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What to expect post-op SVT ablation surgery

OK, I am gettin ready to have ablation surgery for SVT. What should I expect post-op? I am seriously freaking out about this. I have never had SVT until 9 months ago when I took Sudafed. My doctor says that I was born with SVT and that the Sudafed just triggered it. Does anyone have any words of wisdom?
179 Responses
187666 tn?1331176945
I've had 3 ablations for my arrhythmias. I think the worst part was before - take off all my clothes, get an IV put in. The rest wasn't too bad. After it's done you have to lie fairly flat for about 6 hours. That can cause quite a back ache. For some reason the last time I had it done they allowed me to have the head of my bed elevated just a few degrees (there's a limit) and it made all the difference in the world. I did have some bruising and tenderness in the groin area, some fatigue for a couple of days but I was functional around home - not bed-ridden. You're not supposed to lift anything heavy for a short period of time but all in all it wasn't a big deal. Anything specific you're wondering or worrying about?
Avatar universal
In addition to the rapid heartbeat, I experience chest pain & pressure more frequently in the last few months and wondered if this was normal for an SVT sufferer. I also experience extreme exhaustion especially if its a long event.
I have had them from 2-3 mins right up to 5 hours.
My most recent one was 45 mins and I was severley fatigued for about a week after.
Does anyone else with SVT suffer the same symptoms
Ive been told I have an svt and the best course of action would be ablation.
187666 tn?1331176945
I remember having some chest ache when my PSVT went on for a longer period of time (say - 45 mins. at 190 bpm). I felt tired at the time of the tachy but once it popped back to a normal rhythm, I felt fine and ready to go. I've had 3 ablations now and although I still have PSVT it rarely lasts long, at most 15 minutes and rarely goes over 150. The shorter bursts may pop up to 180. My doctor is now trying to get me onto meds which I don't want. She said I'm still having PSVT and am symptomatic. Just because I can feel them doesn't mean I'm debilitated by them. They may slow me down momentarily but that's it. The side effects of the drugs were far worse than any tachy time I've had.

Off track there, just sharing my experience. If you're having SVT for almost 5 hours then I think an ablation might help or even cure that. Even if you just get some improvement (slower rate or shorter time or less frequency) then it would be worth it. Good luck with your decision.
Avatar universal
I was diagnosed with SVT while in hte hospital recovering form a lung operation. That was 10 years ago. Every 2-3 years i have another huge episode that forces me into hte hospital to receive adenosine to try to reset the heart rate. The first few times that has worked. The last 2 times inclusind last night, it hasnt. I have had to be put on the shock pad system. I tactic i guess is supposed to be pretty rare. Now they are looking into surgery to remove some of the nodes that causing a reverberation of hte impluses to and from my heart. Again another tatctic that supposed to be very rare
Avatar universal
I was just diagnosed with SVT.  I am having an ablation in March.  I am very nervous about it.  I checked into the hospital in December with a heart rate of 250.  I wake up everyday with a fast heart beat and it will start up when I get out of the shower or have caffeine, it only lasts about 10-20 minutes but they say medication will more than likely not help me.  I am hoping this surgery works.

Kristin
Avatar universal
I didn't know you could have more than one ablation.  I had it about 3 yrs ago & thought all was well but am now beginning to have the SVT feelings again & chest aching.  I used medicine several for several years before & it wasn't so bad but I had SVTs at least 2-3 times a year, an hour each time so it was not a good quality of life.  
Avatar universal
O.K. reading everything ya'll have had to say, I am less afraid and more on track to get my SVT fixed. I am 34 and have been having problems a few times a year since I was 18. Only in the past 5 years it has rapidly increased. Now my SVT occures about once a month with a bpm of about 195-210. I am a large woman and thats what scares me about the surgery. I do have one question though, do they put you asleep for the surgery? or are you awake?
thanks in advance...
Avatar universal
   I had an ablation in December 06 for a fib.  It was more of an elective procedure for me than necessary.  My a fib was fairly well controlled with medication, but I just wanted the chance to be free of the a fib altogether.
   I was admitted to the hospital the day before the procedure.  I had a lot of outward bravado about the procedure, but inwardly was very apprehensive.  Laying in the hospital bed the night before, I thought often, "Oh *****, what have I gotten myself into?"
   I was OK though when the time actually came and they wheeled me into the cath lab.  My ablation was done under a general anesthetic, so I just went to sleep, woke up and it was done.  The biggest inconvenience was having a catheter for the day I was in the hospital being monitored and waiting for entry sites to heal.   I felt fine, very minimal discomfort, and was released the next day.  For about six weeks, I had some sensation in my chest--likely from the healing that was taking place.  But there were only minor restrictions on my activity.  
  Looking back, it really was a huge and amazing event, especially thinking of the level of technology involved.  Yet from a patients view,  it seemed no more difficult than going to the dentist for a filling.  
   In summary, it is scary.  Most adventures are.  Just look at it as one of lifes adventures--one with the potential to benefit you for a very long time.  
Avatar universal
I am 51 had 3 Ablations last year 2007.I have had A-Fib,Flutter,SVT..Not very good feeling at all.This began about 15 years ago i believe Caffine caused this to happen at a sporting event."SVT 220" Went to Hosp. it stopped about 30 min later felt fine..Then only happened about every three years.In feb 2006 happened again.Dr. suggested slowing down on Alcohol I was a Beer drinker) and no caffine. Feb 2007 happened again then about every 3 weeks all summer ..Had 2 std Ablations during summer.then they wanted to do a Pulmonary Vein Ablation..during testing they thought i had blockages so they did a cath and found nothing excessive,,the CTA-A  scan was not correct.finally scheduled me for the PVA..this Ablation is a lot more involved..This procedure was a lot more stressful 5 hours on the Surgery table.Afterwords waiting for the blood to thicken back up before they could pull out the sheaths "4-hours" they use for entry..unconfortable was an under statement.The Dr. was not convinced the procedure did anything as this was new Equipt. with new Software and felt it did not work as planned.I was and still worried about that statement.Felt week all year..about 3 weeks after the PVA i thought i was going to die  my Heart was skipping so bad my chest would shake when it would start back up about every 15 sec sometimes..finally straightened up and has been very good for 6 months now..Time will tell..I am not happy about "No Beer" but My family is very behind me on this decision.For my health..But i wonder what they fixed if Alcohol causes it and i dont drink no more..
Avatar universal
I am going to have an ablation soon. I have read a lot about it but it seems that every site says something diffrent. Can anyone tell me about how long it will take? How long I will be in the hospital? And about how long I will need to take off of work? Thanks for all the help.
1 Comments
My doc says that to correct SVT the procedure takes about 2 hours, I will be in the hospital overnight, and can be back to work within a few days. I am taking a week off because I have a big commute with lots of walking. I am 57. I had my first ablation at 48 and was back to work in three days  
Avatar universal
I just had ablation done on Tuesday of this week. I spent one night in hospital. In my instance because of back issues they did a fancy anesthetic that had me semi out. They were able to find the pathway and ablate it with 95 percent success which is phenomenal. I have a bruise in my groin area and some soreness at my neck where they also went in through the cartoid artery. Was it worth it, absolutely... I was totally debilitated from constant arrythmia and would probably have lost my licence to drive.  Now I have a flutter once in a while and I'm told that might last a month or so before all is well.
Avatar universal
ive had this going on 5 years, we thought it was anxiety until we went to the hospital and cought it on an ekg, its been next to impossible to catch it, i go in for and ablation on the 20th of this month (05/20/08) im more excited then nervous, my dr has done over 300 and is averaging about 3 a week and has only had one bad outcome where the patient had to get a pacemaker, but the way i see it is if i need a pacemaker to solve this problem then so be it, i cant live with it anymore, im a 21 y/o male, ive quit drinking and smoking cigarretts for a long time now and its still happening, 3-6 times a week anywhere from 10 to 60 minutes, i will let this room know how it goes and i think this forum is great, email is ***@**** if anyone wants to talk about it.
505800 tn?1226398193
the op is not that bad i had mine in jan 08 it is scary as youre awake but try not to stress out too much you will be fine the doctors do this operation hundred times a day they really know their stuff!!!!! just don't expect the op to be the end of the palpations, some people still get minor ones, good luck but you won't need it!!!!!
Avatar universal
I just had my ablation on Tuesday, May 13th.  I have since had many more episodes than I used to, I've had them everyday since, and two within 15 minutes.  I am on my second heart monitor again, and no one can give me an answer.  The nurse explained that it is like 'teaching an old dog new tricks'  WHAT?!?  Does this mean I have to have the procedure again?  Or is this normal to feel the heart going 'crazy' after it's been poked at?
505800 tn?1226398193
i had my ablation 4 months ago, my palps are getting quite severe, last night i thought i was having a heart attack i'm sure i passed out with them.i have never had such a bad episode of palps in my entire life my heart from what i could count was beating 4/5 times per second. i'm bk on the meds but they are clearly not working. in so much muscular chest pain today trying to work out if i should go for an ecg just in case????  i was told palps would be gone after ablation but then i have read many people need it done twice, do i need a 2nd ablation n why would it even work a 2nd time????  hope yours settle down , goodluck!!!!!!!!
254714 tn?1316616955
Hi i had my ablation done 5/13/08 it was hard for me my doctor ablated over and over it would *** back after 10 min rite back to 220 and up to 250 finally i guess he got it.. they went in thru both my legs (grion) it took over 4 hours and then the 6 hours laying straight i have been home now for 6 days and my left leg hurts plenty it makes me limp wen i walk and i have to take deep breathes so i dont know if this is normal i called my doctor he will see me on thrusday.. hopefully everthing goes well till then cus my breathing is scaring me..sometimes my heart goes rasing crazy but that mite be normal for a while i think.. i hope cus i'm going back to work and am hoping i'm all done with this im a mail carrier lot of walking and lifting.. i wish every one who is going to get there ablation  the my best wishes.. and  fully and fast  recovering
Avatar universal
I had my ablation last monday, june 9th. they had to go through 3 different arteries and the incision on my left leg hurts REALLY bad. I went to the ER after it started to bleed a little and they said i developed a hematoma. its been almost a week and my leg is sore, aching, and really really uncomfortable. i can't sleep, the pain killers dont help, and im just ready to have my life back to normal!!!

dont get me wrong... i feel like this surgery was a success and i strongly encourage anyone else out there with SVT to have it done. The doctors zapped 2 spots and when they tried to induce the arythmia again, it wouldnt do it.

good luck to everyone!!!
187666 tn?1331176945
Sorry to hear about the hematoma. Some people do get them and it does take time for the blood to be broken down and absorbed.  So you had the two legs and a neck vein used? I was OK with the leg veins but I'm glad I didn't have to have the neck used as well. They used a "sheath" in each leg to protect the blood vessels as they ran the 4 catheters up (2 in each leg). I assume they do that for everyone. I'm not sure how the hematomas form. Most of the wiggling around is done in the heart by remote control. I was able to watch some of it on the screen during my first ablation.

Just take it easy for awhile. The pain will go away. Sometimes there's some pressure or bruising on a nerve and it's quite uncomfortable for a few weeks.
Avatar universal
Anyone considering ablation, PLEASE READ THIS POST!!!

I am a 23 year old female that has been in superb physical shape my entire life. I always had an arrhythmia, but it progressively got worse starting at age 16. While in college, it got to the point where my heart rate would near 250-280 bpm and I would pass out (syncope) - this was usually exercise induced or would come a result of doing something suddenly - sneezing, a quick sprint, running down the stairs, coughing, etc. During a softball game I passed out because of an episode (I usually had large attacks a few times a year). My heart rate was 280 bpm and after it subsided my blood pressure was 150/130. It was then decided that I would have the ablation procedure.

In August 2007 I went in for the procedure. My doctor was a very young man - my parents seemed a bit concerned in regards to his age and the fact that his average patient was in their late 60s. My procedure was HORRIBLE. I was on the bed for 11 HOURS in surgery and fully awake the entire time! Because my heart was so healthy (SVT is an electrical problem, not heart problem) they couldn't get the SVT to trigger. The entire time I was pumped with adrenaline. After all that time they only ablated one part in my right atrium and didn't even venture over into the left side. The doctor admitted defeat and then had the nerve to refer me to another man a state away and told me to try again.

So now, here I am almost a year later and my current case is worse than when I went in in the first place. Along with SVT, I now have a consistent flutter that is with me ALL DAY. My attacks don't yield the same rate (now about 200 bpm), but they have been getting stronger and stronger. To anyone considering ablation, if your attacks are as extreme as mine, DO NOT do catheter ablation. Open heart ablation or internal defibrillators are all that will work for you. I have been to a new doctor recently and this is what he is recommending since my attacks are so extreme. If you have minor attacks, catheter is for you. Now I have to pay a $20,000 medical bill for a procedure that didn't work (yes, that was after insurance and 30k of the 100k price tag was adrenaline for the 11 hours I was under!!!!!)                    
187666 tn?1331176945
One piece of advice that is given often to those considering ablation is to ask the EP/cardiologist how many ablations he's done. When it comes to the delicate electrical system of the heart, you should have a well qualified and experienced person. My EP cardio was head of cardiology at the medical university. There were other cardios in the room but he was in charge. This isn't the time to let a less experienced person practice ablations alone. And being in the cath lab for 11 hours isn't the norm at all. During my 2nd ablation I was in for 7 hours. He couldn't ablate the arrhythmia successfully so he stopped. And to allow a patient to be in pain when it isn't necessary seems less than compassionate.

I'm sorry you had such a terrible experience. That's not the norm thank goodness.
Avatar universal
i have had my ablation for (svt) on the 21 april 2008. my proceedure was done in london and im very grateful it was 4 hours long and proceedure itself was simple and was nothing to be concerned about however i thought that this was to correct the fast heart rate and flutters which i have had once a month (230). since having it done i have had one episode of a fast heart rate 140 lasting 45mins but on a daily basis missed heart beats and flutters which are really random i also get chest pain  is this normal i have had an 7 day ecg but nobody is telling me if this is normal or if it can be fix or even is this another heart problem what shall i do has someone else had the same problem thanks
187666 tn?1331176945
I know they give the statistics that an ablation is 90% successful or so. I honestly don't know. The people that have successful ablations would have no need to post on a board like this. I've had 3 ablations because my heart is stubborn. Like you, I still have PSVT but it is at a much slower rate and better yet, it doesn't last that long when it does pop up. The ectopics may have been there all along but seemed like nothing compared to your tachy at 230. Now they nag you and cause concern. Most of the time the PAC's and PVC's are just a momentary heart hiccup; it gets out of sync for a second and corrects itself. No harm done.

As for your tachy times at 140 for 45 minutes, your cardio may recommend another ablation to try to clean up that arrhythmia. There must still be a spot lingering and causing you some trouble. Just don't be surprised if another ablation is mentioned. I look at it like vacuuming the house - I think I got it all and I turn around and there's some lint and fuzz I missed somehow.

Do mention the chest pain to the doc. I get brief chest cramps (I call them). The cardio checked them and didn't seem concerned. If there's fainting or the pain lasts more than 5 minutes, go to the ER.
Avatar universal
I was born with svt and I decided to go and have an ablation done after talking to a friend that went through it. I will never forget this day as long as I live, I remember waking up and having my family surrounding me, I didn't have a clue why I was in so much pain, come to find out, while I was in the precedure, the doctor ruptured my arota which caused me to bleed out, in the process of bagging me trying to keep me a live they had to find a surgeon and a opened operating room. Luckly they found a great surgeon that was able to open my chest and stop the bleeding, mean time they had to revibe me 3 times and told my husband and mother that they didn't think I was going to live as they made a mistake. I did make it out of it alive thanks to one great doctor that was on hand. I ended up being in the hospital for a week and it took me 12 weeks to recover from open heart surgery. I have 2 boys that went through hell watching their mother go through such a horible thing.

I personal would never go through it again, they never did take care of the problem, I live everyday with and will continue to..
187666 tn?1331176945
When anyone goes in for an ablation, risks are spelled out. One risk is the possibility of poking a hole through a vessel. The odds of that happening are miniscule but if it happens to you, then it's too much. I'm sorry you were on the wrong end of the "odds." If you are still having your arrhythmias but can live with them without damaging your heart, then I say go for it. I've had 3 ablations and still have ectopics and PSVT. But I'm done with ablations and the PSVT is not bad.

Do you take medication to manage your arrhythmia? It may not cure it but it can help slow them down or make them less frequent. I'm on Diltiazem right now because I'm under so much stress (my Dad is dying) and as you know, stress can trigger more SVT. Take care of yourself the best you can.
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