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Post ablation chest "tightness"

Posted by Shiny Sleeves 
Post ablation chest "tightness"
March 20, 2024 02:27AM
I am researching getting an ablation. I'm not exactly sure I quite qualify yet (my cardiologist and ER doctors would disagree), and I understand that after the procedure you may get some chest pain or chest tightness.

I wondered if anyone could describe it to me and how much of a burden it is, how long it lasted for you, and anything else you can think of.
Re: Post ablation chest "tightness"
March 20, 2024 03:58AM
Most people don't experience those symptoms. I never did and I've had multiple ablations. Some people describe a dull sort of discomfort that lasts a day or two but it's very mild and nothing to write home about. The only people I've ever heard complain of significant pain from an ablation are the few who experienced complications such as pericardial effusions (fluid buildup around the heart). That can be quite uncomfortable but is unusual and typically clears up in days or a week or two.

In short, chest pain and chest tightness just aren't things that commonly happen.
Re: Post ablation chest "tightness"
March 20, 2024 04:36AM
Shiny Sleeves
I understand that after the procedure you may get some chest pain or chest tightness.

I wondered if anyone could describe it to me and how much of a burden it is, how long it lasted for you, and anything else you can think of.

As Carey said, most people don't feel this though many EPs will give you a course of colchicine before and after to lower inflammation which is the likely source of pain, should it happen. I had brief chest pain after my ablation and the nurses in Recovery gave me a hefty dose of Tylenol and the pain was gone within an hour and never returned. I had an extensive ablation so inflammation would not be unexpected.
Re: Post ablation chest "tightness"
March 20, 2024 12:27PM
Two ablations = 0 discomfort or pain anywhere except my throat because of the intubation.
Re: Post ablation chest "tightness"
March 20, 2024 01:54PM
Agree with the others that any discomfort in the chest is inconsequential if at all present. That said, it is possible to experience other discomfort or pain. Long before I actually had an ablation one of the EPs described it as being hit by a truck! I was quite relieved it was nothing like that and wondered why he would describe it as such. My first ablation was over 10 hours and I did end up with a persistent low back pain. I remember having to deal with heartburn issues. another time I had a very bad bruise on my lips from the intubation. I didnt consider any of these to be major. so you could be extremely lucky and have zero issues or have some minor discomfort for a few days.
Re: Post ablation chest "tightness"
March 20, 2024 01:54PM
Three ablations and a Watchman following the third with absolutely zero discomfort whatsoever.
Re: Post ablation chest "tightness"
March 20, 2024 07:52PM
I have had two ablations, and my first was far and away the worst of the two. It wasn't chest pain, or groin pain, or anything that could be attributed to the ablation itself. Instead, it was the TEE (trans-esophageal echocardiogram). This is an endoscope they put down their esophagus after you're out. It measures the proximity of the ablating wand from your esophagus because it can get close and you (and they) do NOT want your esophagus compromised by burning. When I awakened, I couldn't swallow. It took almost an hour of slow, painful swallowing to finally get to the point where I could drink water and eat half a sandwich (nurses won't let you up and out of the ward until you can eat and drink, keep it down, and walk about ten minutes).

That ablation failed, regrettably. For the second, which was successful, I mentioned to the anesthesiologist that I had had this horrible experience seven months previously. He seemed very grateful that I mentioned it and said he'd take care of it. And he did.

The can be some dull, low-grade pain or throbbing in the groin incision, but it is fleeting and not intrusive. In my case, anyway. But I noticed no unusual sensation or discomfort in my chest, and would not have known I'd had the surgery otherwise.

As is the case with traveling, the workups, waiting, prep, and the recovery before you're released from the hospital, are the worst of it. You'll feel great shuffling around the ward once they tell you to get up and do it, and once you're in the car on the way home, it's like any other day.
Re: Post ablation chest "tightness"
March 21, 2024 12:25AM
You might be taking about post procedural pericarditis. I got it after my cryo PVI and the ep nurse said she sees it in maybe 20-30% of the cases. It wasn't overly painful or disabling, but I did have to hold back on normal activity for a couple of months. How did it feel? Sort of like a mild pain that increased when taking deeper breaths, like for example going for a walk. I think worrying about what was going on -- and would I be this way for life -- was worse than the actual pain itself. But in almost all cases, post procedural pericarditis almost always completely resolves, even though at the time it may not seem that way. Standard treatment is a course or two of the anti-inflammatory, Colchicine. But keep in mind, most people don't get this and many go back to normal living within a week or two, some even days! Others, like myself took several months. Best attitude is hope for the best and be prepared for less than the best, but if you have a high afib burden, the ablation is worth it.

Re: Post ablation chest "tightness"
March 22, 2024 02:06AM
I have had three attempted ablations. The first two were completely uneventful, no pain. The third I got Pericarditis and it was the worst pain I have ever had. Either way, it was worth trying to fix the heart issue, which causes more anxiety and debilitation than the short term chest pain from pericarditis!
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