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Terrified of Upcoming Cardiac Ablation

I am going in for a cardiac ablation in 2 weeks and was feeling only slightly nervous until I read some comments about how the burning hurts and is very intense. I know I will be only mildly sedated and I have an overactive vagal response so am worried about that.  It probably doesn't help that I also have an anxiety disorder : ( I know I can't live with these continuous runs of pvcs anymore as it is limiting my life drastically. If anyone could shed any light on this, I would greatly appreciate the support.
30 Responses
1807132 tn?1318747197
Are you going in for a pvc ablation?  Did the EP say you would be awake or is that just what you read?  The setup for Pvc ablations are different then svt ablations and it is possible they will put you out all the way but if not I would think once you are mapped they could sedate you quite a bit more so that you fell to sleep.  They do have to do a lot more burns for pvcs then they did for my svt issue.  It was a deep pain but not unbearable.  I would tell them of your concern and anxiety and they will address it for you.  I know when they were about ready to burn me they gave me a higher shot of sedation so just let them know your fear and I am sure they will accommodate your concern.  The last thing they want is for you to be jumping around the table.  Best of luck with it and let us know when it is so I can send prayers your way and do come back and let us know how it all goes. Be strong and wishing much success at becoming pvc free.
1423357 tn?1511089042
Yes, I agree with what Michelle said.  Your extreme fear needs to be expressed to your electrophysiologist ASAP.  They need you to be completely relaxed and remain perfectly still during the procedure.  We had a forum member a couple of years back who had her procedure terminated shortly after the procedure began because she was trembling uncontrollably.  The physician could not safely work on her.  they rescheduled her procedure a few weeks later with anesthesia and her ablation for SVT was successfully performed, and she has now moved on with her life.  You need to say something to them very soon so they can set up the proper arrangements!
995271 tn?1463927859
I can't think of anyone that wouldn't be nervous for that type of a procedure.  I have an anxiety disorder too, I had a different sort of surgery in April of 2013 and I was very nervous.  But it went fast.  I've had GAD for so long that I've learned some coping techniques.

Oddly enough, some folks with constant PVCs won't get any under under general anesthesia so that's why they can't completely knock you out.

I've always found that the more nervous I am prior to something stressful the better I do at the actual event.  So try to deal with, and feel the anxiety now.  It's OK.  

Try out some coping techniques too.  I've done things like memorize things I can recite to myself if I get panicky.  I've always found that by me making myself focus on a talking, even if it's in my own head, helps greatly.

One way or another you will figure this out.  
Avatar universal
Thank you so much for the wonderful suggestions and support. I guess that's what I'm needing right now-support. My procedure is October 22nd. Although I can't wait to get rid of these unbearable pvcs, the procedure still scares me. I am almost more scared of my anxiety than the actual procedure- if that makes sense. I just have to trust in the anesthesiologist and like you said-they don't want me jumping around on the table!
Avatar universal
Sorry-yes, it is a pvc ablation and they said I would receive conscious sedation.
1423357 tn?1511089042
Well, good luck!  Let us know how it goes.
Avatar universal
Thank you!  This is my first time posting on any sort of support/advice site so I do really appreciate it. Apparently there will be an anesthetist beside me for the entire procedure in case medications need to be adjusted. Do you feel pain with conscious sedation?
Avatar universal
Hi!  Yes, it is a PVC ablation and they said I would be consciously sedated but the anesthetist would be with me for the entire procedure. It's on Oct 22-can't wait to be pvc free!
Avatar universal
Thank you for the great suggestions!  This is my first time here so thank you!
Avatar universal
I just found out that the anesthetist will be with me for the entire procedure so if I'm anxious even with the sedation, they can increase it.  I wonder if you can feel pain when under conscious sedation.
Avatar universal
Thank you : )
1423357 tn?1511089042
You're welcome!  Can you feel anything?  I don't know. I was under general anesthesia the entire time.  Perhaps that's why I'm feeling so brave!  I believe it is much like a colonoscopy. I don't remember anything, but the physician said I responded to any of his requests.  I think people here have reported feeling their heart being paced, but it was not painful.  I think some have reported feeling the catheter burns but I don't think any said that it really hurt.
Here.. click on this link below and it will take you to Jannie411's account of her actual ablation procedure.

http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Heart-Rhythm/Jannie411s-Ablation---Part-2--Section-2---The-Actual-Ablation-Procedure/show/1499077

1423357 tn?1511089042
Avatar universal
Thank you so much and thanks for the links too- I had tried to find these previously but had no luck.
1807132 tn?1318747197
You are going to be scared.  That is understandable.  Someone is going in to mess with your heart but it is actually a very safe procedure with low risk.  Odds are better for an svt ablation than for pvcs but I can appreciate that it is worth a shot to be rid of the pvc.  In general I think they are more of a nuisance then my svt ever was.  I will not lie, I did feel them burn me.  It was a deep pain and it didn't feel good but not terribly excruciating.  If you are uncomfortable at any time I was told I could ask for a higher dose of sedation. They did up the levels right before they burned so they try their best to make it as painless as possible.  If you are nervous do let them know so they can account for that.  The main reason they use conscious sedation is so they can find the spot better.  Once it is found there is no reason why they can't give you enough to fall asleep.   Most do but I was kind of interested in watching what was going on.  I had 2 other surgeries for fibroids and I was knocked out for those so I was kind of curious to be awake for it.  I was quite scared I will admit but in the end it really turned out to be not a big deal.  Best of luck with the ablation. Let us know how it goes.   I will keep you in my prayers.  
Avatar universal
So, I hope you have communicated with your doctor and told him/her about your worries?  Really, docs cannot read your mind and truly prefer to know beforehand what a patient hopes for.
Avatar universal
I have had two ablations and in my country they put you out completely so I was completely unaware of what was happening. Afterwards I did not feel in pain although I did feel a bit delicate for a week or so and I was not going to do any serious exercise for a while. Considering the discomfort etc you have now some unpleasant effects even if they are more than most people have, are nothing compared to the constant anguish you had beforehand. Good luck and keep us in the loop.
Avatar universal
My ablation is in 1.5 days and I honestly can't wait now. I had to stop taking the beta blocker which slightly decreased the pvcs so the last fee days have been ugly : ( I am getting through it with the help of Ativan, lots of rest and the occasional sleeping pill. Still pretty nervous about the procedure but so excited at the prospect of being pvc free!!!!  Apparently I will meet with the cardiologist and the anesthetist just before the procedure so I can remind them of my anxiety issues and ask to be as sedated as possible. Thanks for all of the well wishes!!!!
1807132 tn?1318747197
Best of luck.  I will send good thoughts your way for a successful ablation.  Hang in there.  
995271 tn?1463927859
Hang in there.  Here's one of my favorite quotes when it comes to anxiety/ fear:   “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”


~Frank Herbet, Dune
1423357 tn?1511089042
Sounds like a great plan!  Good luck, hope they get it, and make sure you get back to us afterwards.  We'll be thinking of you!
Avatar universal
Thinking of you, hope all goes well tomorrow.  Sending prayers and positive energy for a successful procedure.
Avatar universal
Good luck tomorrow. Had my ablation last Tuesday. They kept me on Versed *Check spelling* . I felt a warm rush in my back 3 times. It never hurt. Just a warm rush. They talk to you a lot. They ask how you're feeling. Be honest because they can make things easier. I was in there a little over 4 hours. I remember some of it not all. And so far 1 week later I have maybe 2 PVC's a day as compared to hundreds and some days thousands. I just hope it sticks. My life in the last week has changed already. But staying aware things could go backward. I'll pray for you and wish you the best. Let us know how it goes.
Avatar universal
Thank you everyone!  Your prayers and well wishes mean the world to me!
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1807132 tn?1318747197
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