A Simple Explanation
A medical procedure performed to remove cells of the heart to stop abnormal heart rhythms.
What is Ablation?
Cardiac Ablation is a treatment that cauterizes or burns the cells to eradicate rhythm abnormalities of the heart. The Transcatheter Ablation or the Catheter Ablation approaches are used for this treatment.
In Catheter approach, radiofrequency is used to destroy the small area of the heart tissue that causes the abnormality. While in the Transcatheter approach, allow for therapeutic ablations.
When is Ablation performed?
When the patient heart beats at an irregular pace, quickly, slowly or unevenly, then it could be that the patient has Arrhythmia. There are different types of Arrhythmia; some are based on the rate, mechanism, duration and even the origin of the heartbeats.
The most common symptom would be awareness of the abnormal fast heartbeat, also called palpitations. These may be infrequent, frequent, or continuous, depending on which it could be either ‘skipping a beat’ or a ‘fluttering’ sensation.
Irregular heartbeat or arrhythmia, which occur occasionally, need not be fatal. As we grow older, the arrhythmia is common.
The people suffering from the following types Arrhythmia undergo Cardiac Ablation.
The Procedure is usually done in an electrophysiology laboratory. It usually takes between 3 to 6 hours, depending on the condition of the patient. The doctor will clean an area of skin either on the arm, neck or groin.
The specialist doctors, at the control station, will place the catheters into two large blood vessels, one in the neck entering through the top of the heart and the other in the groin entering through the bottom of the heart. This two-directional insertion of the catheters improves the doctor’s maneuverability. They stimulate an abnormal heart rhythm, diagnose and locate the source of your abnormal rhythm. They will then direct radiofrequency energy to the heart tissue to treat it.
A tiny hole that looks like a bug bite will remain, leaving no scar. The patient will be given instructions to be followed at home. Periodic ECGs will be conducted on the patient to monitor the heart rhythm. Some patients might experience short periods of irregular heartbeat even after the procedure. This is nothing to be afraid of, it is normal till the the tissue heals.
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