Jul 21, 2013
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.