Firstly thank you all so much for all the support and good wishes that have been posted in the past few days. I really appreciate them all.
This may be a rather long post – try to stay awake.
Yes I am still in the land of the living and also currently in Normal Sinus Rhythm.
As many will know I had an ablation last Thursday to address the Atrial Tachycardia that had developed and replaced my AF soon after the last ablation I had for AF in March.
It was a long procedure; I was transferred to the Cath Lab around 09:00 and returned to the ward around 16:45. I was very pleased therefore that I was able to go home that evening and was back home around 20:00. This is the first time this has happened, as I have always had to stay in hospital overnight in the past.
As I have mentioned before I live very near to the hospital and it is only a 15-minute car journey. I am pretty sure they would have kept me in overnight had I not lived so near.
One big issue for me has been my very bad skin allergic reaction to all the adhesive electrode stickers that are necessary as part of the procedure. I was so relieved when the Anesthetist turned out to be the same consultant who managed my anesthetic and my skin problems last September when I had the ablation before last. This time, because she micro-managed my care I have had no allergic reaction at all. The secret would seem to be to ensure that ‘Opsite’ spray is used to isolate my skin from the electrode adhesives. ‘Opsite’ is a Moisture Vapour Permeable Spray Dressing that creates a plastic film.
The problem of my allergies in the past has meant that I have had no chance whatsoever to convalesce due to the acute and debilitating urticaria that occurs due to the allergic reaction, the only respite being to have ice cold showers in the middle of the night - not really conducive to recovering from AF ablations.
As I mentioned above the procedure last Thursday was very long. I will try and summarise my discharge notes now.
The team led by my excellent EP used a relatively new piece of equipment called Orion to map my heart. Orion with the associated software “Rhythmia” creates a detailed 3D map of the heart. The mapping catheter has 8 tines which each have 8 electrodes making a total of 64 electrodes. Reading the advertising brochure on the system I have ascertained that the 3D map is in High definition and they claim to have a far greater resolution than previous systems and of course their competitors.
Using this state of the art equipment my EP and his team were able to identify locations where the Atrial Tachycardia emanated and they terminated the Tachycardia by ablation. They then continued to seek out other spots where AT emanated and ablated them.
Bob often talks about EPs being electricians not plumbers. Well what happened next makes me think they are more like modern motor mechanics.
They then made my heart beat faster and faster using a drug that is used to counteract slow heart rate to see if they could induce any more sustained tachycardia. They were not able to do this nor did any AF occur either. I was then in sinus rhythm and ultimately the procedure concluded.
As you will no doubt appreciate this must be a very truncated report on what really happened seeing that I must have been on the Cath Lab table for over 6 hours.
When I woke from the anaesthetic I did experience a lot of ectopics but since then they have diminished and only occur occasionally.
The only negative thing that came out of all this is that because I have been in AF for so many years – about 26, my atrium is apparently very badly scarred from having AF for so long and there is a note on my discharge letter stating that I am likely to have a poor prognosis because of this scarring and the multiple Atrial Tachycardias. I now take each day as it comes. Prognosis in itself is only a guess as it is impossible to predict the future.
I can only thank all the doctors and nurses for all the efforts and hard work on my behalf.
I am feeling very relaxed now and will be resting in accordance with the Bob mantra "rest, rest and more rest" for as long as I can to give my poor old heart as much help to recuperate after all the trauma of the past 26 years and particularly the past 12 months.
Once again thank you all for your support.