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Ablation Experience
Dec 22, 2002
Just info for anyone...I know I was looking for any and all info when I was having bad probs.

I've had two ablations now for SVT, apparently the bundle is located right above the valve in the left atrium. Doc told me it is difficult to reach the exact spot, and I had a PVC a few seconds into each attempt, dislodging the catheter. Obviously, both failed.

After the episodes got to the every day frequency, with verapamil & digoxin, I had my first in May of 91--still an experimental procedure at the time. They did a follow-up EP study about three months after the procedure, and declared that it had been successfully ablated. I started having isolated episodes again soon afterwards. These continued for about ten years, with some good and bad periods.

It finally became very bad again when I went through a period of ridiculously frequent PVCs (these periods seem to happen every 6 months to a year, and last from 3 days to several weeks, and coincide with chest pain resulting from straining, mainly improper breathing techniques during weightlifting or difficult bowel movements). I went back to the same pediatric cardiologist who performed the ablation in '91, and he told me that I must be experiencing something different, as they documented that the ablation was successful with the follow-up EP study. I wore a monitor, captured the rhtym, doc admitted he was wrong, and I went for another ablation in Dec 2001.

As I was coming out of sedation, I heard the doctor explaining to my mother that the same thing happened again (PVC dislodged the catheter prematurely), and it may not have worked. This was the first that he had mentioned that things didn't go as planned during the first procedure, which really angered me.

I continue to have isolated episodes, and may again turn to ablation if they become frequent enough to disrupt my normal activities. Though he is probably among the most experienced at the ablation procedure, I won't return to the same doctor. I feel betrayed, and he has lost my trust.

Only bad memories I have of the procedures are feeling the catheter going up my arm and into my chest during the first one, and waking up briefly during the second one while they were controlling my heartbeat...just a strange, heavy feeling. It was not a terrible experience by any means, and I returned to normal activities after a few days in each case (played in state championships a week after the first). With the advertised success rates, even though I seem to be an exception, I'd recommend the procedure.
Hey there Broncosfan, hang in there. Ablation is a complex procedure and the area you describe is a difficult area to reach. I have been in cases where I have seen the exact thing you are describing happen where PVC's make it difficult to keep the catheter in position. If your current doc can't get it, ask for a referral to someone else. There are docs out there who specialize in difficult cases. Hang in there.

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