Has anyone here had an ablation for A-fib? How did it work out?

Discussion in 'Family Life - Stories, Pictures & Updates' started by Carolyn, Jun 23, 2011.

  1. Carolyn

    Carolyn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 6, 2008
    I am facing one for A-fib that is not responding well to meds and impacting my life very negatively. It is intermittent as in when I am good I am very very good and when I am bad I am horrid. The last time my betapace was working so well that when I tried to pull out of it my heart rate dropped very dramatically.

    I would like to hear how it went for someone who has been there. Did it help your A-fib? How much as in did it stop it, make it less severe or less frequent? Did you have to stay on meds afterwards? What problems did you have from the procedure? How long before you were able to go back to normal activities?

    I need to hear the good, bad and the ugly? Did it go bad for you? Create more or new problems?

    This is to be done like a heart cath and using radio frequency for the ablation of the pulmonary vessels area and possibly other areas if they can target them. I have other irregular beats sometimes besides the A fib but get A's on my cardiac work ups because they have never occured during a stress test, etc.
  2. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    My dad had it done a few years ago (don't recall exactly--3 or 4 years) and it has helped tremendously. Recovery was pretty rapid. His procedure sounds very much like what yours will be. Yes, he is still on meds, but I believe there are fewer, and/or maybe the doses are lower. FWIW, he is 90.

    Worst part is that he was bored with the TV he was watching during mandatory time in the recovery room.
  3. mulewagon

    mulewagon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 13, 2010
    My sister-in-law had it done a couple of years ago, and seems healthier - they've stopped rushing her off to the ER every other month, anyway! (The downside is that independent insurance for her has become much more expensive.)
  4. coloradochick

    coloradochick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 19, 2007
    Brighton, CO
    My 18 year old neice had it done last month right after graduation. Apparently has taken care of the problem. Good luck, everything will be fine [​IMG]
  5. Carolyn

    Carolyn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 6, 2008
    Thanks, all of you for the encouraging reports. Hope mine turns out as well.
  6. krcote

    krcote Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 21, 2008
    Concord, NH
  7. Carolyn252

    Carolyn252 Mother of Chickens

    My husband is now 72 and he is PERFECT now. Until his ablation a year and a half ago, he had had A-fib for about ten years, medicated every day with a beta blocker and a blood thinner. But the meds weren't very effective and the episodes of fibrillation were frequent enough (every other week or so, lasting a few days each episode) to be a frustrating annoyance. When fibrillating, he was too exhausted to even walk more than a minute or two. Couldn't carry the grandbabies, couldn't walk up stairs, SO tired.

    And he's a third degree black belt in karate, still working out at the karate studio twice a week. And still teaching full time at the university, and still doing the house maintenance chores around here (painting, plastering, planting, etc.), so when he'd have another session of four or five days of fibrillating, it was a royal PAIN IN THE ***.

    The ablation was done at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan (NYC) in February of 2010. Procedure took about 7 hours, actual anesthesia for about 5 of those 7 hours. The rest of the time was for prep before and then recovery room afterwards.

    He had no pain afterward, except for some soreness in his leg where they put the tube in that snaked up to his heart for the ablation procedure. He stayed overnight and went home the next day.

    Stayed on the same two meds for a few months afterward, then meds were stopped. After the ablation, he had NO fibrillation episodes for ONE FULL YEAR. (What a blessed relief!)

    Then he had a three-day episode of fibrillating. Very disappointing. Back onto the meds, but it's been four months since then, and NO fibrillation has recurred. We're hoping it was just a fluke.

    Cardiologist says the ablation procedure is completely effective in about 80% of cases. And that for the remaining 20% that decide to have the ablation procedure done a second time, the outcome is usually completely effective in about 75%. It's a matter of patience, diligence and skill in being able to find and "zap" all the little points of mis-firing trigger spots in the problem site where the pulmonary vessels enter the heart. If the doctor finds them all, no more fibrillation ever again. If some are missed, and they cause fibrillation again in the future, then a second ablation will try to find the missed spots. I don't think they can find them by actually seeing them, I think it's more likely that the doctor just "zaps" over and over again, in a tight formation of a zillion hits, and hopes they've all been obliterated.

    So all in all, we're delighted with the outcome. Note that there were some other patients in his Mount Sinai room who were also there for ablations for their A-fib. One of them had had his ablation done the day before and was dressed and ready to leave. He said that he had had it done TWICE before at his small local hospital in a small town in New Jersey. Said that after the 1st one, he fibrillated the very next day; after the second one, he fibrillated again while being wheeled out of the recovery room! And now, here he was, fully dressed and discharged and getting ready to walk out of Mount Sinai, carrying his own suitcase and feeling GREAT, when he told all this to my husband. So definitely shop around for a cardiac electro-physiologist who has successfully done the procedure dozens and dozens of times (at least!), in a big metropolitan hospital with a cardiac specialty department.

    Wishing you good luck!!
  8. Carolyn

    Carolyn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 6, 2008
    Carolyn, thank you so much for your detailed reply. I am glad to hear the good report on you husband's ablation and hope mine comes out as well. I am going to a specialist in the procedure at Vanderbilt.

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