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anyone got experience of ablation for palpitations (SVT)?

(13 Posts)
spots Sun 13-Apr-14 13:29:48

Hello... I have had palpitations since I was 23 and I've been offered ablation in the past but declined because I didn't get bothered by the episodes enough to undergo what sounded like an unpleasant procedure. Now I am re-thinking as I have had palpitations lasting an hour or more every month this year and I'm starting to anticipate them in a way I never did before. They don't cause fainting, breathlessness or anything. I have asked what harm can come of just letting them go away of their own accord and didn't get a clear indication of any possible problems but I do get very mild achey pains (yes I will make an appointment this week) and suddenly worry that there is some damage to the muscles... or something... So I wonder what is this ablation like? And has anyone got a clear indication of any actual long term problems that episodes of SVT can cause? I need, I suppose, to quantify the thing.

spots Sun 13-Apr-14 14:06:29

bump

BigBirdFlies Sun 13-Apr-14 17:21:53

I have had an ablation for persistent atrial flutter. I was very nervous of having this procedure but it was much easier than I had anticipated.

My groin was numbed and I was given a light sedative, so I was awake but drugged up. I couldn't feel the catheter going in, and nor could I feel the ablation. I was in the cath lab for less than one hour, and I think only had the catheters in for less than 20 minutes.

After the procedure I was taken back to the ward and had to lay flat for a few hours. Then I was allowed to sit up for a while, and once the nurses were satisfied that I wasn't bleeding I was allowed up. I was discharged later on the same day, and haven't had an irregular heart rythym since then.

I don't know about SVT, so can't comment on this. Ablations do carry risks, but for me it was the right thing to do. My heart output was reduced and so my ability to be active was reduced too.

spots Sun 13-Apr-14 17:37:34

Thanks BigBirdFlies, it helps to know what others have done. And really good to know that it does work. smile

spots Sun 13-Apr-14 20:38:04

has anyone else got any experience of this ?

spots Sun 13-Apr-14 20:56:16

bump again, in case...

LadyMacmuffintop Thu 24-Apr-14 14:52:15

Bump

Suffering same thing - almost identical as SVT worse this year than ever and not stopping. GP reluctant (for some reason) to send me to cardiologist as he thinks they will want to 'treat' me (! WTF! The whole point surely!)

Anyway, up to me whether to go and 'risk' the treatment but wondering if there are any long term risks either way? Someone here must know, MNs know everything!

CaractacusPotts Thu 24-Apr-14 21:43:54

My DD is due to have this procedure in the next few weeks for ventricular ectopy and palpitations.

Feel free to PM me if you want to discuss at all :-)

LadyMacmuffintop Thu 24-Apr-14 22:08:47

Thank you Caractacus will do - probably next week as I won't be able to come here tomorrow / over the weekend. Hope your DD will be OK thoughsmile sending her very best wishes for successful procedure!

CaractacusPotts Sun 27-Apr-14 00:25:42

Thank you :-)

Redzer Sun 27-Apr-14 13:35:31

I suffered with severe palpitations since childhood and had this procedure about 17 years ago. As I got older I found myself limiting what I did as I dreaded causing a palpitation I think the ablation procedure was fairly newish when offered to me. Took about an hour as far as I can remember. No pain just a little uncomfortable lying there. As previous poster mentioned I remember having to lie flat for a few hours afterwards. Stayed in overnight but think that was pretty standard then, I expect there's no overnight stay now. I'm so glad I had it done after years putting up with the discomfort of palpitations. I would have it done again if needs be and I'm a bit of a wuss in general.

sashh Mon 28-Apr-14 08:07:50

Not experienced it, but I have been the person in the room monitoring the ECGs.

Basically - said this before and I will say it again, think of your heart as the boiler of your central heating system. It is basically a mechanical pump controlled by electrical circuits / timers.

There are several mechanisms that cause SVT but the most common is that there is an 'extra wire' that bypasses the bit that times the heart rate.

On condition, Wolfe-Parkinson-White (WPW) has a visible extra bundle of cells called the bundle of Kent. This used to severely affect people's lives and in the 1970s/1980s some people had open heart surgery to physically cut out this extra bundle.

This was a major operation and was only done for severe symptoms, but with a ablation you can now burn, or freeze, or electrically destroy these cells from inside the heart via a tube (catheter) in your thigh.

Now the actual procedure will depend on the cause of the SVT. If you have WPW then it is straight forward, locate the extra cells and destroy them.

If it is not clear then it can take some time to 'map' the electrical activity. This can be done either as part of the ablation or as a separate EPS study. It is often done separately as it can take some time so is best not done at the start of a 'list'. Mapping involves recording electrograms from different areas of the heart and inducing the SVT.

If it is a bundle of cells that can be identified easily it is a straight forward procedure.

If it is more complex then it can take longer. Think a huge bundle of wires and you have to find the single one.

Sometimes the electrical system is completely destroyed and replaced by an artificial pacemaker, this is usually done as a planned procedure discussed with you before hand.

Very rarely, and I mean very, very as in it is possible but I have never seen it, it can be a complication of the procedure that more tissue is destroyed and you will be fitted with a pacemaker.

OK now your question about letting them go away on their own.

SVT is a fast heart rate that initiates above the ventricles, this means it is a lot less dangerous than ventricular tachycardia. SVT does reduce the amount of blood pumped around the body, the normal timing and pumping of the heart allows for maximum filling of the ventricles.

Isolated instances are very common. I have them when my thyroxine is too low (which is the opposite way round to the way it should be) and I've had 4 or 5 times in my life. The only reason I know it is SVT is because I could and did record my own ECG when I was symptomatic.

If they are causing problems then they should be treated. I assume the underlying cause has been investigated? Some people get SVT after drinking coffee for example, and the treatment for them is stop drinking coffee.

If you are having SVT there are a few ways to make it stop, some should only be attempted in a cath lab by a cardiologist.

One you can try at home is ice cream. Swallowing as large a chunk of ice cream as you can in one swallow can trigger your system back to it's non SVT state.

And if it doesn't work, well as long as you do not have an allergy to icecream no harm done.

bellybuttonfairy Thu 01-May-14 23:56:33

Hi. My daughter had an EP study and ablation 2 weeks ago.

She suffered from tachycardias (fast heart beat) but would lose consciousness and become blue/grey. Very scary stuff.

The procedure was very straightforward but they did take a while to try and develop an electrical map of her heart and find the accessory pathway.

She has just turned 7 and found the whole thing very underwhelming. She was home 24 hours after the procedure and was running arounf almost immediately. She had a general anaesthetic whilst you as an adult probably would not.

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