Ablation is a pain-free and short procedure that saves lives by steadying heartbeats by disrupting electrical signals that cause irregular beating. Cardiac ablation is also known as radiofrequency ablation. A doctor guides a small tube through the heart to restructure tissue areas that cause irregular heartbeats. Extreme heat or cold is used in this procedure to correct the heart rhythms.
Arrhythmia can be treated using prescribed medications, but some situations are too complex. The only option in such situations is to perform catheter ablations. This procedure is recommended for patients with arrhythmia beginning in the ventricles. If you ever undergo this procedure or plan to, here are a few things to note about the recovery process.
Recovering from Cardiac ablation
After an ablation procedure which takes anything between 3 to 6 hours, the patient is monitored by healthcare experts for about a day or two. The soreness from the procedure persists for about a week. Most people can expect to return to daily activities within a few days but are advised to refrain from heavy lifting for about a week after the procedure. Expect some minor chest pain
It is very common for patients to suffer some chest pains hours or days after ablation. The level of pain varies, especially when breathing deeply or coughing. Some patients have complained about chest tightness after the procedure.
Irritation of the pericardium (heart lining) is the leading cause of these symptoms. However, post-procedural pain and discomfort vary from person to person. Some people may undergo ablation with severe pain, although it diminishes after a few days.
Pain at insertion points around the groin
You may experience some soreness around the area the catheters were inserted during the procedures. It is because the best heart specialist in Mumbai inserts IVs to access the heart through the leg veins on the groin. In addition, ablation is done without anticoagulation interruption to prevent clotting.
After the procedure, soreness may persist for a few days. Bruising may also happen, considering the removal irritates the nerve bundles running adjacently to the femoral vein.
Side effects of general anesthesia
During cardiac ablation, electrophysiologists use anesthesia for the procedure. Some patients can efficiently metabolize the drugs during the procedure, while some may not. Nausea is common within a few hours of the procedure. Some patients may experience more symptoms during recovery, like coughs and sore throat. In addition, the level of anesthesia tolerance may vary.
Even though ablation is meant to restore proper rhythm in the heart, there can be negative outcomes as well. The multiple burns on the heart to isolate the pulmonary veins irritate the heart. It may lead to further arrhythmia. In addition, the pain, anesthesia, and extended hospitalization can disrupt the heart rhythm.
The procedure may treat your condition and be a risk factor for another irregular heartbeat. The irregular rhythms can resolve after a few weeks, during which careful monitoring is recommended. This period can last from 6 to 8 weeks to determine whether the procedure was successful or not.
Changes in resting heart rate
You might note that your resting heart rate changes within weeks to months after the procedure. They can either go up by 10 or 20 beats each minute. Ablation is a complex procedure requiring intervention from the best cardiac specialists.
Reduced exercise tolerance
After the procedure, it is advisable to avoid strenuous exercise regimens. There are many reasons for this. First, the procedure is complex considering the number of burns it involves.
Second, you must undergo deconditioning before the procedure and during recovery. Third, many patients will also be placed under medication over a few months post-operations. You should therefore give yourself time to recover before getting back to exercising. You may experience digestive problems
Although rare, you might experience difficulty passing food down your gastrointestinal tract after surgery. Some common symptoms include bloating, reflux, and intolerance. These symptoms might disappear after a few days. However, it is recommended that people in recovery eat small meals and take acid blockers. Other patients complain of swollen limbs and faces after cardiac ablations. The swelling and volume access does not signify a failing heart. It will, however, respond to diuretic medication after a few days.
Note that this list does not cover everything to expect during recovery after ablation. You should treat this as preparation for what will come next and calm you down if you are worried. How severe the symptoms are depend on you and how the procedure was conducted. You should also follow your doctor’s advice for a smooth recovery with minimal complications.