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SVT ablation experience

Jun 08, 2011 - 7 comments






I had my abation yesterday. So glad it’s behind me and I’m so glad I did it. The doctors said there was a 98% chance it will NEVER come back again.

After I got checked in and prepped, I was taken into the ep room and moved onto a soft, thin, sheet covered table, not a cold, steel table like some others have reported. They placed a pillow under my knees and under my head. It was very cold in the room and they covered me with blankets that had been warmed. At all times I was covered  and made to feel as comfortable as possible.  

Five techs were in there to help with different things in getting things ready and each one was personal and kind. I let the EP know that I wanted to stay awake during the procedure earlier and he instructed the anesthesiologist to let me say when I wanted to be more or less asleep. The most unpleasant part of the procedure was the lidacaine  shots into the groin. I did ask for some sedation during that part which I was glad to have. Before I knew it, they had the wires into my heart and I felt something like tapping in my heart. I don’t know what that was about. All of the techs and EP stood inside a little room next to the procedure room for the most part during the procedure I guess because of the nuclear energy being used. I could hear my heart beating on the monitor nice and steady. A tech came out and told me things would start getting a little rough feeling for the heart because they were going to start  to trigger the SVT. I think they gave me more sedative than I wanted because this part is really blurry. They  asked if exercise was a trigger. I told them not really but that the greatest trigger for me was too much caffeine stress and together it spelled a disaster.  Then I felt my heart starting to pound a little harder and I heard it on the monitor. This was really interesting to hear the thump, thump, thump…..THUMP, pattern of the pac or pvc. (Don’t know what it is exactly) I did hear the doctor talk about creating pvc’s in different chambers of the heart and I think I slept through some of this even though I thought I was awake the whole time.  I felt and heard this same beating and kept wondering if it would convert into SVT. I was really worried about that. The beating became more intense but I thought it wasn’t a big deal because it was nothing new to me. Then I did feel some pain in my heart  and told them my heart hurt.  Finally, the heart converted into a weak SVT and I weakly told them I was in SVT (which of course they knew) but it felt like a pretty weak one. ( I was told later it was a weak one, 180 bpm) I was just hoping it would do because my SVT’s always clock about 240-250 bpm and feel much stronger.  This part is really blurry, the EP came out and did something with the wires.  Then I felt a warming sensation in my heart t that radiated into my chest. I can’t say it hurt at all but I think I was a little more sedated then.  My hr went down and the EP was again saying they needed to start PVC’s in the ventricle.  Nothing happened. If I remember right, the same command was given for different chambers of the heart. (He told me later that he tried to get the SVT after the ablation and it didn’t happen so he knew he got the right spot.) Next thing I knew they were all coming out and said the procedure was a success.

I went in a little after 8:00 and was back in my room my 10:30. It seemed like I was in there a lot less time than  I was. I guess I was asleep more than I thought and I really wish I had been awake for more of it because it was so fascinating to see how it all works.The worst part of the whole ordeal was the fact that I had to lay flat on my back and it wasn’t the back that was bothering me, it was my bladder. After having the IV with liquids and a few drinks of juice after getting back to the recovery room, my bladder was screaming. They brought a bed pan but I couldn’t go. I tried for the next 3 hours. I guess there is a physiological mechanism that releases the urine and doesn’t work on some people when they’re laying down. Lucky me, I’m one of those people! I was hoping for a catheter because I was so miserable but the nurse said it might cause a uti. I told her I didn’t care because I was used to uti’s. They put me off until the doctor came in 10 min. before my 4 hour mandatory stay flat time was up. He asked how I was and I told him I was dying from a full bladder, but my heart was fine. He told them to get me a catheter and they told him my time was up so he told them to let me get to the bathroom. I’m still fuming over this and I think their supervisors need to know they didn’t do their job of making sure I was comfortable. Anyway, the doctor told me they ablated in the AV node but I think he meant near the AV node or I would have a pacemaker. I was so miserable with the bladder I just wanted him to go so I could go to the bathroom. I did quickly tell him that my heart was beating better than it has for a long time and I was so pleased. (At the time I didn’t stop to think that they probably gave me something to regulate the hb after the SVT.) He said I would probably experience some arrhythmias over the next few weeks and even a little racing. He said the ablation only corrected the SVT not any pac’s and that would be in another place in the heart. He said I would always have those and not to worry about them. The pac’s in themselves have never been a problem for me anyway so I wasn’t concerned about this. They only bothered me in that they are what I feel before SVT. He said there was a 98% chance SVT will not come back and that is good news.  He said I was done and I didn’t need to go back to see him or the cardio unless needed. I wish I had had more time to ask questions about exactly where the ablation was. Maybe it doesn’t matter, just curious.

Since then, I have felt some arrhythmias but nothing out of the ordinary. I had a short run that woke me up last night and a little heart pain, it feels like a little pinching in the part of the heart I felt the warming sensation.  My only discomfort now is the groin area and my back. The only med I’m on is aleve for the back pain.  I do feel a dull ache in my heart but I’m sure that is to be expected as the ablation heals.

Would I do this again? Yes.  I had to try something. Would I change a few things? Yes, I would want to be awake more and be given more information on what exactly was going on in each step of the way. For example. What was the tapping? Where exactly did they ablate?  It was all so fascinating. With that said, I trust my EP and know he did what he felt was best. He’s done between 2 to 3 thousand of these. Lastly,  I would also insist on a catheter as soon as I got out of the procedure room. I could’ve slept during that time rather than watching the clock. At one point I decided to focus on t.v. and lose myself in it. (Mind over matter) I told my husband what I was doing and at that moment a commercial popped  on that was something about, “do you have trouble going to the bathroom?” We both burst out laughing which only made it worse.

Now to get on with life.  I’m sure I’ll have some anxiety when I feel those arrhythmias that lead to SVT. That will take some time to get used to. My goal is to just go on with life and not think about SVT at all and I’m looking forward to that.

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Avatar universal
by Jannie411, Jun 09, 2011
98% chance of never returning -- those are the some of the best words anyone can ever hear.  So glad for you!

I had the same experience - the SVT they triggered was much milder than the ones I was used to getting.  I wonder if that's intentional on the doctor's part - maybe they can control the severity?  It is interesting to see how they do it, truly fascinating.  Did they tell you what type of SVT you had?  

Try not to worry about the short runs and thumps - they are part of the healing process and will subside in a few weeks.

Good too that you had a little comic relief with the commercial.....LOL.

Looking forward to reading more of your journal posts as you continue with your recovery.

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by donna4140, Jun 09, 2011
I hope everything is ok for you. Im going to brigham & womens hospital in august for a cryoablation for atrial tach.(svt)

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by merileegal, Jun 09, 2011
Jannie, It was AVNRT SVT. When I talked to him this morning he did tell me it was near the AV node not in it. He said they do do them in the AV node but then you need a pacemaker which I knew.

Donna, good luck with you're procedure. I've read about cryoablation and it sounds like a very safe procedure for an ablation near the AV node.

Avatar universal
by Denise353, Oct 28, 2011
Does svt ever come back  on some people.

1655526 tn?1330655629
by merileegal, Oct 28, 2011
Yes it does. There are different types of SVT. Mine was AVNRT. It's been almost 5 months ago since my ablation and I haven't had a single episode.  I've had PACs which precede SVT but since the pathway has been burned, my heart  pauses and then starts beating regularly. Some people have  more than one extra pathway and require more burns to ablate them and often times they don't catch them all in the first ep study so they have to go back in for another ablation. In the case of Wolf Parkinson White  syndorme which is another type of SVT, the heart has a "memory" and sometimes new pathways are created. Hope this helps.

Avatar universal
by amanda586, Mar 01, 2012
I went to the doctor today for SVT, I only have a few atacks a year at about 225 beats a minute and can get them to stop on my own most of the time. Just wondering if i should have ablation done or not. How often are your guys attacks?

Avatar universal
by esjaydee, May 27, 2012
For those on this thread, I'm wondering if post ablation for AVNRT you have experienced increased PVCs and if so, for how long after the procedure.  I had an ablation for AVNRT in March and since then have had very frequent PVCs.  I never had them so frequently before.  Any insight and shared experiences would be appreciated!

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