Well December 5th marked the 9-month anniversary of my catheter ablation. I thought I would start this post-ablation update by answering a question I get asked a lot from readers of this blog. The question is, do I regret having a catheter ablation?
My answer: NO!
My only regret is I didn’t do it sooner. And if the first ablation doesn’t “stick,” I won’t hesitate to have another one. Hell, I’ll have 3 or 4 procedures if necessary!
I think I get asked this question a lot because in my 4-month, 6-month, and 7-month updates I talked about the rampant PVCs and PACs I was experiencing. I think when people read those updates it unnecessarily freaks them out that if they have an ablation they’ll experience the same thing.
I thought I would put those updates into perspective to put my readers’ minds at ease so that if they’re considering having an ablation they don’t second guess themselves. As you’ll learn after reading this post, you should not hesitate having an ablation because of what you read in those updates. Quite the contrary.
For starters, while it’s certainly possible the PVCs and PACs were directly related to the ablation, there is no way to know for sure. They could have been two totally separate issues. And the incredible stress and grief I was under this summer with the passing of my dad might have played a bigger role than the ablation.
I was talking to Shannon, the editor of afibbers.org, about the possibility of those PVCs and PACs being related to the ablation. He concluded the same thing – it’s certainly possible but you just don’t know. He also said, and I found this comment particularly funny, that those of us who have had ablations have a natural tendency to blame anything health related on the ablation.
I’m having a lot of headaches lately. It must be the ablation I had. I’ve been sick a lot lately. It must be the ablation I had. We both laughed but it’s so true. It is totally natural to blame various health issues on any kind of major surgery you’ve had done. The reality, however, is that in many cases the issues aren’t connected at all.
Even if they were related to my ablation, I’d take dealing with daily PVCs and PACs over episodes of atrial fibrillation! Don’t get me wrong, some of those days of PVCs and PACs were awful. In fact, some were actually worse than what I experienced during my afib episodes. Still, though, I’d rather battle PVCs and PACs than afib.
Still No Afib & the PVCs and PACs are Almost Gone
Whether or not the PVCs and PACs were related to the ablation, I’m happy to report that nine months after my ablation I don’t have nearly the issues with them as I did before. Maybe one day out of every couple weeks I’ll have noticeable PVCs and PACs. Aside from those rare bad days, I’m in perfect NSR without any palpitations of any kind.
If things continue to progress as they are, I suspect in another month or so the PVCs and PACs will be totally history. Sure I still may have a bad day here or there but I’m confident that the days of battling them constantly are over.
But even if I was still really struggling with PVCs and PACs AND they were indeed related to the ablation, I still wouldn’t have any regrets. Like I said, I would much rather deal with PVCs and PACs than afib. At least PVCs and PACs won’t kill you and you don’t have to be on drugs to treat them if you don’t want to be.
Why I Continue to Be a Strong Supporter of Ablations
So far my ablation has been a total success (knock on wood) so naturally I’m going to be a proponent of ablations, but my confidence in them goes beyond my own experience. When I talk to people that have battled afib for years that finally found their cure, they all have one thing in common. They found their cure with an ablation or some other surgical procedure like the Cox-Maze or Mini-Maze. All of these people had tried drugs first without success. The drugs either didn’t help at all or made things worse.
I don’t know of a single person that has cured their afib with drugs, but I know of many people who have been completely cured or live significantly better lives after their ablations. What does that tell you?
Ablations are far from perfect but in my opinion they are our best shot at curing atrial fibrillation with one caveat – that you work with the best EP you can find. Your success rate will be 100% dependent on the operator.
Those measly ablation success rates you always read about are based on averages. That means they lump everyone together – from EPs doing their first ablation to EPs doing their 5,000th ablation. Because there are far more subpar EP operators than there are elite EPs, naturally the averages are going to be low so don’t buy into those statistics that show ablations aren’t effective.
If you can find an elite EP to work with, an ablation is absolutely your best chance at beating afib – period.
Like I said in the beginning of this post, if I need a second or even third or fourth procedure, I won’t hesitate to have another one – only of course if Dr. Natale is doing them. I figure if an ablation (or ablations) by an elite EP doesn’t work, then nothing will.
Fortunately, things on the health front have finally settled down. My PVCs and PACs are mostly all gone now. And while I have gained a little weight since my ablation, I’m still doing great on that front as I’m hovering around 176 pounds (up from 169 pounds during my ablation). I’d like to be closer to 170 pounds so I’ll continue to fight that battle…lol. Maintaining weight loss is a never ending battle it seems!
Other than that the only thing I have on my list of to-do’s is to have a sleep study done in the early spring. This is something I’ve been wanting to do but have been procrastinating. While I’m 95% certain I don’t have sleep apnea, it’s something I want to rule out with certainty. Since there is a such a strong connection between sleep apnea and atrial fibrillation, it only makes sense to bite the bullet and just get the study done so I can finally put that issue to rest once and for all!
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I had catheter ablation 3 weeks ago and at this point (I know it is super early) I wish I had not done it as I felt far better before the procedure. Before the procedure, I had normal blood pressure and normal pulse rate, and ever since the procedure my blood pressure has been high and my pulse is over 100 when I wake up in the morning and 120-130 during the day if I am doing anything – even a simple walk to the mailbox. I had better stamina before as well. I had/have no co-morbidities and I am in good physical shape for my age. No smoking, drugs, or heavy drinking. My cardiologist is in the loop and unconcerned. My fingers are crossed that this improves.
I totally understand but be patient. The average recovery time after an ablation is 3 months. The first month or so is always the hardest. Remember, during an ablation they are literally burning parts of your heart so it’s terribly inflamed after an ablation so it needs time to heal. Things will get better. Hang in there!
My father had one and they stuffed up and burnt through his heart and caused a rip in his esophagus, they couldn’t fix it and he died of multiple organ failure. We are absolutely devastated.
I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. And while I certainly sympathize, I need to add some perspective to your comments for others reading this so they aren’t afraid of having an ablation.
Esophageal injury, or atrio-oesophageal fistula, is an extremely rare complication during an ablation. In fact, I think it’s less than 1%. The risk is nearly 0% if you are working with an experienced EP. I say “nearly 0%” because a freak accident during a procedure is always possible. You could have knee surgery and end up dying from an infection. Accidents can happen.
Your tragic story, however, certainly reminds us that ablations aren’t 100% risk-free. With any minimally invasive procedure there is going to be “some” risk. There isn’t any medical procedure that is 100% safe – certainly when it comes to procedures dealing with the heart. Ablations have come a long way over the years and they are about as safe as they can be.
If you are reading this and are considering an ablation, don’t let this extremely rare complication scare you!
Atrio-oesophageal fistula, when it occurs (I was told a fraction of one percent), is devastating – most often fatal. It’s fatal because it usually occurs many days after the procedure. It’s a matter of out-of-control inflammation caused by heat (Or the cold of cryoablation) injuring the esophagus through the left atrium’s back wall. The injury needn’t be serious. Just enough to set up that inflammation is enough. Your body’s own response causes the erosion leading to breakthrough over time.
(This is the reason I was prescribed double-dosing of a proton pump inhibitor, reducing any possible stomach acid contribution to that inflammation. I was frightened of that fraction of a percent for a couple of months because I couldn’t tolerate the omeprazole.)
So, of you have a breakthrough from atrium to esophagus while comfortably recuperating at home, you won’t have the facilities at hand to address this situation that you’d had on site in the hospital.
Lisa’s dad’s situation sounds quite different. An accident on the spot? That’s actually even more rare . . . if you’re in the hands of an experienced electrophysiologist. One more reason to go out of your way to find the most experienced practitioner in the hospital that does the most procedures with the best equipment.
Great additional information on atrio-oesophageal fistula. Thanks so much for sharing!!
On November 14th 2013, my father, aged 62 had a Cardiac Ablation procedure on the Gold Coast and was sent home the following day. The cardiologist that recommended and preformed the procedure caused a catastrophic fatal mistake which was later confirmed by the coroner to have caused his death, an Esophageal Fistula. We were not told about this risk!!!!
My father complained of pain 4 days after the ablation to the cardiologist. A week later he inserted a pacemaker and sent him home. He was rushed back to emergency a week later still complaining of pains in his chest. The following day while in CCU the pains become worse as if he was having a major heart attack. The specialist heart surgeon then suspected the fistula having fluid in the pericardial region and performed emergency open heart surgery. It was then they found the damage. The tear in his esophagus was 1.5 cm.
They had never seen this type of thing before. After failed attempts to repair the esophagus my father’s life support was turned off as there was nothing they could do to fix it. The cardiologist is under investigation with Ahpra and the Australian Medical Board. My family and I also believe on the day my father’s life support was switched off the paperwork was altered to make it appear that the risk had been explained when we have another copy dated back to the procedure that doesn’t explain the risks. We are still waiting for answers as to why this happened. The technology in the cath labs at the hospital are alleged to be state of the art, why did they not know what had happened?
There are so many questions that my family and I are still waiting to be answered. My father’s death was reported on the day to the coroner by another doctor that was involved with the medical team. The coroner also sent police to collect my father’s medical reports only to be told to get a warrant which was also carried out. He is yet to do the findings.
It’s been three years given the complexity of the case it will be some time. This cardiologist has recently killed another patient and has injured (stuffed up) another two patients since. My father had nine stents and two ablations, the last one ended his life. I can’t help but think he was just a money making guinea pig and that there is some sort of referral ring happening. And given the fact that we’ve never been contacted or offered any support by anyone since is devastating. My mother and father were married for 45 years and to be treated like that from a health care facility is just disgusting. These doctors will do anything to make a buck.
Thanks for providing more details about your story. I didn’t feel comfortable putting your father’s name or the name of the hospital in your comments so I removed them. As a blog that gets read by thousands of readers every month I have to be very careful about going public about such sensitive private matters. I hope you understand.
What your family went through (and is still going through) is truly gut-wrenching and sad. It definitely sounds like the cardiologist your father went to was clearly incompetent if what you’re saying is true.
I can assure you that your experience is not the norm, however. I don’t believe that “doctors will do anything to make a buck.” There are a handful of bad and incompetent professionals in every industry. The medical industry is not immune to that. It’s extremely unfortunate that your family had to deal with one of the bad apples. I’m truly sorry for that.
I hope you and your family find peace and resolution. God bless.
Thank you for your understanding. As you can tell, this is an extremely sensitive subject for me. I just want my father’s case heard by as many people as possible.
Thanks for sharing your experience via this website. Please know that your information here and your willingness to share a personal story went a long way towards helping me to decide to get a catheter ablation. Mine was this past Tuesday. The procedure itself was no big deal. I have struggled a bit with some nagging annoyances following it (tough wake up from general anesthesia, post procedure low-grade fever, lung congestion) but all in all, I know it could be much worse. Also had mine at St. David’s South Austin Med Center and I cannot say enough good things about their staff and what good care they provide. And my EP — Dr. Javier Sanchez — is an all star!
Thanks so much for your kind words! I’m so happy to hear you had a successful ablation and are doing well. Doesn’t it feel great that you finally have a shot at putting the beast to bed for good – without drugs to boot! Just be sure to take it easy over the next 8-12 weeks. You want to give your heart the “peace” it needs to fully heal.
That means keep your stress to a minimum, get good sleep, and don’t over do it physically. I rather enjoyed my blanking period as it was the first time in my life where I just “chilled” for 3 months. It was great!
I wish you well!
I just found your blog and I am really enjoying reading it. I am a healthy, fairly active 64 year old. I surfed for 35 years, played softball, ate well, don’t smoke and work in my 2 acre yard doing pretty strenuous work. I was shocked when I was diagnosed with afib. My wife and I were taking a daily 2 mile walk when I began to feel bad, dizzy, faint and feeling my heart racing. We called 911 and they said my heart was 275 bpm!
They gave me a medicine called adenosine and it took care of it. That was in Oct. I then had an episode in Jan. and my heart was at 175. This time they did more tests and I was diagnosed with SVT. I was sent to a specialist who had me wear a heart monitor for 1 month. It showed that I had Atypical Atrial Flutter! I was put on Eliquis and heart drugs. That helped and I was symptom free for a while when it went out of rhythm again. AARGGG!
They scheduled an electro cardio version and it put me into sinus rhythm immediately. The Dr. said I was in afib now. I stayed for 3 days in the hosital while he monitored me on Tykison. My heart rate stayed at between 52 to 60 and I was looking forward to feeling better. I came home Friday and woke up Sunday with it up to 100. I go in for a consultation on June 10 to schedule an ablation.
How do I find out if my heart Dr. is a good one? He isn’t the one performing the ablation, is that Dr. a good one? Also what is pac and pvc?
Thanks for your blog! It is nice to be able to share thoughts and information with others who are going through the same thing. I pray that God completely heals you! I know that He is the ultimate physician!
God Bless, Chris
Thanks for sharing your story! To answer your questions, it’s very hard to find a truly great EP when it comes to ablations. While the procedure itself is safe and pretty straight forward for just about any EP to ATTEMPT, to do it successfully is another matter all together. There are only a handful of truly great ablationists in the U.S. Dr. Natale is one of them. I’ve been working on putting a list together but it has proven to be a lot more difficult than I anticipated.
You want the EP to have at least 1,500 or more ablations under their belt. And that’s them doing it themselves – not their group, assistant, student, etc. You want the actual EP doing your procedure to have at least 1,500 ablations under their belt but the more the better. In addition, you want an EP that has experience working difficult cases (i.e. persistent afib).
A PVC is a premature ventricular contraction and a PAC is a premature atrial contraction. These are essentially extra beats that originate from either the ventricle or the atria. The abnormal beats are benign and almost every person has them. However, some people have “more than normal” and are really sensitive to them (your’s truly being one of them). When you get to about 20% of your heart beats being PVCs or PACs, then doctors usually step in to try to treat them with drugs or an ablation.
I wish you well on your upcoming appointment. Please keep in touch to let us know how you’re doing and when your ablation will be!
P.S. Thanks for praying for my healing. I appreciate the kind thoughts. I’ll be praying for you as well!
Here’s what is working for my “mild to moderate” sleep apnea:
It’s been a few years since that diagnosis. At first I did CPAP. I tried the nasal mask. I tried three different full-face masks. I got an insulating sleeve for the tube so condensation wouldn’t gurgle.
In the final analysis, I was constantly waking up either because of all the equipment management issues, or because of the nightmares that I was suffocating. The head of the sleep study program at my hospital told me he actually taped his mouth closed every night to use the nasal mask. Yikes!
My second trial was of a dental mandibular advancement device that was working quite well – except for lots of extra salivation and morning jaw discomfort – things you can handle, considering the benefits of eliminating apnea.
Then I read a research article. Healthy non-snoring college students were fitted with little nasal inserts that limited nasal breathing a small measurable amount. It didn’t take long before they all started snoring! Some progressed to apnea. Further research disclosed that as we age, our nasal passages go a bit lax and can be as much of an apnea issue as are lax tongues and lax soft palates.
My solution that’s proven to work – for ME – according to follow-up sleep studies:
1. “Breathe Right Advanced” strips on my nose every night. Opens those passages right up! (No, I have no interest in the company.)
2. I sleep on my side. (Yes, you can train yourself to do it with no sleep disturbance. Well, I did.)
Try it. But understand that this doesn’t work for everybody. Be sure to have those follow up studies! (You can get them done at home now.)
Awesome information! Thanks for sharing. Glad to hear you were able to figure out a system that works for you.
I was so glad and relieved when I had my sleep study done and was told I didn’t have sleep apnea. I don’t think I could sleep with a mask on my face. I don’t know how people do it but I suppose like anything else you get used to it after a while.
Regarding your comment about taping your mouth shut, they actually have headgear you can wear that keeps your mouth shut so no need for tape!
And I agree with you about training yourself to sleep on your side. I trained myself to sleep mostly on my right side but occasionally I’ll sleep on my left side as well. It didn’t take long to accomplish either. You can also get pillow wedges that will prevent you from rolling over on your back.
Thanks for your reply to my comments (we had a discussion about my experience with sleep apnea on your July 16 update). Just wanted to chime in and give another update in relation to my Afib and sleep apnea. 216 days in NSR since bringing my CPAP home.
I stumbled onto this contributing cause to Afib by accident as I was going through the list of possible aggravations to my condition though my research. When I got my sleep study my wife said I’d been snoring which was a first for me (I am a back sleeper to boot and I had gained 15-20 pounds.) In my case it was borderline (at the time of testing) between Normal and Mild on the apnea/hypopnea index.
I read for days about the relationship between Afib and sleep apnea before I made my decision. I was also thinking of doing more than one sleep study since one night’s sleep in my opinion really didn’t give good enough indication of a sleeping disorder with such a small testing window. But based on my research and the link of Afib with even mild sleep apnea I took the plunge, got a free CPAP though my benefits and had nothing to lose. The alternative going through drug therapy or ablation, both of which are not attractive options for me.
I have to admit it took some getting used to but I have gone now 216 days in NSR since wearing my CPAP. I agree with you that many over 40 may have some form of sleeping disorder…usually led by inactivity and obesity for most I assume. But one thing I read through my research stuck with me, “not all people that snore have sleep apnea, but all people that have sleep apnea snore.”
I believe that I had sleep apnea for a good while prior to my first afib episode. If it wasn’t for my wife I would have never known that I had started snoring about 3-6 months prior to my first afib episode. And I also believe that my sleep apnea climbed and descended in severity over that period or even longer, undiagnosed. Sleep apnea research will indicate the heart has to cope with additional stressors from oxygen desaturation and poor circulation which leads to excess carbon dioxide in your circulatory system and it can cause an abnormality of central cardiorespiratory regulation.
Sleep apnea is on the rise just like afib because of too many reasons to list here (lifestyle for most). Both have no know cure only treatment options for condition management. It may be uncomfortable to wear a CPAP but its more uncomfortable to have afib. I know I sound like a CPAP advocate but I feel a hell of a lot better since using it, and now understanding the effect of sleep apnea on the body I understand the symptoms I had during the day from the stress I was living through at sleep (tired, difficulty in concentrating, mood swings etc.)
My CPAP has recorded the last 7 months worth of data and all my numbers have dropped significantly. I have an AHI of less than 1 on average last month. I started at 4.7 seven months ago. There are some studies that claim a “reversal” of harm done to the heart by CPAP therapy for some. Of course that would depend on many factors and damage already done.
Anyways just wanted to throw my 2 cents in Travis, I wouldn’t be surprised if you had mild sleep apnea but you may not. Since you’ve had the ablation first and not a sleep study you would probably give credit to your ablation for your “cure” instead of CPAP therapy if in fact sleep apnea was a factor to your condition. But if you have sleep apnea to begin with (even mild or close to the borderline a croding to research) CPAP therapy will make your ablation more effective since sleep apnea is a contributing factor to the condition whereas your ablation is treating the manifestation of your condition.
They give free trials at most clinics and you can try a CPAP half mask or nose piece for a month trial. I don’t mind wearing it, it’s quiet, with built in humidifier, filters and temperature control for breathing comfort. I use the half mask but I’m sure most use the nose piece. I just prefer the half mask.
Let us know how it turned out for you when you get your study. Just like afib, you’ll have to do your research when you get your data from the sleep study. They need a prescription from your family doctor before they can hand out treatment options for you to try.
Awesome post! Thanks so much for your contribution. I appreciate it.
Can I ask how tall you are and how much you weigh? I only ask because I’m 5′ 11″ and weigh 175 pounds. They say “most” people with sleep apnea are over weight or obese, but I know skinny people can have it too.
As soon as I have my sleep study I’ll definitely be posting everything about it:) If I’m diagnosed with sleep apnea I’ll definitely follow up with you as I don’t know anything about it.
On another note, I have your email address. Can I contact you directly about doing an email interview for my blog? Let me know and I’ll ping you.
I’m presently standing at 6 feet and weighing in at 210 lbs (40 inch waist). I have been prior to 2015 consistently at my fittest weight (Boxing, crossfit etc.) of 190lbs (36 inch waist). Based on the Body Mass Index I would be considered overweight. If you saw me face to face you would consider me stocky and muscular and not overweight. To add to your comment “They say most people with sleep apnea are over weight or obese…” I would say you are correct. A quick neck measurement of more than 17″ automatically puts you at risk for sleep apnea indicating a correlation of neck size to sleep apnea. Obviously there is a correlation with neck size and waist size apart from the random very few that may develop the condition without having the risk factors.
You are free to contact me anytime. It would be my pleasure to participate in an email interview for your blog.
I’m fearful I’ll be one of the “random very few that may develop the condition without having the risk factors.”
I’ll shoot you an email about the interview. Thanks!
My question is why didn’t you rule out sleep apnea before you did the ablation. After all, I am told one of the main reason of AFIB is due to sleep apnea. I have been getting nightly episodes since February this year. The sleep study recommends getting a mask. I am thinking of doing an ablation if the mask fails in stopping AFIB episodes. I would appreciate your comments, please.
Great question! While treating sleep apnea may help significantly reduce the burden of afib (i.e. fewer episodes) it still isn’t a “cure.” I don’t know of anyone that has completely cured their afib simply by treating their sleep apnea so even if I had it I knew treating it wouldn’t take care of the problem. I wanted the absolute best shot at curing my afib, although technically they say there is no cure for afib. Still, though, ablations (IF done by an experienced EP) is the best shot at a long-term cure – in my opinion anyway.
Please don’t misread my comments. If treating your sleep apnea takes care of your afib, that’s awesome – and for some people treating sleep apnea goes a long way. For me personally, I’m certain I don’t have a “serious” problem with sleep apnea so it had never been a top priority to tackle. Now if it turns out I have moderate or severe apnea after I have my sleep study in the spring, I’ll be the first person to eat crow and change my tune:)
Thanks for this update Travis!
I had considered the ablation success statistics in the context of them including PATIENTs of all ages and conditions, but never thought about them also including the wide variety of EP experience and skill levels.
You’ve opened my eyes a bit more today. Keep posting!
Good to hear you found some value in this post! You bring up a good point, however. In addition to the experience of the EP, the patients ages and conditions also play a role. That’s why those “success statistics” are so bogus. They really don’t mean anything as there are so many variables that will ultimately determine the success of your own ablation.
When you had the abalation done did they take you off all of your meds for afib? For my afib (due to extreme stress) I now take xarelto, metropolo succ and now the doctor is prescribing verapamil er. Before my afib diagnosis I was only taking vitamins. I hate meds and their listed side effects. Do I need the meds or can I add magnesium and get a cure?
The only medication I was on leading up to my ablation and immediately after it was Eliquis (blood thinner). I was on it for about two months prior to the ablation and about two months after my ablation.
As to whether or not you need to take meds, that’s really up to you and your doctor. I avoided meds like the plague but I was fortunate enough that I didn’t really need them.
No vitamin or supplement will cure atrial fibrillation. Some can go a long way in helping but none of them will cure it. Magnesium is the most important supplement to take for afibbers. Dosages vary but most afibbers I talk to take anywhere from 300 -1,000mg per day. I personally take around 750mg per day.
I wish you well.
Great news! I had lots of ectopics (PACs I’m guessing) after my ablation in August of this year. They, as yours appear to be, are just kind of fading away. I suspect it’s just the injury to the atrial tissue from the ablation that makes the heart “finicky” for a period as it heals. I’m also seeing a sleep doc next week for the very same reason as you state. I’ll push to get a study done ASAP. Seems like it’s a pain in the you-know-what to get appointments with specialists towards year’s end. Insurance deductibles and FSA’s, I suppose, are to blame for that.
All of these, however, are MINOR nuisances compared to a-fib. I’ll echo that sentiment. I only suffered with the AF for 6 months, but even that was enough. My opinion? Drop a bomb on that crap (AF) as soon as you can. The drugs suck. You made the right choice.
I hope the choice works as well for others, too. Best of luck and Happy Holidays!
You are smart to go straight to an ablation so quickly after being diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. I waited 8 years before I had mine. I should have done it sooner but I’m just thankful I had it done when I finally did.
And yes, these sleep studies suck. The other thing that bothers me about them is that I’ll bet anything that they find some form of sleep apnea in any person over the age of 40. I think they want everyone wearing masks:( Be sure to stop by with an update once you have your study done. It will be interesting to see what they say.
I’ll definitely be posting about my sleep study when I have it done in the spring!
Take care, Jeff, and congrats on the successful ablation. I wish you many years of NSR!
Stopping by with an update –
The home sleep study did show mild sleep apnea. I have a choice between a dental appliance (basically holds your mouth open a bit) or CPAP (big machine with a mask that blows air into your nose and mouth). Going to try the dental approach as soon as I can find a dentist who does it. Then repeat sleep study (in lab this time) in about 8-12 weeks.
As far as the ablation, I’m coming up on 6 months now and it seems like everything is really getting almost back to perfect. The PACs are very infrequent (< dozen/day and most days none at all). If all this continues (hopefully) it'll be like AF never happened. Looking forward to the rest of 2016 and onwards feeling like 1974-2014! 2015 can go **** itself. :)
Thanks for the update! You might enjoy reading my latest blog post on this very topic (sleep studies and sleep apnea):
My in-lab study will be next week! We’ll see how it goes.
And I agree with you 100%…2015 can go *** itself! Let’s hope for a great 2016 with nothing but NSR!
Eric and Travis;
Thanks for this very educational posts on AFib and it’s relating to sleep apnea.
In spring of 2021, I started feeling chest pressure like 50 kg sand bag is sitting on my chest. I new year hat is something new that I did not experienced before. I am 57 now, I am also fit, very active with BP under control with beta blockers. Was eating very healthy until I hit 53. Than started enjoying steaks, fajitas and rest what Texas has to offer. Everything in moderation. Before that time of change, I was non drinker, non smoker and feet. I was very active soccer referee at local levels. From age 46 till last spring 2021, i put over 1000 games under my belt. My job is sedentary, sitting for over 20 years in the office, and working from home for last 11 years. I am 6’ 2.” (188 cm) and my weight s 215 right now but was fluctuating between 210 and 220 pounds. By profession, I am nurse and working in Research for last 20 years.
Now back to my heart problems. Chest pressure that I mentioned earlier was becoming heavier and heavier. Palpitations become very often symptom with heart rate between 130 and 185. I knew, I will be looking for help soon. And of April traveled to Florida for couple of days together with my wife to visit family members. On our flight back to Houston, I was short of breath especially wearing mask for the duration of flight. Chest pressure was not getting any better but opposite, it was increased in intensity. Following day, May 6th I saw my PCP. He did EKG and was sending my to ER but I refused. Told him, if this did not kill me on my flight back, it won’t kill me. Next day, I saw my regular cardiologist. He did chest pain protocol, labs, EKG, chest X-ray and stress test Bruce protocol. I failed this test. Pressure in my chest was very heavy. We stopped it at my request because I became very lightheaded and in pre syncope phase. Cardiologist scheduled for me following week 7 days later to have heart catheterization. Had my heart catheterization on Ma 14, and stayed in hospital 8 hours total. Before discharge home, cardiologist came to my room and told my wife and I: whatever you’re doing, you are doing great. I had nothing to mark on your coronary diagram. But my symptoms were becoming more intense and more complicated. He increased my beta blocker to 2x daily and sad for now it looks like SVT and I will se you in 7 days. On May 16, was at home resting and feeling very badly all my existing symptoms together. I am wearing Apple Watch 6. I utilized it first time to record my EKG and I caught big catch, AFib with HR of 179 with also missing beats with 2.5 seconds of no beats. You can imagine then how fast my heart was accelerating. I exported my EKG to cardiologist and he called me 2 minutes later on Sunday afternoon. He s as I’d we got it now. Come see my on May 21 and if you can take your EKG whenever you feel bad.. Saw him and got ZIO patch to wear it for 14 days. He started me on MULTAQ 3x daily and ELIQUIS 2x day plus my beta blocker 2x daily. From my experience, I don’t know what is harder on my body; AFIB or side effects f new medication. Was scheduled to se electrophysiologist on July 9. Before seeing EP, EKG was taken and surely i as in AFIB despite being on medication. He talked to me and my wife and strongly suggested cardiac ablation and sleep study. Think of it and call my scheduler if you decide to undergo ablation. He also said, he first do cryo ablation and told me I have 1500+ under my belt. My cardiologist and EP are in same suite and belongs to same group Texas Heart Medical Group in TMC. I took about 3 weeks to decide. I was not feeling any better and my symptoms were very slightly better with a bit less of AFIB but still actively present. Called my EP scheduler and was put for August 18 for cryo ablation. Ablation went fine and few hours later when I was in my hospital room, chest pressure completely disappeared.
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