Afib Ablation Gone Wrong

Afib Ablation Gone Wrong

Posted in the Cardiology Forum

Dan Walter

West River, MD

#1 Mar 21, 2008
Here is a true story about an ablation procedure gone wrong at "America's Best Hospital"


Since: Apr 08

Westport, MA

#2 May 6, 2008
Dan Walter wrote:
Here is a true story about an ablation procedure gone wrong at "America's Best Hospital"
I realise this was posted quite a while ago, but I wanted to respond, anyways.
I didn't read the article, because it wouldn't come up for me.
Doctors and nurses aren't perfect. They are human. Mistakes are made... and they should definately be held accountable when they do. That being said, there are plenty of cardiac ablations done on a regular basis that go the way they are supposed to. I had cardiac ablation last April, because of a problem with the electrical pathways in my heart. My heartrate would, without warning, jump to 250bpm... it should only be about 60-80bpm. It happened at work once, and it wouldn't stop. Fortunately, I was working at a hospital at the time. My co-workers rushed me to the ER and they had to administer Adenosine... 2 doses via IV. Adenosine STOPS the heart completely and is supposed to act like a computer re-boot. The first dose didn't take therefore a second was given. It was one of the scariest experiences I've even been though. It was recommended I have the ablation done. Since I have, I get small episodes, but nothing like I had. My procedure went well, and I'm SO glad I did it.
Dan Walter

Shady Side, MD

#3 Jan 31, 2009
Just be glad you didn't go to Johns Hopkins.


Since: Apr 08

Ludlow, MA

#4 Jan 31, 2009
Dan Walter wrote:
Just be glad you didn't go to Johns Hopkins.
How many hundreds or thousand of times has Johns Hopkins done the procedure without incident?

Every hospital has it's horror stories. You name me a hospital anywhere and I'm sure I could find something that they've done wrong.

Like I said, I couldn't read the article. I know I'm lucky that I've never had a problem with medical care I've received. I have family members who have, though.

We'll have to agree to disagree on this, I'm afraid. They aren't a top-rated hospital for nothing. Generally, when hospitals are rated, there are numerous categories, like frequency of post-op infections, nursing care, ER wait times, general customer service, etc. With all the hospitals out there, being in the top 10 is not an easy task. I don't know where they are rated exactly, but I'm sure they are right up there.

Are you the person who had the ablation gone wrong?
Dan Walter

Shady Side, MD

#5 Feb 7, 2009
You can read the story by Googling "Adventures in Cardiology"

This is not about honest mistakes. This is about lying and betrayal of a patient's trust.

Edmond, OK

#6 Feb 10, 2009
How can one comment on something one has not even read??? Don't defend the hospital/doctors until you know what the author was talking about. It is appalling.

Rutland, MA

#7 Sep 5, 2012
For the first ten years I was in and out of the ER about every other week,sometimes more. Then around 2002 or so my cardiologist referred me to an EP to see what they thought. The EP told me that roughly 33% of ablations work the first time, 33% require second and third ablations and 33% fail to work - the patients a fib stays the same or worsens and sometimes becomes permanent. he also said he only recommends it in the worst case scenarios where your lifestyle has become severely impacted by a fib. My Cardiologist gave me great advice; he recommended holding off and let this new procedure develop and improve over several years. After hearing a lot of horror stories I am still holding off. that being said; I think everyone needs to explore all of their options before jumping into ablation as a quick fix. There are medications, supplements such as Magnesium/Calcium, there is avoidance of triggers such as alcohol, caffeine, MSG and Sudafed; there's lifestyle including: diet and exercise, Yoga, Meditation etc. I started Doctor Esselstyn's Forks Over Knives plant based diet which you can find info for on you tube for and after six months (actually much sooner than that) most of my worst symptoms seem to have disappeared. I used to not be able to sleep, afraid to exercise or take a walk, now I am training to become a Yoga and Tai Chi instructor and working out every day with no surgery. I've had a fib over twenty years and had several cardio versions done and since being on a plant based diet I haven't had any symptoms - at least none worth complaining about. So just because a procedure is out there doesn't mean it is the best thing for everyone. Every procedure, every surgery has it's possible complications just as medications have there side effects. So my advice is to do your research, ask patients who have had it done, interview doctors who perform the procedure; what are the risks, the percentage of successful to unsuccessful procedures etc. and explore all of your options.
Dan Walter

United States

#8 May 8, 2013
UPDATE: The blog "Adventures in Cardiology" -- about a botched ablation at Johns Hopkins -- has been turned into a book called "Collateral Damage: A patient, a new procedure and the learning curve," and the book is now required reading for some medical students:http://educatetheyoun lateral-damage/

This book has been called "A must read for anyone considering catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation."

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