Cardiac Ablation Procedures

Cardiac ablation is a procedure that is used to scar little areas in your heart that may be involved in your heart rhythm issues. This can avoid the irregular electrical signals or rhythms from moving through the heart. Different names of the procedure are Catheter ablation; Radiofrequency catheter ablation; Cryoablation.

During the procedure, little wires called electrodes are placed inside your heart to determine your heart’s electrical activity. When the source of the problem is found, the tissue causing the issue is damaged.

What Is an Ablation?

There are two methods for carrying out cardiac ablation:

  • Radiofrequency ablation uses heat energy to eliminate the issue area.
  • Cryoablation uses very cold temperature levels.

The type of procedure you have will depend upon what kind of unusual heart rhythm you have.

Cardiac ablation treatments are carried out in a health center laboratory by qualified staff. This consists of cardiologists (heart physicians), service technicians, and nurses. The setting is safe and managed so your risk is as low as possible.

You will be provided medicine (a sedative) prior to the procedure to assist you relax.

  1. The skin on your neck, arm, or groin will be cleaned up well and made numb with an anesthetic.
  2. Next, the doctor will make a little cut in the skin.
  3. A small, flexible tube (catheter) will be placed through this cut into among the capillary in the area. The doctor will use live x-ray images to carefully assist the catheter up into your heart.

As soon as the catheter is in place, your doctor will position small electrodes in various areas of your heart.

  • These electrodes are connected to monitors that enable the cardiologist to tell what area in your heart is causing issues with your heart rhythm. For the most parts, there are several specific areas.
  • Once the source of the issue has actually been discovered, one of the catheter lines is used to send out electrical (or often cold) energy to the issue area.
  • This produces a small scar that causes the heart rhythm problem to stop.
  • Catheter ablation is a long procedure. It can last 4 or more hours. During the procedure your heart will be kept track of carefully. A health care service provider may ask you if you are having symptoms at various times during the procedure.

Symptoms you might feel are:

  • A quick burning when medications are injected
  • A faster or more powerful heartbeat
  • Light-headedness
  • Burning when the electrical energy is used

PVC Ablation Procedure

Premature ventricular contractions (PVC) are a typical irregular heart beat (arrhythmias) even in patients without heart disease. Frequent PVCs are believed to happen in about 1-4% of the basic population. Many patients with PVCs complain about avoiding of their heart (palpitations), shortness of breath and feeling tired. In some patients PVCs may also result in weakening of the heart muscle (heart failure), which may be reversible with suppression of the PVCs.

A common way to obtain rid of PVCs is an ablation procedure during which a little area of heart muscle that produces the PVCs is cauterized, so that it can not cause PVCs. This has been carried out for many years and is a general safe and reliable procedure to remove PVCs. In the ablation, a catheter with an electrode at its idea is guided with moving X-rays (fluoroscopy) showed on a video screen to the exact site inside the heart where cells give off the electrical signals that stimulate the abnormal heart rhythm.

Radiofrequency energy (just like microwave heat) is sent from the catheter idea to the area. This destroys carefully chosen heart muscle cells in a really small area (about 1/5 of an inch) and can stop the area from creating the extra impulses that cause the extra heart beats. Additionally, some medications have the capability to reduce PVCs (antiarrhythmic medications). PVC ablation and antiarrhythmic medications have actually both been used to treat patients with PVC’s and a decreased heart function. The heart function is referred to as ejection fraction (measured by cardiac ultrasound (echocardiogram). In this study it will be needed the ejection portion will be less than less than or equal to 45% (with 55% or more being normal).

Why Cardiac Ablation Procedure is Performed

Cardiac ablation is used to treat certain heart rhythm problems that medicines are not managing. These issues may threaten if they are not treated.

Common symptoms of heart rhythm problems may consist of:

  • Chest pain
  • Fainting
  • Slow or quick heart beat (palpitations).
  • Light-headedness, lightheadedness.
  • Paleness.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Skipping beats – changes in the pattern of the pulse.
  • Sweating.

Some heart rhythm problems are:

  • AV nodal reentrant tachycardia (AVNRT).
  • Device path, such as Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome.
  • Atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter.
  • Ventricular tachycardia.


Catheter ablation is usually safe. Talk with your provider about these rare complications:

  • Bleeding or blood pooling where the catheter is placed.
  • Blood clot that goes to arteries in your leg, heart, or brain.
  • Damage to the artery where the catheter is inserted.
  • Damage to heart valves.
  • Damage to the coronary arteries (capillary that bring blood to your heart).
  • Esophageal atrial fistula (a connection that forms between your esophagus and part of your heart).
  • Fluid around the heart (cardiac tamponade).
  • Heart attack.
  • Vagal or phrenic nerve damage.

Prior to the Procedure

Constantly inform your company what drugs you are taking, even drugs or herbs you purchased without a prescription.

During the days before the procedure:

  • Ask your provider which drugs you should still take on the day of the surgery.
  • Tell your service provider if you are taking aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), prasugrel (Effient), ticagrelor (Brilinta), warfarin (Coumadin), or another blood thinner.
  • If you smoke, stop before the procedure. Ask your provider for help if you need it. Anyway we recommend to quit smocking at all.
  • Tell your provider if you have a cold, influenza, fever, herpes breakout, or other health problem.

On the day of the procedure:

  • You will usually be asked not to drink or eat anything after midnight the night prior to your procedure.
  • Take the drugs your provider has actually told you to take with a small sip of water.
  • You will be informed when to arrive at the health center.

After the Procedure

Pressure to reduce bleeding is put on the area where the catheters were placed into your body. You will be kept in bed for a minimum of 1 hour. You might need to remain in bed for up to 5 or 6 hours. Your heart rhythm will be checked during this time.

Your doctor will choose whether you can go home on the same day, or if you will have to stay in the healthcare facility over night for continued heart tracking. You will require someone to own you home after your procedure.

For 2 or 3 days after your procedure, you might have these symptoms:

  • Fatigue.
  • Achy feeling in your chest.
  • Skipped heartbeats, or times when your heart beat is extremely fast or irregular.

Your doctor might keep you on your medicines, or give you new ones that assist control your heart rhythm.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Success rates are different depending upon what kind of heart rhythm problem is being treated.

Last modified: January 28, 2017


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