An ablation procedure is a non-surgical technique that ablates or destroys abnormal tissue areas in the heart that is the source of abnormal rhythms. Ablation procedures are often performed in conjunction with an electrophysiology (EP) study.
During the procedure, once the exact area to be ablated is identified, an ablation catheter is placed near the problem tissue. Energy sent through this catheter ablates (destroys) the targeted tissue and eliminates the pathway of the abnormal rhythm.
The type of ablation performed depends upon the type of arrhythmia. For the vast majority of arrhythmias a single ablation procedure is usually enough to treat a heart rhythm problem.
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is an option for patients who:
- Have arrhythmias that cannot be controlled with medication or lifestyle changes;
- Do not wish to or cannot take anti-arrhythmia medications for a long period;
- Have atrial fibrillation and are at high-risk for stroke; or
- Have ventricular arrhythmias that put them at risk for sudden cardiac death.