Heart ablation, or cardiac ablation, is a surgical procedure that is used to correct abnormal heart rhythms. Catheter tubes are used to correct structural heart problems that prevent normal heart rhythms. Malfunctioning heart tissue is scarred or destroyed.
According to the Mayo Clinic, heart ablation may be used in patients whose heart rhythms have not been successfully corrected with medication and in patients who have a high risk of cardiac arrest.
Heart ablation patients may experience bleeding at the catheter insertion site, damage to blood vessels that were scraped by the catheter and heart puncture.
Patients may not eat or drink for 12 hours before a heart ablation procedure. Doctors may advise patients to stop taking some of their medications before the procedure.
A catheter is inserted into a vein in the groin, neck or forearm and moved through a patient’s blood vessels to the area of the heart that is causing a malfunctioning heart rhythm, or arrhythmia. The catheter will use energy to scar and destroy unhealthy heart tissue in order to restore a proper heart rhythm.
Patients may be advised to make lifestyle adjustments after a heart ablation such as avoiding caffeine, reducing salt intake and increasing physical activity in order to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of future heart arrhythmias.