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Atenolol vs Ablation

My daughter is 14 and was recently diagnosed with SVT after a very scary episode in which she was short of air, sweating and having chest pain.  This was not the first time it happened, just the first time we actually got an EKG that showed the problem.  They started her on Atenolol but she is complaining of frequent chest pain and lethargy.  The dr has talked about an ablation.  Anyone have any experience with this that they could share?
16 Responses
612551 tn?1450025775
You need to have a specialist - and ElectroPhysiologist (EP) who does ablations, examine her to get  good advice.  I'd bet on the ablation as the right way to go, but no one here can substitute for the advice of a specialist who is expert at ablation.

Many who participate in this community, but few if an are teenagers.  Still, there is a lot of adult experience with ablation - hope you get some helpful inputs.
Avatar universal
There are lots of threads on this board that discuss ablation, pros and cons, what the procedure is like, etc.  Like Jerry said, only a specialist should be the one to recommend whether or not your daughter should have one.  I really don't know the pros and cons of a teenager having an ablation.  I had one for svt about six months ago, and I am glad I did, but I am an adult and I don't know the ramifications (if any) of a teenager having one.

What I can tell you is that I too started with svt when I was 13 years old.  I fully remember the terror of my heart racing, the cold sweat, the weakness, the feeling of being out of control.  Back in those days there was no ablation option, so I lived with the condition for many, many years.  It obviously did not kill me, but it is only since I have had the ablation that I have fully realized how much it affected my life, even though I always said that it didn't.   With that in mind, if your daughter sees a specialist, and if he recommends an ablation, and if it is deemed safe for a teenager (it is considered very low risk for an adult) then I can tell you that I would wish I could have had one back then and eliminated many, many years of tachycardia episodes.
86819 tn?1378951092
Hi. You are very lucky to have a diagnosis. As annie mentioned above, this stuff frequently goes unrecognized for years. At this point you may have a basis for understanding treatment options for taking care of the problem.

I am confused as to why there is chest pain. Be certain to communicate this to your doctors. If there isn't a good explanation for it, I would be inclined to seek an additional opinion about this.

Ablation, if it is even an option for you, is dispensed by a specialist, and as the procedure can have some serious drawbacks, as the subject matter is complex, and as there are numerous opportunities for  pitfalls, my belief is that it should only undertaken by done by the best, most qualified doctors, after you and your daughter have fully understood and have weighed the potential benefits and drawbacks.  

I am also of the opinion that many doctors will make a recommendation either way (to ablate or not to ablate) depending mostly on what you want to do, whereas the "sanctioned guidelines" do in some cases permit the patient to have input on the quality of life assessment portion of the medical evaluation when it makes sense.

I am relieved to see that you were offered the drug treatment option. I believe the standard recommendations are to pursue that line of treatment first. This may be because of the potential drawbacks of ablation, and I would certainly think that because your daughter is only 14, these guidelines should be strongly considered.  

Don't misunderstand me, I am not a doctor and can not make ANY recommendation. From what I have seen here on this forum though, if ablation works its great --- and you can find many people to attest for that. However, I do know from personal experience that problems may arise if it doesn't go well. If you think you are in a jam now, consider what it would be like if your daughter ended up having a stroke, or needed a pacer as a result of having had an RF ablation. Would you think back and wonder then whether drugs would have been a better option to treat occasional paroxysmal attacks of SVT?

This is why I think that if you or your daughter opt for the ablation path at some point, you are absolutely obligated to find the right doctor to do it. I would start your search now and not stop until you have found/done the absolute best for your daughter. Pull no punches here: the repercussions are simply too serious to roll the dice on this.
1423357 tn?1511089042
As others have said, you need to weigh the pros and cons of each possible path.  But I need to point out that the number of successful ablations far outweigh the number of problematic ones.  The thing is, you don't see the success stories here on the forum.  Those prople have moved on never thinking to join a forum to talk about their former arrhytmias.  Remember too that like ablation, drugs come with their own little problems and they must be carefully introduced and monitored.
86819 tn?1378951092
BTW, the success rates and other rf ablation statistics are available to a certain degree. I once read that rate of stroke is reported as being anywhere between 0.5 to 5%. Not sure why we have such a large variation here, but 5% of course equates to one in twenty. At this rate, my understanding is that stroke is one of the most probable, most significant adverse outcomes of ablation.

As you can see though, we here all vary in our views about safety. Whereas, it may be more speculative I think to wonder who is and who is not here to share their experiences, I still think it best to talk to your doctor about the recommended guidelines and the actual statistics that they are based off of.  As tom mentioned, some drug treatments also carry significant risk.
Avatar universal
No matter how you slice and dice it, it is heart surgery. Unless your daughter was in danger of dying, personally I would leave that decision up to her when she becomes an adult.
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