December for A-fib.  Procedure took about 8 hours and by March I was off all my heart meds.  I feel great except that when I do anything the least bit strenuous, I get so out of breath. Have been trying to hike with my husband and he has to stop several times and wait for me to catch my breath when we're climbing.  But apart from that I've had no issues whatsoever and am thrilled with the results as I could not tolerate the meds they had me on before. I'm so sorry to hear about these serious issues some of you are dealing with.  If you're looking at a repeat procedure, I'd advise you to find a different doctor.
Avatar universal
TO: abwilli78
Wow, I have been searching on here for two days, and I finally found someone else having the same issue. My eleven year old just had his cardiac ablation last friday, they couldn't make it happen, so unfortunatly it didn't work. BUT, they  also made and error and told us they (1) the wrong size cathader in, and (2) he accidentaly entered the artery instead of the vein. So.. for the rest of the day his right foot was ice cold, they could only get a pulse using a dopler. he was in alot of pain both from the site, and his foot, teh whole time we were in the hospital, yet they release him anyway, saying they were sure it would be fine.. that as long as there was some blood flow it would be ok. Well...3 days later, he is still in a ton of pain, foot has better color and all, but he can bearly walk on it and he gets shooting pains, He has also complained of it being cold and feeling like it is wet.
I am so scared this could be something worse. I am going to call in tomorrow, but I have a feeling tehy are going to tell me the same thing again...It is so frustrating!!!  I am curious about how you are doing and if you found any relief. Thanks, Crystal
Avatar universal
I am so sad to hear of all the problems from the ablations that some of you have. I have had SVT since I was 8 yrs old. I am now 55. I have learned to just live with it even though the doctor I went to wanted me to do the ablation.  He is the expert for this in my town but I know there are risks and I feel he's trying to make money off of me.  My sister also has SVT and wants to have the ablation even thought she's only had it 3 times.(same doctor)  I went to a doctor presentation on palpatations and this doctor said that ablation should only be done if SVT interupts you daily life and medicine doesn't work because once the electrical part is burned off, it can't be replaced.  Then it may have to be done again with more being burned off.  I feel I have made the right decision to hold off esp after reading this blog.  God help all of you heal.
329165 tn?1515471990
.Hi there,

I had SVT attacks and had successful Cardiac Ablation in 2007.  The cause of PSVT is normally an extra AV node and with ablation the Electrophysiologist does some Mapping, find the abnormal area and ablate or destroy it!

There are risks of failure or errors that can slip in, just make sure that you get it done by an Electrophysiologist and not a normal Cardiologist.  The Electro-doc specializes in the electrical pathways of the heart and the normal Cardio can do "plumbing and valves".

I have been SVT free since that day!  life is good :)
Avatar universal
It's good to have read your positive post regarding your ablation results. I had 3 so far and am going to do my 4th soon. Each one is due to different arrhythmia different areas. I am really afraid of the apparent side effects that one might face post ablation esp. when one gets on with age. I am 60 and have had 3 ablations in a space of 12 yrs and an ICD for 8 yrs.
Wonder if you could give any advice or suggestion as to how I should face this next challenge....I am at a dilemma.
329165 tn?1515471990
Hi there,

This is what you can expect from ablation:

You will get a sedative and will sleep through the procedure and when you wake up you will remember nothing of the procedure.  The procedure can take up to 5 hours, but it will feel like seconds to you.  Minimal pain and a bit of pressure in groin area (both sides) and you will not be able to sit up or walk for upto 6 hours.  You will stay for the night and be discharged in the morning.  If you take bloodthinners, you will need more observation post-op.  At your age I would suspect that you might have high bloodpressure and they will have to make sure that your vitals are normal before discharging you.  The groin area is normally a bit bruised but not very painful.  After about 7 days later you will not even know you had the procedure done.

There are risks with this procedure that they can burn of your normal electrical pathway and then you'll need a pacemaker.  Some people also develop Pericarditis post-op, but that is not as bad as it sounds as the treatment for that is Asprin and it normally goes away after about 24hrs.

I can remember waking up with this perfect, soft heart beat and never had SVT attacks again.  Definitely worth it!

Wishing you a very good outcome and speedy recovery.
I had a cardiac ablation 2 weeks ago.  I was aware the whole time.  I felt when they stopped my heart and involuntarily moaned, as it felt like dying.  The main pain for me, though, was that the doctor kept leaning on my bad leg the whole procedure. I had done physical therapy for 7 weeks to strengthen the muscles around my right knee after a dislocation (it is a replacement, and the doc was trying to avoid re-replacing it).  It was in good shape until the cardiologist leaned on it for over 3 hours.  I tried to ask him to get off it, but each time I tried to speak, they gave me more drugs, so I was incoherent.  But anyway, I felt pretty good the next day after the procedure.  Went to my nieces wedding 10 days after the procedure, and while I didn't dance, I felt up to visiting with relatives I seldom see and enjoying watching others dance. But now, 17 days after the procedure, I am exhausted, somewhat dizzy, and I do feel skipped beats fairly frequently.  He put me on half the dose of beta blocker I was previously on.  Don't know if that has anything to do with the way I feel or not.  It just seems weird that I feel worse now than even the day after the procedure.  Anybody else get worse instead of better?
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