Catheter Ablation is a nonsurgical procedure performed to treat abnormal rhythms of the heart, called arrhythmias. Special cells in your heart create electrical signals that travel along pathways to the chambers of your heart. These signals make the heart’s upper and lower chambers beat in the proper sequence. Abnormal cells may create disorganized electrical signals that cause irregular or rapid heartbeats. When this happens, your heart may not pump blood effectively and you may feel faint, short of breath and weak. You may also feel your heart pounding.
Medicines to treat rapid and irregular heartbeats work very well for most people. But they don’t work for everyone, and they may cause side effects in some people. In these cases, doctors may suggest catheter ablation. The procedure is used most often to treat a condition called supraventricular tachycardia, or SVT, which occurs because of abnormal conduction fibers in the heart. Catheter ablation is also used to help control other heart rhythm problems such as atrial flutter and atrial fibrillation. Catheter ablation destroys the abnormal tissue without damaging the rest of the heart.
Catheter ablation has a success rate of over 90 percent, a low risk of complications and the patient can resume normal activities in a few days. It causes little or no discomfort and can be done under mild sedation with local anesthesia or with general anesthesia. For these reasons, it’s now widely used and is the preferred treatment for many types of rapid heartbeats.Previous Page Last Review Date: January 5, 2018