Videre non videri
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Bikes: 1 road bike (simple, light), 1 TT bike (could be more aero, could be lighter), 1 all-weather commuter and winter bike, 1 Monark 828E ergometer indoor bike
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Free from my AVNRT at last!
Last Tuesday, I finally had my catheter ablation for my typical AVNRT and the change is amazing! Before, my heart was extremely excitable and things like laughing hard, getting up from a chair or being hungry would trigger a kind of flutter (not atrial flutter - this is just my way of describing the sensation) that sometimes would trigger my AVNRT. After the ablation, I can't get any kind of flutter going no matter how hard I try to provoke it, and no full-blown AVNRT either.
The procedure took a hair over two hours from the time I got on the table to when I slid over onto my hospital bed again. My heart was so excitable that just inserting the catheters in the heart triggered my tachycardia, whereas it normally takes at least electrical stimulation via the catheters to trigger it. At that stage, I asked them to give me Diazepam (which I had initially declined) to calm me down. If I kept count accurately, I got a total of 15 or 20 mg over about an hour. Didn't have much effect other than to calm me down, mainly physically (I was trembling initially).
Diagnosis was quick, and I had a posterior AV-nodal accessory slow pathway. They then inserted the cryo catheter and proceeded to map the area and then ablate in several steps for a total of about 20 minutes of cryo (possibly includes mapping time). After that, they were unable to initiate the AVNRT, even with intravenous adrenaline for several minutes combined with electrical pacing via the catheters.
There were no complications of any kind during the procedure and no additional electrical issues in the heart apart from the AVNRT.
After they rolled me into my room (shared with six other beds, but only 2-3 patients at that time), I had to stay horizontal for two hours (which made eating difficult, but I managed), and then another two hours in the bed but with the upper body slightly raised up. This was to prevent the catheter insertion holes in the groin from opening again from postural increase in blood pressure.
I left the hospital the next morning, right after breakfast, with only very mild pain in the groin and in the IV insertion point in my right arm (still hurts a bit).
The recurrence rate for the procedure I had and my type of diagnosis, is about 7 % for that clinic, but that's the average for all subvariants, including one (not mine) with a 20 % recurrence rate, so the actual in my case could be slightly lower. Maybe 4-5 % or so. It's not negligible, but still fairly small. I will probably know for certain early 2010, because most cases of recurrence happen in the first few months and virtually none after the first year. And even so, I would only be scheduled for a second ablation, after which the recurrence rate drops to about a half percent.
So, for now, I consider myself cured, and can finally start living my life fully, without fearing a tachycardia episode at the slightest provocation at inopportune times and places. I can exercise without having to worry about triggering it either during or after.
I only have to wait a few more days for the catheter insertion holes to fully heal before I engage in anything strenuous. There's a huge dark violet bruise around the area now, which I've been told is blood leaked during the actual procedure that takes a couple of days to reach the skin and become visible. Looks horrible but is painless.
Anyway, I just wanted to share my experience, and hopefully help others who are about to have a similar procedure done!