Several weeks ago , because I had many palpitations and issues related with my heart (heart rate increases as much as 200 bpm without any reason), my doctor recommended to make an Electro Physiology study (also known as EP Study) and potentially remove abnormal electric path in my heart that can trigger additional unexpected heartbeats. The diagnostic was not really a big surprise: I experienced such issues since many years (it happened the first time in Italy 10 years ago) and there is a history of heart-related issues in my family and some of my relatives went for surgery years ago. But recently, it started to occurs quite often especially when being at rest. There was a choice to take: try to do something about it or let it as it is.
Being a runner, the first thing that came in mind and could potential refrain you to go for it is the possibility that the procedure fails and/or that you cannot continue to live as you did before. For sure, the probability of an issue is very unlikely, but you can’t help to think about it. After a few days and calls with the doctor, I made my mind and decided to go for it.
Details about the procedure can be found online but if you are planning to do it, plan to take a full day off. You have to be prepared (no food 12 hours before the procedure, only limited water, somebody has to drive you, etc.) and the preliminary operations take a lot of time as well. Once this is done, you cannot walk after the procedure, so, you need somebody to take you home and help you. So, again, if you go for it, plan ahead.
After the procedure, you need to recover. Not only because the heart needs to heal after the ablation but because the area where the catheters were introduced can start to bleed again. So, you have to reduce activity and movement for a couple of hours to avoid potential bleeding. Be prepared to lay down for a while, which means no running for three days and even no walking for 24 hours. For sure, you will be mainly concerned about the recovery and wanted to go out and at least walk to take some fresh air. On my side, I waited a day before starting walking to see if having a light activity will not hurt or stress the veins where the catheters were inserted and not trigger any big issue. On the third day, I did a short run and resume my training on the fifth day.
If you go for such a procedure, you will probably experience some discomfort a few days after the procedure within your heart (although not as intense as what you was used to). The doctor and his staff reported it as normal and would disappear after a few days. This is exactly what happened and eventually, after a few days (probably 10), past issues will belong to the past.
If you are an active person that experience abnormal heart activity (palpitations, unusual heart rate, …), your doctor might recommend such a procedure. If you are wondering if this is worth it and are worried about the potential success, I would recommend it, especially because the failure rate is very unlikely that if successful, it avoids many painful episodes. But keep in mind that such a decision has to be assessed and evaluated with your background and your objectives.
Note: I would like to thank Robert, a fellow friend runner, that helps me through the process and recommend me to the doctor that treated me. It would not have been the same with his help and support.