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I was recently diagnosed with WPW syndrome and I was told that I have an ablation. They told me that I have to on medications for the rest of my life. This is not option for me. I was considering surgery. I don’t know if it expensive but being on meds seems more expensive. I would like to know what the risks are and is it worth it?

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Yes there is risk as with any surgery, but I understand your concern for having the ablation. The bad news is that my husband was in 10% where the ablation failed. He had an open heart surgery, but his doctor just didn’t do it good job and It is frustrating for him, although surgery and ablation attempt has slowed his heart rate during the attacks down. Good thing is that they took him out of medicine. Well, he is live and living proof that you can live with WPW syndrome.
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I was diagnosed with WPW in 1994 while pregnant with my first child. I of course had to wait until after my child was born before they could do anything. Upon going to the dr. she gave me beta blockers. Beta blockers are normally supposed to make your heart rate go down or stay at a constant beat (basically anyway). The beta blockers only made my WPW worse. I went in for my first ablation in 1997. This attempt failed because of the location of my "extra pathways". I had to go to a teaching hospital that had experimental equipment where they did the ablation and I went home the same day. After the ablation I noticed skipped beats and different little fluctuations with my heart to which i chalked up to my being so "in tune" with my heart from the WPW. I don't regret the ablation and would get it again if I needed to. I do however now have another heart problem which my dr says is not related to the WPW, but I, of course, have my doubts. In 2005 on the way back from IL to SC my heart started skipping beats like crazy. I went to the hospital and was diagnosed with PVC's. These are a pain in the rear and according to my dr, they are stress related in my case. Well, I have 4 children and am a full time nursing student. There is NO way for me to be stress free so I am in turn just living with the PVC's. The dr gave me some meds that help, but I still worry that the PVC's are the beginning of the WPW again because this is how it started when I was 12 yrs old. Good luck to all and I hope this helps you make some sort of decision.
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towe wrote:


Yes there is risk as with any surgery, but I understand your concern for having the ablation. The bad news is that my husband was in 10% where the ablation failed. He had an open heart surgery, but his doctor just didn’t do it good job and It is frustrating for him, although surgery and ablation attempt has slowed his heart rate during the attacks down. Good thing is that they took him out of medicine. Well, he is live and living proof that you can live with WPW syndrome.

Hey there... i had an ablation for WPW under a week ago. im 16 and complain when i was very young abut rapid heartbeats, pain etc.. they checked on the ECG and yes found out i had WPW. Recently i decided i wanted it gone and now it is! no meds or anything, never had 2 take them. just simple day surgery, two tiny cuts in the groin area which didnt even require stitches! And will hopefully b back riding my horse wen it hits a week afta surgery.. np probs! i am experiencing sum mild chest pains which i shouldnt b but thats all getting checked out. just letting u no i think its worth it!! reguard Ella.

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Just an FYI for ablation canidates. Many years my doctor told me anxiety was increasing my heart rate. Panic attacks were the cause. About 10 years. Tests from cardiologists came out fine. Echo's were fine, stress tests were fine, the 8 million EKG's were fine. So I took everything they said would fix it, switching periodically. None of them helped much, some of the beta blockers slowed me down to where the attacks were less, but I still had days of pulling over in my car on the side of the road for an hour trying everything to break these 260-300+ BPM attacks. I'd loose motor function after a half hour or so, numbness, jaw pain, dizzy (Duh), and sometimes several times a day. It got worse and worse over the 10 year period, it was literally ruining my life. It scared people around me, and I couldnt do any physical excersize without trigering these things. Although I could never get one to go for the doc's. So eventually I switched to my 4th cardiologist. This was my first expeirence at Deborah heart and Lung Center here in NJ. THey strapped on a portable heart monitor, not the lousy 48 hour one that my WPW was dodging like the plaque, it was a little credit card on with a record button. I had it for a month or so recording as many as I could and sending them. I got a call to come in the next day. I was surprised the wanted me in so fast and it made me very very nervous. THe Doctor new exactly what it was, explained it and gave me the option of medications or Ablation. I had already tried the medication and had little success, besides it slowed me down so much I felt like a tart, so I agreed on the ablation. I was insanly nervous going in, but it went smoothly, they found several pathways, fried 'em test by jazzin me with some electricity while they temporarily brought me out of the anithesia and on to recovery. BEST MOVE OF MY LIFE!! But, follow docs orders, I was rough the first few days and you can't be, do exaclty as they say. I still get runs here and there but it is possible that I'm just more aware or it then most because of the expeirence with WPW, as you all probably experience. I have not had a single attack sinse. I still get nervous and anxiety sometimes that makes me think I am going to get one, but it never happens. That was my expeirence. Take from it what you will.
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I had WPW for 12 yrs misdiagnosed. Had the ablation and it was curative, ie my heart is now normal. I would highly recommend this operation (with a proven surgeon). I would hate the thought of having WPW again, and feel for those who have it.
My advice would be to find a good surgeon and have the op asap, you won't look back.
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Thanks for everyone's posts! They are very helpful. Now I feel better about surgery. I couldn't say that a month ago!

I was diagnosed with WPW at birth and have always had the "episodes" and thought I would just have to live with them...and that was fine with me assuming nothing else would be wrong with me. :-)

I am on the 2nd Cardiologist who also says I need to have it done. I would like one more opinion before the ablation. With 2 small children, I worry about surgery and being away from them, but it sounds like it's the best thing in the long run!
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i also have wpw. my case was severe i was born with it and was told if i didn't have the surgery i would have to be on medications for the rest of my life. so i had the surgery when i was 9 and it was successful and now i'm 20 and have no problems. so i would recommend having the surgery but do research and make sure you have one of the best doctors
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I experienced "episodes" for several years. ER doctors dismissed me by saying I was having anxiety attacks. Of course by the time they actually checked my heart the "episode" had stopped. It wasn't until I was in the hospital to have my first child (in 1994) that I was diagnosed with WPW. I have only experienced attacks during pregnancy or while on oral birth control. An attempt at an ablation was unsuccessful. I was told I shouldn't have any more children. My doctor suggests that my WPW appears during times of hormone changes. I now worry that my symptoms will reappear as I approach menopause. (Which could be years away) :-)

Has anyone else experienced attacks only during pregnancy or while taking birth control? Has anyone experienced increase in frequency during menopause? I appreciate your feedback.
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i am pregnant with my sceond child and am 23 i found out i had wpw when i was 18 during jaw surgery. During my first pregnancy i had episodes every 1 or 2 weeks. After i had my daughter i didn't have any episodes until i was pregnant again with this child. i'm 5 months now and the cardioligest said that during the epidodes your blood pressor can drop and put the baby at risk. He is sending me to a high risk doctor for my pregnancy and wants me to have the ablasion after i have the baby! But i basically only seem to have lots of episodes when i'm pregnant. Also with my first pregnancy they said i had low potassium and told me to eat a babanna every few days or a potatoe. and i find i've had less episodes with this pregnancy!
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hello, yes i have had attacks during pregnancey also! after having my second child i stared to get these attacks, i was told by many doctors that it was normal and was sent away. i finaly seen other doctor and was told i have pnd post natal deppression and was put on antideppressions. they helped me heaps but then in my 3rd pregnancey i stared to have these attacks again and started to lose my vision! then i got of my tablets and the attacks came back worse , i seen other doc who did a hotal monitior on me and was showing i have wpw, so of to a heart doctor and he said the same. i was booked in to get the operation and found out iam pregnant again with my 4th and this has made my wpw worse so if it gets any worse i have to go on meds and after the birth go and get the op done. i have been told by the doctors wpw is life threating and iam very nervous....
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I had my first ablation in 1988. It was experimental at the time and was only partially successful. I was a little better and had fewer attacks than before, but just thought I would have to live with it. I was told that pregnancy would be really risky, since your heart has to work at least 50% harder. However, I have 2 beautiful children. The pregnancies were very hard with WPW and I ended up in the ER often. In 2002, my doctor said that my condition was worsening again and that I should have another ablation. I was skeptical, because the first one didn't really work and was quite an ordeal where I was in the hospital for over a week. But, he assured me the process was better now and I trusted him. I had my 2nd ablation and was he ever right! I was only in the hospital for 24 hours and my WPW is completely gone! I feel like a new person, but the memories of what those first 35 years of my life were like are still very vivid. I would recommend the ablation. It could change your life!
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I too started having episodes during pregnancy. I haven't officially been diagnosed with WPW but they believe that's what it is. I see a cardiologist next month. I am looking forward to learning more about ablation because living like this is NOT fun.
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I had a heart ablation over a year ago. I started off a little tired. Now I have pain (it feels like acid is running under my skin) and must sleep 10 hours a day/night. My heart Dr. cleared me within weeks of the surgery and my regular Dr. told me today that I needed to see someone for stress. I am to tired to be stressed! Does anyone else have any symptoms such as these after they had the surgery? I was well up until my heart started beating rapidly and would not stop. I was in the ER for hours. I thought I would be well (it will be two years in April) by now. I seem to be getting worse.
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My first ablation was an emergency situation in 1999 at the age of 17. I did feel much relief for awhile and my energy was greatly increased, but by 2004 I was feeling the episodes again. The feeling of being tired all the time, out of breath, unable to exercise like a did before and all those traditional symptoms returned. I must say in between the ablations I was able to be a lifeguard and swim instructor with no problems, not to mention highly involved in many organizations at my university that made my life pretty stressful. During this time I had little to no symptoms.

A few months leading up to my second ablation the symptoms slowly increased and I decided to go back to my cardiologist for a check-up. He found that the pathway must have "repaired itself" and was able to make a connection again. This same situation happened to my aunt. He was able to go in and ablate the new location with good success, but it is not perfect. I still have rhythmic problems and heart pain, but it has been greatly reduced. I was told that since my pathway is just above my sinus node I most likely need a pacemaker at an early age in order to fully destroy the pathway. It is not uncommon for people to have a repeat ablation or to even have it multiple times. Your body is able to heal itself and if it thinks it should have that pathway...the bodies innate reaction is to rebuild it.

Find a cardiologist that understands the electrical system better. I go to a specialist in the arena...many deal with heart attacks on such a regular basis that this arena might be unusual for them.

Anyway, on a side note I am now pregnant with my first and last night I had what I think is an episode. I know that these episodes can cause low blood pressure and lack of blood to the growing fetus. I was planning on going to the cardiologist during the pregnancy for a check-up, but I think it might be sooner than later. Good luck with everything!
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