Ablation Therapies


Ablation therapy is a minimally invasive technique used to ablate (destroy) small amounts of heart tissue that are causing the heart to beat abnormally fast.

What is it?

Ablation therapy is a procedure used to destroy abnormal tissues in different parts of the body. Specifically in the heart, this procedure is used to destroy tissue that is causing abnormally fast heartbeats. Someone with a small amount of abnormal tissue may benefit from this procedure rather than an open surgery.

What should I do to prepare?

Patients should refrain from eating or drinking from 6-8 hours before procedure and consult with the doctor to determine if it is appropriate to stop taking medications. Generally, medications are halted 1-5 days before the procedure.

What happens during the process?

Before the procedure, the patient is given a dose of sedatives and local anesthetics to relax the body and numb the skin at the incision site. A needle is inserted into the vein and a sheath is placed around it. Then, a catheter with dye is injected through the sheath to help make blood vessels more easily visible. Additionally, the catheter has electrodes that send electric impulses to the heart to monitor heart activity. The catheter can also have energy applied through it to destroy the tissue of interest. The energy used in the procedure may be derived from heat, extreme cold, laser, or chemicals.

What are the risks and potential complications?

There are some possible rare complications including bleeding at catheter insertion site, blood clot, damage to the artery where catheter is inserted, damage to heart valves, coronary artery damage, esophageal atrial fistula, fluid around the heart, heart attack, and vagal/phrenic nerve damage.


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