Get answers to your Arrhythmia questions.
Catheter ablation; Radiofrequency catheter ablation
Ablate means "to destroy." Cardiac ablation is a procedure that is used to destroy small areas in your heart that may be causing your heart rhythm problems.
During the procedure, small wires called electrodes are placed inside your heart to measure your heart's electrical activity. These electrodes may also be used to destroy the bad areas of your heart.
Cardiac ablation procedures are done in a hospital laboratory by specially trained staff. This includes cardiologists (heart doctors) trained in electrophysiology, technicians, and nurses. The setting is safe and controlled to make your risk as low as possible.
You will be given a mild sedative before the procedure to help you relax.
Once the catheter is in place, your doctor places small electrodes in different areas of your heart.
Catheter ablation is a long procedure that can last 4 or more hours During the procedure your heart will be monitored closely. A nurse or doctor may ask you if you are having symptoms at different times during the procedure. Symptoms you may feel are:
Cardiac ablation is used to treat certain heart rhythm problems that medicines are not controlling. These problems may be dangerous for you if they are not treated.
Common symptoms of heart rhythm problems may include:
Some heart rhythm problems are:
Calkins H, Brugada J, Packer DL, Cappato R, Chen SA, Crijns HJ, et al. (HRS/EHRA/ECAS expert consensus statement on catheter and surgical ablation of atrial fibrillation: recommendations for personnel, policy, procedures and follow-up. A report of the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) Task Force on catheter and surgical ablation of atrial fibrillation. Heart Rhythm. 2007:4(6): 816-61.
Miller JM, Zipes DP. Therapy for cardiac arrhythmias. In: Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 33.
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