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Avatar universal

Worried about my ablation for SVT

Hi everyone. I'm 18.yrs old, I'm having SVT for 10 yrs now. My RFA is scheduled on 22. july Procedure will be done in St.Bartholomews Hospital (London,UK). I'm having about 0-5 SVT episodes per year. I'm a bit nervous now, but I know that I will be so nervous and anxious when the date will come up.. In Pre-Assessement doctor said, that I would be under a light sedation, so, that means I will feel all the catheters going up through my vein? How will they force my heart to start race? With adrenaline or by making an extra heartbeat or what ? I'm worried that I will be able to feel how the palpitations will start and I will be able to feel how they will burn the extra pathway or damaged cells. As Luvyalab mentioned about urinary catheter..  does it hurts when they are applying it?
Many thanks for your replies in advance! Arthur
31 Responses
1655526 tn?1330659229
There are a lot of people in here that started having SVT when they were your age and are now in their 50's of 60's and have had to suffer through it all of those years. You're so lucky that modern medicine has allowed you to live a SVT free life while you're young. Congratulations!

I'm 59 and have had SVT  (AVNRT)since my mid 30's. I just had an ablation a month ago while under light sedation. I thought it was all very interesting. I wanted to be an observer rather than the one on the table. To answer your question about feeling the catheter go up you veins...I didn't feel a thing. The only thing I felt was the shot to deaden the catheter site and that was more like a sting that hurt for a very short time. That was the only pain during the entire procedure.

They do something called pacing your heart to create the SVT. I've read that they use adrenaline but I don't know for sure how they did mine. I felt and heard my heart on the monitors starting to get harder and faster and irregular. I heard the doctor talking about inducing PVCs.  They asked if exercise was a trigger and I told them no, but stress was biggest trigger and too much caffeine caused it.  I was partly awake when I felt the tachycardia and I was so relieved because I was afraid they wouldn't get the SVT to know where to burn. It was a weak one compared to the ones I had so it didn't scare me at all. Afterwards, I found out it was 180 bpm. Mine were always 240-250.

As far as feeling the burn, I did feel that.  I only had one burn on the slow pathway in the AV node. It didn't hurt, just felt like a warming sensation. I let them know I felt it and they must have given me more sedation because I don't remember much after that. They will sedate you as needed so you are very relaxed through the whole thing or asleep.

I didn't have a urinary catheter and I wish I had. You have to lay flat for 4 hours afterward so if your procedure is very long and then you add 4 hours afterward, it'll be worth not having the pain from a full bladder like I had.

I've been to the dentist with a lot more pain and stress than this procedure. When you think how invasive it is, it really is amazing that it all goes so smoothly. I was told the average time for the procedure is 4 hours. Mine was only 2 1/2 hours and felt like only 1/2 hour. I was really surprised at how easy it was.

I found a youtube that was interesting on the procedure for SVT. It is:

Good luck! You'll be so glad when its over and you don't have to worry about those anymore.
Keep us posted.

110220 tn?1309310461
I had an ablation over 3 years ago for SVT and I worried that I 'd freak out when they would start the SVT to determine the extra circuit.  I felt  NOTHING!!!

Once the IV is started they gave me Versed and that actually puts you in a twlight state.  I While the nurse told me that I was awake, I'd swear that I was not. I recall waking in the recovery area and I didn't think that they had done the procedure.  I felt wonderful and when the doctor told me that everything had gone extremely well, I was relieved.  No more er rooms with adenosine.  I was one of the unfortunate ones that could not convert myself and each trip to the er brought on different experiences by er staff unfamiliar with SVT.  Most thinking I was dying or having a heart attack, they always wanted to keep me overnight for observation.  It was a waste of time and money.

Anyway, while I know that it is a serious procedure, it is one that is safe and well worth it.  I was home after  4 hours and I never have had another episode.  If you trust your doctor and he is board certified and has perform 100's of ablations and has a great reputation, then your are in the best hands you can be in.

Good luck to you.
1137980 tn?1281289046
Man o man those were all great posts including the question...i am pretty much ditto w. everyone else..had my ablation five years ago...had it done with RF's also...got a twighlight med called Versed which made it so that i didn't remember a thing but was awake...the other two people who posted nailed it on the head..it is easier than a root canal...and no you don't feel the cath when it goes in your vein in your leg because they will give you your meds beforehand and when they bring the uglies to the surface of the heart to zap them it is usually some sort of epinephine that they use and you don't even know its happening.  I stayed the nite also just to be on the safe side but i too felt it was a waste of money because i did great and most people do. I had mine done for SVT also and have never had another episode of SVT since....like Rose said just be sure that the ablator has done lots and lots of them so they can handle anything that pops up...my criteria for the doc was that he had to have performed over 1500 of the procedures and i chose well  because i had some weird stuff happen that had nothing to do w. the SVT or the doc and i blame it on being a redhead LOL...relax you will feel back to your self within days and it will shock you when you get to go to Starbucks and order a triple shot expresso....and nothing happens to you..........we are all here for you before and after the procedure so any questions you have don't even hesitate to ask you have lots of support on this site trust me.  I had the catheter too and no it doesn't hurt a least from a females viewpoint but i understand from a males its an "ouch" moment when they take it out of a guy.  Congrats my friend you are about to get your life back on a silver platter and can start living again without fear...just remember to pay it forward afterward and be there for others too since you are a newbie....
Avatar universal
Many thanks for your replies with such a particular experiences, I am glad that google brought me here! As I understand, that AV node is the 'real' pathway, so, how come you can burn the extra pathway which is located within that 'real' pathway, without damaging the 'real' pathway? And if they do so (damage the 'real' pathway), that will result in a having pacemaker? I'm really worried, that I haven't spoken to the doctor, which will treat me, I have only spoken with nurses and some people who will be there during the procedure. I don't know if I actually understood what they said about the occasion if the extra pathway is on the left hand side of the heart.. They said, something like : "If the extra pathway, is on the left hand side of your heart, then it will take longer time to remove catheters (we will have to leave catheters inside for a certain time), we will have to give you medicine for blood clotting, so, that blood would clot slower,because, if blood would clot fast, then there could form a clot, which then could pass to the brain'' ,as I understood, that blood from the left hand side of the heart goes to the brain/head.. So, and further action what could happen you can imagine.
Many thanks you all for your help. Arthur
Avatar universal
Hi.....I also had an ablation three months ago.  I didn't feel any pain from the catheters at all, nor any from the burns.  The burning felt like a heat sensation, but didn't hurt at all.  The name of the medication they used to induce the SVT was Isoproterenol.  Like yourself, I was concerned that they wouldn't be able to trigger the SVT.  The EP said not to worry about it because that was rarely a problem and he was right.  I stayed awake through my entire procedure, which was my personal choice, with the understanding that if I became uncomfortable they would give me twilight sedation.  From what I understand from others who had twilight sedation, it is painless and you won't feel anything or remember anything when you wake up.  As for the urinary catheter, I didn't have one as my EP said it wasn't necessary.  Good luck with your procedure!
1423357 tn?1511089042
I'm 8 months post ablation, 54 years of SVT (AVRT), 3-5 times/month

"In Pre-Assessement doctor said, that I would be under a light sedation, so, that means I will feel all the catheters going up through my vein?"
First, they will numb the entry point which is right where your leg meets your torso.  When you're good and numb, they will insert a funnel-like device which punctures (not cuts) the entry point into which they will thread the catheters.

"How will they force my heart to start race?"
They will do all sorts of things to antagonize your heart into acting up.  They will pace it electrically, and they will administer adrenaline and Isoproterenol.  In my case, the catheter alone just touching the inside will of my heart was enough to trigger an event.  To get to the left side of your heart (my problem was), they will puncture the dividing wall called the septum with the catheter to map and work there.  Jannie experienced it without the haze of sedation, so what she tells you is valuable information.

"I'm worried that I will be able to feel how the palpitations will start and I will be able to feel how they will burn the extra pathway or damaged cells."
I'll defer to Jannie, as I was fully sedated and remember nothing.

"As Luvyalab mentioned about urinary catheter..  does it hurts when they are applying it?"
You may or may not get a Foley catheter, depending on your level of sedation and how the lab "operates".  I was fully sedated, and I awoke to find they had "installed" one on me.  I was fully awake when they pulled it out, and it felt like they were pulling a 50' garden hose out of me.  Not much pain, just a really wierd feeling.  The pain will come when you take your first pee.  WOW!!!  That burned for about 3 days.

When you get back to the recovery area, you may be pretty amped up for a while.  This is due to the adrenaline.  Your heart rate may be elevated for a bit.  Mine was around 135 for ab out an hour and then slowly started to drop,  but was still in the 90's by the time I reached home that evening.  

In the days and or weeks following your procedure, you will feel an achy feeling in your chest.  I was administered 17 burns, and my heart ached for about 3 weeks afterwards.  Your leg will probably hurt the most.  I limped around for about 2 weeks, and my leg down to my knee was tender with an ugly bruise.  This is how it may look, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hematoma except it will be on the inside of your leg.  You may also experience short runs of tachycardia, and feel skippy for months after your procedure.  This is normal.

So the experience may induce some fright, and hesitation, but the long term rewards, expecially at your age will be great.  Good luck ,and keep us informed on how you make out.
Avatar universal
Thanks for starting this thread, I too will be having an ablation for svt on the 25th of the month.  I am a little older than you though, I am 46.  Thanks to all who have posted their experiences here, it has been very comforting to hear about the ablations that went easy.   I have been reading  some other threads on this site and their experiences were bad, some very bad.  Artties you have done great research and asked informed questions.  I do have a question myself.  Could svts be triggerd by being put under for  non heart related surgeries?  I started having svts after my first shoulder surgery in 2006, they  didn't last very long so I just ignored them.  In 2007 I had my second shoulder surgery and the svts seemed to increase in frequency and intensity.  Talked to my family doc he ordered a stress test which showed nothing, I kind of felt like he thought I was crazy, heck  I thought I was crazy.  After a while the svts became milder and eventually stopped.  In March this year I was put under for knee surgery, while I was under the surgeon said I went into v-tach.  I was sort of glad it happened, maybe I am not so crazy lol.  My family doc sent me to an EP,  he said it was probably not v-tach but svt.  He ordered an event monitor I wore for a couple of weeks and sure enough I had an episode and he  determined it was svt and not v-tach which is definitely better.  The episodes this  time have been considerably worse and more frequent than before, even while taking BB, which make me feel awful.  Could these surgeries have triggered the svt or is it just a coincidence?
1423357 tn?1511089042
I've had numerous surgeries over the years for everything from a toncillectomy at 26 to a separated AC joint with a broken clavicle, and a couple of hernias, but I never went into SVT during any of them.  I always made sure though that they knew about it before hand so they were carefully monitoring me.  The thing I worry about most now is I have severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea, and either have to be intubated, or put on positive airway pressure to splint my throat open.  They had my CPAP ready during my ablation, and as I was coming to, I could feel difficulting breathing, but I woke up quickly and didn't need it.  Yes, mine was a very positive experience from the hospital and EP to the nursing staff, and I wouldn't hesitate to do it over again.  My hospital, UMass has a pretty smooth running operation for catheterization and electrophysiology, so the ride was really smooth throughout the process.  Good luck with yours.  I hope you feel as good as I do now!
Avatar universal
Thanks, I didn't really think it would, but I was curious.  I have heard good things about my EP and the fact that he is head of the department makes me feel very confident about my ablation.  The hospital and nursing staff we have already dealt with on several occasions and have always had very good experiences.  Would not want to say I am looking forward to the ablation but I think I am ready.  Thanks again to all
Avatar universal
Thanks for the youtube link I was wondering if there would be anything there.  Lots of great info very much appreciated.
Avatar universal
My ablation went very smoothly, no complications, and my EP was wonderful.  If anyone is interested in the details of the actual ablation, you may view it on my MedHelp journal (check the early April 2011 timeframe).  Perhaps it will give you a better idea of what to expect before, during, and after ablation.  I've been documenting my progress in the journals from March 2011 onward.   Click on my MedHelp name Jannie411 to bring you to my page.  
Avatar universal
I had an ablation one year ago for AVNRT which was successful.  I can honestly say that the procedure, which should never be undertaken lightly, is very easy, much easier than some dental procedures I've had ...

I had no sedation and was completely awake (my EP's preference) which scared me.  However, on reflection I can see that he did me a favor, that it was easy to trigger an SVT event and I got the result I could only hope for.  The insertion of the catheters and the pacing of the heart during the procedure were painless.

You are so lucky that medicine has found a cure for this debilitating condition and that you will not have to live the best years of your life like a lot of us have, living in fear of another trip to the ER for an Adenosine fix etc.   I had been afraid of flying for so long because of SVT;  it was after I had an event at 35,000 feet, 45 minutes out of Heathrow that I decided I had enough of living with this so called benign condition.  It put a 'damper' on 30 years of my life and stopped me souring to great heights, personally and professionally ...

Go for it young man - have faith in your doctors and most of all God.
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