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Catheter Ablation for SVT - any success stories as I'm so scared?

Hi, I'm a 32 year old female, diagnosed with SVT in December 2011. I saw an Electrophysiologist in March and he advised that I have a Catheter Ablation due to possibly having AVRNT or a concealed accessory pathway...
I am absolutely dreading it to say the least. I understand that I may be sedated and I have never experienced that before. I don't want to be awake and know what they are doing as the whole thing freaks me out. I am als petrified that something will go wrong. Can anybody share anything that will make me feel a little better? I know I need to have it done as I am living with constant fear of the SVT. Many thanks :-)
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Avatar universal
My doctor has not suggested an ablation. He suggested I increase my Toprol and there was another med he could switch me to if needed. But I am 75 and I really don't want to have the procedure. I don't feel my SVT is bad enough really to require much. I just have episodes from time to time
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1423357 tn?1511085442
I've posted numerous comments over the life of this thread.  There seems to be a trend in the US to fully sedate patients during this prodedure as was done to me back in 2010.  My electrophysiologist told me that sedation allowed him to concentrate on the task rather than the patient's discomfort.  It also provided him with an absolutely still patient.  My daughter had an A-fib ablation last winter and her electrophysiologist used general anesthesia.  Besides being successful, both of had very positive experiences as neither of us remembered a thing besides preparation.  In my case, I was hit with a hypo of Valium before going down to the lab, and was barely conscious going into the lab.  I hope you recovery is uneventful and that you now enjoy your life free of SVT.
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Avatar universal
I had ablation done 2 weeks ago and all i can say it was actually (weirdly) great  experience. Of course i was scared about all the side effects. Note that in Europe this only with light sedation - Valium and nothing more.  
For ablation of SVT AVNRT procedure lasted for about an hour and it wasn't painful, only weird feelings when catheter was moving. Ablation itself felt like a lot of paroxysms starting and ending (3-5 seconds) for approx 40 minutes. In this time they not only ablated everything but even tested if they can make SVT appear. Then doctor said that they can't trigger SVT for half an hour which means the procedure was a success.
After that - no pain anywhere, not even in insertion site, Only slight nausea. I actually couldn't feel my heartbeat which was something new. The hardest part was that my back was hurting from laying still for 6 hours.

What i wanted to say with this that - Before ablation i was scared about all the possible complications and reading this forum actually didn't help the fear because a lot of people experienced complications and pain after.
Also, it seems  like Catheter ablation is done  differently in US and Europe:
1.In EU there is no strong sedation/general anesthesia (I feel like there is no need to, because the procedure was not painful at all, just weird).
2. The procedure is financed by country, i didn't pay a cent (I also had insurance for hospital stay).

After ablation I feel how SVT affected me more than i realized before - i had fear  of it before falling asleep, going somewhere etc. It is more of a burden psychologically than physically.
Helpful - 0
1807132 tn?1318743597
I don't have any experience with chronic afib but have heard it can be hard to treat but I do wish you the best of luck getting it corrected on the first try.  A 50% chance is better than none.  Let us know how it went.  And listen to the doctors instructions fully afterward for the best outcome.
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Avatar universal
I have had a-fib for 40 years. At first it was very disruptive to my life leaving me tired, lightheaded, and disoriented when it would kick in. Over the years it occurred more frequently until, eventually, it became chronic (all the time). My body eventually became used to it and the disorientation deminished. Only once every 3 months or so do I get lightheaded and break out in the sweats. This lasts about 20 minutes then I recover. I run but cannot get my mile to be under 10 minutes. I am scheduled for PVI Ablation on Friday. The doctor in Colorado Springs is very experienced 16 years of doing this procedure. He says, because I have been chronic for so long , my chance of success the first time is 50/50 then improves to 70% with a second procedure. I still plan to go thru with it, hoping and praying for the best. Anyone out there had an ablation after having a chronic case for years?
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1 Comments
Didn’t the ablation work?
Avatar universal
I am 67 and had a heart catheter ablation for afib and aflutter jan 2014. I weigh 165 and have been an active runner and mountain biker for over 30 years. After the ablation i was put on 50 mgs Atenolol once a day. I started back running and biking 10 days after the ablation. I then went to 25 mgs, then 12 and the past 2 weeks 6 mgs. My heart rate ranges from 68 to 72 and BP 110/70. After a bike ride lower. Overtime I have tried to get off the 6mgs, 3 hrs after a bike ride my HR is 80-82 and heart rate 140/85. I wouldn't think 6 msg would have that much impact. If I stay off it and just keep doing what i'm doing, will my HR and BP eventually lower? My EP is great at ablations but not a great communicator. I am back on 6 mgs and going for a ride. thx!
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1423357 tn?1511085442
Please read my post directly above.  What you're experiencing is vey normal.
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Avatar universal
hi my name is Dean I'm 30 years old turning 31 at the end of June I've had SVT for about six and a half years Ago when my brother in law broken in my house and tried to kill my wife me my son nephew and my sister in law he stabbed me in the head I got 190 stitches and 48 staples I never felt my head pain which was a good thing  but a couple months after that I got this massive chest pain and I thought I was having a heart attack but it was the start of Svt I had massive anxiety for a long time about four and a half years went to doctors and they said it was just anxiety even with my heart flutters and rapid heart rate about 5 months ago in December of 2014 I got some serious testing they then recognized that I had SVT and put me on beta blockers they work but not a hundred percent so I saw my doctor on April 26 and he told me about this procedure Catheter Ablation so I was pretty scared and I decide to go through with it because this problem I've had for 6 years and I just wanted my life back so I can spend time with my wife and my two wonderful kids so on may 6 2015 I went in for the procedure I was awake the whole time and it was pretty discomforting especially when they burned the heart but it was for a good cause after the procedure the first two days we're pretty good after that it's been pretty challenging it's been a week since my procedure and I get these flutters a lot it happens for like a second then it goes away but it happens from all good 5-10 minutes and then I'm good I don't get the rapid heart rate though which is nice So it make's me a bit scary but I read up that I'm still going to get him because the heart needs to heal and get back in rhythm I'm a very healthy 30 year old man I'm curious if anyone's had the same problem and does it go away I look forward to any reply thank you
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1423357 tn?1511085442
Do let the skips and runs of SVT shake you up.  This is very typical for someone fresh out of an electrophysiology procedure.  I felt stuff for nearly a year after mine.  Your heart has been through a degree of trauma.  Give it lots of time to heal.  I found Ibuprofen helped a lot with heart pain, as well as the pain in the groin area when I walked.  Good luck!
Helpful - 0
13307928 tn?1429392211
Thank you for your reply. It's been a week and I still feel a lot of palpations and some pain. Looking forward to feeling better.
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1423357 tn?1511085442
First, congratulations!

If they examined the left side of your heart or did a number of burns, you may feel some achiness   or downright pain dead center in your chest.  It may last for a week or more before it slowly subsides.
Helpful - 0
13307928 tn?1429392211
Hi, I am 32 and I just had my ablation Thursday. They sent me home the night of. When I got home I was having so many palpations I was barely getting a regular beat in it lasted hours. I also have been having bad chest pains and was wondering if anyone else experienced chest pains after their ablation?
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1 Comments
Hey! Did it get better??
Avatar universal
I had a PVI (Pulmonary Vein Isolation) on April 9th. With 3 groin sticks on the left and 2 on the right, and one in the neck, I had a successful ablation. Mine is paroxysmal afib. Doc says he was able to isolate the excited cells and freeze them by cryoablation. He is 80% sure he got them all. Procedure was about 3 hours, with general anesthesia. The Anesthesia  team was awesome, explaining everything they were doing. Me being an EMT I was very interested in it all. I had a sore throat from the airway, pain in the groin which wasnt too bad. I had to lay flat for 6 hours, i sat up to eat and of course i decided to bleed on my right side. So another 2 hours laying flat and pressure from the nurse on the puncture side solved the bleed. Worst part was the foley catheter. Once they pulled it out, having to go P was painful but soon subsided.  Recovering at home, feeling ok, soreness is about gone.  Several episodes of light headedness and strange beats, but the doc said this is expected.  Anyone planning to have this done, don't worry!  I know its easier said than done, the discomfort wasn't too bad and no afib since the procedure.  Hopefully i can be weened off of the anti arrhythmic and blood thinners in a couple of months.  I appreciate reading everyone's comments and they helped me through it, hopefully I can return the favor.
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Avatar universal
That's convenient that there was a pre-existing route to the left atrium rather than needing a puncture.  Honestly, I might have preferred being put under for this procedure haha.  But I understand and respect the reasons not to do that.


PS. I've posted a 2 week follow-up update to my journal if you're interested.
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1423357 tn?1511085442
Interesting.... My EP thought at first that I had Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome from subtle indicators on the EKG, but one inside he determined that I had a close cousin to it, something called Orthodromic Circus Movement Tachycardia.  Access to my left atria was made not by transseptal puncture but through an overlapping, and unsealed opening septal wall.  My EP has seen this before and always tries the spot for going the puncture route.  So he was able to slide the catheter through the overlap and do his work.  I had a wide area of conductive tissue just above the valve that required 17 burns to sever the path.  I was down in the lab for about 5 hours before quickly coming to in the recovery room.  As I said, I remembered nothing of the procedure.  I fell asleep....I woke up with the EP peering into my eyes. "Should seen me sooner.." were his first words.
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Avatar universal
Also, interestingly, my doctor was fairly sure I had AVRT based on my ECG results from a prior hospital visit for SVT.  However, he found that it was actually AVNRT upon measurement.  Since he originally thought it was AVRT, he explained the whole transseptal puncture to me as well beforehand and that was something I was also pretty apprehensive about.  I had mixed feelings because I didn't like the thought of having a puncture through my heart even though it is safe to do, but the alternative of AVNRT meant a risk of AV Nodal Block, which obviously ended up coming into play.
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Avatar universal
Thanks, Tom!  Excellent suggestion. I wasn't aware of the whole journal thing.  I have copied both parts into a single entry there.
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1423357 tn?1511085442
Excellent report!  If you haven't done so already, you should copy and past Part 1 and Part 2 into a journal under your profile area.  These are extremely helpful for anyone researching electrophysiology procedures for SVT.  I had general anesthesia for mine, so I remember nothing.  With a hypo of Vallium just before being wheeled down, I barely remember the gurney ride to the lab.  It sounds like your SVT was AVNRT.  Mine was left sided AVRT (lifelong too).  I assume had catheters on both sides as both sides were pierced.  I'm 4+ years now and doing great.  Good luck, and enjoy your life free of SVT.
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Avatar universal
Here's an extraordinarily long-winded story for you, from my ablation experience last week.  I'm sorry for the length but I wanted to provide my complete experience.  I was worried too but it wasn't really all that bad.

Part 1:  http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Heart-Rhythm/Post-Ablation-Experience-Review---Part-1-2/show/2523945#post_12286995

Part 2: http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Heart-Rhythm/Post-Ablation-Experience-Review---Part-2-2/show/2523947#post_12287000
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Avatar universal
Thank you for listening.  Reading what you referred me to helped. April 2nd so close and I feel like fleeing. I don't want to have SVT again as I like my independence but this procedure, ugh! I hope it works and doesn't make things worse. I feel fine and think, why fix it if it isn't broken?
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1423357 tn?1511085442
Read the following post by Jannie411.  It will give you all of the details of the procedure.  Jannie411 also has posts of preventing and post ablation notes.

http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Heart-Rhythm/Jannie411s-Ablation---Part-2--Section-2---The-Actual-Ablation-Procedure/show/1499077

I was completed sedated for mine and a tally felt nothing.  If you get anesthesia, they my put a Foley in. It actually nice because you don't need a bed pan afterwards.  You will be required to completely remove the hair in the area.  Do it yourself prior to going to the hospital.  If not, you'll most likely be dry shaved by a rough female orderly (assuming your a woman as your profile indicates).  The insertion area is right where the leg joins the torso.  Insertion is done by a puncture, not by slicing your leg open.  The puncture rapidly heals to just a red dot in about 2 days.  I got a hypo of Valium just prior to going to the lab.  I barely remember getting on the table.  Good luck!  You'll do fine.
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Avatar universal
I am having an ablation next week for SVT and am scared to death. I don't want to be awake and feel the needles go into my groin veins. Painful?  The whole procedure makes me afraid. I don't want to be shaved either!
Does it hurt having the groin catheters placed? Do they place the Foley catheter when you are not  sedated? I called the doctor's office and spoke with a nurse who told me she would let them know that I was super anxious. I am not sure I believe the nurse. I also have an arthritic hip so am worried about that pain too. I am really nervous and afraid and don't do well with pain.
Can anyone give me a detailed account from start to finish and any pain description? Thank you
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Avatar universal
You should check if you have a latex allergy.  I thought I would die after a catheter and then I found out they had used latex and the allergy had caused it to be inflamed inside.  The first reaction may not be horrible but the allergy gets worse and you DONT want to know what happens after that.  To be safe, just tell them you have the allergy so they always use non latex and you should not feel any pain after removal.
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1423357 tn?1511085442
Congratulations!  Join the long line of former SVT patients that have come through this forum.  You'll probably be walking around by tomorrow.  It's hurts a little for a couple of weeks, then you're as good as new.
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