Svt and considering ablation

I was diagnosed with svt a couple of months ago after being taken to hospital with a heart rate of 240. I have had a few episodes in my late teens and throughout my 20s, usually they were short lived and would stop on their own. I have now been booked in for an ablation in a month and I'm in two minds. I'm wondering if I should try and manage this condition myself, rather than go for surgery. On the other hand I'm wondering if I'm over thinking this op. Has anyone had this done? And if so did it cure the condition? Many thanks, clare

19 Replies

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  • Hi I put it off and managed it myself for a long time. I had the ablation in April and all as been fine, no episodes and no medication. Sorry to be brief have to dash off to work. Good luck!

  • Thank you maude, that's comforting to hear. I think because I only get an attack once every couple of years it seems a bit excessive to have the op. However I do want to start a family soon and the doctor mentioned that svt can get worse and harder to treat when pregnant. I have also heard that svt can get worse and more frequent with age. Glad to hear your op went well!

  • I suddenly started having very high heart beats in 2013. I had an ICD fitted later that year and this was followed by ablation. Haven’t felt so good for years and for me it was immediate.

  • HI there, i can give you only my experience in that I have had 3 ablations for SVT resulting from WPW and each time is had supposedly cured the problem but it re-occurred. My SVT was previously controlable on Flecanide but I had to stop that in order to have children, hence the ablation. If not for that I would have preferred to stay on medication as the ablations cause scar tissue which can have other symptoms later and make pacemakers more difficult. NOw I can't go back on flecanide as I get too many pauses in my heart rate. So for me it wasn't a positive thing having ablations but for other cases this might be different - every heart has different issues, and I have a congenital problem too which probably complicates everything. Not sure if this helps!

  • Thanks for your response annabel and sorry to hear you had a rough time with it. You mentioned having to have it done three times and I think that's one of my concerns, there is no guarantee that it will work and plus scare tissue on my hear it not a nice thought either. I'm lucky in one sense in that my attacks are not regular and although the thought of an attack sometimes holds me back from long haul flights and such like, it doesn't effect the quality of my life too much. There is also medication you can take when having an attack, I have never tried that before but it may be worth considering. Thanks for your response annabel and all the best.

  • I'm putting mine off for now. I had 3 episodes last year and 2 this year. My doctor wants me to have it, but I'm just to scared to do it. I'm on metoprolol now and I'm hoping that it works for awhile. I know this surgery is minor and relatively safe even though it is on your heart. I've just had to many people in my life have complications from different heart surgeries and it's not something I want to deal with right now.

  • Thanks doug, I know what you mean. The thought of having your heart operated on is an uncomfortable one. It feels like a risk, especially when the condition itself is not actually life threatening. I would worry also that having the ablation may potentially create other electrical issues. I'm not sure how realistic these worries are mind you, or if I'm imagining the worse.

  • Hi Clare I am 57 and have had SVT since my twenties, I didn't know this until 6 years ago when the episodes became much worse and I sought medical help. I was given beta blockers which over a period the strength was increased 3 times. I was offered an ablation which I declined for the same reasons others have mentioned and was put on slow release verapamil instead of beta blockers which didn't have the same side effects. Last year the episodes escalated again, 17 from June to Jan above 200 bpm to 250bpm, anything from one hour to seven hours. Most of the time I could stop the episodes myself but twice was admitted to hospital Dec/Jan. The cardiologist persuaded me to have the ablation. I was re-referred and had the procedure in April. As I briefly stated this morning it was successful, no episodes and no medication. Mine was straight forward they found the problem spot and ablated it. No significant scar tissue or I would be having problems. In hindsight I should have had it done sooner. We are all different and you have to think through what's best for you. My episodes were regular and affecting my life.

  • My mom has the same story as you Maude! She is 59 and had her ablation done two years ago. She had dealt with it since her youth too. Her last episode was over 200 and the EMTs couldn't get it to go back to normal so they gave her a shot that stopped her heart and got it back into regular pulse somehow. The first year after the ablation wasn't all peaches for her (partly because they had her on beta blockers for eons and she had to come off of those) but now she is doing much better. She doesn't wake up at night with it racing which she did for years. So happy for you and the success of the operation. I am hoping that mine do not get as bad. But I fear that it is starting since I have had two in 6 months.

  • Glad to hear the op went for your mum, I imagine it must be awful waking up with it in the night. I am told that mine will get worse with age if I don't have the ablation, I feel like waiting it out until it gets to a point where it's difficult to manage.

  • I had my SVT Ablation is Feb 2016. I still have a slight issue with my heart, on the whole the operation was all OK, not something I would want to go through again, it worked for me at least. I am still medication free and that for me is a bonus. I could not ignore my SVT it took over my life even while I was trying to take control of it myself, and as my consultant told me left untreated can leave it to cause other issues. Wish you well and speedy recovery what ever you do.. Rhonda

  • Thanks for your response Rhonda and glad your op went well. I'm still in two minds, I think if it was happening every day or week I would have it done. I'm trying to weigh it up. You mentioned other problems related to svt episodes, what were they if you don't mind me asking? I have always read that svt is harmless unless it's combined with wpw syndrome. Many thanks clare

  • Hi. I was diagnosed with SVT in January of this year after 4 years of symptoms, which started whilst I was pregnant. As I was having these episodes regularly where my HR goes above 260, it was recommended by my consultant that I have an ablation which I had in April 2017. The procedure took 4 hours and although they successfully ablated the left side, I was told there and then that they were still able to trigger an abnormal beat, meaning that I had more than one area causing me problems. However, the cardiologist was unable to locate where the 2nd problem was. They were also unable to get me back into sinus rhythm and I had to have a shot of adenosine to do so. This basically stops and restarts your heart! Horrible stuff!! I now face a second ablation where my cardiologist is going to use specialist equipment to try and locate my other problem. To be honest I found the procedure quite distressing and have suffered anxiety ever since.

    The aim of my post is not to scare you or anything, but just to try and explain that the procedure although fairly straightforward for whoever is performing it, is really quite unpleasant and in all honesty I wish I hadn’t have gone ahead with it and just tried to control with medication.

    I do think that I am in the minority though, and most ablations are successful first time around.

    Hope this helps!

  • Thanks for your response, it sounds like a very stressful experience. I hope your next ablation feels a bit easier. I have heard that others have suffered anxiety following the operation. I can see why you be honest, the heart is a pretty major organ. The more I think about it, the more I feel inclined to try and manage myself. I'm lucky in that I don't need to take daily meds for it. Im hoping mine does not get worse with age, although the consultant said it would. All the very best with your op.

  • Hi Clare. From my experience it might be better if you can control your arrythmias with medication. Ablation should be a last resort. They are not guaranteed successful and often the arrythmias can’t be stimulated to perform on the day. Some EP’s stop the procedure in this case, but some carry on and ablate despite ineffective mapping, in my case I went from taking 80mgs of a drug to 240mgs, which is still not controlling it. It has made my condition much worse. Sotalol, fleccainide, propanalol etc., can all be helpful in stopping the problem. Try them and see how things go. Ablation is for when quality of life is no longer acceptable. Good luck

  • Many thanks LeeJ. I actually cancelled my procedure as, like you say, it wasn't ruining the quality of my life and I felt an op would be excessive. I'm going to try and manage myself I think. Thanks for the recommendation re- meds.

    Many thanks 😀

  • Hi Clare. Glad it was useful. If you are going down the medication route, maybe propanalol is the easiest one to try. You can just take one if you have an episode you find difficult. They work in approx 30 mins and then you may be ok for some time after that. I managed like that in the early days for some years with no problems. Eventually I needed an op for something else and, they wouldn’t do it unless I was on a regular med, so I went onto sotalol 40 mgs twice a day which took a week or so to kick in but when they did, it was brilliant. I had the op successfully and, was so pleased with the ticker that I carried on with them and that lasted 10 years, Then I started to get breakthroughs, so I sought an EP opinion and wish I had just increased my dose of sotalol rather than be ablated without effective mapping. They tell you they can stimulate the arrythmias with drugs but often it doesn’t work. I could have gone on for quite a few years with the sotalol before I reached 240mgs which I now take and still doesn’t control it.

    Looking back now, I wish I had made the decision to get on with life for as long as I could and not interfere with nature. If I hadn’t had my first ablation the worst that could have happened would have been permanent A/fib, tiredness (which happens to us all as we get older anyway) and Xrelto (rivaroxaban) an anticoagulant one a day pill that needs no monitoring.

    Both my neighbours have permanent AFib, one does around 90bpm and is on Xrelto and the other around 100 and doesn’t even feel it and, is on warfarin. No other drugs at all.

    Take care

    Lee

  • Thanks again Lee, this is really helpful. I feel my gut instinct was to decline the op at this stage. The consultant did say that it would get worse with age and I take that on board.I don't think age is a factor in regards to the success of the ablation, nor does it increase the likelihood of complications from what I've heard. So, I shall keep going until it becomes too difficult to manage. All the best Lee

  • You are right. Age is immaterial. There is also no evidence that ablations make any difference to life expectancy.

    All the best Clare

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