Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) Support Group

Atrial fibrillation (AF or afib) is an abnormal heart rhythm (cardiac arrhythmia) which involves the two small, upper heart chambers (the atria). Heart beats in a normal heart begin after electricity generated in the atria by the sinoatrial node spread through the heart and cause contraction of the heart muscle and pumping of blood.

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Catheter Ablation for Afib .... Safe & Effecti

Anyone considering catheter ablation for afib should read this: http://collateral-damage.net

Must read for everyone prior to surgery patients AND doctors. Concise, well researched you will learn the questions you should ask prior to scheduling any procedure... "

Replies

deleted_user
deleted_user

Dan, I actually bought your book and read it prior to my first ablation.
I am truly sorry for what happened to your wife, however I believe it was a terrible, but isolated event and something similar could have occured with many different medical procedures and is not unique to ablations.
deleted_user
deleted_user

Catheter ablation for afib is a risky, corporate driven procedure, and safety is highly dependent on operator experience. It is being touted as being a safe an effective procedure which can be performed at your local hospital -- and I am here to tell you that I have heard many, many stories similar to what happened to my wife and I am tired of sitting by and watching it happen.

I understand that everyone wants there to be an easy solution to this problem -- but it is NOT catheter ablation. If I were highly symptomatic and just could not stand it anymore, I might go to someone like Dr. Natale who know what he is doing.

Otherwise, you are taking your life in your hands.

Do your research. Know what questions to ask.

You can not trust your doctor.
McHale
McHale

Dan,
Sorry to hear what happened to your wife but that also happens with many surgeries sometimes so you try to research and pick the best. Living with a condition is not acceptable with many. Even though my afib is not too symptomatic at times it is and I believe the Flecainide is masking how symptomatic I am. I've become more frequent once a week now and it's been four years now and enough is enough. Not willing to stay on toxic drugs. I'm booked with a Natale ablation in 12 days.
McHale
McHale

I forgot to mention I also had a stroke last year and my MRI showed to other tiny ones that were older.
deleted_user
deleted_user

I don't blame you one bit, and Natale is the doctor to see if you're going to do this. I have heard nothing but good things about him.

What concerns me is the profit-driven push to have this procedure performed at local hospitals with inexperienced operators -- that's how people get hurt.

I wish you success and good health, you'll do well with Natale.
McHale
McHale

Dan,
I agree with you that's why I waited even three top EP's in New York
I only felt comfortable with a doctor like Natale and I haven't even met him yet. He's just been named executive director at St Lukes in the city here New York. I was going to go to Mt Sinai but being this is a teaching hospital I got spooked.
I was in afib most of the day and it was not pleasant
Most people you speak with have no clue what afib is or an ablation and they think you can go to just any hospital and have this done.

God Bless you and Sorry for your tragedy.+
McHale
McHale

Dan,
On the other Forum by Hans there is a poster there who also had their mitral valve damaged and had to be replace. You would think 11 years after your wife's tragedy they would at least be at the highest learning curve and supervision in doing this procedure. Thaty why I picked Natale, he oversees all his procedures and brings in his own staff from out of town at St Lukes except for some local ones. That's what scares me EP's who think this is routine because it's been 10 years now at least since this procedure has become mainstream
yogacat
yogacat

Dan, in reference to "local hospitals with inexperienced operators" I have a story. I had a reaction to Epinephrine, over a month of constant systematic afib. I am paroxysmal afib, with moderately annoying symptoms. The head of the Cardio Dept. at our hospital was my Cardio dr.
I called the office for advice several times. My Cardio Dr. got on the phone and told me I needed to have an ablation, asap. He was going to set me up with apt. with his EP.
I asked him if it would be done locally, he said no, I would have to travel an hour to the larger hospital.
I said that could be a problem for me.
He said, "not a problem, you can drive yourself down in the morning, have your ablation, spend the night, and drive home the next day"
I was Speechless, and got a new Cardio Dr. asap!

My new Cardio Dr. said, I did Not need ablation, the Epi had altered my heart and it would return soon.

I did a follow up with another new EP. Being new, we talked for about 15 minutes about my history. He left the room, came back with a packet. " Here is all the information you will need to prepare for your ablation. I am a month out for your appointment. Call this number to schedule a date."

I went to him for his advice on how best to handle my afib, which by that time had diminished ( I am now in day 61 NSR.) But, I guess he did not hear me.....he had his agenda, I could tell!

I will be returning to the 2nd Cardio Dr. who said, No Ablation, for my care.
deleted_user
deleted_user

Jeez, that's scary. I've heard that before, some Doc tells a person they need to have an ablation right away -- as if it were bypass surgery for blocked arteries or some dire emergency. And most people would believe their Doc and just go ahead and let themselves be scared into it.

Good for you for thinking for yourself.
deleted_user
deleted_user

Dan - I am truly sorry for your loss. My first ablation was necessary because my heart was in atrial flutter and would not convert with iv meds and was out for over 4 days. Then 8 months later, afib out of the blue so second ablation at a local hospital - I really did not think it was a big deal. This one was a disaster - did not work and I still had to pay. 3rd ablation at Duke, I think this one worked but doc had to touch up previous ablations and informed me I had pv stenosis from my second ablation. I failed all meds except for the very toxic which we not recommended to me because I am 52. I do wish I had done more homework and research prior to having my second ablation. When you are in the throws of bad afib episodes, ablation seems like the obvious choice however it is not a decision to take lightly and I wanted to make that point.
deleted_user
deleted_user

Thanks for the reply. I do think it is important that you make that point. This procedure is being way oversold and people are all too trusting of their doctors. People need to hear stories like yours in order to make better informed decisions.

Good health to you.

Dan
solvingadream
solvingadream

McHale wrote:
"Thaty why I picked Natale, he oversees all his procedures"

Oversees? I was under the impression that Natale actually DOES the procedures. That's a fundamental difference, could you clarify this?
McHale
McHale

Yes I used spoor choice of words
Natale actually does the whole procedure start o finish actually does the first punch of the catheters after the sheaths are inserted. He teaches other doctors or residents but they never touch the catheter for any of his ablations I'm told since its his signature on the ablation.
Unlike some other EP mentioned here.
Sorry
marikay234
marikay234

Mchale....are you sure he does the whole procedure? My experience in general, as a nurse, is that when there are students, they are getting some hands-on experience.
I don't know anything about him....it just seems alittle hard to believe that if he is teaching others they are only watching.
It is very hard to put your life into someones hands....but he sure has a great reputation.
Best wishes
pacyetep
pacyetep

I have read that some people get a signed agreement as to who will perform the ablation AND do the mapping. I read the book also. I also think that besides buying the book, everyone should watch the below video also. BTW, it doesn't mean you shouldn't have an ablation, you just need to evaluate based on risks, what you stand to gain, and your chances for succes based on your own situation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYNT_Cqmb0M

petey
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