SVT Cardiac Ablation Experience
what is SVT?
SVT aka Supraventricular Tachycardia is a heart condition where an upper chamber in your heart sends extra signals to the rest of your heart, causing your heart to beat 200 BPM or more for little or no reason. In this article, I will be describing my experience with having SVT and my recovery from the ablation I had to correct my SVT.
When I first started having SVT.
When I first started having SVT attacks, I was about 12, and when I had my first episode, the only way I could describe it was that I was dizzy, shaky, and my heart was beating really fast and felt jittery, so I started calling them "heart jittery's", when I told my mother about them, she said it sounded like a panic attack, so I figured they where nothing and ignored them. as the years went on, I started having them more frequently and by the time I was 17, I was having them a couple times a month, my parents and I started getting concerned, so we called our doctor and made an appointment. My doctor said it sounded to him like SVT, so he referred me to a cardiologist who also said it sounded like SVT. My cardiologist did a stress test, did an ultrasound on my hear, and put me on a 24-hour heart monitor, but the monitor didn't pick anything abnormal up. The cardiologist said I could go to the ER or a paramedic station and have them do an EKG when I'm having an episode to record it so that they could do an ablation, but I live in the middle of nowhere, the closest paramedic station is about 20 minutes away, and the closest ER is about 45 minutes away, so by the time I made it to one, my attack would usually be over. After a couple months, I gave up and stopped telling my parents when I was having a "heart jittery" because we were getting nowhere. The years went on, and when I was in my mid 20's I was having episodes multiple times a week, sometimes multiple times a day, and the only people who knew about it at all was my family. My family and I decided to make an appointment with my doctor again because of how bad the episodes where getting, they were frequent and lasting 30 minutes to 3 hours each time. My doctor referred me to a new cardiologist and we made an appointment with her. My cardiologist put me on a 24-hour monitor and re-did all the tests my previous cardiologist did, and once again, the 24-hour monitor picked up nothing. Just one day after my 24-hour monitor came off, I had a really bad episode, I went to the paramedic center to have an EKG done, but there was nobody there because they where on a call, so I went home and relaxed for the rest of the day. I decided that since I was planning on having the ablation, I decided it was time to tell my boss about my condition so that she knew I would be needing some time off when I have surgery. A couple months later, I was hooked up to a 30-day monitor, but, for the first time in months, if not years, I went a whole month without a single episode. A few days after the monitor came off, and just a couple days before my next cardiology appointment, I was at working and started having an episode, and I work just a couple minutes away from the paramedic station, and this wasn't the first time I've had an episode at work, but it's usually really busy or I'm alone when it happens, and I refuse to leave my customers and the shop unattended, so I just pretend nothing's happening, but on this poticular day, it was slow and I had a co-worker with me, but my boyfriend was at work and accedently took my car keys with him that morning, so I decided I should tell my co-qorker that I have SVT and ask if I could borrow her car. Just as I was about to talk to my co-worker and ask about borrowing her car, we got a rush of customers, so I pretended nothing was happening and served my customers as normal, about 30 minutes later, we where done serving our customers and my episode hadn't ended yet, so I told my co-worker what was going on and asked if I could borrow her car. When I got to the paramedic station, they hooked me up to their EKG machine and successfully recorded my SVT! about an hour later we finally got my SVT attack to stop and I took my co-workers car back to her and my boyfriend took me home. After my appointment with my cardiologist later that week, we scheduled an appointment for me to have a cardiac ablation on December 28th
The Ablation and Recovery
Day 1-Surgery Day
The night before my ablation I had to stop eating and drinking by midnight. The day of my surgery, my check-in was 8:30, they got me in, put an IV in my arm, went through my allergies with me, asked if I had any questions...etc I requested no urinary catheter (I have heard how uncomfortable they are and didn't want burning urine for 3 days) and they were really cool about it and said they'd only use a urinary catheter if I started peeing during surgery, lol! at around 10:30 they wheeled me to the OR and stuck about 30-50 electrode stickers on me to record my heart during the procedure, then they gave me drugs that knocked me out. Next thing I knew, it was 12, I was waking up, they told me everything went well, told me they used 5 catheters in my heart, I had to lay flat for 4 hours, move nothing but my arms (couldn't even lift my head) and started giving me ice to moisten my throat, I asked if I could have some water, but my nurse said I couldn't have any for atleast 20 because they didn't want me choking because of being half asleep, but said if I wanted something other than ice, she'd get me a popsicle if I wanted (which of course I did!). But having not eaten yet, I was starving, so I started begging for real food, and at first, my nurse said I had to wait for an hour before I could eat solid food, but about 10 minutes later, she asked how the popsicle was settling, and I said "It's settling really well, when can I eat?!" she laughed and said I could go ahead and order food, so I ordered a cheeseburger, and I was eating it by 12:30 (so much for an hour wait!). During the 4 hours of laying still, I ate, talked to my mother, and my boyfriend read to me, I was feeling fantastic, my groin was sore from where they made the incisions and inserted the catheters, but other than that, I felt great! After the 4 hours were up, I got up, they check my incisions to make sure they weren't bleeding, used the bathroom, got dressed, and sat in a wheelchair. While I sat in the wheelchair, my nurse went over all my instructions, no heavy lifting, take it easy for a week...etc just as he was finishing and about to wheel me out to my car, I got really dizzy, my vision went white, I could barely see, and my hearing was getting very fuzzy, my nurse helped me back in bed, said I had to stay an extra 30 minutes and redo the walking to make sure I don't get dizzy again, then I could go. When the 30 minutes were up, I walk around a minute, then sat in the wheelchair again and got a ride to my car. When we all got home, my mother and boyfriend helped me into bed, we ate dinner together and went to sleep.
The day after surgery, I woke up feeling really good, my groin felt bruised, but all in all, I felt good! I felt alert, ate some breakfast, then got a shower. right after my shower, I was getting dressed and started getting dizzy again, my mother helped me finish getting dressed and back into bed, I spent most the day in bed, my mother and boyfriend watched me like a hawk and only let me get up for 2, 5 minute walks that day. But I made it the rest of the day with no dizziness.
Day 3 was pretty uneventful, I spent the day in bed watching tv, napping, and doing a couple logic puzzles, I had no dizziness, my heart felt good, I just felt bruised.
Day 4 (new years eve)
On day 4, I woke up feeling pretty good, but had a few extra heartbeats throughout the day, but I was still feeling good and I was excited to play games and drink some with my family, my day went well, I had a good amount of energy, walk quite a bit that day, and even played card games with my family for a few hours! it was a blast!
On day 5 I woke up a little hungover, but other than that, woke up feeling pretty good. I had more extra beats that day than I did the day before, but still maintained a good heartbeat. the day was pretty boring, I was getting sick of just laying in bed, but my mother and boyfriend still wouldn't let me do anything but lay in bed and take short walks.
On day 6 I had almost no extra beats, but felt slightly light headed most of the day, other than that I felt good. The day was boring, I ended up just playing stupid mind-numbing games most the day and napping.
On day 7 I woke up feeling horrible, my heart was beating over 150 bpm just laying in bed, I ended dizzy, and my dizziness gave me nausea, but my mother was going to the store for a quick grocery shopping and I wanted to get out of the house and go with her. I took a super fast shower then napped for a while and woke up feeling better, not great, but better. we went into town for a little while and I stayed in the car most places she shopped. When we got home, I laid in bed feeling really dizzy again and really short of breath, I kept dozing off, but every time I did, I woke up because I could barely breathe.
On day 8, I barely feel bruised at all anymore, I woke up feeling a little dizzy but not bad, my heart rate is back to normal, and by the end of the day, I'm feeling really good! I've walked periodically throughout the day, did some mild stretching, and my mother is allowing me to be a little more self-sufficient!
On day 9, I felt great! no pain, no dizziness, no nausea. But later in the afternoon, I was using the bathroom and examined my incisions and noticed that is was a little swollen with a knot on the right side, so I will be calling the doctor tomorrow.
On day 10, I called the doctor, and they said that as long as I don't run a fever I'm fine, and if it starts to hurt, put some ice on it.
I will be updating this as time goes on or significant things happen.