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Heart Ablation

Banner Health provides safe and innovative heart ablation procedure services to help get your heart back on track. Our cardiac experts are here to provide comprehensive care for you and your loved ones during your journey to a healthier heart.

What is a Heart Ablation?

Heart ablation, also known as cardiac ablation, is a procedure done to fix heart rhythm disorders and arrhythmias. This procedure scars the tissue that causes abnormal heart rhythms, allowing your heart to beat regularly.

Why is Heart Ablation Done

Heart ablation is used to fix interruptions and irregularities in your heartbeat. These heart rhythm disorders may include:

  • Atrial fibrillation (Afib): This is the most common heart arrhythmia. Afib occurs when the heart beats rapidly in the upper chambers of the heart.
  • Bradycardia: This rhythm disorder occurs when the heart beats at less than 55 times per minute.
  • Ventricular Tachycardia: This irregular heartbeat is rapid and begins in the ventricles of the heart.

Types of Cardiac Ablation

While there are two approaches to performing cardiac ablation (surgical Maze technique or catheter ablation procedure), there are different types of heart ablation techniques. Depending on your arrhythmia condition your doctor may recommend radiofrequency or heat, and Cryo or cold, including:

  • Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT) Ablation: This type of ablation uses hot or cold energy to destroy the tissue causing abnormal heart rhythms.
  • Atrial Flutter Ablation: If you have a fluttering heartbeat, this type of ablation may be best for you as it creates scar tissue to stop the arrhythmia.
  • Ventricular Tachycardia Ablation: This type of ablation is meant for hearts that are beating rapidly and inconsistently. This ablation will help stop the signals from creating abnormal heartbeats.

Pulsed Field Ablation

A pulsed field ablation (PFA) uses a catheter device to treat intermittent atrial fibrillation (an irregularly fast heart rate). This device uses electrical fields during an ablation procedure to treat certain tissue areas in the heart that can cause potentially life-threatening arrhythmia. 

Unlike a typical ablation procedure where extreme temperatures (both hot and cold) are used to destroy tissue, the PFA treats only specifically targeted areas of the heart without the extreme temperatures. Use of this device can significantly reduce the risk of complications related to ablation. Its use may also allow for easier and quicker procedure times.

Stereotaxis Genesis System

With more complex heart rhythm ablation procedures, a tool called the Stereotaxis Genesis system may be used to guide a small catheter into the heart to fix heart rhythm abnormalities such as atrial fibrillation. This highly specialized system enables physicians to target very precise areas in the heart using magnets and robotic guidance improving precision and safety. 

Risks Associated with Ablation

While this is a safe and minimally invasive procedure, it’s important to be aware of heart ablation risks, which may include:

  • Bruising or bleeding after the procedure where catheter was placed
  • Blood clots
  • Heart attack or stroke
  • Narrowing of veins to heart may occur

Your doctor will discuss risks and answer any of your questions prior to your procedure.

What Happens During Ablation

Your doctor will ensure you are comfortable throughout your procedure. Depending on the type of ablation, your doctor may administer sedation or anesthesia.

Your doctor will place a catheter through your groin to begin the procedure. During this time, your doctor will replicate the heart arrhythmia and ensure any abnormal tissues causing the rhythm disorder can be destroyed. This replication and study is called an electrophysiology study and is usually done prior to cardiac ablation.

If you experience any pain or discomfort during this time, it’s important to let your doctor know.

Banner Health uses cutting-edge technology to complete your procedure efficiently and safely. Patients may be finished in as little as one hour.

What Happens After Heart Ablation

Since heart ablation is an outpatient procedure, you will be moved to a room to be monitored during your recovery time. Your doctor will also use this time to discuss any dos and don’ts, as well as results from the ablation.

Banner Health collaborates with the advanced heart failure program to support your care from multiple-perspectives where necessary. Home monitoring is also available to patients to ensure they are continuing on their recovery journey and receiving the care they need.

Revisional Heart Ablation Procedure

Banner Health cardiac experts provide comprehensive care to patients that may have had failed ablations. If you are experiencing heart arrhythmias or complications following an ablation, the expert team at Banner Health can provide revisional care.

Our heart specialists are here to support you and your loved ones throughout your cardiac ablation journey so you can get back to living your life safely and comfortably. Talk to your doctor to learn more about your heart ablation options.