Waiting for my ablation on May 14th...can someone calm me down?

Posted by cece55 @cece55, Apr 22 8:00am

Hello everyone…I need some help…I have had Afib for three years now. I am on Metroporal (25mg 3x a day) and Eliquis. My Afib appeared three years ago for one episode and then another two months later. I did not have a third episode until I took the Covid vaccine and now I have them every month. Last week I was cardioconverted after a week of being in Afib with an ablation planned for May 14th. Can anyone walk me thru the process and reassure me that this is a simple procedure? I have read alot on this site about the procedure but am still so anxious.

The cardioversion which I had last Tuesday lasted for a little over one week. I went into Afib last night. My doctor wants me to take Flecainide in addition to my other medicines. I am terrified of this drug and all the side effects. I am very drug sensitive and don't know how I will respond.

My Afib is a controlled Afib with normal blood pressure and heart rate no higher than 90. I am tempted to go the next three weeks without adding the Felecainide and just make it to my ablation. Thoughts? I am a little tired, stressed and very anxious. I have a full client load and find that if I can work while in Afib, my mind takes me away from all this anxiety. I might add that I am one of those people that can feel the Afib very clearly.

Friends…I really need some positive reinforcement now…so sad that the cardioconversion didn't hold me over to the ablation in three weeks.

CECE 55

Flecainide caused my husband to pass out and hit a telephone pole last April totalling my car. He had an ablation in November and has not had afib since. Ablation with a top notch doc is good, flecainide is bad.

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I had all three going, it stopped the SVT and the flutter, wasn't able to correct the afib but have felt great since. Best thing I could have done!

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My Afib sounds much like yours. My heart would stop when it tried to convert back back out of Afib. Scary! Have been on all the medications, including Flecainide. (had to spend a day in hospital having a trial of this drug to make sure no side effects) Cardioversion never worked. I was terrified to have the Ablation. So glad I did! Got my life back. Afib is an awful condition, but I am sure you will be saying thank goodness I had the Ablation!

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@cece55 @danab Facing a new health procedure can be overwhelming and daunting. Then trying to fill the moments until you finally reach the date of the appointment gives you way too much time to worry and let that anxiety grow! It’s really good you have your job to provide a distraction during the interim.

I’m going to tag one of my fellow mentors who’s had several ablations. I know Dana can provide you with some firsthand information and hopefully put your mind at ease.

Wishing you all the best! Lori.

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Thank you for responding to me Lori…yes, work does help.

I finally broke down my fear and took 1/2 a flecainide pill. 50 MG. It really did nothing but make me tired. Tomorrow I will take the full 100 MG pill and hopefully it will stop the AFIB until my ablation in 3 weeks.

Blessings to you.

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I was diagnosed with AFIB in late May 2020. No family history of heart issues. Was placed on Eloquis, Metoprolol and flecainide. Had 2 Tee-cardivsons which failed and then had a ablation 1 October 2020. I had considerable pain and difficulties in getting up from bed without help from my husband for about 10 days. Followup in December 2020 still had me in AFIB. I was being advised to have another ablation in January, which I strongly disagreed with. Alternative was another strong medication Amiodarone (many side effects on label). Normally, using that medication has a three day hospitization requirement, because of the pandemic no hospital beds with this medical issue. Started on 3 January 2021 and on/or about 11 January 2021, I was back in Normal Sinus Rythmn (self diagnosed that date with an ECG app on my Android smartphone with Fitbit Sense) which was confirmed on my followup appointment in early February 2021. Based on my daily reading with my Fitbit Sense and 3 other EKGs, I have only had 1 AFIB incident. Lessons learned – don't get too anxious about the procedure (just prepare for procedure with guidance and have patience for recovery), my research shows that you can have several cardivison and ablations for treatment, keep good daily record/diary and if inclined buy either a proven smartwatch or device. Look at software membership yearly cost, the one advertised on Amazon has $180 yearly cost and the membership for Fitbit Sense comes with a free six month trial. MHA

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@mhanso83

I was diagnosed with AFIB in late May 2020. No family history of heart issues. Was placed on Eloquis, Metoprolol and flecainide. Had 2 Tee-cardivsons which failed and then had a ablation 1 October 2020. I had considerable pain and difficulties in getting up from bed without help from my husband for about 10 days. Followup in December 2020 still had me in AFIB. I was being advised to have another ablation in January, which I strongly disagreed with. Alternative was another strong medication Amiodarone (many side effects on label). Normally, using that medication has a three day hospitization requirement, because of the pandemic no hospital beds with this medical issue. Started on 3 January 2021 and on/or about 11 January 2021, I was back in Normal Sinus Rythmn (self diagnosed that date with an ECG app on my Android smartphone with Fitbit Sense) which was confirmed on my followup appointment in early February 2021. Based on my daily reading with my Fitbit Sense and 3 other EKGs, I have only had 1 AFIB incident. Lessons learned – don't get too anxious about the procedure (just prepare for procedure with guidance and have patience for recovery), my research shows that you can have several cardivison and ablations for treatment, keep good daily record/diary and if inclined buy either a proven smartwatch or device. Look at software membership yearly cost, the one advertised on Amazon has $180 yearly cost and the membership for Fitbit Sense comes with a free six month trial. MHA

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Hello @mhanso83 and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Thank you so much for sharing your story and journey with AFIB. I think you bring up a good point to keep diary and use a proven smartwatch or device that can help with tracking. Very sage advice.

Do you feel that tracking and journaling gives you more peace of mind and less anxiety overall as an added benefit?

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@cece55 Hi CeCe and a big welcome to Connect. I definitely can relate to anxiety about this new world of Heart Issues, I see you mentioned your about 3 years with this but it sounds like it's not under control.at the moment. Boy can I relate thru my journey I had a few set backs and while your in the middle of them it seems like forever. Now as to advice for any rythym issue stress does not help. I think a few times the thought of another episode was worse than the event. I can't completely relate to Afb I didn't have that condition mine was VT for short a big word for basically a fast heartbeat in the lower heart region. Where I believe afib is more the upper heart area. Now as for ablations I've had quite a few so there im kinda an expert
Not that I would want anyone to need that much experience. 😆
So the Ablation is a process where they do what's called a mapping of your heart to try and find the electrical pathways causing your a fib episodes. If they find any they will at that same time have already gotten your approval to ablate them. This process basically takes any pathways out by sealing the path from affecting the normal rhythm of your heart.
The procedure can take anywhere from an hour to as long as a few hours depending on how much mapping needs to be done to find them. You will be taken to what's called a Cath Lab where that have you possibly in a relaxed awake type condition to start the mapping and depending on the results of that they may put you completely out or maybe in a type of twilight sleep. Usually in my case I was put to sleep for the actual ablation.
Once they start the ablation they will start a catheter either thru your groin area or neck depending on what the surgeon perfers and where in the heart they want to access. I've heard that even the wrist can be used but I never had one of those.
During the ablation they will basically put you in afib and ablate the path they suspect. If it stops the event it's a success if not there may be more than one so that's where the length comes in. They will usually keep that process up until they find all the paths causing issues.
After they are completed they will take you to a recovery area and if the groin area was used it means 3-6/hours on your back to make sure the artery or vein used closes up and you can go home. Depending on the closer type you may be back in recovery before the final closure is done and someone will need to basically remove a plug and apply pressure on it for about 10 minutes. I always felt sorry for the nurse that had that duty since it can seem.like a long time and hard on the hands.
So during the 3-6/hours usually you just need to lay there watch some TV or something. Usually about half way thru they start raising the bed and its then I always looked forward to so I could Eat. If I didn't mention usually nothing to eat or drink for 8 hours prior to the procedure.
So there are some basics. Please ask any questions you have and ill try and answer.
May your day be Blessed
Dana

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@amandajro

Hello @mhanso83 and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Thank you so much for sharing your story and journey with AFIB. I think you bring up a good point to keep diary and use a proven smartwatch or device that can help with tracking. Very sage advice.

Do you feel that tracking and journaling gives you more peace of mind and less anxiety overall as an added benefit?

Jump to this post

Please remember this was a short time frame (8 – 9 months) during the CORVID-19 crisis, and along with losing my mother and younger brother (non-COVID) at the same time I had to keep a detailed log so I could keep a check on my stress level and remember things with the brain fog (meds). I am in the process of losing my hair and now face another extensive medical problem with blood issues which has been referred to a hemoltagist /oncologist. Tracking the Normal Sinus Rhtymn helped my husband's peace of mind. My numerous doctors (3 cardio, primary senior care and oncologist) all provide a serious aggressive treatment with monthly EKG and blood tests. I still consider myself fortunate even with all these issues, because I have access to all this medical care and can get treated.

MHA

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I just had a Watchman device put in on April 22nd. I had one watchman attempt in Dec 2020 which was not sucessfull. The one thing I am finding after reading many posts on this site is every procedure is close to the same but yet different. There was a total difference between my first watchman attempt and the one that was sucessfull. Every hospital and doctors have their own way of doing things. I like to be mentally prepared for what ever I am about to go through. Once you go through the doors to the procedure room, everything changes. All we can do is to have as much trust in our teams as we can get. The procedure I had on April 22 went great with almost no complications. The only problem they had was closing the vein in my right groin. On coming fully awake, I was suprised to find they used both groins during my operation. They did not do the normal TEE during the procedure but used a cath instead, which was a lot better.
They had a problem getting the bleeding to stop in the right groin and it was very painful even though I was still under anesthiea and was just waking up. My pain level at that time I would rate as 8 out of 10. Later, in recovery and during my stay in the room, my groin hurt a lot.
I can not praise my nursing staff enough. They were all very kind and wonderful people. The nurses sure made my stay a little better than it could have been. Can't say anything good about the meals….

Now, I will have to consicer doing the ablation in the future. After reading so many postings here, I think I am better prepared for this procedure. I do not have high expectations for the procedure so will not be disappointed as much if it fails. I thank everyone who posted about their ablations. It helps the rest of us to learn. I will keep doing my research and learning as much as I can.
I wish evseryone the best of luck on their journey in getting their procedures done. Please, continue to post here to help those who are new to this procedurre.

c

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I also have had an ablation and will say it is the best thing I ever did for my health. My heart rate would jump to 209 instantly. It would scare me a lot. I felt the procedure wasn't difficult just long. Taking your medical history , preparing you and post op is tedious. After my ablation I did have a number of heart racing incidents which was very disappointing. But as time went on they started to disappear. It has been 10 months since the ablation and in the last 4 months I would say I only have had about 2 incidents. My doctor did insist I stay overnight in the hospital with my heart monitored. It really wasn't necessary but does reduce the stress.

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I saw you post about afib and anxiety and wanted to suggest – tapping (also called Emotional Freedom Technique). It is self-help anxiety relief and it is working for myself (anxiety & caregiving anxiety) as well as my mother with afib, and anxiety & caregiver anxiety. More relaxed, better sleep etc .. There are a lot of videos out there, my favorites are from the Tapping Solution – but most any are worth a try… I like that you can tapp anytime you are feeling blah. I hope it helps! Cheers Kristin!

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