I’ve been talking a lot about what’s been happening with my heart here, but haven’t included that much detail on the procedures. It’s all a little scary to go through, quite honestly. I came across a video of a woman, about 38 years old, who had gone through a similar experience with VT and ablation, and it was super helpful to me. Actually it got me out of bed this morning – thinking, if she’s doing OK, then maybe I will be OK too. So I’m going to share a little more.
My doctors did a pretty good job of explaining the procedures to me, but a lot of it is beyond me to explain to others. As I like to say, I’m not that kind of doctor. This video explains ablation for VT (ventricular tachycardia) and is straightforward if you are interested.
I’ve now had three electrophysiological (EP) studies and two ablations. The first EP study was in 2009 right after I had the fainting and VT episode that landed me in the hospital, when they initially diagnosed me with myocarditis. The doctor (one of the same on the team that’s working with me now) couldn’t get my heart to go into the rhythm. This time around, for the first ablation procedure, they didn’t sedate me at all (besides some local numbing where they went in to the vein) and were able to get my heart to go into VT and ablate one “morphology” (one of the wrong electrical pathways my heart was using), but there were at least two more and because the procedure would be very extensive the doctor at the time chose not to continue to ablate those other two. So they implanted the implantable cardioverter defibullator device.
Unfortunately, I kept going into a lower rate VT (about 110 bpm) even on beta blockers. So they decided to do a second ablation. This one was more extensive and they were able to get the other morphologies. Then they tried really hard, through both electrical current and using adrenaline, to get my heart back into VT, and it didn’t go. So it’s a very good sign that the morphologies are gone.
From what I understand, there’s no guarantee that the VT won’t come back – that because of my scar tissue from the myocarditis, it won’t create additional morphologies – but the more time that passes after this ablation without any more VT, the better the prognosis gets. I still need the ICD because VT is so deadly, but it’s possible that I won’t need it by the time the battery runs out in 10 years or so.
I also understand that some people experience pre-ventricular contractions (PVCs) after the ablation, sometimes for weeks and sometimes for months. I’m hoping I’m “cured” but I also want to be realistic.
Day one post ablation, things are going well except for being really scared last night about the VT coming back. One day at a time, I suppose – and I’m going to try to take it easy so I can heal.
Thanks to everyone so much for your well wishes on the blog, via Facebook, and email. I really feel supported and loved. We’ll definitely try to respond to everyone individually but just wanted to say a blanket “thank you” to all of you for your concern.