Cardiac ablation

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.

Why it's done Risks How you prepare What you can expect Results

When your heart beats, the electrical impulses that cause it to contract must follow a precise pathway through your heart. Any interruption in these impulses can cause an abnormal heartbeat (arrhythmia), which can sometimes be treated with cardiac ablation.

Ablation isn't usually your first treatment option. Ablation is a treatment option for people who:

  • Have tried medications to treat an arrhythmia without success
  • Have had serious side effects from medications to treat arrhythmias
  • Have certain types of arrhythmias that respond well to ablation, such as Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome
  • Have a high risk of complications from their arrhythmias, such as sudden cardiac arrest

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