Cardiac Ablation

This is done by placing catheters in the heart and either “burning” with radiofrequency energy or “freezing” with cryogenic therapy areas of the heart contributing to an abnormal heart rhythm.  It is often a procedure used in the following conditions:
  1. Atrial fibrillation: The main goal of this procedure is to electrically isolate the pulmonary veins from the heart.  This strategy is based on the observation in the early 1990s that much of atrial fibrillation is initiated by abnormal rapid beating of the veins returning blood from the lungs to the left atrium.  Electrical isolation of the veins is accomplished by burning circles around the veins in the left atrium with radiofrequency ablation or freezing the portion of the left atrium just outside the veins with a balloon cooled with liquid nitrogen.  Further ablation may also be necessary depending on the type of atrial fibrillation and other arrhythmias seen.
  2. Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT): An ablation for this arrhythmia is done to eliminate either a “short circuit” in the heart or a point source of an arrhythmia after defining it with an electrophysiology study (link to procedure).
  3. Ventricular tachycardia (VT) or premature ventricular beats (PVCs): Ablation for this arrhythmia is done to eliminate a point source of an arrhythmia or eliminate the electrical activity of parts of the heart that are scarred and can contribute to ventricular tachycardia.
Preparation prior to procedure:
  1. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight, other small sips of water with your medications, prior to the procedure unless instructed by your doctor.
  2. Depending on the type of ablation and tachycardia and your medical condition, you may be required to stay overnight or may be discharged the day of the procedure after being observed.
© 2015 Doctor Joshua Balog