What is cardiac ablation?
Cardiac ablation is a procedure that the team at South Shore Cardiovascular Associates uses to correct irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias). This treatment works by preventing abnormal electrical signals from entering your heart or by scarring tissue that triggers or sustains an irregular heartbeat.
During a cardiac ablation procedure, your provider at South Shore Cardiovascular Associates inserts a long, thin tube (a catheter) into a blood vessel in your thigh. They extend the catheter to your heart and use it to deliver targeted radiofrequency (RF) energy.
The RF heats the abnormal heart tissue that is causing your arrhythmia. In some cases, they may perform cardiac ablation during open heart surgery.
Why would I need cardiac ablation?
The team at South Shore Cardiovascular Associates may recommend cardiac ablation if you have an arrhythmia that doesn't improve with other treatments, like medication.
Abnormal cells in your heart may generate chaotic electrical signals that cause your heart to beat irregularly. Cardiac ablation may correct your arrhythmia by destroying these abnormal cells.
Cardiac ablation is a common treatment for various types of arrhythmia, including:
- Supraventricular tachycardia
- Atrial fibrillation
- Atrial flutter
Using a catheter and RF energy, cardiac ablation targets the abnormal tissue without damaging the rest of your heart.
What should I expect from a cardiac ablation procedure?
First, your provider at South Shore Cardiovascular Associates performs a physical exam and reviews your symptoms and medical history to make sure cardiac ablation is right for you.
Then, they tell you how to prepare for the procedure. You may need to avoid eating or drinking anything for 6-8 hours prior.
You stay awake during cardiac ablation, but you may receive a sedative to help you relax and a local anesthetic to numb the puncture site. Your doctor inserts a long, thin catheter into a blood vessel in your groin. They move the catheter all the way up the blood vessel to your heart.
The catheter delivers mild, painless RF energy to treat the abnormal tissue. You may feel some pressure when your doctor inserts the catheter into your groin, but this procedure isn't painful.
Depending on your needs, cardiac ablation may take 2-4 hours. After your procedure, you may be allowed to go home, or you may need to stay overnight in the hospital.
To learn more about cardiac ablation, call South Shore Cardiovascular Associates or book an appointment online today.