I’m having heart surgery…

So they tell me that this is what they’re going to do to me: Electrophysiology Study and Catheter Ablation. The actual procedure won’t be for a couple of months, because our hospitals are too busy. The fact that it’s a straightforward procedure that they’ll only have to keep me overnight for, that there is an incredibly low possibility of complications, doesn’t make a difference in my mind.

I’m afraid. This is my heart they’re dealing with. They cut into me, they send a catheter tube up into my heart, they send a radio frequency into it that will burn out the section that doesn’t work right so that it never screws me up again. It’s my heart. However small a chance things could go wrong there is… there is still a chance that things could go wrong.

I’m afraid.

The specialist and I talked about Temagami. He’s done the Lady Evelyn trip, he said it’s beautiful. I told him that I want to do that trip. He said it was worth it. We had something in common to talk about. He’s a very nice doctor, I liked him immediately.

I’m still afraid. But I don’t intend to think about it much until it’s actually happening.

From this site:
An electrophysiology study (EPS) is performed to produce your cardiac arrhythmia to determine its type and location. Based on this information, your doctor can recommend treatment: medication, surgery, implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), pacemaker or catheter ablation.

If catheter ablation is recommended, the procedure will most likely be performed immediately. The ablation is performed using high-frequency sound waves to eliminate the tissue causing the abnormal heart rhythm.

On the procedure itself:
You will wear a hospital gown and you may wear your glasses and dentures. A nurse will give you medication to help you relax. If you don’t already have an IV, one will be started. A bladder catheter may also be started. Your blood pressure and electrocardiogram (EKG) will be monitored constantly throughout the test. The procedure requires intense concentration, so your doctor may be extremely quiet. You will be given medication when the procedure begins to help you remain quiet and still.

The procedure will begin by numbing your groin with an anesthetic. You may feel a “bee sting” sensation during the injection. Several tubes will be placed in the blood vessels of your groin so the doctor can gently thread catheters into the arteries and veins. X-ray may be used to help guide the catheters into place. Because blood vessels do not have nerves, you should experience no discomfort while the catheters are threaded into your heart.

Once the catheters are in place, the doctor will use them to start your arrhythmia. You may be kept in that arrhythmia for a length of time. The doctor may also start and stop this rhythm by using certain drugs to control it. Because the doctor will start your arrhythmia, you will experience the same feelings as when your arrhythmia occurs on its own. Your arrhythmia can be stopped immediately if necessary. If it is necessary to end the arrhythmia by applying a shock to the heart, you will receive medication to make you comfortable and unable to feel the shock being delivered.

The procedure usually takes 1-3 hours. It is unusual to experience any pain during the procedure. If you do, report it to your doctor immediately.

After the EPS is finished, the catheters are removed and pressure is applied to the catheter insertion site for about 20 minutes.

7 Comments

  • artguy

    August 15, 2001 at 12:10 pm

    I am soo sorry you have to go through all this. All though it does sound like a straight forward procedure I can understand your fear. Good luck to you. I am sure it will go well for you!

    • Jenny Lee Silver

      August 15, 2001 at 12:23 pm

      Thanks… I know it’ll be okay, it’s just a kind of overwhelming feeling. I’ve never been in hospital for much of anything before.

  • jcaswell

    August 15, 2001 at 12:58 pm

    *hugs*

    Take care Jelly

  • antiwesley

    August 15, 2001 at 1:26 pm

    If you want someone to come visit…

    Having been in enough surgeries myself, I’d move heaven or earth to be up there and wait for you to come out of the surgery…
    I dunno, guess it’s just that I would worry myself to death about it…
    I don’t wanna lose my favorite singer and inspiration… 🙂

    • Jenny Lee Silver

      August 15, 2001 at 1:58 pm

      Re: If you want someone to come visit…

      That’s kind of you. 🙂 I think I’ll be anti-social though… and there are a few friends here that I have a feeling will be around if I need them. 🙂 Thanks

  • cyn

    August 15, 2001 at 4:35 pm

    my dad had this procedure done about 15 years ago… he said that it was really weird, but not painful. they make you really drowsy, so you don’t actually care what the heck they are doing.

    i’m sure it will be scary, but you can deal with it!

    and forevermore, when you hear someone else whine about a papercut, you can say – “oh yeah? well i had wires stuck in my heart and didn’t complain, so shush!”

    🙂 good luck

  • jeroen

    August 16, 2001 at 2:22 am

    *hug*

    I hope everything goes well