Scared about Ablation for AFib.

Posted by rubywitch67 @rubywitch67, Mar 18, 2019

I am a 67 year old woman with paroxysmal AFIB diagnosed in October of 2018. On Wednesday, 3/20, I am having an ablation. I had two cardiac stents placed about 10 years ago, so SOME of the procedure I’m familiar with, but this seems much more frightening to me. I like and trust both my cardiologist and the EP who will be doing the procedure, but there wasn’t much time for them to answer all my questions. I am BEGGING anyone who has had an ablation to tell me what it’s going to be like AFTER the procedure. I’ve read and heard SO many conflicting stories, I don’t know what or who to believe and that is pushing my anxiety through the roof! Will it really be 3-6 months before I know if the ablation worked? Will I really still have episodes of AFIB for months afterwards? Will I have lots of chest pains, which I’ve read I will? How am I really going to feel? I know I will need to stay on the Xarelto, but will they put me on antiarrhythmics as well? I am just so scared about the “after” part of this procedure as nobody has really told me everything I can expect. I have panic disorder, which definitely does NOT help, but when I KNOW what to expect, I can control the panic. PLEASE…….if any of you can help me soon I would be ever so grateful. I have nobody to turn to but you folks. Thank you from the bottom of my wonky heart. Linda

@hankwin

Can anyone explain if long term atrial flutter damages the heart muscle. My heart stays in flutter 70 percent of the time and has been in continuous flutter since 6 Dec

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Hi, sorry to see you joined the afib club. Mine started out in early November as an irregular beat, I went to the hospital, told I was in afib, was admitted, changed my medicine, dropping the Beta Block amount I was taking by a ludicrous amount, causing an unbelievablely fast heart rate. Finally getting it under control rate wise, I was discharged and might be undergoing Electro-Cardioversion and change, in the hospital, of my medication from Metoprolol to Sotalol.

My early symptoms were just an irregular heart beat, then became a fluttering I could feel across my heart, then became fluttering I can only feel on the left side of the heart. Much of the time I feel no fluttering, and am hopeful I converted back to sinus rhythm, but alas, my highly irregular pulse reveals otherwise.

Looking just now, it said the effects of afib are generally progressive. At this point, I'm not short of breath, dizzy, etc., though my rate goes too high, reasonably so, during exertion. It also said the sooner some form of Cardioversion is attempted, closer to the it's first onset, the more likely it will be successfully converted for an extended time.

Hope this is of some help.

Liked by Dee

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I have had 3 ablutions. The procedure has no bad after effects. My latest was on 1 March and I was back coaching my middle school baseball team 3 days later. It is possible you may have a fib episodes the first couple months after the surgery until the scar tissue the ep creates around the source of your unwanted electrical impulses solidifies. I bet you will be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is and how much better you feel. There is a good chance your doc will not add any drugs afterward except for your blood thinner.

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I'm 65 and had an ablation in November and a lot of anxiety going in as well despite having full confidence in my doctors. Mine was to treat v-tach, not afib, but the process is about the same as I understand it. I admitted early and often that I had a lot of anxiety and as soon as possible they added something to the IV that helped. The only after procedure things were that you needed to stay still the first hours after and watching closely for bleeding at the points of entry for a week. Other than that I have had no issues and feel better than ever. I was told to there may be recurrence of events after, but there have been none. No additional meds have been added. Good luck!

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Linda, how bad is your afib? How often do you have episodes? And, how bad are the episodes? I'm curious because I was just diagnosed 3/8 and have no idea what lies ahead for me. I see my GP this morning and assume I will get a referral to a cardiologist. I may be facing an ablation as well.

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@catmom777

Linda, how bad is your afib? How often do you have episodes? And, how bad are the episodes? I'm curious because I was just diagnosed 3/8 and have no idea what lies ahead for me. I see my GP this morning and assume I will get a referral to a cardiologist. I may be facing an ablation as well.

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catmom777…..I am SO sorry I didn't respond today. I ended up having a lot of friends and family stop by because they knew how freaked out I was. While it was just what I needed to relax a little, I'm now running around like a chicken with no head getting all my stuff ready to check into the hospital at 7am. I promise I will write to you as soon as possible and respond to your questions. You MAY end up going the ablation route, too, but there are a few things they will try long before it is decided an ablation would be the best next step. I think, like me, you are putting the cart before the horse! But again, I will write to you as soon as possible. Take good care of yourself! Linda

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@catmom777

Linda, how bad is your afib? How often do you have episodes? And, how bad are the episodes? I'm curious because I was just diagnosed 3/8 and have no idea what lies ahead for me. I see my GP this morning and assume I will get a referral to a cardiologist. I may be facing an ablation as well.

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Hi Catmom, My understand it that you need an ablation when your heart rhythm is totally out of whack…and other means like meds can't control it. You may find that the doctor says to just cut out stimulants and you will be fine. Btw, do you ever drink coffee or tea? For me, even a half cup of caffeinated coffee and my heart thumps and races to well over 100 beats per minute. Too many carbs do the same thing. Check any supplements you take. Often there is a stimulant in them. Spicy foods like you had the other night can also stimulate the heart. And as I said in a previous message, if your doctor thought your condition were serious, he/she would have sent you directly to the ER. Keep a record of your events to show the cardiologist.
You asked something about pain in the chest. According to my cardiologist, a heart pain or discomfort moves…travels up the arm or into the neck etc.. In any case, it is not in one spot. That is how I know if what I am feeling is cardiac related or not. And I have had a discomfort that radiates here and there so I presume has been my heart. It is reassuring when it is in one place because it is likely a chest muscle. I am not a doctor but I am repeating what the cardiologist told me.
Relax and try not to focus on your heart. You'll be fine until you see the cardiologist. I think that by nature you are a worry wort, right?

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Hello Linda Ruby Witch (cute name). I am sorry to hear you are having such trouble with your heart. Today you are having or have had your ablation. Too late to say anything except, I wish you all the best.
My aunt who suffered for years from Afib (and who died at age 88 of old age) had several ablations. She had no issues afterwards. She went home and carried on with her life with her heart back in rhythm.
I have the same question for you, Linda as I have for catmom. Have you banished all stimulants from your diet? Coffee, tea, chocolate, Coke and energy drinks, liquorice, alcohol, being in the company of smokers, nutritional supplements that may have stimulants like gingko biloba, ephedrine which is in decongestants and dental anaesthetic, too many carbs? Do you push your heart regularly (walks, exercise…)?
A lot is under your control. We can't always rely on doctors to fix what ails us. We need to take charge of our health and do our own research. Then we are in a better position to confer with our doctors and to make informed decisions.
I am sure all will go well with your ablation and you will be able to resume your normal activities and enjoy a beautiful spring…and today is the first day of spring. A good omen!

Liked by jeffkirc

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@afrobin

Hi Catmom, My understand it that you need an ablation when your heart rhythm is totally out of whack…and other means like meds can't control it. You may find that the doctor says to just cut out stimulants and you will be fine. Btw, do you ever drink coffee or tea? For me, even a half cup of caffeinated coffee and my heart thumps and races to well over 100 beats per minute. Too many carbs do the same thing. Check any supplements you take. Often there is a stimulant in them. Spicy foods like you had the other night can also stimulate the heart. And as I said in a previous message, if your doctor thought your condition were serious, he/she would have sent you directly to the ER. Keep a record of your events to show the cardiologist.
You asked something about pain in the chest. According to my cardiologist, a heart pain or discomfort moves…travels up the arm or into the neck etc.. In any case, it is not in one spot. That is how I know if what I am feeling is cardiac related or not. And I have had a discomfort that radiates here and there so I presume has been my heart. It is reassuring when it is in one place because it is likely a chest muscle. I am not a doctor but I am repeating what the cardiologist told me.
Relax and try not to focus on your heart. You'll be fine until you see the cardiologist. I think that by nature you are a worry wort, right?

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Another bad night. I had 1/2 a sandwich from Costco with bean soup/collard greens. Very tired today. More pain in that upper left area of my chest also. I called the doc's office and she can't get me in until next Tuesday, but her assistant is going to call me back with her response to my concerns. I'm lightheaded again. Wouldn't dare drive, but also don't want to go to the ER or call an ambulance. It could be low blood sugar because I woke up so hungry. Waiting to feel better before I do a lot. House is a mess.
Yes, I'm a worry wart. My dad used to say that.
I did cut out all coffee, green tea, have not had any wine since the night before my heart went crazy (3/8). I've been trying to eat really healthy. Diagnosed with osteoporosis also a couple weeks ago so went out & bought Costco calcium/Vit. D/magnesium/zinc supplements and started with one tablet last night after dinner.
Might be able to get in to see the cardiologist 4/23–the soonest one available that's in my plan network. that will be interesting. I keep thinking I'm going to die before then though. I feel so rotten today. I hope someday I will feel good again, or at least decent.
I'm whining. This is not fun at all. Did you feel rotten sometimes before you got adjusted to it all?

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Sorry your not feeling well; anxiety could be contributing to the issue. "Diagnosed with osteoporosis also a couple weeks ago so went out & bought Costco calcium/Vit. D/magnesium/zinc supplements and started with one tablet last night after dinner."…..sure you want to self prescribe without your Dr's ok? … especially the calcium supplement?? … just some thoughts….

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@jeffkirc

Sorry your not feeling well; anxiety could be contributing to the issue. "Diagnosed with osteoporosis also a couple weeks ago so went out & bought Costco calcium/Vit. D/magnesium/zinc supplements and started with one tablet last night after dinner."…..sure you want to self prescribe without your Dr's ok? … especially the calcium supplement?? … just some thoughts….

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I agree with you. I catch myself not breathing sometimes. Not. Breathing. Yeah, like that is going to keep me from getting an afib episode. So then I take some deep breaths. We had rain last night so now I'm going outside to smell the fresh air. I feel a little bit better after laying down a bit though. Thanks for feedback.

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I have had 5 ablations and I never had any issues and felt actually better. No worries it will ok

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Hi catmom! How long are these episodes of arrhythmia? 5 minutes? And how many are in an average minute? 2 or 3? And how often do they occur? Twice to three times a day? And the pain in your chest; is the pain in one spot or does it 'travel'?

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Hi again catmom! You say you feel horrible. Is that psychological (worry) or do you feel faint or weak?

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@afrobin

Hi catmom! How long are these episodes of arrhythmia? 5 minutes? And how many are in an average minute? 2 or 3? And how often do they occur? Twice to three times a day? And the pain in your chest; is the pain in one spot or does it 'travel'?

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I can't tell you about the arrythmias. I feel them sometimes, like a flutter, that only last a second, then other times I feel like my heart has gone out of rhythm and I check my pulse, but I can't tell. I can go two days without feeling any flutters or feeling my heart is not beating right, and then (like last night) go to bed and can't sleep because my heart is pounding so hard. I walked to the store after lunch (too dizzy to drive but walking is good anyway) and bought a blood pressure monitor because I thought maybe I feel awful because my blood pressure is too low, but no, it was 122/68 and it's a monitor that says when you're heart is out of rhythm, and the pulse part said 69 with no indications of irregularities. So, I'm all confused. I called the doc's office and she can't see me today or tomorrow but they said if I still feel awful on Monday, they'll make a spot for me although she said she doesn't know what she can do for me. I did find a cardiologist though. He's booked 5-6 weeks out. Waiting for a call back on setting an appointment (he requires a referral from my doc).

There are two pains in my chest and neither are there all the time. One is about 4" below my clavicle on the left and feels like a muscle ache. The other is a sharp pain in the middle of my chest to the left that I hardly ever get but when I do it gets my attention because it feels like I'm being poked by a sharp needle right there. And, no, I have not noticed that it travels.

Such a mystery, along with why I got this and why it hit me all of a sudden like a ton of bricks.

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@afrobin

Hi again catmom! You say you feel horrible. Is that psychological (worry) or do you feel faint or weak?

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I do feel faint and weak but the doc was not concerned. I got the impression that as long as a patient is on blood thinners, they don't worry–your heart can beat its way out of your chest and walk off and the docs wouldn't be concerned because there's no stroke risk.

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