Sometimes, the electrical flow gets blocked or travels the same path repeatedly creating a “short-circuit” that interrupts normal heart rhythm or causes the heart to beat too fast. Occasionally medications can help, however, the most effective treatment is to destroy the short-circuit. This is a catheter ablation and is just one of the terms used to describe the non-surgical procedure.
The ablation is a catheter procedure that involved inserting catheters (small flexible wires) into a vessel in the groin and they are advanced into the heart. Electrical measurements are made and pinpoints the location causing the arrhythmia. Once the area is confirmed a very small amount of tissue is destroyed ending the electrical abnormality by the use of radiofrequency energy.
Catheter ablation is used to treat rapid heartbeats in the upper chambers of the heart known as SVT or supraventricular tachycardia. There are also arrhythmias that can be treated in the lower chamber of the heart called VT or ventricular tachycardia. The arrhythmias in the lower chambers of the heart can often be utilized with the implantation of a cardioverter device (ICD).
For many of the arrhythmias the success rate is 90-98% successful and eliminates the need for surgery or long-term medical therapy.