Catheter ablation is a safe and effective treatment strategy for atrial fibrillation and is the most common type of cardiac ablation procedure worldwide. In this latest article, Dr. Alireza Nazeri explains catheter ablation, how it treats atrial fibrillation while detailing the procedure.
Atrial fibrillation is a heart condition described by an irregular rhythm, which creates faulty electrical signals in the heart. The two upper chambers of the heart (known as the atria) beat irregularly, which send uncoordinated electrical signals to the lower chambers (known as the ventricles.)
Catheter ablation targets these faulty electrical signals using small burns or freezes, which are delivered to the heart to correct the faulty electrical signals that cause atrial fibrillation. Catheter ablation treats atrial fibrillation and helps the heart maintain its normal beating pattern.
What is the procedure?
During catheter ablation, your doctor will put thin hollow tubes known as catheters, into the blood vessels that lead to the heart chambers. Most commonly, doctors insert the catheters into the femoral vein, located in your groin. Once the catheters reach your heart, the catheters will burn or freeze a small area inside the heart. Radiofrequency is used to cause these small burns, while cryoablation is the technique, which causes small freezes. Burning or freezing causes scarring of the heart tissue. Scarring the heart prevents the spread of faulty electrical signals. Through this process, catheter ablation is able to treat atrial fibrillation.
The entire procedure can take about two to four hours to finish. Your doctor will conduct the procedure in an electrophysiology laboratory. Moreover, the Anesthetist will help you relax or fall asleep while closely monitoring all your vital signs.
Once the procedure is complete, you may need to remain in bed for two to six hours to prevent bleeding. Most people who undergo this procedure can go home on the same day.
Who needs catheter ablation?
The recommendation for Catheter ablation is for people who have a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation whose symptoms persist even with medications. Furthermore, it is strongly advisable for people who choose not to take medications to undergo catheter ablation instead.
Catheter ablation is a safe and effective way to control the symptoms of atrial fibrillation, such as palpitations and shortness of breath. Concerning the side effects of the medications, doctors now consider this procedure as a first-line alternative treatment for atrial fibrillation.
Who should I consult?
An expert cardiac electrophysiologist, also known as an EP doctor, can conduct catheter ablation and monitor you closely during and after the procedure. The EP doctor will also evaluate your risk for the complications of atrial fibrillation, such as stroke and heart failure. An EP doctor can prescribe medications and interventions to help you prevent these complications.
The EP doctor will also provide continuous monitoring of your condition to ensure that you are in optimal health condition. Consult your EP doctor now and receive treatment for atrial fibrillation!
Meet Expert Cardiac Electrophysiologist, Dr. Alireza Nazeri
So, If you have symptoms that suggest Afib, have a diagnosis of Afib, or have risk factors for developing Afib, you can schedule an appointment with Dr. Alireza Nazeri, a clinical cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of heart rhythm disorders (arrhythmias). Standard office and virtual consultations are available. Visit Dr. Nazeri’s office in Houston, TX by calling (713) 909-3166.