What is it?

Catheter ablation is a type of treatment for cardiac arrhythmias. The type of ablation performed depends upon the type of arrhythmia.

How does it work?

Ablation is an electrophysiology procedure and an invasive examination, similar to a heart catheterization, that is performed by introducing electrode catheters into the right side of the heart via a vein. The catheters are positioned in the heart and then used to measure and record the activating sequence of the cardiac circuit. A special machine delivers energy through the catheter to tiny areas of the heart muscle to stop the abnormal heart rhythm.

Reasons for ablation

Ablation is used to treat:

What to expect

The catheter ablation procedure is generally very safe and may last four to eight hours. It takes place in a special room called the EP (electrophysiology) lab in a hospital. The patient is awake during the procedure and may feel fatigue or chest discomfort during the first 48 hours after the procedure. Also the patient may experience skipped heartbeats or short episodes of atrial fibrillation after the procedure. After the heart has healed, these abnormal heartbeats should subside.

St. Luke's Heart & Vascular