Although coming to the hospital for a procedure can be frighteneing, knowing what to expect can help alleviate some anxiety:
- Approximately one week before your scheduled procedure you will come to the hospital for a Cardiac CT Scan. This gives us a detailed picture of the inside of your heart. You will also be scheduled for a TEE or transesophageal echocardiogram. On that same day you will meet with the Nurse Practitioner to go over your history and medications. When this is complete you will be sent to the Pre-Care department for blood work and pre-anesthesia evaluation if needed. You will be asked to stop your Coumadin and antiarrhythmic medication several days prior to your procedure. Our scheduler will give you specific details regarding when to stop your medications and what time to arrive for all of your appointments.
- On the day of your procedure you will be asked to arrive at the admitting office at 6:30AM. You will then proceed to the EP Lab/Cardiac Catheterization Lab. A nurse will help you get ready for the procedure and an anesthesiologist will put you to sleep. The procedure will take approximately 4-6 hours. When you wake up you will be in the PACU or post anesthesia recovery unit. Once you are fully awake your family will be invited back to see you and you will then be transferred to Three Anderson South which is our telemetry floor. You will wear a special “box” that monitors your heart rhythm at all times. Our specially trained cardiac care nurses will watch over you.
- The day after your procedure you may feel slightly “hung over” from the anesthesia. This is not uncommon and you should not be alarmed if you do feel this way. You can expect to spend 2-3 nights with us in the hospital after the procedure so that we can monitor your heart as we start an antiarrhythmic medication called Dofetilide (Tikosyn) or Sotalol (Betapace). If you are started on a different antiarrhythmic medication such as Flecainide, Rhythmol or Amiodarone you will be able to go home after one night in the hospital. Please bring comfortable clothing as you will be expected to walk the halls. In addition, you should bring books or magazines to occupy your time while you are with us. You will have a TV in your room but you may want to bring a laptop computer to watch movies. There is no internet service available. In addition, you will be asked not to use your cell phone while in the hospital.
- If you are not already taking Coumadin or Warfarin you can expect to go home with this medication to thin your blood. You will need to have your blood monitored closely when you are first starting this medication and when you go home as your blood can become too “thin” or possibly too “thick”. This is very important as we are giving you this medication to minimize your risk of stroke after the procedure. You can expect to be on this medication for at least 6 weeks and possibly up to 3 months after the procedure. You will also be prescribed Lovenox shots twice a day for 3 days while the Coumadin is being initiated.
- You will receive an appointment in the mail to see your Electrophysiology doctor in 6 weeks, 3 months and 6 months.