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Old 02-27-2010, 12:22 PM   #1
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My Successful Ablation - Just Do It!

Hi All,

I read so many worrisome stories on here about ablation surgery I was almost afraid to do it. But I did! I had it yesterday and I am so happy! The problem started the day my son was born and he will be 18 in a few months. The team that did the surgery made me feel so comfortable I never worried for a second. It took 3 1/2 hours. My doctor was awesome and has been doing these since they started doing them. I had a diagnosis of AVNRT and that was what they found. They said the surgery went well, very routine. The worst part was I had some definite uncomfortableness throughout my chest and during the procedure I questioned the nurse and she said it was normal and not to worry. The cathetor stuff didn't bother me and I don't even know I have the wounds. I do remember my heart racing like crazy (but hey what else is new, but I kept thinking that hopefully it would be for the last time ever so I didn't care about it). The worst part was staying still for 11 hours I was in so much pain from that I was starting to freakout the last 3 hours even though I kept telling myself it was almost over. When I stood up the pain was awful so I decided to sleep it off and I did and woke up feeling perfect!! PLEASE do the surgery. It's ONE day. Skip the drugs, the ER visits, the 9000 manevers to bring down your heart rate and just do it! If you have any questions let me know I am writing this to help others. If you are anywhere near Kansas City, MO and want the name of an amazing doctor I will be happy to share. He is 58 and he's been doing these forever. I listened to him talking during the surgery he was so cool and together and that made me feel even more confident! I watched the EKG's while it was going on but I wasn't brave enough to look the other way at the actual stuff going on in my heart. DO IT!! ENOUGH SUFFERING ALREADY!!!

 
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Old 02-27-2010, 03:56 PM   #2
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Re: My Successful Ablation - Just Do It!

Congratulations, and thanks for taking the time to post a detailed and descriptive account of your experience with Ablation!

For which type of heart rhythm dysfunction did you have an ablation?

I have battled Heart Failure and Permanent Atrial Fibrillation and Tachycardia for over 22 years and am now closing in on 70. So...... as a result of your post, I looked into ablations for my type(s) of Heart Problems and Heart Rhythm Dysfunction.

In a six year, multi-center study, I found that the Atrial Fibrillation recurrence rate was 13.0% at 2 years, 21.8% at 3 years, 35.0% at 4 years, 46.8% at 5 years, and 54.6% at 6 years. Even those who were free of AFib for a year had a reoccurence rate greater than 40%.

Quote:
DO IT!! ENOUGH SUFFERING ALREADY!!!
I agree with you about no more suffering! After 22+ years, enough is enough! Unfortunately, I don't think that my body agrees with me.

I am going to do more research into this, but my first impression is that, at my age, with my particular heart problems, the risks might outweigh the rewards. Perhaps other studies will increase my confidence level.

Thanks again!
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Greatly Improved CHF, A-Fib, HBP, Asthma:

⇒ Eliminate household items that are toxic!
⇒ Balanced, healthy, low glycemic diet
⇒ Lots of Exercise
⇒ Avoid night allergens, toxins
⇒ Coreg!

Last edited by Machaon; 02-27-2010 at 03:59 PM.

 
Old 02-27-2010, 10:16 PM   #3
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Re: My Successful Ablation - Just Do It!

Hi Machaon,
I'm very sorry to hear about your A-Fib and other tachycardia. I had AVNRT - AV Nodal reentrant tachycardia. 2 pathways within the AV Node one slow and one fast and they radiofrequency ablated the slow pathway. From what I've read the cure rate is 98% with a 1% re-occurance rate it is the most common type of SVT and has the best success rate. I asked the nurse who has done these for over 20 years and she said the success rate for their A-Fib ablations which it sounds like you need is 70%. I also know someone personally who had A-Fib that is in much better shape and they had 2 ablations. From what I've been told it won't "cure" A-Fib but it will help manage it considerably. The sooner you do it the better they say. My grandmother just died in January from A-Fib at 93. If I was 70 and I had a rhythm disorder I would try and get an ablation asap "before" you are too old per the doctors. Normally age isn't much of a factor they say unless you really get older and you should still be OK if you do something soon. You get to be 75 or 80 they probably won't do it. Even if it makes it a lot more manageable I would definitely do the surgery. It's one day that can really change your life. Find someone with a lot of experience like I did. Best Wishes.

Last edited by lltomich; 02-27-2010 at 10:18 PM.

 
Old 03-01-2010, 06:52 AM   #4
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Re: My Successful Ablation - Just Do It!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lltomich View Post
Hi Machaon,
I'm very sorry to hear about your A-Fib and other tachycardia.
You and me both!

Quote:
I had AVNRT - AV Nodal reentrant tachycardia. 2 pathways within the AV Node one slow and one fast and they radiofrequency ablated the slow pathway. From what I've read the cure rate is 98% with a 1% re-occurance rate it is the most common type of SVT and has the best success rate.
There is no doubt in my mind that ablation should be explored by anyone with a Heart Rhythm Dysfunction. But it certainly is not totally safe for everyone, and it does come with it's share of problems and risks.

Quote:
I asked the nurse who has done these for over 20 years and she said the success rate for their A-Fib ablations which it sounds like you need is 70%.
Does that 70% include people with Immune System Dysfunction and for significantly increased Atrium Size, or for anyone else with significant damage to their heart?


Quote:
From what I've been told it won't "cure" A-Fib but it will help manage it considerably.
I am doing remarkably well at this time, and getting progressively better after 22+ years of Heart Failure, AFib and Immune Dysfunction. My success is through avoiding those things that stimulate or aggravate my AFib. I only take 6.25mg Coreg, .25mg Digoxin and 2.5 mg Warfarin per day.

So...... I've got to determine if the benefits of a possible "partial" improvement are worth the risks.

Quote:
My grandmother just died in January from A-Fib at 93.
How long did she have AFib? How long ago did she have her ablation? Did she have any other significant heart disease?

Quote:
If I was 70 and I had a rhythm disorder I would try and get an ablation asap "before" you are too old per the doctors.
I appreciate the fact that you have weighed all my risks and chances for success and have made the decision that the benefits of an ablation would outweigh the risks.

For, since I am the one who is either going to get worse, better or die from the ablation, I think that I will do some more research into the matter. Thanks!

Quote:
It's one day that can really change your life. Find someone with a lot of experience like I did. Best Wishes.
Thanks for the best wishes!

Prior to 2005, my Heart Failure, AFib and Immune Dysfunction was getting progressively worse. Since 2005, I've managed to turn it around, and am now experiencing a progressive improvement in all of my health problems.

I agree with you that is can really change my life. I've just got to decide, once again, whether the benefits outweigh the risks. Should I take the chance that an ablation would not negatively effect all of the improvements that I have experienced since 2005?

OTOH, your post did interest me, and I have spent quite a bit of time researching AFib ablations, as it pertains to my particular heart disease and health. I still have more research to do.

So..... I thank you for your posts about ablation. Without your posting of your detail account, I would not be exploring ablation as a possible option.

Thanks, and best of luck and health for your future!
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Greatly Improved CHF, A-Fib, HBP, Asthma:

⇒ Eliminate household items that are toxic!
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Old 03-01-2010, 07:34 AM   #5
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Re: My Successful Ablation - Just Do It!

Yes, the type of heart rhythm matters significantly you are correct. If someone has AVNRT like I had they should almost always strongly consider an ablation. It's so safe and it's a 95 - 98% chance of being 100% curable with less than a 1% reoccurence. They cut the pathway and that's it. Straightforward no complications routine surgery. The good news is that after A-Fib...AVNRT is the most common type of SVT. Which means there are plenty of people out there with a common SVT that can be fixed permanently in a few hours that are living miserable lives and taking dangerous drugs for no reason. Get a good electrophysiologist suffer for one day and it's over for life. That's the group I'm trying to reach on here by posting this and it's a large group of people espicially women. As for A-Fib this is what I've been told. If you develop A-Fib you should have an ablation quickly thereafter because the best odds of cure is doing it early on in the game. I know someone that had two ablations for A-Fib and now they are running marathons. The longer you wait to have an ablation the less likely it will help. If you have other heart/health problems there is definitely more to consider. However, a reasonably healthy individual and even some with secondary heart issues should do the ablation because it will do a number of things. One, if you have a secondary issue having SVT's makes that more dangerous, two, if you are healthy taking heart drugs is not safe, three, having a pre-existing condition makes your health care cost much higher and four, you deserve to have a life and live it to the fullest (and having spontaneous SVT's like in my case from movement, hormones, allergies and many other contributing factors is like living life in a bubble...) is well worth the one day surgery. So my reason for taking the time to come here even though I'm cured most likely finally (I feel like someone gave me a brand new heart, it used to flutter and skip and feel weird often even when I wasn't having an SVT) is more worth it than my words can express. I suffered needlessly for 17 years. Adenosine will help with AVNRT to bring it down (won't work for A-Fib) but it's dangerous. It flatlines your heart and re-starts it and in my case my heart had gone into Ventricular Tachycardia for some beats before going into normal rhythm and that's very dangerous for your heart. I do not agree that having SVT's are beign. As we age and we have potential secondary heart issues developing SVT's become more dangerous. Heart drugs ARE dangerous too. During my 17 years I was not on medication but rather got adenosine if I couldn't bring it down in the ER. Back then the surgery wasn't nearly as safe as now. They do 3-D mapping of your heart now and the surgery is very, very safe. Again, get a good doctor and JUST DO IT. You will be very glad you did and you can come back here like I did and post and tell everyone else that it's a no-brainer. Reclaim your life!

 
Old 03-01-2010, 07:38 AM   #6
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Re: My Successful Ablation - Just Do It!

Sorry, forgot to say that my grandmother did not have any other underlying health issues other than the A-Fib she was a very healthy woman (in fact we couldn't keep her home at 93). The A-Fib caused a clot that went to her brain and killed her within 3 or 4 hours. But she had no other health issues at all. She looked at least 25 years younger than her age. A-Fib is very dangerous and if I would get it in the future I would immediately take any action I needed to deal with it.

 
Old 03-01-2010, 02:15 PM   #7
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Re: My Successful Ablation - Just Do It!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lltomich View Post
... AVNRT is the most common type of SVT. Which means there are plenty of people out there with a common SVT that can be fixed permanently in a few hours that are living miserable lives and taking dangerous drugs for no reason.
After doing some more research, I find that the risks outweigh the rewards.

For someone younger??? It depends upon the severity of the tachycardia, or heart rhythm problems. Before I would have permanent, unrepairable changes (ablations), to my heart for AFib, I would want to explore other options.

Once a heart is ablated, for AFib, and the nerves permanently damaged, there is no going back. Plus.... the patient could be much worse off than before the expensive $$$ ablation.

The best thing is for the patient to check with their heart specialist, and even get a second opinion, prior to getting a somewhat risky ablation. One should NEVER decide to have a heart operation (ablation) to permanently alter how one's heart beats, based on a non-health care professional's opinion.
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Greatly Improved CHF, A-Fib, HBP, Asthma:

⇒ Eliminate household items that are toxic!
⇒ Balanced, healthy, low glycemic diet
⇒ Lots of Exercise
⇒ Avoid night allergens, toxins
⇒ Coreg!

Last edited by Machaon; 03-02-2010 at 02:46 PM.

 
Old 03-02-2010, 09:43 AM   #8
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Re: My Successful Ablation - Just Do It!

Again, you have A-Fib a much less curable and more dangerous rhythm. I am on here talking mainly to those who have AVNRT, the most curable and also a common problem. AVNRT ablation is a whole different ballgame and the sad part is that so many with A-Fib and conditions that are much more dangerous to ablate are scaring those of us with AVNRT that have an excellent chance of successful ablation. I am posting because I feel many AVNRT folks don't post after an ablation they just go on with their lives. Many of those on these boards have more complex rhythms. So, again, if you have AVNRT highly consider an ablation. Do not let those with A-Fib and more dangerous conditions scare you into living with a condition that requires taking dangerous drugs, major lifestyle adjustments and ER visits. Instead, do not take my word for it but rather see a good electrophysiologists and he will also tell you how safe it is for AVNRT. Thanks!

 
Old 03-02-2010, 09:49 AM   #9
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Re: My Successful Ablation - Just Do It!

You are not a doctor so you are not qualified to tell someone in a generic way not to have an ablation. The safety depends on the condition and I was a fool because I let people on these boards scare me for years in not having an ablation and the heart drugs almost killed me because of it. That's why I'm expressing my opinion not to give medical advice but rather to tell AVNRT folks to see a "good" doctor and really find out the truth about ablations success in the case of "our" rhythm problem. This man has A-Fib and other conditions.

Last edited by lltomich; 03-02-2010 at 09:50 AM.

 
Old 03-02-2010, 03:12 PM   #10
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Re: My Successful Ablation - Just Do It!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lltomich View Post
... Do not let those with A-Fib and more dangerous conditions scare you into living with a condition that requires taking dangerous drugs, major lifestyle adjustments and ER visits.
I've been taking Digoxin for my AFib, Tachycardia and Heart Failure for over 22 years; and it has done a remarkable job keeping my heart rhythm relatively normal, and my heart beating fairly well.

Coreg is a wonderful medication.

What are the dangerous drugs for which you would most want to warn others? I'm sure a list of these dangerous drugs could be of value.

Heart Failure used to be a death sentence. Since the discovery of Ace Inhibitors, Calcium Channel Blockers and Beta Blockers, patients, like me, are living longer, with a higher quality of life than every before.

I have only been in the ER once within the past 22 years. I have not been hospitalized in the last 22 years because of the wonderful Heart medications.

I live a virtual bubble but not because of my Heart Failure or my Atrial Fibrillation but because of my Immune Dysfunction.

Quote:
Again, get a good doctor and JUST DO IT. You will be very glad you did and you can come back here like I did and post and tell everyone else that it's a no-brainer. Reclaim your life!
How can you tell everyone to get an ablation regardless of individual health problems, and without knowing their health history; and, most importantly, without being a medical professional or having any medical education?!

Quote:
Again, you have A-Fib a much less curable and more dangerous rhythm.
Oh? Well..... what is your advice to me, to get an ablation, or not?

Quote:
You are not a doctor so you are not qualified to tell someone in a generic way not to have an ablation.
You are not a doctor, or medical professional, so you are not qualified to tell someone in a generic way to have an ablation.

I actually agree with you that those with heart rhythm problems, especially AVNRT, should consider Radio Frequency AV Node Ablation as a very viable option; and should make sure that they understand the risks versus rewards, and go to the best Heart Specialist(s) that they can find.

I can also understand that you are excited about your own seemingly successful ablation, even though it is a little early to tell how long your ablation will really be effective.

I wanted to have this discussion with you so that others would understand that ablation is not always the best option. For instance, if I was a teenager with AFib, I would be very cautious before having an ablation, which would require me to wear a pacemaker the rest of my life. If a new, better cure was found, after the permanently changing ablation, the teenager might not be able to take advantage of the new, better, safer method.

I have to be very careful because, if a pacemaker would be implanted into my chest which would conflict with my Immune Dysfunction, it would quickly kill me before they could remove it. When you tell me point blank, without knowing my health history to:
Quote:
Again, get a good doctor and JUST DO IT. You will be very glad you did and you can come back here like I did and post and tell everyone else that it's a no-brainer.
; I am pleased that at my age, I still can look before I leap. For me, and my wife, there is a lot at risk.

When you tell me to get an ablation anyway, I'm wondering if somehow, someway you are in league with my mother-in-law!?

The best of health and luck to you. I am looking forward to reading your updates on your ablation, and I hope that it is a permanent, long-lasting cure as you have stated.
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Greatly Improved CHF, A-Fib, HBP, Asthma:

⇒ Eliminate household items that are toxic!
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⇒ Lots of Exercise
⇒ Avoid night allergens, toxins
⇒ Coreg!

Last edited by Machaon; 03-02-2010 at 03:28 PM.

 
Old 03-03-2010, 02:59 AM   #11
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Re: My Successful Ablation - Just Do It!

I have great sympathy for you and your A-Fib and related conditions. I know several people with A-Fib and it's difficult and complex. My AVNRT compared to your A-Fib is like comparing apples to oranges. Sort of like comparing an allergic rash to melenoma. AVNRT is mostly benign and A-Fib is dangerous and can cause clots and strokes. Where AVNRT becomes problematic (and again I'm enjoying our conversation but my purpose is to help those with AVNRT not A-Fib as the treatments are 100% different) is as you age and you have a higher risk of other underlying heart issues it is not wise to live with a condition like AVNRT that spontaneous causes your heart to go to 160 - 250 beats a minute. As for drugs being dangerous, as an AVNRT patient (and not A-Fib) the medicines used to treat are different as well so more apples/oranges comparison. Since I didn't have an underlying actual heart problem like someone with A-Fib or high blood pressure the medicine didn't work it made my heart beat too slowly and my blood pressure too low. Cardiologists said the reason was I didn't need it on a daily basis only when I had any arrythmia. So instead I would try to bring the rhythm down by one of the SVT techniques uses or go to the ER and get Adeosine (which works for AVNRT but not A-Fib). Adeosine would sometimes cause my heart to temporarily go into Ventricular Tachycardia which was dangerous of course to my heart. Therefore, the drugs were dangerous to my healthy heart. Ablation meant no more dangerous drugs. I'm enjoying our conversation but you are comparing your situation for A-Fib to mine which is AVNRT and in reality the two couldn't be more different. If someone has A-Fib maybe they should be reading another post. If someone has AVNRT then mine should give them food for thought. I wish you the best but please don't diminish my comments for those that are looking for treatment for AVNRT when you do not have the same medical problem that I have. I do not have experience with A-Fib and you do not have it with AVNRT. I hope this clarifies things for those who are reading this post. I may not have a guarantee that this will work forever but I have a 95 - 98% chance that it will indeed work based on research of other AVNRT ablations. And I can say that my heart is 100% different then a week ago. I have no skips, flutters, jumps, nothing. My heart is beating perfectly well and that hasn't happened in 18 years. That is an excellent sign for a successful outcome. I see no reason it will change.

 
Old 03-10-2010, 01:44 PM   #12
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Re: My Successful Ablation - Just Do It!

usually boards only have health problems and not many successes. good for you.
i have had 3 ablations for afib since 2003. the longest inbetween time was between my 2nd and 3rd one (4 years). i guess mine found other pathways because even after my 3rd one on 10/2009, it has already returned. looks like coumadin and perhaps other drugs in my future. i have a neighbor that has had 4 ablations at the same hospt. and the same doctor that i have had it done. u. of m. has records of a woman who has had 7.

Last edited by hb-mod; 03-10-2010 at 01:48 PM. Reason: Removed Quote. Please use "Quick" Reply rather than "Quote" Reply. Thanks!

 
Old 03-11-2010, 03:24 AM   #13
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Re: My Successful Ablation - Just Do It!

Thanks. I think those that are successful often don't come back to post. I'm sorry to hear about all your ablations for A-Fib. A-Fib is a different beast than AVNRT and is not nearly as easy to control or fix. The ablations seem to help for A-Fib but a complete cure is much harder! I'm definitely encouraging those with AVNRT, the condition I have to do the ablation though because it's 95 - 98% permanently curable on the very first try. I'm about 2 weeks out from surgery now and I've done all kinds of things that would have caused an SVT and nothing. Just a regular good old heart for the first time in years. At times I get a bit emotional because I'm so happy. I don't want those with AVNRT to needlessly suffer like I did!

 
Old 03-18-2010, 01:05 AM   #14
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Re: My Successful Ablation - Just Do It!

You know what... I am GLAD you posted this thread and your experience.

I just posted a question asking for peoples experience with ablations.
I'm thinking of doing a cryoablation for PVC's and PAC's.

I only ever had PAC's once in a blue moon, like a few times a year and for a few minutes. This went on for years. I didn't even know it was a problem. One dr even went as far as to say they were panic attacks before I was able to catch them on a montior.

In the last 19 months, I got pregnant. 2 months into 1st trimester, I had to go to ER due to a LOT of PAC's. That's when I found out "what" they were. I also found my potassium, magnesium, and sodium were on the low side. Maybe due to being pregnant and not eating well enough? I wasn't pregnant enough to be starving, I thought I was eating well enough but, wrong. So I dealt with that and the PAC's did go away.... for a while.

I had my son. Then I had no sleep for nearly 4 months and ate terrible due to being too tired to mess with cooking and the PAC's got worse. I figured it was diet, sleep, stress, etc. You know.... What the cardiologist says.

So I experimented, hired a day time baby sitter in ym home while I sleep as much as I need if I don;t get any the night before, this also has given me time to relax and deal with stress, eat better, etc.... I've discovered, "for me", that it's so random, no matter what I do they come and go and for the last nearly 7 months they're here nearly every day with the exception of about 3 weeks straight free of them.

A few weeks ago they were TERRIBLE. I had new symptoms I never had before. Chest pain, shoulder & shoulder blade pain, shortness of breath on top of what I thought was just PAC's. I figured I pulled a muscle and was also having PAC's.
I went to ER after 4 days of this to find out my PAC's have progressed to PVC's. I was having anywhere from 3 to 7 in a row without a normal beat.... for 5 days straight then.

I couldn't take it anymore. I'm a new mom. I can't just lay down till they go away and I can't do anything BUT lay down when I do have the PVC's.

I can't take meds due to low blood pressure, asthma, and being young (35y/o). Besides beta blockers and calcium channel blockers, the heart meds are not meant for long term use cause they shorten life span due to over working the heart or cause scarring of the pulmonary arteries, etc.

Cryo Ablation is much safer than RF Ablation from what I've read. And not everyone will have to get a pace maker. That depends on the location of the ablation (if you get a pacemaker or not) and on your hearts own natural pace maker. If you have a healthy heart, it should work fine and does in most cases from what I've read all over the place and heard from the offices that do these procedures that I've called. One of the dr's I called has only had 3 people need a pace maker in the last 2 years and they knew it before they had the procedure.

Anywho, I'm going to go for it. I'm a little scared but hey... I'm equally scared of my dentist so big deal. I just can't deal with these any other way due to my not being a candidate for medications. I'd LOVE to be able to take a beta blocker..... But I don't have that option due to my asthma.

I'll be meeting with the electrophysiologist in a few weeks to see what can be done exactly and will be posting my experience on the thread I started on the Heart Boards here.

I'm so happy for you that your ablation went well and THANK YOU for telling your story here! I really don't want to look back 18 years from now and kick myself for not doing it.
I'm well informed about the procedure, risks, etc.. I'm willing to take my chances. Worst case, I get a pacemaker which will help my heart beat more normal anyway so I feel it's a win win either way for some one who can not take the meds.

 
Old 03-19-2010, 04:51 AM   #15
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Re: My Successful Ablation - Just Do It!

I wish you the absolute best! I had radiofrequency ablation which has a bit higher success rate and still very low complication rate. I just found out that I had my surgery was done in the first hospital in North America and the third in the world that got the EP Cockpit in Kansas City. Guess you don't always have to live in the biggest city to get excellent medical care! I'm 3 weeks out now and my heart is very calm. The first few weeks I had some PAC's and thumps and then around the 2 week point just calm, no more anything weird. I feel like I have a brand new heart! 18 years ago they didn't have the technology for ablations they have today and I lived at the time in Pittsburgh, PA and no one even mentioned an ablation until I m moved to Kansas City. In 2005 I was told the first time about the possibility of an ablation but that doctor scared me with his quote of a 1 in 20 risk of complication so I didn't do it. I also didn't like his style he seemed kind of arrogent and unfriendly, made me nervous. In 2009 I met my current electrophysiologist and he was calm, cool, knowledgable and a nice person and he made me feel very confident that it was the right decision. You just have to find the right surgeon, keep looking until you do. I know what it's like to be pregnant and have this problem and then have young children and have to worry about this as well. The first electrophysiologist I met scared me to death in Pittsburgh when they told me if I lived for two years I would probably be OK. So for two years with a newborn and a 3 year old I had to live in fear. All along I didn't need to! I'm so glad they have great technology today! Please come back and post after your ablation and tell us about your success!! I'm looking forward to hearing about it!!

 
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ablation, ablation surgery, avnrt, supraventricular tachycardia, svt



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