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RRAYNER Posts: 1,063
5/7/13 12:55 P

emoticon Hope you are still enjoying SP. emoticon

LASERGAL50 Posts: 27
5/21/12 12:10 P

Hi SPEEDOXXL-11,
I had it done at Hamilton General Hospital in Hamilton, ONT. Canada. By a Dr. Nair. He's a awesome cardiologist. I was up and walking within the week. A little sore but no lasting hurts that I couldn't handle. I could be wrong but the camera deal is because a main artery passes close by and they want to make sure there's no problems in that area. I really should pull up all my paper work and give you all the jargon on this op. I will get back to you.

DESERTGEM Posts: 125
5/20/12 10:41 A

Thanks for all the good information, LaserGal. One last question - where have you had your ablations done? and by whom, if you are at liberty to say? This will certainly give me lots of questions for the doc on Thursday. I've never heard on the tube to the stomach thing, and can't guess why that is done - each person's needs are different, I suppose.

LASERGAL50 Posts: 27
5/20/12 8:59 A

Hi SPEEDOXXL,
The test that I hated the most was the one where they had to check out your stomach. They put a tube down your throat with a camera on the end. Nasty! They sprayed my throat with the nastiest tasting stuff that numbs your throat for this procedure. I wish I could skip this one altogether. The other was when they stop the coumedin for one week and make you injected needles around your stomach area below your navel for five days. I was taught how to do the injections but bruising happens and if you do this please don't inject anywhere near a bruise because the resulting pain is hard to handle.
My doctor took me off of coumadin after six months after the operation. This was something I bugged him about and since I didn't have a history of clotting he allowed me go off.
I think mine last so shortly because of the fact that they can't see where the agitated part of my heart is so they burn around each valve making a sort of dead zone so no electrical impulses can trigger my valves. They go back in to trim back the fibers, like roots, that reach across the dead zone to allow the impulses to reach the valve again.
I've been told I'm very lucky in that I can feel this when it happens. Some people I met don't feel it at all. They usually wake up in the hospital. I get a feeling of someone kneeling on my back and a butterfly fluttering in my chest. I'm sorry I'm not very tech savy on all the procedures. I tend to block out most hospital visits as a neccessisary but bothersome experience. Not all hospitals are the same or doctors. So when you are rushed to a hospital I find it's the luck of the draw. The operation I always found to be such a feeling of freedom. You feel kind of empty but in a good way. Just wish it would last longer. In some it only takes two tries. I hope this is the case for you guys but don't let it hold you back. I still continue with a very active lifestyle. I just don't come out running. It's more a fast walk style. emoticon

DESERTGEM Posts: 125
5/19/12 10:24 P

Hi, lasergal and canalchic. I am scheduled to see an electrophysiologist next week, and will talk with him about an ablation. Lasergal, what tests are done before the ablation procedure that are unpleasant? Any explanation for why the ablation "lasts" about a year and a half? When another ablation is done, is another area of the heart targeted? Or is it the same spot over and over again? My afib is most likely caused by HOCM, hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy. Anyone out there have that, too? After you have the ablation, do you just continue with the blood thinner, or are the docs so sure you are afib-free that you don't have to anticoagulate any more? Thanks for the info.....

LASERGAL50 Posts: 27
5/19/12 3:39 P

Hi, I also live with afib. I have had three ablations, each lasting about a year and a half. I find that storms and getting sick, like the cold I have now will make me go into afib. I'm set to go in for my fourth ablation shortly. I find the testing before the operation much more trying than the operation itself. I'm still able to fit a active lifestyle into my day. I will be doing my second 10k marathon in September. I just learn to watch out for my limits. I also believe that losing weight will help me control my afib. and that is why I returned to SP. Good luck on your operation. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

CANALCHICK1 Posts: 20
5/19/12 2:30 P

Hi everyone,
I'm new to your forum and am having an ablation procedure on Tuesday in Philadelphia. I have been out of rhythm since January. I had a cardioversion (shock) in mid-December but it lasted only a little over a month. I had my first episode of afib almost 2 years ago and was hospitalized for two weeks. They gave me Amiodorone then and wow - did it make me feel like my brain was on disconnect. And, I didn't like the whole coumadin process so was put on Pradaxa. I took it for two weeks until I was unable to walk across the room because i was so out of energy and breath. I felt like the stuff was literally killing me. A half a day after I stopped the pill I felt so much better. Then they put me on aspirin until my heart went out of whack yet one more time. Then I got a new drug instead of coumadin - Xarelto - i took it for two months and it worked well and could eat all those great leafy greens, but since being scheduled for the ablation i have had to be on coumadin for a month before the procedure and then another month after its over with. The thing about coumadin/warfarin is that there is an antidote for it. For the new drugs, Pradaxa and Xarelto - their effects can't be immediately reversed which is a scarey thought in itself. I am not looking forward to the ablation - it scares me - butTuesday is only a couple of days away and maybe my quality of life will improve big time since this rapid heartbeat keeps me moving in sloow motion. Would love to hear about people who have had a successful ablation procedure. I supposedly have one of the top docs in the country doing it so here's hoping.........


DESERTGEM Posts: 125
3/22/12 11:36 P

Hi, Opalrain. I'm sorry to hear about your diagnosis - it can be a real pain, but the good thing is that a-fib, in and of itself, is supposedly not harmful to your heart. But, now it's recommended that people with a-fib should have blood thinned to lessen the chance of a stroke - have your doctors talked to you about that? Have they figured out what is causing the a-fib?

I take a blood thinner, and I also check my blood clotting time with a home monitor, a lot like the monitors people use to test blood sugar. I take coumadin (a blood thinner), and foods that contain Vitamin K as well as some medications can affect the thickness of the blood. One thing that really took me by surprise was that flax seed/oil affect the thickness also - I used to put it on my cereal sometimes, then stopped, and I couldn't figure out why my blood was too thick - just a note to any other people on this message board who take coumadin.

Best of luck to you. There are lots and lots of us out there - you aren't alone!

OPALRAIN Posts: 107
3/20/12 4:44 P

I was just diagnosed with a-fib at age 29.

It was quite a surprise!

I was in the hospital for a couple of days while I was on on IV medication called Cardizem which slowed down my heart rate. Now I am taking it orally.

It's definitely a transition! All of my other medicines had to be switched, and I have some lifestyle changes like no more caffiene or alcohol or grapefruit.

It hasn't even been a week yet since I went to the hospital, so this is all new to me.

Thank you for sharing your experiences!

OUTERBANKS591 SparkPoints: (486)
Fitness Minutes: (326)
Posts: 13
11/24/11 6:00 P

Thank you for the information. It's a challenge sometimes, and yes we do the best we can based on the information. My Mom was 82 - and I believe she was ready to go...just plain tired she used to say. Your right about which Docs keep up with the latest.
Again, thanks and good luck with your meds etc.
Happy Thanksgiving

DESERTGEM Posts: 125
11/24/11 1:20 P

I'm sorry to hear about your mother. I talked with the pharmacist who helps me with regulating coumadin about my experience with Pradaxa. She said she had recently been to a conference about Pradaxa, and said the manufacturer is collecting a lot of data about drug interactions and side effects that did not surface during the clinical trials. She told me about the interaction with verapamil, that I have been taking for about 25 yrs. I don't know if the bleeding I experienced while taking Pradaxa was due to the interaction with verapamil, but I do know I probably would not have been prescribed Pradaxa this December, given what has been learned in the past year. Amiodarone has a tremendous number of very serious side effects also; I don't normally start on a medication without first doing research (I drive my doctors crazy). But, when I was prescrbed amiodarone to minimize a-fib, I just went with it; by some divine intervention, I had an alergic reaction to it - itchy rash - and had to stop taking it.

It is a good idea to share your thoughts with the doctor. My cardiologist who prescribed amiodarone didn't prescribe any other drug in its place. For a couple of reasons, I changed to a different cardiologist, who was more recently educated, and he prescribed metoprolol, which seems to help my energy level a great deal, and does a pretty good job on the a-fib. I mention this because a lot depends on what the doctor chooses to stay on top of - and being willing and able to recommend a different doctor when the patient's symptoms are out of his/her area of expertise.

My mom died from the same disease I have (makes sense, since I got it from her) - Hypertrophic Cardio Myopathy - HCM . My father passed in Nov of 2001, and my mom was doing a valiant job of going it alone when her cardiologist recommended an additional med in Feb of 2002. I don't even know what the med was, my mom and I decided on the spot it was too soon after my dad's death, and the middle of winter, to deal with all the possible problems of a new medication. Then, my mom passed away a month later at age 84 - her heart just quit while she was doing laundry. I wonder if the new med would have extended her life. The bottom line is that we have to make the best decision we can for today and learn from it, and deal with tomorrow when it comes.

Warm Thanksgiving wishes to you....Cathy

OUTERBANKS591 SparkPoints: (486)
Fitness Minutes: (326)
Posts: 13
11/24/11 7:14 A

I saw this topic and became curious. My mother (she just passed) was put on Pradaxa and Amoidarane back in May 2011. She never had a a fib -that i was aware of until then. She was also 82 - I noticed after she took the meds. that her energy and breathing changed. Anyway, I believe based on her symptoms- some not mentioned here- this was not a good medication for her, and also it's probably not a good meds for people over 75 until they not all the side effects. I am writing to her MD to just suggest (she was also on high BP meds-Verapimil) them to be more careful with this age group....especially if heart disease wasn't noted until later in life.
Thanks for letting me share.

DESERTGEM Posts: 125
11/23/11 10:05 P

Thank you for the information. I know my extra weight (about 100 lbs) doesn't help my heart disease. My medications have been doing a really good job on the a-fib but I sense the underlying condition is getting worse. What is the gastric sleeve surgery - is it for weight loss?

Cathy

MARDEN59 SparkPoints: (2,534)
Fitness Minutes: (2,694)
Posts: 1
11/23/11 7:22 P

I too have Afib and have had it for many years. Didn't have it diagnosed though until 2004. I have had three heart Ablations and all three were a success to a point. I had so many points of activity that when they finally finished after the third procedure there was one spot they could not do so I am left with dealing with it medically. The final procedure option is the pacemaker and I am not ready for that yet. I have however been talking to some A Fib patients that are having their A Fib improved or even negated with significant weight loss. Therefore, here I am. I am dieting now waiting on gastric sleeve surgery. Hope it will work.

DESERTGEM Posts: 125
11/22/11 3:36 P

I just started on SparkPeople, and I see this is kind of an old question, but maybe my experience will still be of help. I have a-fib due to a genetically-transmitted heart condition called Hypertrophic Obstructive Cardio Myopathy - HOCM . I started anti-coagulation about 1 yr ago; I first went on coumadin, but was concerned about how long it was taking to get the dosage stabilized, and I was due to travel south for the winter in January. So I asked about Pradaxa, and started on it in Dec 2010. I got a card from my cardiologist who got it from the manufacturer, to get the Pradaxa for $30/month for 12 months, so it was fairly affordable, and you might check on that with your cardiologist. After I was on Pradaxa for about 6-8 weeks I started bleeding from my sinuses and gums, and had to discontinue Pradaxa. I recently heard from the pharmacist that does my coumadin tracking that there is an interaction with another drug I'm taking, Verapamil, that they didn't know about when Pradaxa first came out. There are probably other drug interactions and side effects that have been discovered with Pradaxa in the last year, so prescribing is probably safer now than then. To make a long story short, I'm back on coumadin, and tomorrow will be trained on my take-home INR meter, so I will be ready for my trip south in January. I have also been trying to manipulate SparkPeople's nutrition tracking to help me monitor my Vit K intake....Cathy

XTRANR Posts: 47
7/5/11 6:14 P

I had a dvt in my left leg that broke off and caused pulmonary embolisms and finally a fib back in March. I was hospitalized and then because I had already had a prior bad experience with coumadin I was allowed to take Pradaxa. It is expensive and we really don't know what the long term results will be because it is so new. No testing all the time and therefore no concern with vitamin k intake or if you are into weight loss, no concern about your fat cells emptying it into your blood stream. (Vitamin K is stored in our fat cells and when we lose weight those cells dump into our body and are used up.) I am simplifying all this but really it has proven to be a great drug for me whereas my 7 months of coumadin 4 years ago made my hair fall out like a chemo patient in addition to general ill feeling all the time. Pradaxa was rough on my stomach but I now take it with food and a full 8 oz glass of water and I don't lay down for a while after I take it. This stopped the acid reflux I was getting from it. Now, I have no complaints. I get my pradaxa via mail order and it costs me $30. for 90 day supply. I am concerned about long term effects but ... at present there is no other choice for me.

MARSHASTAR SparkPoints: (107,443)
Fitness Minutes: (33,903)
Posts: 12,986
3/8/11 11:35 A

How is the new drug working?
Can you have all the green vegetables you want now?
I didn't know the ablation had to be done more than once. I'm very nervous about that procedure but the cardiologist says I have a strong heart.
I don't know if HUMANA pays for Pradaxa, since I haven't reached the point of change, yet.

MEMEIRE SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (85)
Posts: 2
3/8/11 11:27 A

I have afib also...diagnosed last May. I was just reading everyone's posts.
I switched from Coumadin to Pradaxa 3 weeks ago. I guess I am one of the fortunate ones whose insurance decided to approve it as a tier 2 medication, meaning I have a $25 co-pay per month. Perhaps more insurance companies will do this as it becomes more "common"...seeing as how it should be more cost effective long term for the companies.
I've talked to an electrophysiologist regarding ablation, but have not decided to go that route just yet. My understanding was most people have to have it done at least twice and "success" did not mean afib free...so hoping some progress will be made there. I haven't totally ruled it out..just hoping there are some breakthroughs in technology.

MARSHASTAR SparkPoints: (107,443)
Fitness Minutes: (33,903)
Posts: 12,986
2/22/11 9:50 P

I Recently heard about that drug and will be asking my cardiologist about it. I don't have constant a/fib, but when I do have it it's terrifying. I want to know more about Pradaxa, and I hope more people will report their experiences with it. I am SO TIRED OF LIVING WITHOUT all the Vitamin K I want- (without constant blood testing) The Coumadin is a hassle.

JBINAUSTIN SparkPoints: (48,930)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 9,587
2/22/11 1:50 A

A new drug was approved in October 2010 for afib anticoagulation. It's called Pradaxa. It's hideously expensive (our copay for a month supply was $135!) but it doesn't require blood tests for clotting levels so that helps cut the cost down, as well as making your life much more pleasant. It's also not sensitive to vitamin K. Hallelujah! It has only two dosages--no more fine-tuning coumadin doses and worrying about over- or under-dosing based on other drugs or diet or whatever....

One bad thing about it is that the capsules are enormous so if you have trouble swallowing big pills, it's hard to take. There are two dosages and both have exactly the same size pills (grump). Don't they know the target audience is mostly older folks? I've asked two compounding pharmacies if they can make it into smaller pills. One said No and the other went off to research and hasn't gotten back to me.

My husband has the afib, but it changed both our lives. Good luck with yours.

LADYSCC SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 1
2/19/11 7:00 P

I have A-Fib and the doctor's told me I will feel better if I keep my weight under control. I read yoour page to see how other people are dealing with it. It is a day to day process i don't do the coumdin i do asprin. so I am working on my weight hopefully things with A-fib will get better.

MARSHASTAR SparkPoints: (107,443)
Fitness Minutes: (33,903)
Posts: 12,986
2/18/11 4:13 P

I have a/fib. Yes, the meds are a nuisance.
Some of the meds make me tired, but the Coumadin is the hardest to cope with, because I have to monitor my Vitamin K intake very closely.
emoticon
I have avoided that catheter ablation due to lack of funds, but If the meds are still necessary after the procedure I think I'll stop worrying about it.
I hope you can get the energy to exercise. It does get easier. . and helps a lot.

MULEDOGGIE SparkPoints: (42,985)
Fitness Minutes: (23,889)
Posts: 1,280
2/18/11 1:05 P

A-Fib is short for atrial fibrulation. A heart rhythm problem.

I've had this condition for almost 2 years. Had a catheter ablation procedure in August. Better, but still on meds, unfortunately. The meds effect my energy level tremendously.

Jeff

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