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1472718 tn?1462633391

Nervous about ablation

I am 34 years old and have been suffering from rapid heart rate for the past 7 or 8 years. All but two episodes have happened while at work. I have been to the hospital several times and have wore a heart monitor, but they never have been able to catch it. Once it happened at work, (I work at a major retailer) and I was able to get to the pharmacy and check my pulse and blood pressure on the free monitor thing they have set up there. My heart rate was over 200 beats a minute.

My doctor has me on a couple of medications, Metoprolol 50mg and Lisinopril 10mg a day. I have took these for a few years now and they help, but are not a cure all. My doctor says I have SVT and has recommended I have the ablation done. He says it is not a life or death matter at this time, but I should go ahead and have it done while I am still young and just get it out of the way. I did see a heart specialist a couple of years ago and we discussed having the ablation done, but I have just been to darn scared to go through with it.

Well, last Monday I had another episode at work (I work in a meat department and they most always occur when working in the cooler, bending over to pick up a box seems to be a trigger). This was one of the worst and longest I have had and I went to the hospital. Of course it had stopped  by the time I got there. Well, I have had enough. I see my family doctor in two days and I am going to tell him to go ahead and get things in motion to set up the ablation. Since taking the medication, episodes have been reduced to about 3 or 4 a year, but I am tired of also being worried when one is going to strike and having to pace myself so as not to trigger another episode.

I am just scared to have such a thing done, as I have never had any kind of medical procedure outside of a colon scope and xrays done. The colon scope was due to IBS I also suffer with. I was just wondering how other people's experiences were when having this done and look for some words of encouragment from other folks who know what its like to have this.
43 Responses
612551 tn?1450022175
COMMUNITY LEADER
Being "scared" is normal, but an ablation sounds like the right thing to do.   I think this decision is off really until you get a diagnosis from the specialist:  a cardiologist and better an ElectroPhysicologist (EP).  They are the ones that can give the most accurate risk/benefit prediction.  

Ablation is a well tested and procedure and while there is a risk with everything, if the doctor(s) want to go forward, I'd say "if not now, when?"  It just gets harder and getting well gets slower with age.
1465650 tn?1316231160
Hi there,

I had an ablation done 10 days ago.
I am the worlds biggest wimp but this procedure was a walk in the park compared to lets say a gatroscope.
I was scared of the whole being awake, no sedatives or pain med thing, but to be honest it was easy and also quite interesting to be able to see on the screen what was being done. Chatting with the nurse and also the cardiologist was very interesting.

The worst part was inducing the SVT, but as you are in a controlled environment there is little to worry about.
I was ablated 10 times, but it seems it hasn't cured me and will more than likely having another ablation in the near future.

If you have any questions then let me know
612551 tn?1450022175
COMMUNITY LEADER
Congratulations on the first try, included 10 ablates on that try... here I assume you are saying the doctor ablated 10 spots in your heart.

I have never had an ablation, so I write based on what I read, and that says to me you are being hasty saying your ablation didn't complete the job, I think healing is necessary to get the full benefits, and 10 days is way short of enough time to heal.
1465650 tn?1316231160
Yeah the doc burnt 10 times, but he wasn't able to get to the right spot as it was too deep in the heart muscle. He said he couldn't get the right wattage to the catheter, without causing AV Node block.
He said he did enough to make a difference but it was 50/50 and said after 2 weeks if I am still having the heart palpitations then get back in touch and he will reschedule a 2nd ablation.

Have to say though my paps have been worse since the ablation, but I know that is to be expected as they were inside my heart prodding and burning.

My cardiologists is one of the best in Finland, I trust his judgement as he was very straight with me after the procedure.
I hope that after another week or so that my paps start to settle down and the one ablation is enough, but if not then I am more than willing to give it another try.
My Cardio also said he will do the ablation as many times as is needed and when all else fails then he will put in a pacemaker.
1423357 tn?1511085442
There isn't anybody wound tighter, or more apprehensive than I, but I'm waiting for the  scheduler to call with my date for ablation.  I've endure 54 years of SVT's and if it works, I hope to be free of this millstone.  Mine have increase in frequency over the years from 4 or 5 times per year to now 4 or 5 times per month.  Although I'm only on 100 mg. of Metoprolol, my doctor feels that medication carries more risk than the ablation procedure.  Mine is being done at UMass in Worcester, MA.

Regarding your episodes, have you been given instruction on how to convert them yourself without going to the hospital?  You see, mine never convert on theor own, and would probably run on until my heart gave out.  I must convert them by doing Valsalva, taking a short breath, and bearing down hard.  I usually do this in a certain position too, ideally sitting on a step to bring my knees up, sort of in a seated crunch position.  This always (eventually) converts them, and I've never been to a emergency ward for intervention.

All sorts of things trigger mine; landing flat footed, twisting my torso,  and bending over and straining to lift something of significant weight.  But it can also happen while watching TV as it did the other night as well as doing strenuous activities like sports or working outdoors as I often do in my large wooded property.

ALthough I haven't had it done yet, the EP study and ablation procedure carries a fairly low risk factor and take comfort in knowing that there are different specialists there to insure that if anything goes wrong, they can immediately step in.  My doctor who is the head of EP at UMass does 150 studies per year himself.  This does not include his staff of fellows who work with him.

I find it comforting to know that I'm not alone here.  In my 59 years, I've never run into anyone else who has had SVT problems, so I kind of felt isolated.  I was a small, but wirey kid in high school who excelled in strength activities; wrestling, hand over hand rope climbing and gymnastics.  I remember having to hold my hand up and either forefitting and pulling out becasue my heart was "racing".  My teachers all knew about my "condition" and handled me with kid gloves even though I wanted to be treat like the other kids.  Here, it's great (well not great) to see that other share my malady and are here to talk about the problems associated with it.
1423357 tn?1511085442
One other thing......

My EP refuses to talk anyone into the procedure, but wants the patient to be ready and to want to get it done.  Although apprehensive, I am ready.  If he called today and said he could squeeze me in this afternoon, I'd be there ASAP.
1472718 tn?1462633391
I saw my doctor Thursday and he is setting up the procedure with the EP doctor at the local hospital. He apparently has many years of experience and has performed alot of these. My doctor said he has had a few patients over the years to have this done and all of them came out well. In some ways I am looking forward to hopefully getting this fixed and behind, but I am also really nervous about having the ablation done. I will keep everyone up to date on how things go.
704329 tn?1518523098
Hey, good luck with the ablation, go for it, if your suffering you need some kind of help, and with having a chance of an ablation you can't get any farther with a specialist in that field with your condition. You have nothing to lose and all to gain. And hey, if the ablation isn't a success, you will at least (awake, semi, or not) get to know what it's like having one, so if you need or try to go for a 2nd you'll have that confidence you never had at first. These Ep's are vey highly trained, the room is full of people who are monitering every corner of the operation and you'll have nothing to worry about! If you have anxiety, make sure you mention before so they can give you something extra to help you be calm. You'll be fine! Good luck, keep us updated!
Avatar universal
Hi,

I am scheduled for my ablation on Thursday, and like you I am very afraid.  It has helped me tremendously to hear from everyone here though.  I am at the point where I feel like I have to try this, I have frequent attacks, some resolve, some take hours.  I am tired of the fear that goes with them and having every ambulance driver near where I live know me by name!  I have put this off for almost 2 years...
I wish you all the best,  I think being afraid is probably normal :).  I have heard a lot of good stories though, and I am starting to look forward to posting mine!!

Michelle
968809 tn?1288656910
Congrats on moving forward with your ablation. I'm counting down the days to mine on Oct 26 and I too am frightened like crazy about it. I had an EP study before and freaked during the procedure...they had to tell me to calm down. Being awake during the procedure is not fun. Now that I know what to expect, my anxiety has worsened but I am mustering up all my courage. I can't stand having SVT and want to be rid of it. I can't afford another ablation so I am hoping my doctor gets to the source of the problem. Good luck on your ablation!
1472718 tn?1462633391
Sorry about the lack of updates. I am finally seeing the EP doctor on Thursday morning. Should get things moving in the right direction to fix this then. Will keep you posted.
1423357 tn?1511085442
Excellent!  I'm going in on 11/16.  Check back afterwards (....hopefully) for the blow by blow details. I'll tell you what it was like.
1472718 tn?1462633391
I hope everything goes well for you Tom. I look forward to hearing about the procedure so I can get an idea as to what to expect.

I saw the EP doctor today. He has scheduled me for a stress test and heart echo for next Tuesday. He knows what the problem is and we went over the ablation procedure today, but he wants to get a good workup on my heart and check everything out before moving forward. He also wants me to wear a small 21 day heart monitor and for me to stop taking the Metoprolol so we can try to capture an event and get some info from that. I am wary of this and do not look forward to going off the medicine. I'm sure this will provoke an event, but I very much dread it.
1423357 tn?1511085442
This is the exact route I took to where I'm at now.  Stress, followed by Echo Stress, then a 30 day monitor.  Like you I have been taking Metoprolol for 3 years.  I along with the doctor have played with the dosage during that period and settled on 100mg.  I still get frequent breakthroughs, but it made conversion very easy compared to the old days.  I'm now down to 25% of my dosage in preparation for Tuesday.  Tomorrow night will be my final dose, then nothing Saturday to Tuesday.  So far it hasn't been too bad, and I hope it's the same for you.  Up until the long term monitor, the only thing I manage with previous 24hr. holters were a handful of PVC's; nothing to write home about.  But what sealed the deal for me was the 30 monitor.  While using it, I got 3 classic SVT events.  I recorded it starting up, and I made sure I got the conversion using Valsalva.  That way they were able to see me coming out of it as well.  When you get the operational instructions, you'll quickly understand how to do this.  Basically, when you press the button on most monitors, they'll jump back and record the last 1 or 2 minutes which are always in buffer, then record the next minute or so.  So when you convert, just press the button, the recorder will jump back the preset time, and you've got it in memory.

I dread the events too.  I've dreaded them for 54 years; each one.  As I've aged, it always feel that this one is the big one.  It isn't, but it feels that way.  I hope you can resolve them and move on with your life.  I certainly plan too!
1472718 tn?1462633391
I had the stress test and heart echo today. The heart echo still has to be read, but everything seemed fine with stress test.. I'm finally getting the monitor Thursday, as there was some sort of mix up with the company that was supposed to be shipping it to me.
1423357 tn?1511085442
Please see my question "Post Ablation Observations" for some of my experiences today.  It was relatively cake!
1472718 tn?1462633391
I have my ep study and hopefully ablation this coming Monday. I am nervous, and will more than likely be moreso by Monday, but it is for the best. I want to get this problem fixed and out of the way. I of course had no episodes while wearing the heart monitor. I also live in a very mountainous area and had trouble getting a signal with the communicator that came with it, so I don't how helpful it would have been if I did have an episode. I'm hoping for the best and will let everyone know how things go next Monday.
1465650 tn?1316231160
Good luck for Monday.
Take a deep breath and it will be over before you know it.

Let us know how you get on
Take care
1472718 tn?1462633391
Still nervous as the day draws nearer. I don't worry about it being painful or anything like that. I worry that something may go wrong or that they don't find and fix the problem. We also have a major winter storm about to hit my area, so my wife and I are going to stay at a hotel near the hospital tomorrow night, since I have to be there at 6:30 in the morning on Monday and I live about 30 miles away from the hospital. That may be my biggest worry. They are giving up to a foot of snow for us and we got a storm like that this time last year and was without electricity for a week. My wife will have to drive us home in that, if we can make it home Monday evening. Just a lot of things weighing on my mind at once.
1423357 tn?1511085442
Good luck on Monday.  I'm telling you, afterwards you'll say, "Piece of cake!"
1423357 tn?1511085442
By the way, have you stopped your meds? I was instructed to stop 3days prior to the procedure.
Avatar universal
Best of luck for tomorrow. After it's over you will wonder what you worried about.  I had my procedure done 6 months ago and wished I had been able to get it done sooner;  I had AVNRT for 28 years and couldn't take any more ...
1472718 tn?1462633391
Yes, I took my last dose of meds Thursday. I've got a little more reassurance last night when I spoke with a friend of my wife's. Her father in law had this same procedure done back in July by the same doctor and has been symptom free since September. The doctor told him it would take a couple of months for the scar tissue to build up and be effective, and that seems to be the case. He had afib, which of course is something different from what I'm suffering with, but knowing of someone who went through the same thing is I am going to does ease my mind some.
1423357 tn?1511085442
I forgot to mention the "dirty little secret" my hosptial failed to inform me about. Be prepared tobe catherized.....no not there......a little lower.  This was a first for me. But considering the amount of.time you have to lie still afterwards,  I guess it was for the better.  I filled a bag to near capacity during my stay.
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