Finally getting EP study/ablation

Today I finally got the call after waiting 9 months... i am having my EP study/ablation on 15th March! 

Feeling very nervous as I had a traumatic experience with my pacemaker surgery, but also hopeful that this will stop my horrible symptoms that occur daily! 

If anyone has had one, I would love to hear your surgery experiences/how you felt afterwards.

Hope you are all keeping safe!


I hope for the very best for you

by Gemita - 2021-02-26 14:59:45

Hi Savannah,

Has the time really arrived for you to get an EP Study and an ablation to try to tame your arrhythmias?  As I may have mentioned I have had an EP study carried out but didn’t go the whole way.  The EP study is the first part of your procedure where they do the mapping and get lots of information about the nature of your arrhythmia(s) and where they reside.  The second part of the procedure is where they use either heat (radio frequency ablation) or freezing (cryogenic ablation) to destroy the areas in the heart causing the abnormal rhythm to try to relieve your symptoms.  Do you know which type of ablation you are getting?

They fed the catheters into my right groin area (femoral artery/veins), and moved them up into my heart.  A small electrode at the tip of each catheter detected where my AF was coming from but of course they didn’t destroy its path alas!!  Are you having a local or general anaesthetic?  I had “conscious sedation” for the EP Study (but lots of it because I found the puncturing of the femoral artery difficult to tolerate).

My EP study (with angiogram of coronary arteries) lasted around 2 hrs but of course an EP Study with an ablation may last longer if your arrhythmia cannot be triggered during the Study or there are multiple arrhythmia sites to ablate or they find other arrhythmias in different places.  I do hope your arrhythmia reveals itself easily and can be put to sleep indefinitely Savannah.

In hindsight, I wish I had consented to an ablation at the time of my EP study since it was a missed opportunity not to ablate my Atrial Fibrillation which was present for the whole duration of the study and could not be stopped even with three cardioversion attempts.  Oh well I have learnt my lesson.  You are bravely going one step further and I do wish you every success. 

I did develop a pseudo (false) aneurysm from the femoral artery access (for the angiogram) which caused widespread bruising and I ended up spending a few extra days in hospital, but I was just unlucky.  Also lying on my back for several hours immediately after the procedure to prevent bleeding from the groin was a bit uncomfortable with my over active bladder, but otherwise I thought I managed really well.  I will keep my fingers crossed for a successful outcome for you which is what really matters



by AgentX86 - 2021-02-26 16:55:36

I've had three ablations, four if the A/V ablation is counted. I had them all with little or no sedation. It's really wasn't a big deal for me, except laying on my back for some hours after, with no bathroom break.  The ablation process itself was fairly painful during one but not the other two. Go figure.

For a coronary angiogram, they do go in through the femoral artery (but a competent cardiologist can go in via the radial,  wrist, artery - far easier on the patient).

The femoral artery doesn't go to the right atrium -  can't get there from here. ;-) Instead,  the femoral vein is used. Since venous blood is at a much lower pressure than arterial blood, it's a lot simpler, less recovery time, and complications are less likely. It really is simple.

I had a carotid angiogram (supposed to be a stent but there was nothing to stent), which does use the femoral artery for access. There is a BIG difference. You'll be fine. If it fixes your AF,  you won't remember anything else about the surgery. Christmas and birthday all tied up with one bow.

Have you looked at any online support groups ?

by Gemita - 2021-02-28 06:21:46


Although I am no longer an active member, I did join the Atrial Fibrillation Support Forum some years ago when I was considering an ablation. They are always discussing ablations (for all types of rhythm disturbances) which is certainly one of the most successful treatments.  You can read some real experiences from patients who have had ablations.  

Those that go on to have successful ablations (the majority when done by an expert EP) usually leave the forum, but pop in from time to time to give glowing progress reports.  It is a well run, professional forum (as is and I would have no hesitation in directing you to these forums for support and advice on ablations and what to expect during and afterwards (the blanking period which can last up to 3-6 months), although many have immediate success and never look back.  I hope you will be one of them.

I know you have a very good EP, so that is already an enormous advantage.  I have a good feeling he will get to the bottom of your difficulties Savannah and learn a great deal about them from the procedure.  My EP and I certainly did.  It helped me to come to a decision about a pacemaker (for which I am not disappointed) and I am certainly in a better place now than before my EP study.  I am not sure what pre operative tests have been requested for you prior to your ablation?  I was told a transoesophageal echocardiogram is frequently done prior to an ablation (in my age group with risk factors) to exclude left atrial appendage thrombus, although patients at risk are usually anticoagulated in any event making this unlikely and you are much younger anyway.

I was quoted a 70-80% chance of success for a pulmonary vein isolation ablation (first attempt) and if I needed a touch up later, the success rate could go up to 85% in the medium term (for AF).  I was quoted (and remember I am much older) a 3% risk of a major complication from an ablation (stroke, major blood leak, occasionally requiring surgical intervention, damaged cardiac nerves and veins causing breathlessness) but my EP was confident that an ablation would be a safe, effective procedure for me.  It is after all bread and butter stuff in their daily routine.  They carry out ablations all the time.  

I hope that little one of yours helps you in the kitchen while you put your feet up after the ablation!  Hope it goes well



by Lonigirl08 - 2021-03-03 20:47:33

Hi.  I'm having an ablation on March 11th.   I'm currently taking 100 mg of flecainide every day.  It's causing shortness of breath so I'm hoping the ablation will allow me to either eliminate this medication or at least reduce it.     I know I'm in very good hands as my cardiologist already saved my life once a year and a half ago when I had cardiac arrest.  But I'm still a little scared.   I have an icd/pacemaker combo.    I'll check back in to see how you made out.   I'll keep you in my prayers.  


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