To ablate means "to destroy." Cardiac ablation is a procedure for
destroying areas in the heart that may be causing heart rhythm
problems. During the procedure, small wires called electrodes are
placed inside the heart to measure electrical activity. These
electrodes can also be used to destroy the bad areas of the
Cardiac ablation is used to treat certain heart rhythm problems
that medicines are not controlling.
Cardiac ablation procedures are done in a hospital laboratory by
a specially trained staff. The procedure involves making an
incision on the neck, arm or groin and inserting a catheter (a
small flexible tube) into a blood vessel in the area. Live x-ray
images are used to carefully guide the catheter into the heart.
Once the catheter is in place, several flexible tubes that
contain electrodes are guided through it. These are placed in
small blood vessels in the heart. They are connected to monitors
that tell what area in the heart muscle is causing problems with
One of the catheter lines sends electrical energy to the problem
area to create a scar. The scarring causes the heart-rhythm
problem to stop.
Catheter ablation can last four or more hours. During the
procedure, the heart is monitored carefully.
Catheter ablation is generally safe. Talk with your doctor about
these rare complications:
After the Procedure:
The physician will decide whether the patient can go home on the
same day or needs to stay in the hospital overnight to continue
heart monitoring. For two or three days after the procedure, the
patient may feel tired and achy or may notice skipped heartbeats
or times when the heartbeat is very fast or irregular.
Texas Health is committed to providing quality care to heart
and vascular patients throughout North Texas and beyond. While
various technologies and services are discussed here, not all of
our hospitals offer every treatment and diagnostic technology
highlighted. Call 1-877-THR-WELL to learn more about heart and
vascular services at a Texas Health hospital near you.