Catheter Ablation Overview

Nine days post RF catheter ablation / pulmonary vein isolation for AF & Flutter. Back at work. Hour of Trainer Road, done. Modern medicine is nothing less than amazing. This is a short article summing up what has generally been a very good, positive, and hopefully curative experience… time will tell… and I will revisit then – in about 8 weeks time).

Looking back over the last week and a bit, it has been quite the adventure – and I have had a bunch compressed into a small amount of space. I thought I would take this opportunity to put down a few words about how it went.

– You read about the risks, the things that can go wrong, you worry a bit about this that and the other. The reality is that we all think we are going to be the 1%, that is natural. The reality is that you will not be amongst that number – so yeah, those bills will still need paying next month – boo 😉

– You go straight into the place where it is going to happen. For some reason, this was a surprise to me. I was expecting the previous experience of being wheeled to a room, put to sleep, waking up later. Not for me. There is a room with a lot of people in – maybe about ten or so. It looks like something more akin to computer research, lots of monitors, cables, desks behind screens, and a bed. Then, you notice the bed. You get festooned in wires, stickers, stuff, and the excellent anesthetic person bids you goodnight.

– Waking up for me was rough. “Keep your leg still and do not cough” – what they said to you before you went undergoes out the window. Be nice to the people. Be nicer than I was. Thankfully time passes quickly while you are groggy. Do not cough, it brings lots of people over, and dressings need to Afterward, and there is much excitement. Avoid the excitement, win at life.

– Bonus – they want you to drink things. A straw is involved. Super thirsty so let the good times.

– You get to lay down and not look around, or move for 4 hours. Someone else has put you on this bed, and in this position – so this is quite a long time – but you are groggy and there is nothing else to do – so hey. I was unable to sleep – if you can – do. Choice of winners.

– At 4 hours they prop the bed up, and leave you for a bit longer. Even if this is an extension of “I didn’t put myself in this position” meets the ‘bed pivoting up in a place where your hips are’ this is a welcome change of scenery and being able to look around is wicked good.

– Food was involved at this point for me. At this point I had not eaten for 24 hours – so this was truly phenominal. Great success.

– After a little longer propped up there comes the excitement of the stand. Push down on a wound, apply pressure, stand. This is counter-intuitive and a bit ouchie – but otherwise “FREEDOM!”

Shortly after this you can be sent home, or if you are a long way from the facility – an overnight.

The hole is small enough, maybe about the size of the end of a pencil, with a small square waterproof bandage over it. This means that I could shower the next morning. I felt a lot better after this.

Does it hurt? Nope. Is it uncomfortable? Yes. Afterwards obviously – as during I was very much in the hands of a general anaesthetic.

I was surprised to have an ache in my chest – which at first was worse when I lay on my left hand side. A week on it is still sore… but just sore – no more no less.

The whole THERE IS A HOLE IN MY LEG thing – well no – that is just that. You are just very aware of it. I have a remarkable bruise that spreads down my leg and onto my groin, but it does not hurt, there is no pain. While Technicolor – that does not hurt either. I was just cautious about it – feeling the dressing pull tight as I stood up, and then after that was gone (a day or so). You are aware that something has gone on – but the look is a lot worse than the feels.

Have I had any issues? Nope.

I have not had a single incidence of AF since the procedure. Have I had odd beats – sure. Quite big thumps, but single one off events.

Medication? Dosage decreases immediately. Some taper off over the next month; the rest ends after two months. At that point, the throttle stops get removed, and I get to rediscover my heart again.

So Tuesday, did I do 5x seven-minute intervals at 85 to 95% FTP during an hours Trainer Road session? Yup. Was this advised? Well nope, not it was not – it was silly. Was this me trying to find some boundaries rather than being a bit precious about it? Yup. Did I feel good afterward – of course.

So there we are – new me. Increasing the load up to where I was and then onwards. ‘Faster’ is not going to happen through hopes and prayers. NOTHING happens through hopes and prayers.

The future has started: Now about that goal setting…

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