If you suffer from heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias) that cannot be effectively managed through medication, a procedure called cardiac ablation may be a viable therapy. Arrhythmias are caused when the heart muscle receives irregular electrical impulses causing the heart to beat irregularly or flutter. Cardiac ablation interferes with or destroys those tissue areas that trigger irregular impulses.
The non-surgical catheter ablation uses a procedure that involves inserting a catheter(s) into the heart scarring the problem tissue using extreme heat or cold. The procedure takes four to six hours and it is not uncommon for the patient to be released home after a short recovery time in the surgery center. Full recovery typically is achieved in three days.
Surgical versions of cardiac ablation are available when appropriate:
- Maze Procedure. Performed during open-heart surgery for valve replacement or bypass, this procedure involves the surgeon making small cuts in the heart and then stitching them together to create the “scarring.”
- Mini Maze. Most AFib patients do not need open heart surgery so a less invasive procedure is involved when the problem tissue is on the exterior of the heart. The surgeon makes small cuts between the ribs and uses a camera to guide a catheter and scar the tissue.
- Convergent Procedure. When the problem tissue is located on both the exterior and interior of the heart, this procedure pairs a catheter in the pulmonary vein with a surgical cut beneath the breast bone for a camera-guided ablation on the exterior.
Is Cardiac Ablation Right for You?
Cardiac ablation is typically not the first choice of treatment for arrhythmias. However, if medication is not effective, or the side effects of the medication are not tolerated well, or if you are at high risk for complications such as a heart attack, then your cardiologist may recommend a cardiac ablation.
At Heart and Rhythm Solutions we offer a broad range of coronary services including cardiac ablation. Located conveniently near Chandler Hospital we encourage you to call us to arrange a consultation with one of our talented cardiologists.