“A typical case is someone who had pulmonary vein ablation shows up in the ER with three pulmonary veins completely blocked and the fourth one 90% blocked,” Calkins relates. “The patient gets emergency heart surgery and dies. Another person gets an A-Fib ablation, you get a call, the patient has been diagnosed with lung cancer, well it wasn’t lung cancer, it was an occluded pulmonary vein that appeared to be lung cancer, but the patient got a lung removed. There was this iatrogenic epidemic of pulmonary vein stenosis…” … and the complications kept on coming, each one unexpected, and each one unprecedented. There were four reported cases of “gastric hypomotility and pyloric spasm.”
The victims suffered terrible bloating of their stomach and vicious bouts vomiting because their stomachs had become permanently paralyzed. He wrote in 2006 about what was “perhaps the most feared and most lethal of the many complications,” the atrio-esophageal fistula. They probably call it The Widow Maker back in the doctor’s lounge. “Among patients who do not exsanguinate from upper gastrointestinal tract bleeding,” a surgeon writes, “presentation includes sepsis and embolic cerebrovascular disease.” That is to say that they’ve burned a hole through your heart into your esophagus and if you don’t drown in your own blood right then and there, you’ll die very soon in some equally grisly manner.
“Just another risk to put on the consent form,” said Hugh Calkins.