View Full Version : A question for any cardiac nurses

May 27th, 2018, 12:37 AM
I know I will do a terrible job explaining this but I will try. My dd is going in on Wednesday for a cardiac cath procedure. She has something called SVT, basically episodes where her heart rhythm gets super fast and she feels like she is about to have a heart attck. She is 28. For the past 3 years her cardiologist and electrophysiologist have been tweaking her meds but the situation has gotten worse not better. She is now having SVTs about once a week. They last from 2 minutes to 2 hours and if they exceed 1 hour she has to go to the E.R. where they give her an injection that instantly corrects it. I don't know the name of the procedure but basically they will trigger an SVT and then cauterize something to elinate this from occurring in the future. They want her awake for the procedure and are doing it under a local only. She was told the procedure will take about 4 hours, then recovery lying flat 4-6 hours while being under observation and then they will let her go home. If you have any idea what I am talking about, can you tell me if you think the procedure will actually take 4 hours, and will she be in much pain during or after? I am assuming this is a routine procedure that they do every day at the hospital and not too much to worry about. But still, as a Mom, I want to be prepared. If anyone has any insights to share on this I would greatly appreciate it. And I apologize for my poor explanation. Thanks.

May 27th, 2018, 01:39 AM
No apologies necessary. The first 4 hours will be checking into admissions, then spending time in the pre-operative area answering a lot of questions about her medical history, getting an IV started and any last minute lab work completed. Then theyíll take her back to the procedure room where sheíll be for anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours. If itís longer - that doesnít mean anything bad has happened - the docs will want to get a good look at her heart while they are there. Then Iím assuming here ... a little post procedure recovery time then onto an observation bed. Itís been several years since I recovered any cardiac cath patients but they normally didnít have pain. Usual normal complaints were overall sore feeling mainly from laying on your back so long and the next day they were fine after they could move around.
I wish your daughter good thoughts for her procedure!

Judy, USMC
May 27th, 2018, 04:24 AM
I think what you are describing is an ablation. My husband had one after his bypass surgery in 2010 to treat AFib. His procedure took about an hour. However, like Sherrie said, he had to go through the pre-op preparation and was in recovery afterwards.

The doc told us that most of the time in the OR is spent mapping the heart and find the exact spot is that is throwing the bad signal. At that time the "go to sleep" medication they gave him was Propofol. He remembered getting the medication and didn't remember anything else until he got to recovery. Propofol doesn't linger like other meds and he was very alert when I saw him when they brought him out of recovery.

They inserted the catheter through his groin and the discomfort he had afterward was from laying flat for several hours which was more about allowing his groin to heal than anything about his heart. I've recently heard they can go through the wrist for a catherization ... but don't know if this is an option for an ablation.

I know the stress that waiting families go through ... but it is very beneficial for the patient. EP cardiac docs do these all the time so try not to be too anxious. Hope she feels much better after the procedure.

May 27th, 2018, 08:22 AM
When DH was in the Cath lab 2 years ago, his pain was more from where the Cath went in than anywhere else. I was in the waiting room with the hospital chaplain watching over me to make sure I didn't flip out... in all he was in the Cath lab for less than an hour.

He went into the ER with heart attack symptoms, once they saw a weird EEG they slapped a timer on his chest. It took them 23 minutes to get him from the ER into the Cath lab. So, the prep time doesn't have to be hours. It sounds to me, from how they described this, that the procedure itself has the potential to take quite some time because they have to trigger the event, locate the source, probably trigger it again to be sure they have the right source... I would say that it will take the time they are telling you.

I will also say that the care my husband received after his heart attack was amazing, and those nurses were so kind, to all of us. He was the only patient on the floor with a 5 year old child, and they were super considerate of our children too. I hope your daughter is treated well. I appreciate how well the kids and I were treated during the frightening time, so I hope that you family is cared for as well. It is scary. I'll keep your daughter in my prayers, I was her age when I got married, I can't imagine going through all that, she is so brave!

May 27th, 2018, 09:06 AM
A cardiac cath & an ablation procedure are not the same thing. I underwent a cardiac cath several years ago. I did not remember the procedure due to the sedation they gave me. It's necessary to lie flat afterwards. The insertion site in the groin will be monitored for bleeding. Usually a sand bag for pressure is placed over the groin site. For a week after the procedure, you'll need to keep an eye on that site. There may be some localized bruising. She won't be able to lift >10 lb. for a week following. I haven't checked, but you might Google it or see if there are any videos on YouTube. Heart caths are very routine now, but when it's happening to you it can feel scary. I hope all goes well.

May 27th, 2018, 09:13 PM
I agree, this sounds like an ablation. Judy, USMC described it well. Much of the time is spent finding exactly which electrical pathway is responsible for her supra-ventricular tachycardia (SVT). Once they pin that down, the electrophysiologist delivers a little blast of radio frequency to the area to destroy the conductivity in the area that is "short circuiting."

Because they go in through the femoral artery in the groin, she will have to lie with her leg straight for several hours. As JCY said, they may place a sandbag or other device over the puncture site to apply pressure and prevent bleeding. She should refrain from lifting her head off the pillow during this time. If her back is sore, the nurse can help her roll to one side and give her a backrub.

Ablation procedures are fairly common. Although it's frightening for you as a mom, this has the potential to greatly improve your daughter's quality of life. My thoughts will be with you and your daughter on Wednesday.

May 31st, 2018, 12:28 AM
Here's an update: my daughter had her ablation procedure today and the doctor said everything went perfectly! She lives in a house with two roommates, their 1 and 5 yo kids, and 3 dogs, and it is very noisy and chaotic so she elected to spend the night at our house, good old Mom & Dad whose house is very quiet by comparison. I even stopped at Hallmark on the way home from work and bought her a teddy bear. Because why not??? She works at Amazon and does a lot of lifting and has a 10# limit for a week so she is taking a week off. She'll be good as new when she goes back. Thank you again everyone who took the time you were super helpful in explaining this to me and everything you all said was right on target. And best of all you saved me from being too worried.

May 31st, 2018, 12:37 AM
Great news! :).

May 31st, 2018, 12:43 AM
So glad it all went well, and happy that she can take it easy for a few days.

May 31st, 2018, 01:04 AM
That's wonderful news! They're still our babies no matter how old they are, and I'm sure you're relieved and happy to have her there under your watchful eye.

May 31st, 2018, 01:18 AM
So Glad it went well and that your dd can return to work soon.

Judy, USMC
May 31st, 2018, 04:20 AM
Glad to share experiences that allayed your fears.

May 31st, 2018, 06:15 AM
Im so happy to hear this!! <3