Part of a New Research Study

I had my third ablation on 6th July and a few days before I was asked if I would be part of a new research study for an oesophageal-pacing catheter. A wire is passed via the nose to the oesophagus and positioned behind the left atrium. They then see if they can pace the heart (speed the rate up) with this wire or not. If the ablation is a success they should not be able to pace the heart. As my ablation was carried out under a general anaesthetic I knew nothing about the procedure and my EP was able to stimulate and discover lots of areas that needing ablating. All was fine after the procedure until the evening of the 16th July when my heart took off into flutter.

My EP was surprised that I still had some abnormal rhythms as he thought they'd got them all.

Yesterday, I went back to the hospital for a cardioversion and was once again asked if I'd trial the equipment. I was a bit horrified to discover that my cardioversion was going to be under sedation (not a general anaesthetic as I normally have at my local hospital) so I really wasn't that keen to say yes, but by this piece of equipment being used again it would show the areas where there were abnormal pulses, so I reluctantly agreed. Big mistake! Before the cardioversion and any sedation the wire was fed down my nose to my heart, I was told to keep swallowing so the wire would go down and I can tell you I made an awful lot of fuss! It was the most awful experience I've ever had and no way would I let them do that again without a general anaesthetic! However, they now know that I still have atrial flutter which they said was somehow operating in a figure of 8. I've been prescribed Sotalol 1 x 80mg twice daily which is apparently very good for flutter (yes I know that NICE don't recommend it's use now). They will see how I get on with it and I will be reviewed in a few weeks.

Fingers crossed for me that my cardioversion lasts.


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28 Replies

  • That was interesting Jean (!!!). Dont know how i would have coped . Why aren't they able to ablate the flutter? Are they going to have another attempt ?


  • Hi Sandra

    I really don't know why they can't just ablate the flutter. EP said to try medication first. I guess I wasn't very alert to think of questions to ask.


  • Thank you for the update. An Unpleasant experience, Jean - not something I would want either. Whilst one is something of a guinea pig in a trial, it sounds as if they have a clear picture of your flutter circuit and may be able to intervene again? In the meantime, happy NSR and hope for Sotalol.

  • Thank you Finvola. My EP stressed that by checking the heart for rogue pulses this way, could prevent the more invasive ablation.


  • Interesting - perhaps a glimpse of future developments.

  • Very interesting and it looks like a promising invention.

    Which hospital was it again.

  • Have privately messaged you the hospital Peter.


  • Hi Jean,

    Sorry to hear about your unpleasant experience. In respect of Atrial Flutter which I had. First line treatment is an ablation not medication.

    Kind Regards


  • Hi Barry - Yes, I've had three ablations, but unfortunately they didn't work for me.


  • Hi Jean

    May l send you a private post.

    Kind Regards


  • Of course.

  • hope you are feeling better now- bad business!

  • Thank you Rosy. I actually feel quite well, so long as I don't exert myself.


  • Oh sounds horrible. You have certainly been through the mill and back! X

  • Yes, I feel a bit sorry for myself after all the procedures I've been through. I actually joke when I go in for an ablation and get on the trolley where they perform them and say, on to the rack!


  • Poor you - do hope you are over that.

  • Hi Irene - Yes, all though it was horrible at the time it was soon over. However I don't think I've ever made so much fuss about having something done. I think if they had squirted some numbing fluid up my nose I may have been ok.


  • Sorry to hear of your ordeal, I had to swallow a darn instrument when I had my stomach examined, everyone else was waiting for general anesthetic to have it done, but I have asthma and dont do well on it so they just froze my throat, I could have punched their day lights out when they kept saying swallow when all I could do was gag, finally got it done though. Hope everything goes well.

  • Ah, someone who understands what it's like! For me the worst bit was putting the tube up my nose and I think if they'd sprayed that with something that had numbed it, it wouldn't have been so bad.


  • Poor you. Thanks for the warning. Good luck and fingers crossed for continuing NSR.


  • Thank you Janet.

  • Eyikes!!! I feel a bit of panic mode just reading about your experience. That would have sent me off the table. I'm sorry you had to go through that. As a trial, I hope they noted your "discomfort."

  • They certainly were aware of my discomfort, by the noise I was making! It was odd because before this procedure I was talking to a male patient waiting to be seen and he'd had this done a while back and was telling me how awful it was. I smugly sat there and told him I'd had it done under general anaesthetic a few weeks previously and this time I would be carried out under sedation. Unfortunately they didn't do the sedation until after the equipment was behind my heart as they said they needed me to swallow once it reached the base of my throat. Never again!

  • Wow! You've done well to cope with that - I'd have freaked.....Makes my CV in September seem like a breeze ;)

  • Sorry to hear it was an ordeal. Good for you to volunteer for the experiment. It is only by trying these new things that we all collectively learn. I would have made the same decision.

    I have just had a cryoablation and the worst effect was the sore throat I have had which has only just settled after 2 weeks. Dangling things down your gullet can be a pain. Good of you to share your experience. All the best for the future.

  • I first had it done when I had my 3rd ablation on 6th July. I think I went to the front of the queue for this ablation because I was a good candidate to test this new procedure on i.e. I had lots of scar tissue inside my heart from previous ablations. I would never have had the second procedure if I'd known it was going to be without any sedation. I was fooled into thinking I was going to be sedated first.

  • Just thinking about when I had my ablation almost 18 months ago they put the probe (suspect that is not the correct word) down my throat when I was sedated. I remember the spray and the sedation and the next thing I remember was some time into the ablation.

  • Hi Peter - That was probably a TOE you had - a similar thing. I had one of those with my very first cardioversion (under general anaesthetic). Yours was probably to look for blood clots behind the heart, but guess you know that. With the one I had they pace the heart to see if they can speed it up, or whether the ablation was a success and they can't. Mine showed I still had atrial flutter. Have started Sotalol tablets today and I must say my heart is a lot calmer now and I'm feeling well. Hope you are keeping well too.

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