You state you have svt too? How old are you? I wonder if they just try to treat that if your afib would resolve? A lifetime of svt can have adverse effects on the heart but once cleared up can give the heart a chance to fully heal itself. So how often do you get afib and how often do you get svt episodes? Maybe take a cautious approach and work on the svt first if you are too frightened of having the afib ablated. This said, if you get afib a lot then it may be too far gone for your heart to heal from it and ablation for it sooner rather than later gives you the best odds of the ablation working. The longer you wait the more permanent it gets. Try to not be frightened. Ablations are really very safe compared to other medical procedures. It sounds like the EP you are seeing is fairly experienced based on how busy he is so try to remain calm and positive about it. It's a good thing to try to give your heart the best chance to recover fully. Please keep us posted when it is and we will keep you in our thoughts.
The transseptal puncture is routinely performed during an exploratory electrophysiology procedure. While I can't say for sure, I would imagine that the right side is thoroughly examined and if something is found, is ablated and then tested. If the problem is eliminated, I would think there would be no need to proceed to the left side. The use of Heparin is for your safety. It prevents blood clots from forming at the puncture site. Heparin has a very short half life and is gone in a matter of a few hours, so the really nothing to worry about. I experienced both during my procedure for left side AVRT. I was under general anesthesia..... that was good!
If you're fearful, you need to express this to your physician PRIOR!!! to the procedure. You can't do it the day of. If they need to line up an anesthesiologist, they need time. So you must do this ahead of time. If OK to ask a lot of questions. I refuse to be led by the hand through these things without asking questions. I found that knowing just a little of the basics, often changes the physicians attitude towards the patient. "We fixed you up" becomes, "We found AVRT in the left atrium near the valve. I made a series of 18 burns across a wide conductive area of muscle" So don't be afraid to ask question! Tell them you are really freaked out, and would like to be sedated as much as possible, and see what they say. Good luck!
It is actually a good sign that the ablation labs are booked up and busy. That indicates the center does a high volume of procedures and the EPs are experienced and in demand. The transseptal puncture is done routinely and it is a piece of cake for centers that do a lot of left sided ablations. So don't worry about that. Often times, AF involve both the left side and right side (SVT, flutter usually) so you want them to do the complete job and not a partial job that doesn't hold up. The heparin is to minimize the risk of a clot forming during the procedure and causing a stroke. It can be reversed quickly if severe bleeding complications occur. It sounds like you are at a good center for your procedure. Trust your EP. Just make sure he has grey hairs and not a young guy in training. Best wishes for a procedure well done.
PS - What is the hospital if you don't mind sharing.
I think yesterday during the appt with the EP I was so overwhelmed and freaking out, I didn't ask a lot of questions that I need to ask. I am going to call Monday and ask the list of questions that I have and I'm also (thanks Tom) going to tell them I want to be completely out for the procedure. I think I am going to ask too, about just going for the SVT right now. I am 60 years old and that has tormented me since I was in my mid 20s. I just dealt with it for 30 some years, didn't have an episode I couldn't stop or didn't stop on it's own until I was in my early 50s. Then I got to ride in the ambulance and have adenosine, which stopped it immediately. The afib started in Sept 2009 but thankfully, I've only had 3 episodes that lasted long enough for me to go to the ER. I have probably have more SVT runs than afib.
The EP that I saw is very experienced. He has been doing ablations for 20 years and he averages 4 or 5 a week. I think he said the hospital has done close to 800 so far this year. I did remember to ask that.
Thanks for the encouraging words and I'm sure you will be hearing from me before the procedure with more freaking out. Hopefully, I won't let my freak outs stop me from doing something that can totally give me my life back.
4-5 per week is plenty and on a rate of 1000 for the whole year is excellent I don't think you have to worry about their experience and skills level. You should get comfortable with the idea of him tackling both the RA and LA arrhythmias in one go. He is acting in your best interest and will be doing his best for you. Best wishes for a procedure well done and rapid recovery.
I know the fear you are talking about. It's really worse than anything you will go through. My fear immobile so me and I get very anxious and usually than some palms. I just had ablation three weeks ago. Stopped taking my meds after the ablation because they were making me so sick. I pray I can stay off of them. Any questions you have about ablation I'm here and with support.