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Catheter Ablation (RFA)

Provided by Escorts Heart Institute
Brought to you by Healthbase

Catheter ablation has revolutionized the management of patients with certain heart rhythm disorders. Having evolved from arrhythmia surgery, catheter ablation was initially performed using high voltage direct current (DC); however, over the last decade, radio frequency current has supplanted DC as the energy source of choice and has made catheter ablation a first-line therapy for many rhythm disorders. It is an alternative to life-long drug therapy or surgery.

The procedure is done in a special room, called an electrophysiology (EP) lab, by doctors trained in the study and treatment of heart rhythms. Long, flexible wires, called catheters, are inserted into the veins of the leg, arm, and neck (and possibly into arteries in the leg) and positioned in the heart. Through these catheters, the doctor can record electrical signals that come from different parts of the heart. This is similar to an ECG, which records electrical activity from the body’s surface.

With, a special catheter, the area of the abnormality is located inside the heart. The catheter is placed at this area and, by delivering either electrical current or heat from radio frequency waves; the defective heart tissue is destroyed. This eliminates the source of the abnormal heart rhythm or extra pathways.

A catheter ablation can take several hours and does involve some risks. However, the doctor recommending this procedure believes these risks are small compared to the potential benefit for you. Your doctor will discuss this with you and answer any questions you have.


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