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quilabell, March 13,  2018  11:25pm EST

Having a hard time after my first ablation. Advice?

Hi all,

I had my first ablation (PVI /cryo) yesterday. Although newly out of the hospital, the recovery has not been easy. I feel like I went running with the bulls in Spain and lost. I couldn't sleep the first night because of the chest and throat pain. I'm not sure what exactly they put in my throat, but it was more than just an ET tube. I can barely swallow and have bruising to the back of my throat. I also feel and hear crackling bubbles, almost like pop rocks (just not as loud) in my throat. When I swallow, I have pain down my esophagus that radiates to my right shouder blade. I'm also coughing up small amounts of bloody phlegm. I discussed it with the nurse and my EP and no-one seemed concerned. I'm worried the anesthesiologist caused a tracheal tear. Could this 'bubbling' be caused by gastritis?There is no subcutaneous air in my neck, no fever and my oxygen saturation is normal.

I also have chest pressure, back pain and shortnessof breath. My EP started me on Colchicine for the cardiac inflammation and Famotidine for the gastric issues. 

So, 24 hours out and feeling like crap. Advice? Is this normal? It seems like most of you sailed through your ablations, so I'm a bit worried.

Thanks for any help you can give me!

3 Replies
  • Plumeria162
    Plumeria162, March 14,  2018  8:26am EST
    I had the same "popping" sounds after the procedure that you describe. They went away after about 5-7 days. Mine were respiratory, not GI. A tracheal tear should cause some SQ empysema,so not likely. I never found out what caused it, but it did go away. I, too, was unprepared for the chest pain after the procedure. Even after asking about what to expect post-op multiple times, I was unprepared for how crappy I felt. The nurses and doctors were like "you'll be fine in a couple of days" but I wasn't. (I am also no wimp. I treated a broken ankle by myself and was at work the day after I broke my radius.) I had chest pain and coughing, not to mention that sore throat! It took about 2 weeks for the chest pain and cough to subside. Afterward they told me the chest pain was normal because of all of the trauma that had been done. I did take a couple of doses of percoset in the hospital but it made me feel so lethargic I switched to plain acetaminophen that they said was OK. I went back about 2 weeks after because I still had breathlessness and a slight cough. They did an ultrasound and radiographs and blood work and all was normal. No one knows what the popping was and I suspect it is fairly common, but because it is not a problem, the doctors ignore it. ( Just my theory of doctors don't care if it isn't pathology.) Try to get your questions asked and answered. Coughing up blood is the only thing you describe that sounds abnormal.  I think we all walk that line between not wanting to ignore something serious/abnormal, but not wanting to seem a hypochondriac. We don't know what is normal because, frankly, the hospital doesn't do a very good job of telling you what to expect. Good luck with your recovery!
  • Jeanamo
    Jeanamo, March 14,  2018  8:57am EST
    Quilabell,I hope you are beginning to feel better as the days go by. After reading your post and Plumeria's post, we are reminded that the ablation procedure can affect each of us differently and our recovery periods can differ as well.  Some people are "lucky" and have no problems while others experience difficulties just as you have.  It is important that your doctor is aware of all the issues that are causing you concern so they can be addressed.  Experiencing problems such as you have described can be discourating and provoke anxiety.  Not everyone has "sailed though" their ablations and I am so sorry you are having problems.  Thank you for posting and I hope you will get some words of encouragement and support from other members of this community who can relate to you with their experiences.  So...most important is to keep your doctor informed and to allow a few more days of recovery and hope that there is improvement and relief from your symptoms..Please continue to post and let us know how you are doing.Thinking of you and wishing you the best,Jean(My A-fib Experience Community Leader)
  • quilafizz
    quilafizz, March 15,  2018  11:43am EST
    Thank you both for your encouragement and help. I’m so relieved someone else has had those ‘pop rocks’ in the back of their throat. It’s a little scary to have free air in places you shouldn’t. I’m feeling a bit better today, just extremely fatigued. I’m going to try and walk for a bit. This really is a surgery and pretty invasive when you look at all they are doing: General anesthesia, intubation, TEE and esophageal thermometer in your esophagus ( that is a LOT of hardware to place in ones chest at once), arterial lines, venous catheters, transeptal punctures and burning or freezing intra and external cardiac and pulmonary tissue. Calling this a ‘minimally invasive procedure ‘ is very misleading and causes post operative anxiety for those who wake up feeling like they were run over by a train. Im not sorry I did it. And as bad as I feel, I will do it again if my a.fib returns, because my a.fib was ruining my life. I just feel that the medical community should be a bit more straightforward about what is going to happen to you so that you can prepare yourself. I am so grateful for this forum. You have all been a source of light during a dark time.Thank you for that.Quila
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