The doctors at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute have extensive experience with catheter based radiofrequency ablation, which is a procedure that uses heat energy to eliminate abnormal electrical pathways in the heart, and restore normal heart rhythms.
During an ablation procedure, a local anesthetic is used to numb the legs at the crease where the leg attaches to the pelvis. A small needle is placed into the vein of the right and left legs, and a series of small tubes are inserted into the veins. Wires are then passed through the tubes and guided to the heart using fluoroscopy (X-rays). Once the abnormal pathway or area causing the arrhythmia is found, electrical energy is applied to the pathway through the catheter to eliminate the arrhythmia. The procedure can be done either as an inpatient or outpatient service.
Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation
Catheter-based ablation techniques can be used in the treatment of atrial fibrillation. Rapid electrical impulse begin in the upper chambers of the heart. The goal of ablation procedures is to isolate these areas of rapid impulses. Years of previous research has shown that the areas most responsible for these impulses are areas around the pulmonary veins which drain blood from the lungs into the heart. By isolating these regions with radiofrequency ablation, episodes of atrial fibrillation can be stopped or significantly decreased.
Ablation for Ventricular Tachycardia
Radiofrequency ablation may be used to destroy any small abnormal area of the ventricles that is found by an ECG as the site where an abnormal rhythm originates. When radiofrequency energy is delivered to the target, it can decrease the frequency of abnormal heart rhythms. This can be successful for patients with a history of previous heart attacks and scarred areas of the heart. This is also used for patients with normal hearts who have these ventricular rhythm disturbances with high success rates.
Ablation for Supraventricular Tachycardia
Catheter ablation can be used to treat recurring episodes of supraventricular tachycardia. Catheter ablation focuses on burning abnormal electric impulses and can eliminate episodes of supraventricular tachycardia and the need for further medication. This is highly effective treatment for different forms of supraventricular tachycardia including atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia, Wolff Parkinson White syndrome, atrioventricular reentrant tachycardia, atrial tachycardia or atrial flutter.