I just joined this support group this morning and just came back from an echo gram. The decision I dreaded seems finally arrived per my family doctor and cardiologist's recommendation - to undergo Ctheter Ablation. I felt so unprepared even though the doctors discussed such option back in 2016. A brief medical below before I go any further.
2016 : 4+ years ago I first experienced periodic heart racing. I am 66 years old not a smoker nor smoker. Only cause I can think was for several months I drank a lot of green tea. Other cause may be hereditary as my mom and my sister both have some heart beat issue
2016 - 2020 : with daily Metoprolol 50mg, life is bearable, not too many bad AFib episodes. Or may be I do not know other than some chest tightness & discomfort.
Dec 2020 : right during the ECG in my physical annual, my family doctor was so alarmed by my fast heart beat 130 - 140BPM, he asked me to see my cardiologist immediately who performed another ECG that was normal (done within 60 min of the bad one). He changed my medication from Metoprolol 50mg to Sotalol HCL 80mg.
Jan - Feb 2021: I felt AFib seems more frequent and stronger. ( I brought the AppleWatch 6 and it helps greatly to monitor and record any occurrence of AFib).
March 5 2021: right before dinner, the AFib (130 - 140 BPM) would not go away. I was so scared I checked into ER. They use IV injection of diltiazem to bring the BPM down to normal of 50-60 range.
Last couple weeks since ER visit : somehow my AFib turned more frequent and longer. I do not know why. The cardiologist changed my Sotalol HCL from 80mg to 120mg and for the first time both my family doctor and the cardiologist stated that I need to seriously consider Catheter Ablation. They are very concerned the risk of in and out AFib greatly increase the chance of stoke (blood not pumping correctly, pool of stagnant blood in chamber etc.,). FYI - Thanks to AppleWatch, I can watch real time how my heart beat goes fast (then back to normal after taking an extra Sotalol 80mg within an hour).At his point, I have decided to go for the catheter Ablation. This come upon me so fast, I can only think of a few question to ask the group. I will have more later as time progress.Q1 - Catheter Ablation (CA) - I read CA is about 80% successful. What if CA does not help me, what is the next option ( I really fear pace maker implant !)Q2 - Any side effect of the CA procedures, long or short term?Q3 - do I need to continue the current medication like Sotalol ? or extra med like blood thinner?Q4 - how long will I have to stay in the hospital after the procedure?Q5 - my understanding is CA will "burned" off some heart tissue to break the bad circuit. Will CA needs to be done multiple times to get rid of more bad circuits in the future.
Q6 -What cause AFib : every time I slept bad, the chance of AFib goes up. I literally believe I can worry myself into an AFib episode. More I worry, more likely it occurs
These are all I can think of now. I will continue to research and learn from the support group. Many thanksJosh