What is cardiac ablation?

Cardiac ablation is a treatment performed under local anesthesia which consists of creating scars in small areas of the heart affected by heart rhythm disturbances. This procedure is to prevent abnormal electrical impulses from moving through the heart.

Why is it done?

Cardiac ablation surgery is performed to treat certain dysfunctions in the heart rhythm that cannot be treated with medications, such as:

  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Nodal re-entry atrioventricular tachycardia (AVRNT)
  • Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome

All these pathologies, if left untreated, can become dangerous.

What’s it about?

First, the skin of the arm, groin or neck is thoroughly cleaned and the area is desensitized with an anesthetic so that a small incision can be made through which a small flexible probe ( catheter ) will be introduced to reach the blood vessels in the area to be treated and to the heart. X-rays are used to guide the probe accurately. Once the catheter is positioned, small electrodes connected to a monitor are placed in different areas of the heart in order to identify the cause of the disorder. Subsequently, one of the catheter pathways is used to send impulses of electricity with the aim of causing small scarsthat will serve to contain the heart rhythm disorder. The process can take four or more hours. During the process the heart is under close monitoring and the doctor may ask the patient if he has symptoms such as dizziness, burning during the injection of the drug or faster or stronger than normal beat.

Preparation for cardiac ablation

In the days preceding the operation, you should inform your doctor about the medications you are taking and if you have a fever , flu, cold, herpes outbreaks or other conditions. On the day the ablation is to be performed, it is necessary not to eat and drink from midnight on the previous evening and to take the medications prescribed by the doctor with a small sip of water.

Post-intervention recovery

After cardiac ablation surgery it is necessary to stay in bed for at least an hour up to a maximum of 5-6 hours. Patient discharge may occur on the same day or the day after the procedure, depending on the situation. In any case it is advisable to go home with a companion. Over the next two or three days, symptoms such as chest pain, fatigue, or times when the beat is too fast or irregular may occur. These can be alleviated with medications prescribed by the attending specialist.

 

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