Aftermath of a Cardiac Ablation Monday = Success!

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Spent the day in my assigned pre and post op station #11
IMG_0328.jpeg

Ive had a number of conversations regarding the heart in this forum, I also told some I post post the outcome. Ill try to stick to the point because I know my posts can get long.

Background- a history of on and off chest discomfort going back some years now. Previous stress tests showed all ok>
Forward to around 2021 went to the emergency room on the way home from work, tests showed no heart attack but was told to immediately follow up with Cardiologist, one week later a Nuclear stress test, although good, the test showed some PVCs taking place, prescribed Metoprolol low dose and scheduled a Coronary Angiogram which I was thrilled about (its the gold standard) Results were Minimal plaque in my hearts veins/arteries put at 20% (excellent news)
Chest discomfort continues one and off, mostly at night while resting and sleeping.

Got an Apple Watch Christmas 2021 and put the ECG app on it, whenever I felt discomfort I simply open the app and touch the stem of the watch and an ECG is recorded. At this point I will credit this device for FINALLY taking care of my issue. I started making recordings of the times I had discomfort and sent them through messaging to my doctor. PVCs were still taking place and then it continued to get more severe, he doubled my dose of Metprolol and also did an echogram, again, echogram showed my heart healthy and strong, yet over months PVCs continued to get worse.

One day after sending the ECGs from the watch they called me in, hooked me up to a Holter Monitor which records your heart for 48 non stop hours. The results were eye opening, over 24,000 PVCs took place, Multiple PACs, 1 unsustained 8 beat Vtach, Finally, finally they got on board knowing now their equipment matched my Apple Watch read outs and hooked me up with an Cardiac Electrophysiologist.

Electrophysiologist went through the information from their Holter Monitor and many, MANY pages from my Apple Watch which both heart doctors praised more than one time. Electrophysiologist left it up to me for an ablation or drug. After a long discussion with him we decided the drug, as he said my heart is very strong and will tolerate it well, not everyone can take it. He knew I dont like drugs and said I can always change my mind, give it a try, I already had a follow up in 3 months set up and all I have to do it let them know.
Well, I looked into this drug Flecainide and realized how dangerous it is but it worked PERFECT, all summer long, nothing, it actually felt weird not feeling these sensations in my chest, however, taking this drug is so dangerous it has a "black level" warning from the FDA and not really for what I am taking it for, meaning the drug more dangerous then the "disease" thing.
Anyway, I am not one that needs much medications and I did not want to take this one for the rest of my life and told them to schedule the ablation.

Look at it this way. Your heart chambers have "spark plugs" "Nodes" that your nervous system sends a signal to which in turn fires up the heart muscle to "beat">
Well you have a bunch of these nodes, now just picture a bad spark plug wire shorting out on the engine block but in this case its shorting out inside your heart.
Part of your heart contracts before the rest of the heart causing a misfire.

Its quite amazing, the technology and the imagining but they insert up to 4 wires, through your veins right into your heart chambers, look for the short circuit that is taking a short cut across the inside of your heart and then burn that tiny part of the heart muscle to kill it off and stop the short circuit.
Anyway, it was a success, but it was torture in the days before the procedure, REALLY bad, they had me stop taking the Flecainide 7 days prior which was keeping my heart in perfect rhythm for the last 4 months so when they did the procedure nothing was "masked" by the drug.
By day 3 or 4 it got really severe, I guess the withdrawal of the drug after my heart was used to it, well, the PVCs went nuts, my chest going crazy every night. I made them aware and they said if I have to I can take a dose when bad, I did the first night but the 2 nights before the procedure I did not, I wanted them to get this once and for all. They were happy I did.

Before the procedure, doctor would not commit when I could go home, 2 hours, 4 hours, 6 hours or stay over night. I was going home jsut 2 hours after the procedure, they were very happy the way it went.

Below are ECGs from my watch, its easy to see the one before and after. For those that do not know, there should be no spikes going down! Only up, this is how bad it was the night before I was having 25 or so PVCs every 30 seconds and some other weird looking stuff.

Night Before procedure; (actual Apple Watch Printout) There should be NO SPIKES going down on the chart, those are the PVCs.
Screen Shot 2022-11-11 at 12.59.43 PM.png


Day After Procedure; (Actual Apple Watch Printout) 100% normal
Screen Shot 2022-11-11 at 1.00.03 PM.png
 
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alarmguy

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Wow that is amazing your apple watch helped with the diagnosis. I love my Apple watch and have had it several years. I might get a new one soon if they have some Christmas specials. Good to hear you are doing good and take care!
Thank you, my doctors were thrilled and that built credibility, so much so, they even said some doctors arent to keen about this stuff but they were and if you ask me, those are the kind of doctors you want.
I dont play doctor but I do want and I did get doctors who wanted every bit of information they could get, that tells me a lot.
WIth the heart, you would think its perfect, whenever you feel something besides describing it, you can provide an ECG which MAY help them further. Improtant and Apple warns you do not use this as a heart attack detection device *LOL*
Its an information device to help doctors figure things out.
 

alarmguy

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Right on bro. I have a lotta opinions you need to correct. Keep up the good work.
Regarding your comments on the Apple Watch, this is the reason I love tech and Silicon Valley. The stuff that comes outta here is simply incredible.
I could not agree more and as you might know, I love this stuff. You can bet my doctors dont have many patients that ran 600 ECGs to understand and then help the doctors figure out what was going on. FYI I didnt give them 600 *LOL* I printed out about 100.
I do stress to others in here who may have heart issues.
THIS IS NOT a device that detects heart attacks. This is a device to help your doctors by going them information. Hospitals do enzyme blood tests and many things to confirm heart attacks. The watch always warns you to see a doctor.
Jeff, in another lifetime, if I could work on projects like these it would be very fulling for me.

Oh and btw it can always alert you when you wake up in the morning if something was wrong. Which in my case was a result of so many PVCs the watch was not detecting normal heart beats =
(actual screenshot from the watch)
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The Apple Watch is a great tool. Keep tracking your statistics over time. You should see improvement in other areas too.

The Cardiac Cath labs are a huge success these days. They can do a lot and even in other parts of the body as well. Glad your procedure turned out positive.
 
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Jeff, in another lifetime, if I could work on projects like these it would be very fulling for me.
My career was at Novellus and Lam Research. Semiconductor Manufacturing Equipment. Our machines were used to make your Apple watch circuits. And much of the equipment your wonderful surgeon and hospital used. And the chips in your cars. And the laptop you are typing on.

Silicon Valley is a magical place. I flat out love it here.
 
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Glad you are feeling better and the doctors took good care of you. Modern medicine can do some amazing things.
 

alarmguy

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My career was at Novellus and Lam Research. Semiconductor Manufacturing Equipment. Our machines were used to make your Apple watch circuits. And much of the equipment your wonderful surgeon and hospital used. And the chips in your cars. And the laptop you are typing on.

Silicon Valley is a magical place. I flat out love it here.
Im typing on a Mac mini right now! :*******: With a logo keyboard and believe it or not, A vintage Microsoft Rollerball mouse.
(I do have a M1 MacBook Air though)

Yes, I sensed your very happy in your career, sounds very fulfilling. From what I understand and no one ever knows for sure with Apple is possibly Apple Watch blood sugar monitoring and possibly the first BP device that will not need a cuff.
 
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alarmguy

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Glad you are feeling better and the doctors took good care of you. Modern medicine can do some amazing things.
It really is amazing, I was out the hospital door in just over 2 hours after they were done, it was a long day. I have 4 pencil tip marks two on each side right above my groin where they inserted the wires and snaked them up through my veins into my heart chamber.
 
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It really is amazing, I was out the hospital door in just over 2 hours after they were done, it was a long day. I have 4 pencil tip marks two on each side right above my groin where they inserted the wires and snaked them up through my veins into my heart chamber.
Sometimes they go through the groin and sometimes through the wrist. I don't know what determines the best route. My company was evaluating using one of investigational drugs in a long QT interval clinical study so I studied up on ECG. As you said, it is all electrical. Very fascinating stuff what each ECG lead is measuring. Don't need to be an expert to see that the before ECG isn't normal and the after looks much better.
 
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Normal EKG's do have downward spikes. Google it.
Anyway, my Doc wanted to implant a monitor in me for early MI warning. I scheduled the procedure. When I found out that you can no longer get an MRI once one is installed, I cancelled the procedure.
I figured, with the advancements in wearable medical devices, such as your watch, I'd go that route before an implant.
Thanks for the story.
 

alarmguy

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Normal EKG's do have downward spikes. Google it.
Anyway, my Doc wanted to implant a monitor in me for early MI warning. I scheduled the procedure. When I found out that you can no longer get an MRI once one is installed, I cancelled the procedure.
I figured, with the advancements in wearable medical devices, such as your watch, I'd go that route before an implant.
Thanks for the story.
The top ECG I posted is loaded with PVCs the bottom ECG is normal.
This is what you call a one lead ECG. Granted lack of better words there is a small tiny dip/spike in a normal ECG which you can see in my post vs the PVCs showing in the first chart. Yes anyone can do a search and important not to confuse the information from a 1 lead ECG to multi leads.
I’m not a doctor, I bring the information to my doctor and actually in this case two cardiologists one in the specialist electro physiology field, They both went over the information I had printed out as well as an NP.
They showed me the PVCs and confirmed with me what I said was normal.

You can see the top line of this monitor that was connected to me showing a PVC on the second heart beat.
I happen to be taking a picture for my family and noticed it in the background. This is the actual day of the procedure.
You will see the large dip and then a space, that large dip is the PVC. It’s a little blurry because I eliminated my face and zoomed in a little bit 😜
I do understand what you’re saying but I’m rushing to go eat dinner and certainly not an expert in the field, it all depends on scale and resolution.
The two white posted are night and day, PVCs and second one normal.
F9D7602D-8263-42F1-B980-E2C1A3E39C66.jpeg
 
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What a great story, thank you for sharing the details. I've had my share of heart rhythm related issues, they are no fun. Mine was due to viral infection 30 years ago, and difficult to treat. It is good to see that you've have had a successful result!! That is, I'm sure, a huge relief. I hope you don't have to go back for more treatments, as sometimes happens.

A bicycle racing buddy of mine and I were in the hospital at the same time with similar heart issues. They turned out to be completely unrelated, but it was interesting to be "incarcerated" at the same time with similar issues :) . He did have to make multiple trips for ablation. But 2 decades later, he's doing great.
 
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The Apple Watch is a great tool. Keep tracking your statistics over time. You should see improvement in other areas too.

The Cardiac Cath labs are a huge success these days. They can do a lot and even in other parts of the body as well. Glad your procedure turned out positive.
Our hospital recently opened a cardiac cath lab, and now we don't have to go to Omaha or Lincoln. One of the major reasons we moved here was the hospital and medical services available here.
 
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Glad it went well !

We lost a family friend 1 month ago at age 59 to heart fibrillation, he died in his sleep but the doctor that made the house visit was able to determine from the Apple watch he wore what caused it and when he actually died. Too bad these things can't signal a loved one that something is happening.
 
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