Learn about what catheter ablation is and how it's used to treat atrial fibrillation (AFIB). Doctors and cardiologists from the Cleveland Clinic describe the catheter ablation procedure, what it is, how it's done and what results can be expected from this surgery.
a brief tale about my heart
By Tony W.
On a faithful Sunday evening, after a exciting football game with friends and alcohol, I went home to a seemingly ordinary Las Vegas evening. Waking up the next morning was however quite unusual. When it comes to drinking, I've always been able to handle my alcohol. The goal with a social vodka soda and a wedge of lemon, is to achieve a small buzz and have a good time, not to get as they say "white boy wasted".
When I awoke on Monday morning around 8:27am, my head felt like it had been in a vice and slowly tightened for the last several hours. Now I'm not a special individual, I get my usual dry mouth hangovers, pop a couple ibuprofen and get on with my day. But this was much different. All of the sudden that unpleasant nausea feeling hit me like a brick, and instantly my mouth started to salivate. After emptying the clear liquid stomach content, I went back to bed to lay down.
That's when it happened.. this excruciating pain in my chest. My heart flipping and flopping around and a feeling of light headedness. I tried some breathing techniques as I had learned to slow heart rate, my apple watch readings were sporadic. 72, then 124, then 90 then 140. It just kept jumping. After about 45 mins, I knew it was time to head to the ER.
When I arrived (driven by my girlfriend) the man behind the counter saw me holding my chest in pain. At this point I could not breath very well, breaths we're short as was my speech.
The only thing he asked me was "Are you having chest pains sir?" I nodded and he pushed a button under the table releasing another nurse who guided me into a room and began EKG. Tiny electrodes places all over my chest, both arms getting the royal IV treatment, and a heart rate monitor sounding like a game of pong with a heart rate of 194 bpm.
Before I knew it, they had sent me in an ambulance to the nearest hospital and I was diagnosed with AFib. After some medication, potassium, multivitamins and a couple stomach shots of anti-coagulant, I was released.
The medication they prescribed me is a beta blocker called Metoprolol, I've been taking two per day for the last 8 days. My next doctors appointment is next week with a local cardiologist. Since I've stopped smoking cigs, have not had any alcohol and have been trying to eat a heathy diet, giving up things like salt and fried foods. I also purchased a bicycle and have been doing 20 min bike rides per day.
Although I am feeling better, and have not noticed any other arrhythmia, I do get weak and tired at time trough out the day and my blood pressure has been difficult to keep below hypertension. We will see how it turns out, and I am hoping there is no other damage. I have noticed weight gain about 6 lbs this week. From 203 to 209.6 - I am hoping to lose weight and get myself more fit than I was before the AFib episode. I wish a quick and strong recovery to anyone else (most of you I'd imagine) that are currently going trough a similar experience. Sorry for writing a book in the comments section lol, thought others might want to hear the experience.
Please comment and let me know what your story is, what medication is working and what has helped so far.
Best wishes, much love.
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i had this done in my early thirties. im 62 now. my heart would go 255 beats a minute for two hours at a time. dizzy sweating coughing i had this for two years. i love in dayton went to university of Indiana 5 hours. went back for check up. they went back in my heart and checked all circuits. they cured me. heart was sensitive for a while. thank god it worked.
I had mine done for an atrial flutter 2 days ago by an electrophysiologist that studied here. The surgical site for me is more of a muscular pain, like I'd been riding a bike with a very uncomfortable bike seat on a cobblestone road for 10 miles. Ladies, if you have really bad cramps that radiate down your leg to your knee, that's exactly what the pain feels like. I learned today that it's from the doctors putting extreme pressure on the sheath holes after the sheaths were removed to stop the bleeding and encourage clotting before dressing the wound. Minimal to medium bruising so far. No pain at all from the sheath holes, it only hurts around the sheath holes when I take my wound dressing off, but that's only because I have sensitive skin. The only time I feel pain in my chest is when I take a very deep breath, like one of those really good oxygen-flooding yawns. Mine only took 3 hours, and I was discharged the next day with an appointment for a home visiting nurse to check on me during recovery a few times. I wish I had known then what I know now about how everything would be and feel like, I could have saved myself a lot of anxiety.
I am 54 and had an ablation two months ago. The operation has been a great success. I had a fib for about 12 years on and off. Eventually, it became constant and was very debilitating. I opted for the procedure and the outcome has been wonderful. Perfect sinus rhythm.
I want to know that did they always success the catheter ablation,cause i may want to try once again,my catheter ablation is failed ,doctors said that its so risky if its fail,i need to carry pacemaker for my whole life ,so sad i dont know what to do where to go which hospital is good which doctor is better,dont know what to do,my surgery is 2 time fail
Pani, where do you live?. If you live in US just go to Austin Texas to see Dr. Andrea Natale in Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute. He is a God of all EP doctors in US. I had an ablation with him in 2008. He is actually considered last resort EP and very often handles difficult cases. As I know he performed around 12000 procedures. By the way he was a director of EP for Cleveland Clinic. If you are in Europe I know the best place to go is Bordeaux in France. Good luck and wish you be in NSR
My name is CHIKA Anslem I'm from Africa, Nigeria precisely. I'm 24 years of age. And 22years of my life i have been suffering from frequent episodes of palpitations and ocassional syncopal attacks. Due to lack of finance and poor medical care in my country. My family was able to raise money for my surgery which took place in Indian, pune @ Rugby Hall clinic which i had the Radio frequency Ablation done. But when i returned back to Nigeria i still kept having palpitations and this time my heart beat so fast for 48 to 50 hours before normalising. Had an ECG done immediately it still shows " WPW " also had a holter monitor test and it showed conduction disorder (dysrhythmia) - intraventricular conduction disorder with pre-exitation (WPW pattern) i tried contacting the hospital back but i got no replies from them. Ever since then i have been living with palpitations till date because of lack of finance to go for another reablation. Pls any good person, organisation, doctor or Hospital that is interested in my case can contact me on this email. Chikaanslem@gmail.com thank you for saving a life in advance.
Had an Ablation done in 2003 in South Africa. Then experienced a few AFIB episodes after that, but now AFIB free for more than 3 years.
I think there is a combination of factors that has kept me AFIB free for this time.
The initial ablation
Use of less alcohol, or not too much alcohol at a time.
Not taking part in "explosive" type of exercise, rather something like cycling.
Thank you for this very informative video!
You can have all the ablations you want but until the nutritional cause of afib is addressed it does not work. That underlying cause is a simple 20 dollar container of magnesium and a change of lifestyle and diet.
Rebecca Carro this is only true for a small portion of people with magnesium deficiency. If this was the cause for you it would've been found out ages ago - do NOT take supplements you are not prescribed. Don't listen to this person.
I am so glad they have this on youtube, because my cardiologist is sending me to a cardiac surgeon for this (possible) procedure and now I know what I am having done (lessen my stress level a lot). So thank you Cleveland Clinic for posting this very educational informative video. Thanks a million.
I have Atrial Fibrillation after I had a two valves repair , taking medicine since then, just to get it severely but my Cardiology want me to go for Cardiovercion it was great ,but my palpitations don't go away so I have another Cardiovercion 4 days ago hopefully I will be OK but in case I don't do you recommend me the Procedure ???
I didn't know that this was a fucking "commercial" for this. This is serious "point of no return" stuff, if it goes wrong. We're opting for pacemaker for my Mother. But, Cardios keep pushing this newer "procedure".
When things are pushed, things become laughable....
I have had A fib since 1983,, my first drug was Beta blockers, Inderal, then Tenormin, then Verapamil (Calan,, then Blocadren ,,Timolol ,,, Xanax , lanoxin, I counted all the pills I have took form 1983,,,to 2017,,, one time I had taken almost half million pills , when I was thirty six years old I was talking , Calan Timolol, lanoxin, and Xanax,, four times a day ,,and still going in to atrial figuration, when I got upset ,,,I have been in and out of Afib back to sinus , nearly hundred times in my life ,,, longest time out of sinus was nine months ,,,that was in 1994,,,, my liver was giving me some problems and constipation and I started stopping taking Calan and lanoxin , would make my heart beat 200 bpm by its self,,, my Dr put me on Valum 5 mgs and the a fib went away 90% ,,,,, all I take now is Timolol 10 mgs four times a day and valum 5 two times a day and I have only had one episode of A fib in fifteen years ,,, I am 55 years old now ,,, and developing high blood pressure ,,, If I miss the valum the Timolol will not keep me in sinus , the valum does something to lower blood pressure and keeps me in regular sinus ,,, I was reading about valum affects on the vegas nerve and the atrium firing electoral in the heart valum along with Timolol has been the best drug treatment for the A fib its I have been dealing with this from 1983 to 2017 just took my timolol and valum before I wrote this post....God bless all that suffer from this a fib thing...hope this is of some help for someone ...
It is used as a eye drop also ,,,and also taken oral ,,, the reason I started taking it was I could not sleep on other beta blockers It was support to not cross the blood brain barrier and cause insomnia as bad but it does ,,,,cardiovascular selective ???
Yes Timolol its generic for Blocadren , I have taken it for many years over 20 years...since 1992,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,as far as valium helping keep me in sinus rhythm this is a carious study )) Vagal tone decreases following intravenous diazepam.
Adinoff B1, Mefford I, Waxman R, Linnoila M.
To investigate the relationship between anxiety and parasympathetic nervous system activity, cardiac vagal tone was assessed in six healthy volunteers after the intravenous administration of the anxiolytic diazepam. Vagal tone was determined by quantifying the amplitude of respiratory sinus arrhythmia. We observed a significant dose-dependent attenuation in vagal tone, accompanied by an increase in heart rate. There was a nonstatistically significant decrease in plasma norepinephrine concentrations and subjective anxiety ratings at higher doses of diazepam. We discuss a possible role of the parasympathetic nervous system in the anxiolytic effects of the benzodiazepines...... (Spritewave111 says this could be why valium helps keep my heart regular ??? I'm no Doctor but when I started Valium 5 mgs once a day in 2000 the a -fib seem to go away I could do %90 better with valium and Timolol together 10 mgs of Timolol 2 to 3 a day ,,with valium ,,,as I have aged I have developed high blood pressure and the had to increase both Timolol and Valium ...to 50 mgs of Yimolol and 15 mgs of Valium a day ,,it varies with what I eat or stressful events that surge heart rate ... I did a heart stress test heart rate 140 for eight minutes on Timolol and valiume and never went out of sinus ...but lately its not been working as good but still does indeed work ....better then Inderal ,, tenermon,,,Verrapmil ,, calan,, lanoxin,,,ace inhibitors....I don't spell very good.
brandiesel Well that was very quick. Only pain was the injection. Did feel the cables going in through the groin but lasted a few seconds. If anything it's more discomfort than pain. Post op can be very uncomfortable. I did feel the little tickle once in my heart
I had the ablation 2 years ago after suffering with really bad bouts of afib. It worked for about 6 months and I felt awful for about 2 weeks after surgery. It took 5 hours and they went in both legs. They burnt the bad areas as per normal. Medicine kept it at bay mostly after the ablation procedure stopped working but about 2 months ago it's like the Meds had no affect. I went in for another ablation 2 weeks ago. They only went in 1 leg and they froze the area. They said it only took 2 hours total. I'm not nearly as sore and I felt better almost instantly starting the same day. Doc says he is extremely confident it worked and I can be off all Meds in 2 months. Fingers crossed he is right. It was same doc so hopefully it's just a case of technology and his skills being better since 2 years have passed. he said 1st time is like 70 to 80% success rate. This time he said like 98% it will work for good.
Thank you, John. We're getting ready to go back to the E.R. to start a Lasix push for the C.H.F., and see what they can do for the rhythm once again. It is a hard road she's been down. I love her! Most people assume I do what I do because of most peoples incentive of having financial gain from insurance when all is said and done. My Mother doesn't even have life insurance, and I don't even know what to do if something happens. This is simply my attempt at caring for her as she has always been there for me. She's my world. May God bless you, John. Take care and stay in touch.
God Bless you Shawn and your mother. Prayers do help and I know that for fact. Your mother has a very caring son and we all should be as helpful to our parents as you are for your mother. I will pray for full rcovery for your mother and to give you strength to carry on your efforts. The knowledge shared here will , and does help all cardiac suffers everywhere.
+Loretta Bailey well I'm in Raleigh NC I'm having my ablation in March with like the number 2 arrhythmia Dr in country look up Patrick hranitsky.. Plus if you can't pay for surgery the hospital has a charity care program if you qualify will pay for surgery Patrick hranitsky is on YouTube
I had an ablation surgery. 2 years ago I was 11 or 12 and they accidentally punctured the wall on my heart causing the blood to choke it and it stopped. I had 7 min of cpr worst pain of my life. don't do it. I went to CHOP.
There are other approaches to the ablation, and instead of "burning" 4 circles around each pulmonary vein, a larger circle of scar tissue is created that goes completely around the outside of the 4 veins.
This method and procedure has been very effective for many patients at Dartmouth-Hitchcock hospital in Lebanon New Hampshire, USA.
The cost without insurance is very high (can easily reach $100,000 or more), but if your plans cover it, I highly recommend it.
If you suffer from afib, and Flecainide or other blockers can't control it, it is definitely worth doing.
What I cant find our understand is do they have physical control for maneuvering the end of the catheter like a snake can look around, trying to find a actual out of body demonstration of how the tool can move doesn't exist from what i can tell....
I had the ablation surgery much as depicted here,yet I don't think it took 5 or 6 hours as they say here. The surgery has been successful and I do not have any symptoms of heart fibrilation that I had for about 10 years before surgery. Most happy for that!
SIDE EFFECTS FROM MEDICATIONS CAN ALSO CAUSE TACHYCARDIA. AVALIDE A BLOOD PRESSURE MEDICATION CAUSE MINE 11 YEARS AGO. AFTER THAT THE AVALIDE MADE ME SENSITIVE TO CAFFEINE SO I NO LONGER DRINK OR EAT CAFFEINE PRODUCTS. . CAFFEINE IS ALSO A MAJOR TRIGGER. THEY PUT ALL SORTS OF ADDITIVES IN DRINKS AND FOODS WHICH OVERLOAD THE BODY WITH CAFFEINE. MY OPINION WOULD BE TO REMOVE THE CAUSE FIRST AND DETOX YEARS OF TOXINS WHICH ACCUMULATE IN YOUR FAT TISSUE BEFORE ALTERING THE HEART TO ACCOMMODATE A LIFESTYLE OF EATING POISON..
God Bless you and may your ablation surgery resolve the heart problem. I had the ablation surgery in 2002 and I am sure much progress has developed to this day. When I mentioned to friends and f amily back then no one knew or had heard of "ablation" surgery. Now 2017 I see many comments about it. To me that is progress. The more we know the moore we grow healthy and wise.
I had my unsuccessful ablation produre done yesterday. ..I'm very disappointed that they couldn't reach the left side of my heart which was causing extra heartbeat....I had to go through so much pain after that.... now they just changed my medication. .hope I get better with it....
I need to have an ablation done but i need a second opinion. I had a MVR in 2000 i take coumadin for that, it is an artificial valve. I have had afib for over 15 years I take metoprolol er 200 mil, digoxin, and losarten for the afib but i still have afib, with that i have posses too. please if any body can recommend a good electrophisiologist in my area Palmdale, CA 93550
I recommend this video to our readers at A-Fib.com as an overview of catheter ablation for Atrial Fibrillation. Excellent animations. Especially effective: showing A-Fib’s chaotic signals, and the pattern of ablation scars around the openings to the pulmonary veins.
Steve S. Ryan, PhD
Publisher of Atrial Fibrillation: Resources for Patients, A-Fib.com
This is the best video I've seen in terms of explanation and demonstration of how the procedure is conducted. Well done Cleveland Clinic. I've had four catheter ablations, first for atrial flutter and subsequently three for atrial fibrillation and my quality of life has improved wonderfully. Patients just need to be made aware that it can be quite a 'journey' but (often) it's worth it in the end.
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