Originally Posted by HoustonFrog
As I've explained on here before I had ablation for my a-fib and didn't find it "minor" at all. This was a guy who was a top doc in this field in Houston. At the time they were switching from doing it more from hand to a robot arm like device that is allegedly making it more precise. They pierced my heart and almost killed me. Had to rush me to get opened up and stitch my heart before I bled out. From all I was told it was touch and go. Not only that but the ablation didn't work. Many people have to go back for follow ups. I was a great candidate..young, rarely went out of rhythm, only taking rhythm meds when it went out of rhythm...pill in pocket. They tried to blame some of it on me moving..they didn't put me all the way under. Another doc I went to after this said he would never do that. So I'm sure he is getting as many opinions as possible. I'd never call it minor though.
We've talked about your perforation in the past. It is a scarey and terrible thing to go through and can definitely be life-threatening. That is why it is prudent to only do it in a hospital setting, where in the unlikely event that the chest must be quickly opened, it can be done so to save the patient's life. It is a real potential complication seen with ablation. I don't know if it was an "excuse" or not. However, any patient movement during the procedure and the catheter tip can easily be displaced to burn the wrong area or to burn too deeply (through the heart wall-perforation). That is why general anesthesia is specifically recommended for atrial fibrillation, where the heart is already itself moving in irregular and unpredictable fashion, without patient movement. The complication rate for ablation seems to be consistently somewhat higher for atrial fibrillation than for other arrhythmias.
I'd be curious concerning how many robotic ablation procedures your cardiologist or surgeon had performed before yours, as there is a steep "learning curve" to the use of the robot. Some surgeons have a great reputation with traditional tactile surgery, but have a difficult time transitioning that expertise to the robot, especially near the beginning.
Ablation, no doubt, carries significant risks although in small number of cases. However, as you have found out, you might not care that the risk is 1 in 1000....if you are that one. That is why the procedure must be justified by significant supportive indications.