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    FAQs: After the Ablation Procedure

    What should I expect after the PVAI/ablation?  |  When will I find out the results?  |  How will I feel after the procedure?  |  Will I have to stay in the hospital?  |  Can I drive myself home?  |  When can I shower?  |  When can I return to normal activities?  |  What symptoms can I expect after the procedure?  |  What symptoms should I report?  |  Will I need to take new medications?


    What should I expect after the PVAI/ablation?

    The doctor will remove the catheters and apply pressure to the insertion site to prevent bleeding. No stitches are needed. A pressure dressing (bandage) will cover the insertion sites.

    After the procedure, you will be transferred to the E.P. Holding Room for observation and remain there for approximately 2–3 hours.

    You will then be moved to the main hospital floor (CSU) for the remainder of the day / evening.

    You must stay in bed for 6 to 8 hours after the procedure. During this time, you will need to keep your legs still to prevent bleeding.

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    When will I find out the results?

    After the procedure, the doctor will discuss the results of the procedure with you and your family. Because of the effect of the seda tion, you may not remember this conversation with the doctor. If so, you may ask to see either the doctor or someone on the E.P. team to come back and explain the results to you the next day.

    The success of the procedure cannot be determined until 6-8 weeks after the procedure. This is due to the healing process and the time needed for the ablation scars to mature.

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    How will I feel after the procedure?

    You may feel fatigue or minor chest discomfort during the first 48 hours after the procedure. Please tell your doctor or nurse if any of these symptoms are prolonged or severe.

    Some patients experience symptoms of congestive heart failure the first few days after the procedure. These symptoms may include shortness of breath, bloating or what may feel like the symptoms of a common cold. This is normal, but it is important that you call us so we may help you. These symptoms are frequently due to water retention and the inflammation caused by the ablation.

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    Will I have to stay in the hospital?

    Yes. You will be in the hospital overnight for observation and discharged the following morning. In your hospital room, you will be placed on a special monitor, called a telemetry monitor. Telemetry consists of a small box connected by wires to your chest with sticky electrode patches. The box displays your heart rhythm on several monitors in the nursing unit so that the nurses will can observe your heart rate and rhythm.

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    Can I drive myself home?

    No. For your safety, a responsible adult must drive you home. We request that your ride be ready to take you home by 10:00 a.m. on the morning of your discharge day from the hospital. f you live more than two hours from the hospital, we suggest that you stay in a nearby hotel overnight for your comfort. You can then have a family member drive you home after you have rested. During your ride home, please stop every hour and walk for 5 to 10 minutes.

    If you are flying home, you may want to order a wheelchair to take you to and from the plane. Once you are on the plane, stand up in the aisle and stretch your legs for a few minutes every hour. When you arrive home plan to take it easy for 24 hours. Avoid heavy lifting or strenuous physical activity for 48-72 hours

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    When can I shower?

    You can shower when you go home. However, do not take baths, including Jacuzzi baths. Avoid water temperature extremes. Do not swim for five days after the procedure. Keep the procedure site clean and dry.

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    When can I return to normal activities?

    Your doctor will tell you when you can resume normal activities, including driving. Usually this can be within 48 hours after the procedure.

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    What symptoms can I expect after the procedure?

    You may experience skipped heartbeats or short episodes of atrial fibrillation during the first two months after the procedure. These symptoms are common due to inflammation (swelling) of the heart tissue and are treated with medications. After your heart has healed, these abnormal heartbeats should subside.

    When these symptoms occur during your recovery, it is important to document them. Your doctors and nurses will provide you with instructions on how to document any symptoms using a telephone transmitter.

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    What symptoms should I report?

    PLEASE CALL THE ATRIAL FIBRILLATION & ARRHYTHMIA CENTER IF YOU HAVE:

    • A temperature of more than 101 degrees Fahrenheit or 38.4 degrees Celsius (a possible sign of infection)

    • Redness, swelling or drainage at the procedure site (call right away)

    • Atrial fibrillation symptoms (remember to send a heart-card recording when you have symptoms)

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    Will I need to take new medications?

    For at least three months after the procedure, you will need to continue taking an anticoagulant (blood thinning) medication to pre vent blood clots. You must continue to monitor your ProTime / INR as instructed by your nurse practitioner. Please schedule these tests with your local doctor’s office after your discharge from the hospital.

    You may also need to take an anti-arrhythmic medication to control abnormal heartbeats for two months after the procedure.

    You will receive the necessary prescriptions and medication instructions from your doctor. Also, ask your doctor if you are to continue taking your previous medications.

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