Atrial Fibrillation Ablation
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a type of arrhythmia in which the electrical signals fire rapidly and chaotically. Some people with atrial fibrillation will return to normal rhythm without treatment. Sometimes surgery or a procedure called AF ablation (or catheter ablation) a nonsurgical procedure is used. It’s usually recommended for people with symptomatic arrhythmias that can’t be controlled by medication or with certain types of arrhythmia from the upper chambers of the heart.
During this procedure, a physician guides catheters into your heart with the help of ultrasound and special computer software to help create a 3 dimensional map of the heart. After the catheter has been placed, electrodes at the end of the catheter are used to stimulate the heart and locate the problem areas that are causing the abnormal heart rhythm. Then, the doctor will use mild radiofrequency heat energy to destroy or “ablate” the problem area. This area is usually quite small, about one-fifth of an inch. Once the tissue is destroyed, the abnormal electrical signals that created the arrhythmia can no longer be sent to the rest of the heart.
Catheter ablation can take anywhere from 1-3 hours. The procedure is usually done in an electrophysiology lab or operating room. Most people do not feel pain during the procedure. Recovery from catheter ablation is usually fairly straightforward. Depending on the type of arrhythmia being treated, catheter ablation can have a success rate of more than 90 percent.
Click here to learn more about the Florida Institute for Atrial Fibrillation.Previous Page Last Review Date: August 14, 2019