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What is ablation?

Used to treat irregular heartbeats, cardiac ablation uses heat or cold energy to block abnormal electrical signals and restore a regular heartbeat. The scarring in the intended areas helps to prevent your heart from producing irregular heartbeats. A cardiologist or cardiac surgeon will thoroughly evaluate your heart condition before deciding which type of ablation procedure is best for you.

Conditions ablation treats

Types of ablation procedures

  • Catheter: This is the most common type of heart ablation. It is a minimally invasive procedure in which a cardiologist threads a catheter through a vein, typically in the groin, and guides it into your heart.
  • Surgical: Cardiac surgeons perform an open-heart ablation called a maze procedure while doing other heart surgery. If you need another heart surgery with ablation, this option would be recommended by your physician.
  • Hybrid: If you don’t need open-heart surgery, the surgeon can perform a mini maze procedure, making small incisions in the chest and inserting a catheter to treat the arrhythmia-causing signals.

Types of pulmonary embolism

  • Acute pulmonary embolism is the sudden onset of symptoms caused by a blood clot in the lungs.
  • Chronic pulmonary embolism, the least common type, is caused by residual blood clots left along the vessel walls in the lungs, even after previous treatments.
  • Subacute pulmonary embolism develops over the course of 2-12 weeks, has a higher mortality rate than other types, and is also more prone to becoming treatment-resistant.

Eligibility requirements for an ablation procedure

  • People who cannot undergo cardioversion, a procedure that uses electrical shocks to restore heart rhythm. One type of cardioversion uses a specific medication that some people are not able to take.
  • Professional athletes, or anyone who performs intense exercise, have an increased risk of developing AFib. However, AFib medication can affect performance, so ablation is the treatment option preferred by athletes.
  • People with heart disease, especially those at high risk for AFib complications like cardiac arrest, would be recommended to have this procedure by their physician.

Benefits of ablation

  • Restores normal heart rhythms
  • Reduce symptoms like shortness of breath, fatigue, or weakness
  • Typically removes the need for antiarrhythmic medication

Ablation risk factors

  • Arrhythmias
  • Blood clots
  • Damage to the vein from the sheath and catheter
  • Narrowing of the veins that carry blood between your lungs and heart
  • Exposure to radiation during catheter ablation
  • Infection or bleeding
  • Stroke or heart attack

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