Dr. Su explains if heart arrhythmias are common after having a catheter ablation procedure.
The sensation in the heart after a procedure is often variable. Typically, one cannot easily tell if it worked right away unless you have an abnormal rhythm incessantly. If somebody, for example, has a rhythm that always goes to 130, 140 beats per minutes or sometimes faster and is going that way for a long while, we are to get rid of the abnormal spot and instantaneously know the heart rate is now down to 60.
If it is something that comes and goes occasionally, it’s hard to tell because until you’re in the abnormal rhythm, we really can’t tell for sure. Some people are simply a lot more sensitive in the heart and they can tell that, “Gosh, my heart is more regular now." But typically after the ablation, the heart is just irritated.
So often what I tell patients, even after a complex procedure, a half-a-day or even 8-10 hour procedure for very complex ones, is that even though all we have to show you is just an access in a growing vein, the low-pressure pipe, and you feel good for right now. You had a full day of surgery. The heart will tell you that over the next few days because it’s irritated and often will go into different heart rhythm just because we injured a part of the abnormal tissue. We injured some of the normal tissue too, and that surrounding area is inflamed. So just like when you pull your muscle or you twist your ankle, you wouldn’t expect to go out and do a sprint the next day. The heart has to heal, the abnormal inflamed area has to just quiet down and heal, typically over the next few weeks even.
Dr. Su, M.D., F.A.C.C.:
Dr. Wilber Su is board certified in Internal Medicine, Cardiology, and Cardiac Electrophysiology, and is on staff at Banner Good Samaritan Hospital, St. Joseph Hospital, Maricopa County Medical Center, St. Luke’s Medical Center, and Banner Desert Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona. He received his undergraduate degree with honors in biomedical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.), and attended medical school at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. He also trained at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota in cardiology and cardiac electrophysiology. He is involved in ongoing studies on national trials to improve complex arrhythmia treatments and mentors electrophysiologists across the country on complex ablations and cardiac device implantation techniques. Dr. Su specializes in atrial fibrillation ablation, arrhythmia ablations, Implantable Cardiac Defibrillators (ICD) among other heart conditions and procedures.
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