I'm a new member and want to thank you for any advice you can give me.  I'm an 81 year old who has always been in good health.  In October after several tests  I was told I needed a PM for a slowheart rate.  I have been prescribed several medicines, none of which have helped me.  Besides my palpatations, I am tired, dizzy, tingling in hands and feet at times, and sometimes chills.  My last visit to the cardiologist he suggested an ablasion.  After some reading I find that it could cause damage to my PM, and that afterwards I would be completly dependent upon the PM.  I have friends who have had successul ablasions but they don't have PM's.  Could use some advice as to how to proceed and questions to ask the ElectroPhysiologist that I will talk to this next Tuesday.  Thanks for any advice.



by AgentX86 - 2021-07-07 16:58:19

Hi Mom,  welcome to the club.  We don't want to be members either but here we are...

You don't give us a lot of information to go on but, like with all surgery, ablations carry some risk.  Ablations are fairly simple procedures, medically (with a lot of skill needed to do it right), perhaps a little less so, even than a pacemaker implant.  I assume that your palpatations and other symptoms are caused by some sort of arrhythmia (Afib, probably) and that the ablation is to try to correct this.  Guessing along, the drugs are making you lethargic and you've had enough.

The question I have now, is what sort of ablation?  I was assuming it was an ablation for Afib but your comment about being dependent hints that you're talking about an AV ablation, which is a different thing.

As I understand your position, you've come to the point where your quality of life isn't what you want it to be and your EP has given you a choice.  Sure, there is a risk of further damage but there is also the reward of getting your life back. 

Almost everything that can go wrong has a recovery plan built in so the real risk is miniscule. If you end up being pacemaker dependent, does it really matter all that much?  I am (intentionally), and being dependent doesn't affect my life at all but I knew that going in. Getting the AV ablation really did give me my life back.

I think you have a good start on the quesions.  What, exactly, are you recommending? Why do you think this is the best course?  What are the down-sides?  What would the result of these be?  What's the backup plan? How many of these procedures have you done?  This year?

For the more "normal" cardiac ablation, you really want someone who has done at least a hundred in the last year and a thousand(s) during his career (a specialist among specialists).  There is a huge difference in the success rate between surgeons.  It's a quite safe procedure but one that takes a lot of skill to get a high success rate. On the other hand, if he's talking about an A/V ablation, it's not such a tricky procedure but has more serious implications, long term.

You're on the right path, though.  As questions and keep asking until you understand.  If we can, we're here to help.

Ablation and pacemaker

by islandgirl - 2021-07-07 23:37:10

I've had numerous (15-20)? ablations with both a heart devices (first a pacemaker and now an ICD).  I had also initally received a pacemaker for a slow heart rate.  The upgrade to the ICD has nothing to do with an ablation.

Ask lots of questions, make sure the EP is experienced, find out what area of the heart his is talking about ablating.  Then you can decide if it will help your quality of life, it will improve your heart health and general health in general.

15-20 ablations?

by AgentX86 - 2021-07-08 19:08:51

Really?  Wow!  The highest score I'd heard befor was seven. 

Don't go that far.  After two or three, they should be 99% effective, given one of the "best" ablationists.  After that, it's not going to happen.

Ablation and pacemaker.

by Alphakiwi - 2021-07-11 01:32:55

Pretty sure its a AV nofe ablation you have been offered since you already have pacer and you mention being drug intolerant. I have just this week received a pacemaker in readiness for AV node ablation. I jave worked through the challenge of having to be pacer dependent. At my stage of life what does it matter . Its better than pitting ip with side effects of the drugs which dont work well on me and actually have put me in hospital twice. I am 79 next month. Apart from persistant atypical flutter and fairly regular afib i am in good nick. All the best to you in your decisions

You know you're wired when...

Your device makes you win at the slot machines.

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I have had my pacer since 2005. At first it ruled my life. It took some time to calm down and make the mental adjustment. I had trouble sleeping and I worried a lot about pulling wires. Now I just live my life as I wish.