Catheter ablation is a procedure used to treat some arrhythmias. An arrhythmia is a problem with the speed or rhythm of the heartbeat. A catheter ablation is performed by an electrophysiologist in a EP lab at a hospital.
During catheter ablation, a long, thin, flexible tube is put into a blood vessel in your arm, groin, or neck. This tube is called an ablation catheter. It’s then guided to your heart through the blood vessel. A special machine sends energy through the catheter to your heart. This energy finds and destroys small areas of heart tissue where abnormal heartbeats may cause an arrhythmia to start. Various types of energy are utilized to ablate/burn heart tissue. The procedure can take form 3-6 hours.
Other Names for Catheter Ablation:
Cardiac catheter ablation
RF ablation/Radiofrequency Ablation
Who Needs Catheter Ablation?
Your cardiologist may recommend catheter ablation if:
- You have an arrhythmia that medicine can’t control.
- You can’t tolerate the medicines your doctor has prescribed for your arrhythmia.
- You have certain types of arrhythmia, such as Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome or some forms of atrial fibrillation.
- You have abnormal electrical activity in your heart that raises your risk for ventricular fibrillation and sudden cardiac arrest.
Catheter ablation alone doesn’t always restore a normal heart rate and rhythm. Other treatments may need to be used as well. Also, some people who have the procedure may need to have it repeated again. This can happen when the first procedure doesn’t fully correct the problem.