Ablation is a nonsurgical procedure used to correct arrhythmias. Ablation may also be referred to as catheter ablation, radiofrequency ablation, or cryoablation. Ablation targets small areas of tissue within the heart responsible for sending electrical signals that control heart rhythm. By destroying and scarring these small target areas, cardiologists can restore normal heart rhythms.
What does it involve?
In most cases, you will be sedated by intravenous medication but awake during ablation.
The cardiologist begins the ablation procedure by making a small hole in your groin with a needle, then inserting a thin, flexible guide wire. The cardiologist will insert a thin tube called a sheath catheter through your artery and into your heart. Next, thin wires called electrode catheters are threaded through the arteries. When the cardiologist has identified and targeted the areas producing the abnormal heart rhythm, they destroy cells in the area using either radiofrequency (heat energy), cryoablation (cold), or electrical cauterization. The ablation procedure takes two to four hours.
In some cases, ablation must be performed using open-heart surgery. This method dramatically increases the risks and recovery time for ablation.
After ablation, you will need to lie down in a recovery room and keep your leg straight for six to eight hours. You can resume work and normal activities after a few days.
The success rates for ablation depend largely upon which techniques are used and what type of arrhythmia is being treated. Ablation is generally considered an effective and low-risk procedure.
Rare but serious complications of ablation include bleeding, infection at the entry site, damage to the blood vessels or heart valves, puncture of the heart, blood clots, narrowing of the pulmonary veins, kidney damage, stroke, heart attack, or death.
Ablation may be unsuccessful at correcting arrhythmia.
For more details about this treatment, visit:
Cardiac ablation – Mayo Clinic
Cardiac Ablation Procedures – MedlinePlus
Ablation for Arrhythmias – American Heart Association
Catheter Ablation – Cleveland Clinic