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OSU Medical Center Findings

Jul 21, 2013 - 8 comments

I went to OSU's Ross Heart Hospital Wednesday to see Dr. Hummel (a very personable fellow, who used layman's terms to describe the process) regarding the FIRM ablation that they are performing there.  I was somewhat disappointed - because of an office move my records had not been forwarded to his new office, so he scanned them after I arrived.  We also drove 3-1/2 hours each way and waited 1-1/2 hours to be seen.  They have only performed 26 FIRM ablations there.  He said they use a "basket" catheter which is larger on both sides of the heart and do the PVI as well as the FIRM ablation.  It takes twice as long because they are basically doing 2 different procedures, which he said entails twice the risk.  He listed all the complications that can happen - tho he said the ones he'd done had all gone well - and did not seem especially encouraging.  He said I could: 1. Wait until the medication I'm on fails and then do the FIRM ablation, as time goes by they will have more experience and data.  2. I can go ahead and have the FIRM ablation now.  3.  Because my afib episodes seem to be vagal in nature, he said I could consider a mini-maze.  He asked if I would like to talk to Dr. Sirak about the 5-box mini-maze and I jumped at the chance.  So we waited a bit longer and spoke with him.  He is claiming a 96% success rate, says he has done 350 over the last few years with less than 1% complication rate and thought he could help me.  Dr. Sirak used a lot of scientific terms and which were harder to grasp, but he seemed passionate about the procedure and competent.  He said it would entail 3 nights in the hospital.  He also said to email him with questions if I thought of any after I left.If anyone is interested in this procedure, his website (ohioafib . com) describes it and afib in general and compares catheter ablations and the mini-maze procedure and also has a video showing the 5 box procedure.  It was a tremendous amount of information to take in in such a short time and I felt like my head might explode by the time we left:P  I am going to have my records sent to the Cleveland Clinic for a opinion -- you can do that with or without an actual visit -- and perhaps see what my local hospital (University of Michigan) offers in the way of the mini-maze.  For now I am not in a crisis situation, but I am only too aware that I could be at any time and I want to have an action plan if (actually when) my afib shows up again.  I don't want to have to make a decision this important while in crisis mode.  I hope this info is of some help to anyone considering this procedure.  I am slightly overwhelmed, but want to continue gathering information and let it percolate thru my stressed out brain and hope I will be able to come to a decision that is right for me.  I would like any thoughts or advice anyone has on all of this.      

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1317224 tn?1378705134
by MaryLL, Jul 21, 2013
Wow, lots of information Delta. I'm so glad you emailed me so I could hear what is going on. You asked for my opinion so here goes. Dr. Hummel's hospital as only performed 26 FIRM ablations. That would not be enough for me. Especially as he said it "entails twice the risk." The mini-maze Dr. Sirak talked to you about sounds like the one I went through (which is still holding 7.5 months later). I think sending your records to the Cleveland Clinic is an excellent idea. A third opinion since the first two are quite different seems warranted.
What is your sense? Do you have a gut feeling about what might be the best way to go? I personally wish I hadn't had 3 catheter and cryoablations before doing the bilateral thorascopic surgery (mini-maze). So I think you are definitely doing the right thing to consider all the possibilities now before it gets to crisis point. You are so wise and thorough, I know you will make the right decision for you.
And I wish you the best in being in NSR until you decide what path you want to choose. Please continue to keep in touch as I think about you often and hold you in my prayers.
I continue to be doing well. It's so strange, we are actually planning a trip to the ocean (and it's NOT 10 minutes from an aide car). I've only missed 2 sick days since mid-February, both with a slight stomach flu. Feels weird to be accumulating vacation, sick and mental health leave. Every time I look at my accumulated time, I breathe a sigh of relief. It will happen to you too, trust and continue to know there is an answer out there and you will find it.
Love you,

1569985 tn?1328247482
by DeltaDawn23, Jul 22, 2013
Mary --  I am SO glad you continue to do well after your surgery.  So, all the terrible symptoms are gone? and you're going on vacation!  Yay!!!  It is truly hard for me to imagine not having to think about afib before anything else.  Thanks for answering my message so quickly.  I have so many thoughts whirling thru my head it is hard to sort them out.  My son and my husband went along to my appt. and so I had two extra sets of ears listening and asking questions.  The FIRM ablation evaluation was a disappointment.  I had read so much about it and was so hopeful that it might be the answer, but I am not leaning that way.  I think they've done 160 nationwide earlier this year, so that is some better, but I agree, they don't have enough experience at it yet.  My son thinks the mini-maze is the way to go, my husband first thought the catheter ablation, but now is leaning toward the maze.  Since my afib is "vagally mediated" the maze seems to be a better choice according to the OSU doctors.  Cleveland Clinic has been called the No. 1 Hospital in the U.S. for heart issues, so I am definitely going to have my records sent there and see what they suggest.  They have a better record for catheter ablations than I've been offered locally, so if they recommend that, I might be more inclined to consider it there.  Cleveland Clinic had a chat May 31st and I got a question in about the new FIRM ablations and they said they looked promising but it was too soon to tell -- which is pretty much what you thought.  Thank you for your prayers and keeping me in your thoughts.  I am truly blessed to have people who care what happens to me.  Love, DD.

1317224 tn?1378705134
by MaryLL, Sep 09, 2013
Sorry this has taken so long. For some reason, I didn't see your reply on my computer. So, what's been going on with you? I hope you have made a decision and are feeling good about it. The only thing I regret is not asking for a second opinion sooner and you've done great work on exploring the resources. I've always thought the Cleveland Clinic sounded like a great place to go.
Yes, the symptoms are all gone!! My husband and I are going to the Oregon Coast in a week. Thursday it's been 9 months since my surgery. Yes, I still catch myself being hesitant about doing things and then I think, "it's okay, you can do that now." I honestly didn't realize the extent to which a-fib had controlled my life until it's not here now. Even simple things like how far I'd walk, how much I'd do in a day, and making any inflexible plans. With a-fib, flexibility is critical because you never know how you'll feel. Why am I telling you this?? You know this all too well.
I got a blonde streak in the front of my dark hair to symbolize my new life. I love it and will post a picture on my homepage here. I'm giving you my personal email so we can communicate that way, ***@****
I don't want to miss your posts anymore.
Sending lots of hugs, love, and prayers to you. You will never know how much strength you gave me during my dark days.

1569985 tn?1328247482
by DeltaDawn23, Sep 09, 2013
Mary -- Your email address did not come thru, I don't think the board allows it.  It will work if you put some spaces in it, or spell it out.  The computer must recognize the "@" symbol and disguises it.  I would love to keep in touch.  

I am stable now, no episodes since May 15, and that was because i went completely off the meds.  Back on the meds I've been ok, but you know how that goes with the side effects.  It turns out my thyroid was very low in December when I had the 2 nearly back-to-back episodes, so I  am hoping that was why, since I had been stable on the meds for nearly 2 years.  I am making an appointment at the CC, researching doctors now and waiting to see when my son can go with us as I don't trust myself to drive and my husband has some health issues that make me not want to start out (even on a 3 hour trip) with him.  I will see what they suggest and then make a decision whether to wait until this med fails or do something sooner.  One of the ep's -- Dr. Tchou -- has been mentioned many times but it takes 2-3 months to get in to see him, and then who knows how long to actually get in for the ablation?  And if I wait for this med to fail -- what do I do until I can get in? I want a plan in place so I don't have to make decisions in a crisis situation.

Have a wonderful time on your vacation and enjoy your newfound freedom.  I have several activities I want to do (singing group, volunteer to read to children, volunteer to teach reading to adults) but I am reluctant to plan.  I am attending a heart support group locally and when I said the OSU doc said it would be reasonable to wait until this med fails, the social worker that leads the group said "so are you going to better able to handle it the older you get?"  She really makes us think and the group is several all-ages ladies who mostly have had heart attacks, but some afib, some other issues -- they make me feel that if they can handle their problems, maybe I can too, as did your sharing your experiences.

I am so glad my posts were helpful to you and so happy that your surgery was a success.  I consider you part of my "afib family" and think of you often.  Your posts have kept me hopeful too.  Thank you so much for your support, love and prayers.

I will attempt to send you my email:  bmelvin 23  @  g mail *******.  It looks like maybe that will post -- just take out the spaces and make the ******* the way it should be.  I hope it works.

Take care


1569985 tn?1328247482
by DeltaDawn23, Sep 09, 2013
Mary --

Let me try this once more.  b melvin 23 @ g mail . com.  It came thru before except for the ending.  Anyway you know what the ending should be, just take out all the spaces and it should work.


1569985 tn?1328247482
by DeltaDawn23, Sep 09, 2013
It worked!!!

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by helper400, Nov 20, 2013
maybe this procedure you are talking about five box procedure could help me since the last five hour left side ablation they had to stopdue to when they got closer to my new mitrial valve it was to risky or even death for me or they coulbd put in a difibulator or pacemaker but my eletro doctor says thats the last resort and i am to young,by the way i am 51 yrs old i am on so much medicine and its not working like they want it to,seeing eletro dr thursday and going to ask to extend my shor term diability out till dec 27th whichiam filling long term diasblity that should start dec28th and the disablityins co said they willhelp file for social security disabilty,if i go back to worklike this on dec2nd like they want me to i will collapse and or get fired because i can not perform my job like i have in the last 14 yrs then i lose job and insurance even going out longer for short and long time diability they probably will get rid of me then i am in touble with home expenses and medical bills and wont be able to see doctors or buy my meds this is a death sentece to me i am scared whats going to be the outcome of all this

1569985 tn?1328247482
by DeltaDawn23, Nov 21, 2013
You can check OSU and contact Dr. Sirak.  He has a very good reputation on this board.  When an ablation won't do the job, his method has helped a lot of people.  Actually, some choose his procedure first.  Health insurance is a very complicated bunch of red tape, I know.  I wish you luck in this.  I am not sure where New Haven is in relation to Columbus, Ohio, but it might be worth discussing with Dr. Sirak.  Keeping you in my thoughts.  Let us know how you are.

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