All Medical Procedures

Cardiac ablation is a procedure that can correct heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias). Ablation usually uses long, flexible tubes (catheters) inserted through a vein in your groin and threaded to your heart to correct structural problems in your heart that cause an arrhythmia.

Cardiac ablation works by scarring or destroying tissue in your heart that triggers an abnormal heart rhythm. In some cases, ablation prevents abnormal electrical signals from traveling through your heart and, thus, stops the arrhythmia.

Cardiac ablation is sometimes done through open-heart surgery, but it's often done using catheters, making the procedure less invasive and shortening recovery times.

Cardiac catheterization (kath-uh-tur-ih-ZAY-shun) is a procedure used to diagnose and treat cardiovascular conditions. During cardiac catheterization, a long thin tube called a catheter is inserted in an artery or vein in your groin, neck or arm and threaded through your blood vessels to your heart. Using this catheter, doctors can then do diagnostic tests as part of a cardiac catheterization. Some heart disease treatments, such as coronary angioplasty, also are done using cardiac catheterization.

Usually, you'll be awake during cardiac catheterization, but given medications to help you relax. Recovery time for a cardiac catheterization is quick, and there's a low risk of complications.

Cardioversion is a medical procedure done to restore a normal heart rhythm for people who have certain types of abnormal heartbeats (arrhythmias).

Cardioversion is most often done by sending electric shocks to your heart through electrodes placed on your chest. Occasionally, your doctor may perform cardioversion using only medications to restore your heart's rhythm.

Cardioversion is usually a scheduled procedure that's performed in a hospital, and you should be able to go home the same day as your procedure. For most people, cardioversion quickly restores a normal heart rhythm.

A pacemaker is a small device, about the size of a half dollar piece, that's placed under the skin near your heart to help control your heartbeat. A pacemaker is implanted as part of what's often referred to as "cardiac resynchronization therapy."

People may need a pacemaker for a variety of reasons — mostly due to one of a group of conditions called arrhythmias, in which the heart's rhythm is abnormal.

Normal aging of the heart may disrupt your heart rate, making it beat too slowly. Heart muscle damage resulting from a heart attack is another common cause of disruptions of your heartbeat. Some medications can affect your heart rate as well. For some, genetic conditions cause an abnormal heart rate. Regardless of the underlying cause of an abnormal heart rate, a pacemaker may fix it.

A pacemaker can often be implanted in your chest with a minor surgery. You may need to take some precautions in your daily life after your pacemaker is installed.