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rubywitch67 (@rubywitch67)

Post Ablation Recovery – Need Help!!

Heart Rhythm Conditions | Last Active: Jun 11, 2019 | Replies (30)

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@rubywitch67 Hello.. You haven't posted for a while and I hope that means you are feeling better. I just read your concerns and a few things you mentioned caught my attention. It sounds like you were being cardioverted every few months and I am curious whether it was something you had requested, or prompted by your EP. I just had one done a few days ago and the fellow who did it had a strange reaction when I mentioned my last one was 6 months ago – he acted like it was way too soon. I did ask my EP how often it should be done and he said it was entirely up to me. I've been dealing with afib for more than 20 years and the protocol back then is that they try every drug on you until they stop working — ablation was not option until then. The only one that worked well for me for many years with minimal side effects was propafenone. Sotalol did not work; dofetilide caused problems with the QTc and multaq was especially toxic for my liver. The big bugaboo is actually amiodarone — extremely toxic — and I resisted it as long as I could. It worked very well for about 7 years. But finally they got better at ablations and I was scheduled back in 2017. The first did not work so well so they scheduled another (had to wait a good 3 months) which was cancelled and rescheduled to Sept. Other than the 2 cardiofversions I have been doing well. Would it be possible for you to get a second opinion or even to switch to a different EP? It is odd that he would not discuss all your options with you first instead of sticking it his summary. Having said that , I think it is worth trying a few anti-arrhythmic meds to see if they work for you. It is important to monitor for side effects of course. I did survive the dreaded amiodarone for 7 years…. Unfortunately, my EP is now suggesting going back to it if my atrial flutter persists. Ugh. I am quite happy with a cardioversion if it keeps me in sinus for 6 months. The other option is even worst – AV node ablation and pacemaker. Or another ablation. All of which I will discuss with him in person in a few weeks and get a few other opinions as well. Hope this helps.

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Replies to "@rubywitch67 Hello.. You haven't posted for a while and I hope that means you are feeling..."

To sayaboleh…….Thanks for your reply and I'm sorry I haven't replied soon. It's been a crazy week full of "out of town" guests for 8 days and it left me exhausted. The first thing about YOUR reply that caught MY eye was when you said….."It sounds like you were being cardioverted every few months and I am curious whether it was something you had requested, or prompted by your EP" I am now wondering if you have confused my post with another as I have NEVER undergone a cardioversion. 10 years ago my cardiologist diagnosed me with CAD and test showed that I had blockage, so I had two stents placed. The problem was essentially solved and I have seen him every 6 months for follow ups and lab work. When my PVC's increased and became bothersome to me, he had me wear a Holter which showed AFIB episodes. This was in October of 2018, he started me immediately on Xarelto and we discussed antiarrhythmics at that time. When first diagnosed, I did a lot of research about antiarrhythmics, both on Google and in the two AFIB support groups I had joined. What I read and what people had said about their own experiences with antiarrhythmics, I came away with a rather negative attitude about these drugs. I have severe panic disorder and just one of the "amusing" ways it manifests itself is in health anxiety (NOT hypochondria) and from personal experience, side effects of medications. My cardiologist is aware of this problem and it was his belief that I probably would not be successful with the antiarrhythmics, so he suggested I discuss this with an EP. We set up an appointment and while waiting for that, I had an echocardiogram done. I live in a rural area and we only have ONE EP that must cover 3 counties…….it took until late January 2019 to get an appointment. By this time, my AFIB episodes were getting more frequent and lasting longer. I was told I had paroxysmal AFib because the episodes stopped on their own. The EP discussed options, one of which was trying antiarrhythmics or ablation. He said he had read of my anxiety in relation to the antiarrhythmics, and believed that for me, an ablation would be the better choice. I talked with my cardiologist and he agreed. Many people in the support groups agreed. So I set up an appointment for the procedure which wouldn't take place until March 20th. So……from the point of diagnosis until the procedure, only 5 months had passed. I seemed to be doing fine on the Xarelto with only some minor spells of dizziness when I first began taking it. The AFIB was pretty quiet during the day but got pretty bad after I had eaten dinner and would last anywhere from 2-6 hours. I thought it odd that it began almost precisely at 8p almost every night and naturally I began to wonder if this was being triggered by my anxiety. I, personally, don't know of ANY disease that strikes at the same time every day! (For anybody who has managed to read this far into my "blog," I give you a lot of credit and my thanks!) The day of my procedure came and needless to say I was terrified. Even though I had previously been through a cardiac laparoscopy procedure for the stent placements, I think the idea of someone "burning" my heart was freaking me out. All went well with the procedure but apparently, I had a bit of a rough time coming out of the general. Nothing life threating, it just took quite a bit longer than "normal." But once I WAS out of it, I felt OK……well, as "OK" as anyone can expect. The next day as I was being discharged, I was told what to expect during this "blanking" period. Among the things I was told I could look forward to was a few days to a week of feeling short of breath due to the swelling of my innards from all the mucking about they had done. (My procedure took a little over 6 hours) I did, indeed, experience many of the side effects, including the shortness of breath, which did improve after a week. And it is at THIS point that I wrote to you folks because the shortness of breath did not go away completely. I am just now (June 2019) starting my third month of recovery and feel, at times, that I can't get a deep breath. I'm not even sure if one would consider that shortness of breath, as I can climb stairs and do yard work and take care of the livestock and not have to stop to "catch my breath." (At least, any more than any other time when you're working hard) Which brings us back to my anxiety. After that first week when the REAL shortness of breath stopped, which had made me feel very anxious, I kept trying to take one deep breath after another. Anybody who has tried that knows it's damn near impossible. I'm not talking about the kind of deep breath you take when the doctor is listening to your heart, I'm talking about the REALLY, REALLY deep breath that feels good and "cleansing." The more I tried and the more times I failed, the more anxious I became until I have reached the point I'm at now. Which I think is a rather unhealthy point of obsession about my breathing. I DID call my EP's office and had a long talk with his PA and we both concluded that since I did not have this problem until AFTER the ablation, it was almost a given it was my anxiety. The PA did order another echocardiogram, which I just had Thursday, May 30th. The very next day, my cardiologist wrote and said "everything looks really good. Have a great week-end." So…..while this WAS incredibly reassuring and my shortness of breath seems "less," I am STILL monitoring my every breath. I realize that many of you are rolling your eyes in exasperation about my stupid anxiety, I am asking if anyone out there who has had an ablation has ever felt this shortness of breath or a feeling of not being able to get enough air……or am I truly just doing this to myself? I am REALLY sorry for being such a pain in everyone's rear…..I'm alone and scared and have nobody to talk to about this. (Even my dog yawns when I talk to him now. How pathetic does THAT make me!) Thank you from the bottom of my wonky heart.