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Avatar universal

cold drinks trigger atrial tachycardia

I am 7 weeks past ablation for afib. A quick history...During the ablation my diagnosis changed from afib to atrial tachycardia. I was diagnosed with afib1.5 years ago during a ER visit. Presented 2 times in a afib event and was cardioverted twice. Now my EP believes that I converted from atrial tachycardia to afib before I got to the ER which is why I got incorrectly diagnosed. During the ablation he was able to correct one area but the other was to close to the central nerve in my heart and he did not want to cause more problems and possible need for a pace maker.

I went from my post procedure check up and my EP took me off asprin, flecinide, atenenol and coumadin and left me on Cardizem 240 mg. He had me stop everything except the flecinide immediatly and I am to stop it next week. Last night I had a event that lasted about 3.5 hours. Heart rate stayed about 150-160 beats a minute. Every episode that I have had before and after the ablation has seemed to be triggered by drinking or eating something cold. I was drinking ice water last night when it started. Twice before I was drinking sprite with ice and the first episode I was eating ice cream.

Has anyone ever has similar issues? Should I be concerned the this is happening 7 weeks post ablation? I am trying to not be discouraged but this has been a long weird road. My hopes for ablation was getting off all the meds so I was thrilled when he told me to stop everything except the cardizem but now I am worried.

Any thoughts or personal knowledge would be great.

14 Responses
86819 tn?1378951092
Hi K.  I dont believe I have ever had to face this issue, but I know what it is like to have an ablation and to wonder about its success, and the road ahead and I am sorry to hear you are going through it.

Well it seems rf ablations --- some of them --- inspite of a doctors best intentions are not 100% curative of all problems that a patient may be facing.  In your case, it may be that after fixing one part of your issue, the doctor had to face a trade off between the risks and benefits of additional work, and the risks won out over the benefits, possibly leaving you with some of your original problem. I cant say really; that is for your doctor to determine, but it is a thought.

Perhaps the changes are a blessing masked by the new way your heart behaves, but you need to adapt to your new situation. I believe the process of full recovery includes your mental adaptation as well as the physical, and that it can take longer than 7 weeks.

At this point, would the doctor be adjusting your medication to adapt it as well to this new situation?  If so, I wonder whether it would take a few iterations to get the right combination?

On the other hand, a heart rate of 150-160 under these circumstances sounds like it would warrant medical care. I would make an appointment, and/or call your doctor about that.

Sorry to hear that you are having trouble. Hopefully, when they are all done, and you have fully recovered you will feel better than you did before. Certainly that is why they do these things, and many people are eventually cured through such treatments....

Avatar universal
Thanks for the response. He told me that he made the choice not to continue the ablation out of concern for causing bigger issues and I a thankful for that decision. He said if he had continued I could have ended up with a pace maker and at 42 I really do not want to go that route unless there is not other options.So I am thankful.

Since my diag changed from afib to atrial tachycardia the meds also changed and I think that those changes along with my heart still healing is just taking longer than my brain wants it to take and I just have to come to terms with that.

1137980 tn?1281289046
Hi kwillis i read your post too....and went thru basically the same thing...the bottom line is the bottom line....i think that the majority of us that had ablations (i had mine 4 yrs. ago) went thru what you are now going thru  I got random episodes of tach and fib up until about the 4 month mark after my ablation...had to be converted once in the beginning and trust me it doesn't matter if you are drinking ice water, eating ice cream, watching clouds pass by, taking a shower, in your sleep, at the grocery store....these things have a mind of their own in the beginning.  Do not think that its a fail.....the doc will tell you that they don;t even know for certain up until the 90 day mark for sure if its a fail and in most cases it takes up to six months.  I think you had an excellent doc tho if they decided to back out of part of the ablation if they felt they were too close to the sinus/av node which is the brain of the heart and yes by accidently zapping it shorts out the brain of the heart which tells your heart how to beat and yep a pacemaker would be in your future. I know for many of us we had those random runs....just out of control issues but remember....your heart was not beating properly for a long time and was used to going the wrong way .... and now it has to learn how to fire off the electrical the right way and is basically fighting it....your heart was poked, prodded, penetrated and even after all of that zapped......you can bet its still irritable, swollen even now seven weeks later but eventually will settle down...my doc put me on a super low dose of antenolol to get me thru the rough spots and it worked completely....all in all it took me about four months to be symptom free and the day will shock you kwillis when you realize you no longer feel your heart....and that is a great day believe me......patience is the word of the day and with most boilerplate catheter ablations a single ablation is all that is needed altho you will see members here who have had multiples but i think theirs may be multiple diagnosis......time is your friend on this one and i would call the doc...i think suffering thru hours of that was un necessary and disheartening....relax if you can and call the doc....
Avatar universal
Hi I am wondering if during your post ablation recoup period, you had episodes of fast rates. If so how long did they last and how high a rate? I've had several of 120 to 140. Some lasting anhour or two, others over 6 hours. thanks Ana

1137980 tn?1281289046
Hi Ana read your post this morning......as far as how long they lasted.....they ranged from what my heart doc classified as "ghost atrial fib" meaning that it felt like it was going to start up again and then just petered away and didn't complete the episode to full blown episodes that went anywhere from 3 minutes to the worst of it at 2 hours until i gave up went to the E.R, and had to be converted.  My highest rate during post ablation was in the low 200's which was a heck of alot better than pre ablation when my heart rate would soar into the lower 300's and that was ugly.  When i went to the E.R, i had to be converted a couple of times and thank gawd it was chemical conversion not electrical and that knocked it out.  My doc set earmarks of progression for me to follow that set the standard to head to the E.R,.......and he did this immediately after the ablation as a safety net because he said that in most cases post ablation approx. 80% of patients and runs of prior incidents while the heart reaclimated to functioning in the way it was supposed to in the first place...he said some people experience one or two episodes up until the six month mark and others depending if our heart is considered hypersensitive may experience episodes frequently until the heart becomes less irritable and the electrical pathways find the correct pattern to fire off in.  He put me on a low dose of antenolol until i got thru the rough spots and cleared the basic hurdles which definately helped.  The earmarks he set for me personally were.......if i began an episode and it didn't correct itself within 30 minutes then i was to take an antenolol.....wait 45 minutes and if it still didn't calm down i was to take a second antenelol.....if at the end of that second 45 minute period i was out of the episode i was to take a half of the big gun med Multaq that he gave me as a pocket pill for emergencies only and is used in the E.R, and is now used for home conversion....thank goodness over the last 4 years i only had to take the Multaq once but i'll tell you what it did the job super fast and saved me the trip to the E,R, so i haven't had to go back since he provided me w. the Multaq for the just in case issues.  Its not like this happens on a regular basis Ana...it only pops up when i burn the candle at both ends and stress out because of environmental issues.....of course he said that immediately when the episode starts as Jerry NJ is always telling community members to take an aspirin immediately to thin down my blood to ward off clot issues.  I have noticed that once i hit the 4 month mark post ablation things calmed down alot.....and now 4 years later the only time i experience anything even remotely scary is when i am super over tired, super stressed over work or kids and have put way too much caffeine into my body.  But i'll tell you what Ana.....life is an amazing place to be since the ablation and i can never repay the docs that gave me my sense of normalcy back and 98% of the time i never feel my heart at all which is a great thing.  I think that 140 Ana is on the high end for any of us....its like a string of beads....once the episodes begin we have to nip it in the bud to get control or else it can get out of control if we lose the moment....hope this was helpful.
where is that you had your ablation and with which Dr please
sorry didn't realize this was written way back in 2011
Avatar universal
Thanks everyone for the responses. I am sitting here in tachycardia, 120-140 a minute, right now and your comments make me feel better.

He just took me off the atenenol and maybe that is part of the reason I have had two episodes in the last 4 days and it is really bothering me. He put me on 240 of cardizem to keep my heart rate slower...not working so far. I think I will call his nurse tomorrow and see what he wants me to do.

For now I will go take asprin and try to relax and get it to calm down.

Cindy your information was great and gives me more hope that I just have to get through the next couple of months...I am still not even 2 months post procedure and I think I am expecting too much.

Thanks everyone again! I really need to read all this!

1137980 tn?1281289046
Glad we could help Kristy....like everyone else on this site this is a great community and alot of members were here for me when i went thru my issues even tho i posted under another name at the time...like you the others calmed me down and now i am just trying to pay it forward and give back.....hopefully he replaced the antenolol w. the cardizem immediately after because rules of the road are that we can never abruptly stop and beta blocker because we experience something called re bound where the episodes come back w. a vengence unless we are weaned off of them...that was probably one of my worst times...when i didn't take my antenolol for 3 days and wham....there i sat of the guerney in the E.R, getting chewed out and getting converted...never again....keep the faith....again it sounds like you have a great doc to me...
Avatar universal
Talked to the nurse this morning, my doc was in a procedure, and she said that he thought I was having some rebound from coming off the atenenol. He did start the cardizem before I stopped the atenenol but then I got sick over the weekend and they put me on antibiotics for sinus and ear infections. He said that the infection could have thrown off the change from one to the other...so I am just waiting to feel better.

I will say again that I really appreciate all the advice it has really helped me deal with everything that is going on and has let me know that I am not alone. Once I get through this I will stay on this site and see if there is anyone that I can help get through what ever they are going through.
1137980 tn?1281289046
Thats good news then kwillis....you found out why and that is so important so that it helps us to relax a little...the lack of info is what really gets all of us and its super great to hear that you'll stick around to help others thru your own experience......
Avatar universal
I got to tell ya... I`m happy to read this! I just had my 5th bout of afib tonight. They gave me (at my request) cardizem and after 2 doses I was ready for the electro cardioversion when suddenly I went to normal sinus! Everytime I`ve had afib, it was immediatly preceeded by a ice cold slushy, 3 or 4 popcycles in a row or like tonight I chugged some ice cold crystal light! I spoke to the doctor and told him I think the cold was causing it because the Vegas nerve runs so close to the esophagus. He said that might do it, it doesn`t sound far fetched. I dont agree with the one reply saying it has it`s own mind. I believe they`re are differengt causes for different people. I know this... I`m going to take my diltiazem and metoporol faithfully and NO MORE BRAIN FREEZES!!!
Avatar universal
I too get afib after drinking ice water and only after i drink ice water.  I know when I am going to get it (dehydrated and tired) and normally avoid it as a result.  Saturday I was hunting and my water was icy and I avoided drinking it until I was very thirsty and WHAM.  

Avatar universal
For several years now I've had an irregular heartbeat, however, when I go to the cardiologist everything seems fine.  I have had several episodes whereby I go into afib after drinking or eating something cold!  I thought I was crazy!  I had an episode this past weekend and called my cardiologist and am seeing him tomorrow.  We'll see what he says.
This happens to me too!  Thought I was crazy. Ablation Jan 2018. Notice A-Fib when swallowing cold drinks. Don’t mortise it with room temperature or warm drinks
Avatar universal
I have found this to be true for me. I had ablation in Jan 2018. Weened off Metoprolol but find that I start A-Fib just about every time I swallow a cold drink!!!!
I also had an ablation on Dec 21, 2018 - doing well except for two incidents with drinking something cold which has affected me in the past - just realizing now this is a huge factor with afib - Am also on Metoprolol and Diltiazem but am sure my Dr will not take me off of it for at least 3-6 months until the ablation is so-called healed.  I would check with a gastro person as well on this - I actually do have GERD (reflux) and have most of my life so some how it makes sense - I just need to stay away from anything very cold.
Avatar universal
This happens to my husband all the time
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