I’m Having Heart Surgery Next Week

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atrial fibrillation

Disclaimer: Before this post starts, I want to be clear that this post does not constitute medical advice, just my journey as I struggle with Atrial Fibrillation. I am not a cardiologist, so please consult with your physician about your health.

Next week, I am going to have my third cardiac ablation procedure. I had a similar procedure in the summers of 2015 and 2016.

I suffer from atrial fibrillation. A heart problem that causes my heart to beat out of rhythm on occasion. There are times that it does so for a few beats. There are times when it does this for twelve or so hours at a time.

Something Wasn’t Quite Right

The trouble started a few years ago when I was lying in bed and felt that something was not right. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I put it down to just having too much caffeine. I mentioned it to my physician, and he said that it would be worth going to a cardiologist, considering I had a history of an overly flexible valve diagnosed in 1991.

It turns out the heart murmur caused by the flexible value wasn’t the issue this time, though back then I was glad to get that diagnosed and vetted by doctors. The NCAA doctor flagged it during the beginning of my freshman year, and I was temporarily put on the “cannot practice list.” My parents were able to fax over the cardiologist report that essentially reported that it wasn’t a health risk as far as my participation in rowing was concerned, and I went back to training.

Atrial Fibrillation Diagnosis

Fast forward a couple of decades, and the next thing I know, I had been diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation and sleep apnea (which can lead to AF or at least exacerbate it), not to mention feeling tired all of the time (my experience). This diagnosis is not surprising for me because this type of thing runs in my family, and I have been an endurance athlete for most of my life. There is some research indicating a correlation between the incidence of atrial fibrillation and high-performance endurance athletes. (https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.115.020800). This journal suggested that incidence may increase from 2 to 7 times as much relative to non-endurance athletes.

The ablation procedure is complicated, so I found a video to help you visualize what the procedure involves.

I feel good about the upcoming surgery. I’m in good hands and think that this is a good move for me.

My doctor tells me that that he hopes that the operation will set my heart back ten years. So I will have the heart of a 35-year-old in the body of a 45-year-old. The technique that he is going to use along with the standard ablation procedure is to try to find the ganglionated plexi (little brains of the heart) and ablate them also. Here is a picture of that procedure. 😉

I am writing this on the Friday before the week I will have my operation. I am ready to go and glad I have finished the school year so that I can rest and be ready for this operation.

My clients all have enough training to get them through the next couple of weeks, so I am going to relax for a few days and rest up in preparation for next week.

As I am sure you can appreciate, I may not be posting for a while. Here are a few of my favorite posts from the past six months.

I would appreciate your prayers and support for me and my family next week and look forward to putting atrial fibrillation behind me once and for all. Thank you for your care and support!


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