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.