Running after and EP Study with Ablation

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.

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Running after and EP Study with Ablation

Taking Rest, going for surgery

Next days will be rest days. I am going for an EP study tomorrow to study where my heart conditions come from. Long story short, my heart pace can increase significantly anytime and go from 45 bpm (rest pace) to 200 bpm. It happened during runs, races but often occurred when at rest (e.g. while reading, sleeping, etc.). This is something that may happen to anybody and should be considered.

As the operation requires to catheters into the veins or arteries, it requires to rest for a couple of days and then, stops running of being active for a while. This is not something  you might enjoy but might definitively avoid any further discomfort. There is no clue this is worth it but, considering the risks, it might have great benefits.

heart-surgery

“Doctor, I need to pee!” – “OK, grab me something to eat on your way, this dude is a hard one!”
(picture under Creative Commons on flickr)

 

Why talking about it? Because many folks have similar symptoms and never took any actions. For sure, the procedure is scary: the medical staff put catheters into your body, reach your heart, the doctor increases your heart pace and have full control of the battery that keeps you alive. So, one can understand why so many dudes want to avoid it and postpone the procedure. On the other hand, palpitations, discomfort or heart issues can happen anytime, especially in moments when you do not expect them. For me, it would be when I am on the trails, far from any city and without any cell service. For somebody else, it can be while driving with the family or on a place during a lovely and romantic trip. In these situations, if any problem comes, this will not be possible to go to the emergency room.

For sure, there are many potential reasons you can die: a car might hit you when you cross the street tomorrow, a mosquito might bite you during your next trip in a foreign country or you can even be kidnapped and murdered during a trip in another country. But for these conditions, you do not have control. For your health, solutions exist, that is why taking action is just the way to go.

Also, taking rest might be a good idea to recover from my last trail runs and will let me come back to kick ass during the next months.

Taking Rest, going for surgery