Heart Rhythm Community
12.2k Members
627839 tn?1226346299

waiting for ablation

I am waiting to have a EP/study-catheter ablation  to be done.  Scared out of my mind! It's all I can think about.  The EP Dr. tells me it is a relatively safe procedure but I can't help but worry.  Would love to hear from anyone who has had this procedure done and how they are feeling now. Diagonsed with v-tach caught on haltor monitor.  Was a healthy 42yr old who had the occasional pvc.  One night felt my heart race and almost passed out. I am freaking out about this whole thing. Feel very alone.

32 Responses
612551 tn?1450022175
I know the feeling and sympathize.  I felt what you feel before going in for open heart surgery to get a valve repaired last November.  It all seems so easy now.  The best thing I did to put my mind as close to rest as I could get it was to get comfortable with the surgeon.  Before I "signed on" for the operation I visited the hospital's heart center, talked with the administrative people and studied the resume of the surgeon.  The key was that the surgeon was young enough to have a steady had, but old enough to have performed many heart valve surgeries.  In fact he does about 100 heart surgeries each year, and about 30% of those were for the same valve repair I needed.  He also had not lost any patients in the reporting period.  This helped, but I was still very uncomfortable.

I've had two heart characterizations, checking for blockage and valve status, and they were almost a non-event, but they did make me nervous.  

Get an experienced ablation expert and just "lay back" and take it esay.  Good luck with the result, hope it fixes your problem.  
21064 tn?1309308733
I had two ablations for PVCs.  Like you, I was freaked out!!  Everything went fine.  If you have any specific questions, I'd be happy to try and help. You are definitely not alone : )

Avatar universal
Boy, do I know how you feel!! I had a successful cardiac ablation for AVNRT on Aug. 4th. I was so scared I can't begin to tell you. I found such help and support on this forum so never feel you are alone.
The ablation ,for me, was a piece of cake. It was the best thing I could have done for myself. I got so worked up for nothing.  I didn't feel any pain whatsoever. I was up for the whole thing-they gave me something very mild which just took the edge off of my anxiety. My procedure took about 2 and I/2 hours and I went home the same day. Please feel free to ask me anything and I'll be happy to help you in any way that I can.
251395 tn?1434494286
The anticipation we feel waiting for this procedure, I think, is the hard part. I just had my 5th trip to the EP lab for ablation of a RVOT-V Tach. I was riddled with anxiety before my 1st procedure, because I had no clue what to expect. From that point on, each procedure was a little easier because I knew what was to be expected.

I agree with Jerry, do your homework and make sure that the Dr who will be doing your procedure is experienced. Ask lots of questions.

Were they able to determine on the holter whether the foci is on the right or the left?

Good luck with your study/ablation! :)
Avatar universal
I was admitted to the hospital the night before my ablation.  Waiting in the hospital bed, my self talk included, " Now what have you gotten yourself into?"  I had a lot of bravado before I went in, and none when I got there to actually do it.  If you hang around this excellent forum for a while, you will learn your feelings are entirely normal.  
  For me, ablation was a choice not a requirement.  I wanted to be free of a fib and free of medication that reasonably controlled it.  Now over a year and a half later, heart in rhythm, and no medication,  I know it was the right thing to do.  
  Regarding risk, There is almost none.  My procedure was done under general anesthetic, and when I woke up there was huge relief.  You will enjoy that feeling, as well.  
489725 tn?1280052553
it is natural what u are feeling now and most of us here would have felt the same ..i am not sure when your ablation is but if u are worried stick around and we will support u all the way.
it is a safe procedure and the success rates are high and i wish  u  the best of luck with it
take care
627839 tn?1226346299
Thanks for all the support this forum is a blessing. Glad I stumbled upon it!  I really am not alone! It comforts me to hear that others were just are scared as I am.  Waiting is the worst! I don't know what I am more freaked out about, the procedure or waiting for another v-run to get me.

Jerry_NJ thanks for the advice, they tell me my EP Dr. is one of the pioneers of this procedure. I have a lot of faith in him. I live in NJ also and it will be done in PA in a major hospital. Hope you ae feeling well after your surgery.

Brooke_38 they tell me its the RVOT also, they are not 100% sure but both my EP and Cardio Docs think this . Why so many trips to the EP lab? How are you feeling now?

Thanks again to all of you!!!!!

Avatar universal
I had a TEEC (trans-esophogeal echo cardiogram) just prior to my first trip ever to the cath lab for an ablation to attempt to clear up a-fib.  What with the pre-op shot and all the extremely cool electronics in the cath lab (I am something of a computer/electronics geek) I was not worried about the ablation.  Didn't particularly enjoy having some grody GUY shaving me down there - woulda preferred the cute female tech to do that part ;-) - but I got through that.  Truth be told I was actually sorta looking forward to being awake for the procedure.  I had consented to "conscious sedation" for the procedure -  total misnomer I faded out after the shot inthe cath lab.  BUMMER!  Whatever they gave me before the TEEC made me sick to my stomach and feel really bad.  But the worst part of the whole day was lieing flat on my back most of the day with a sand bag on my groin to keep me from bleeding out.  

Since I was still kinda woosey from the meds it wasn't all that bad.  And after being NPO since the previous midnight the turkey sandwitch my wife fed to me was one of the best meals I ever had.  Kind of a pain urinating flat on my back - wife helped out there - but over all a tolerable condition.  Plus the ablation worked and my wife said my color was the best it had been in months.  That kinda made it all worth it.  

I cannot tell you not to be afraid.  What I can tell you is that considering your age and otherwise good health the risk for you is really minimal.  Do you trust your EP?  Then trust him/her to keep you alive.  He/she will have a whole team of experienced, highly trained professionals in the cath lab with him/her.  These folks are highly competent individually and have worked together many times as a team.  You are probably safer in that cath lab than you are in your car going down to the stop-and-rob.  Since your problem is ventricular you have an excellent chance of ablation correcting it.  Me, I knew going in that my odds were - AT BEST - 3-to-2 of fixing my (atrial based) problem.  Had I known that my atrial diameter is 5.7cm I would not have even bothered with ablation and just had the EP go for a pacemaker from the get go.  With an atrial diameter that large my chances of the ablation permanently correcting my problem were just slightly better than the Libertarian Party's chances of winning the presidential election.  The ablation worked for a whole 3 days by the by.  My heart now beats - quite nicely - solely from being stimulated by one of St. Jude Medical's outstanding products.

Hang in there.  You WILL get better.  I promise.  Keep up posted.  Remember you will ALWAYS find a dry shoulder here.  Lots and lots of 'em in fact.

21064 tn?1309308733
We're glad you stumbled upon this site also.  That's how I found it too!  I was scared and looking for answers and support.  You'll find lots of both here : )

My first ablation was for RVOT; the second was for LVOT.  I'm told the RVOT procedure is less complicated and most people do very well!!  I was multi-focal, so it took more than one procedure.  

Glad to hear you are going with a "pioneer" at a major PA hospital!  The highly trained doctors are experts in this field and you will be in good hands.  You may, or may not, have to stay overnight.  Seems to be about 50-50.  When you first arrive, you will be given a lovely gown (not quite what you might have wanted...lol), perhaps a pair of matching slippers, and an I.V.  The I.V. does not hurt, just a little pinch.  I also had a foley (bladder) catheter, but they must have done that when I was out, never felt a thing.  

Just prior to going to the lab, I was given an injection (through the I.V.) of versed.  It's a wonderful drug that is used to put the patient in a "comfort" zone.  It has an amnesiac effect, so you will have lots of gaps in your memory from the procedure.  In the lab, you will be moved to a cold table (the lab is very cold, but you will have blankets) and you will be hooked up for EKG, BP and oxygen monitoring.  I don't remember this stuff, but I heard about it....versed!  The only thing I really remember is some pressure (manual the first time, a plug-like device the second time) when the doctor was closing off the main catheter entry site (groin).

Then, off to recovery for a turkey sandwich (standard hospital fare....lol).  I had to lie flat for six hours (propped up just enough for the sandwich), vitals were monitored...went to sleep.  Woke up the next morning, monitors removed, and outta there.  Oh, I was given fentynl in the lab for pain (another great choice).  Demerol tends to make a lot of people nauseous, so you might want to ask for fentynl (if they're ok with that, I'm pretty sure it will be fine).  

Try not to worry.  We'll be right here if you have any questions or concerns.  OHHHHHH, be sure to let the nurses know if you are feeling anxious.  They're wonderful!!

Avatar universal
I'm not sure if my first post got on or not so I'll repeat it just in case.  I know just how you feel.  I had a successful abalation done on Aug. 4th and I was scared to death..  I was up for the whole thing and I have to say the ablation  was very easy for me.  I felt no pain and I was only in the lab about 2 and 1/2 hours.

  It sounds like you are in excellent hands.  It is so normal to be scared- we all were before our ablations.  I really got myself all worked up for nothing!

It was the best thing I could have done for myself. You are defintiely not alone.  If you have any questions, ask away.  We are all here to see you through this!

Avatar universal
Hi rb,

I had my third ablation in four months this past Thursday.  It's normal to be aprehensive beforehand, I don't think anyone can say they weren't.  I don't find the experience particularly pleasant but it's not the end of the world either.  They type of arrythmia you have will determine how the procedure goes.  In my case, I have Ventricular Tachycardia (VT) which is difficult to induce, therefore my procedures lasted 6.5 hours, 5 hours and 4.5 hours each.  Because I'm difficult to induce, I did all three of mine without any sedation or pain meds, except the numbing of my leg.  During my second ablation they induced SVT and I had to be cardioverted (shocked) twice while on the table - no meds.  

If I made it through, you can too.  The worst part for me aside from getting zapped is being stuck on my back for 10 - 12 hours (you have to lay on your back and can't bend your leg for at least 4 hours after the procedure, in my case six because they went up both sides and had to use a large catheter).  

If you have SVT or PVC's, it can take far less time and you can often be sedated or take pain meds.  Walk around as much as you can beforehand, they may even let you walk to the operating room.  Pee if you can too, just in case you end up being in there a while.  Don't be afraid to ask them to numb your leg again if it gets uncomfortable, which it shouldn't unless they have to switch sheaths halfway through.  

You're not alone, there are alot of people here for you.
Avatar universal
I had my ablation done at the Univ of Penn in January (I also linve in NJ). It took me two years to have the procedure because I was too scared. After it was all over I thought to myself "what was I thinking?'. I would not hesitate to have it done again. Good luck, and I hope you will soon be enjoying NSR for a long time to come.
Avatar universal

I'm also in MA, South of Boston.  Did you have your ablation done at Beth Israel?  I had one done at RI Hosp and the last two at Beth Israel.
569980 tn?1228329485
Hi.  You can tack me to the list of recent patients with ablation procedures done.  I had mine done almost a month ago.  I'm not big on needles etc and the procedure was optional for me, so I was really worried about the procedure.  It really was a piece of cake and all the folks on this board helped me through my anxiety.  I could probably write a book about the whole thing by now, but basically I went into the hospital at 6:30 am and I walked out on my own at 4:30 pm.  They had no trouble finding my AVNRT and zapping it.  From what I understand this varies from patient to patient.  Nearly a month later and I feel fine.  If you want to talk more about just let me know.

Good luck - you'll do great!
21064 tn?1309308733
I was also "on the table" for 6-7 hours for each procedure.  The procedures were primarily for NSVT, but the doctor was able to induce VT.  Fortunately, I was "on vacation" with versed.  

RickDG, I can't imagine lying there for that long while being awake!  Did it feel like a LONG time?  
Avatar universal
You were all asleep?  Dayum, I think I went to the wrong docs, lol.  No wonder I keep reading these posts about what a piece of cake it was.  I was beginning to wonder if I was a wuss or something.  Yeah, they seemed pretty long, especially on my back, legs and shoulders which would all tighten up after the first couple of hours.  Feeling them pace your heart is an interesting sensation, but after three times I'm used to it now.  Being shocked twice during it wasn't any fun either - I let out every expletive I knew, and a couple in foreign languages as well.  I wish they could have knocked me out but because my VT is so hard to induce, no meds at all for me except numbing the groin.  My understanding is that with some of the SVT's, there's not as much of a problem inducing them.
21064 tn?1309308733
YIKES!!  You are definitely no wuss!!  I can't imagine laying there for all that time, just wondering what I might feel and when the ICD would go off!!

In my case, the versed would calm the PVCs.  Every time they'd increase the versed, my heart would calm down. So, they'd ease off again. Even with that, I have no recollection of the pacing, wires, tachy, etc.  
569980 tn?1228329485
Hi.  I wasn't entirely asleep.  They got the first catheter in there and it triggered my arrhythmia.  It honestly scared the **** out of me - I was very anxious, sweaty etc, but they assured me that everything was under control and it was a GOOD thing that they were able to trigger it so easily.  I recall the Dr. requesting that they up the meds (Versed and fentanyl) and my recollection of the rest of the procedure is foggy at best.  I also remember them pacing my heart but at that point I was relaxed and it didn't really bother me.
Avatar universal
Thanks for the explanations.  You guys are lucky that you could go into your rythms so quickly.  Takes them forever for them to induce me - they just won't give me a cigar and a coupla beers, even though that's all it'll take, lol.  Have heard that the SVT procedures can be a little less intense.  Mom, I don't have an ICD... they actually cardioverted me internally with the catheter.  Felt like I jumped a foot off the table.  When they upped the joules on the second jolt, the nurse said most people can't tell the difference.  It wasn't until after that she said that I was the first person she ever did it on without sedation, lol.  It was a choice of getting shocked or taking anti arrythmics to get me out of the SVT they induced (they were going after my VT, I don't have SVT).  If I took the antiarrythmics then I would have had to end the procedure before they did anything productive but after they put the cath in.
Avatar universal
I had my ablation done at Boston Medical Center.  Hope you're doing well!
627839 tn?1226346299
Ok, I have VT (seen on my halter). They tell me they think the problem is in RVOT. If they do not sedate me I feel bad for everyone in that room!  I am a South Philly Girl!! Poor Drs.HaHa.

I have warned them and my Dr tells me he is giving me something.  I am still very nervous I am not excited about all this cardiovertion I am hearing. Does this happen to everyone?????  How are you feeling now?????
627839 tn?1226346299
Thank you all for sharing and making me feel much better. I am still nevous but I guess that is to be expected.

Momto3 thanks for all the advise I will be asking/taking any drugs they offer me!!!!!!! I will be sure to write done and tell the Dr about the fentynl and versed. How did they find out about your condition?

twinbee  and maybebesc I hope my story is just like yours.

I am a little scared about all this talk about no sedatioin this will not be good!!!!!  
Very high strung!!!!!  I have a had time sitting still to get my nails my done for 30min. let alone up to  6hrs not gonna work.

Still waiting for Dr office to call with time and date.  
21064 tn?1309308733
Try not to get yourself too worked up.  I know how hard that is, but try to stay busy and focused on other stuff (at least some of the time).  

I'd had arrythmias and a leaky mitral valve for at least 25 years.  I was in for a routine echo for the valve and the doctor diagnosed cardiomyopathy.  NEWS to me!  Anyway, long story short, I developed PVC-induced cardiomyopathy.  My choices were anti-arrythmics for life (I was 46) or try ablation(s). I tried the meds for about 7 months, but was bothered by side effects.  

I'm also high anxiety so I totally get where you're at!  Freaked out, scared outta my mind.  Once I got to the hospital, I actually felt better.  The staff is wonderful at helping nervous patients to relax.  I'd be willing to bet you will be given the same drug combo as I had, and you will rest comfortably, AND go home VT-free!!  You may have PVCs for a bit since the heart tends to feel "agitated" by all the catheter manipulation, but it tapers off and you'll feel wonderful.

Ask Betty about the view from this side of the mountain!  It's gorgeous; you will be so glad you took this vacation : )

Let us know when you're going in.  My nurse anesthetist and I planned a "vacation" just prior to the versed injection.  I told her I was going to the Bahamas....I came back rested, but no sunburn : )

How was your VT picked up?  I'm sure you felt it, but was this something new for you?

627839 tn?1226346299
Boy did I feel it!  Dizzy, heart racing took me to the floor. Went to GP who put a halter on me while I was wearing it had another event and was taken to ER. They keeped me overnigh but nothing was seen except for  a few pvcs/pacs.

Cardioi Dr sent me home with beta blockers when he got the report of my halter he saw the v-tach.  He sent me to the EP Dr. Was put on Varapermil (prob spelled wrong)  I have nott had another event since the one that sent me to the ER  Thank GOD!!!!I Do not even have PVCS/PACS . I think the drugs are working for me. I don't mind taking them, they really do not have any side effects for me. Just having some trouble staying asleep. Wake up about 4 in the AM but I think this is my nerves getting the best of me. When I first wake up I need time to talk myself out of my panic.

EP Dr wants the ablation. I am waiting to hear what time and when. Right now the only time is oct. 31st and I am scared enough!!!!! That date does not sit well with me.
I def. do not want to feel another v-run, . I hope you are right about my ablation. VT free yay!!!!!!!

I would love to vacation in AZ and visiting with my brother that is were (hopefully) I will be till I eat my Turkey sadwich that hear so much about. LOL.

Thanks!!!!!! I feel better already!!!!!

Everyone on this site is a  Blessing!!!!!!

Have an Answer?
Top Arrhythmias Answerers
1807132 tn?1318743597
Chicago, IL
1423357 tn?1511085442
Central, MA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Are there grounds to recommend coffee consumption? Recent studies perk interest.
Salt in food can hurt your heart.
Get answers to your top questions about this common — but scary — symptom
How to know when chest pain may be a sign of something else
For people with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), the COVID-19 pandemic can be particularly challenging.
A list of national and international resources and hotlines to help connect you to needed health and medical services.