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If you have an arrhythmia that does not respond to medication, your doctor may recommend cardiac ablation — which is also called radiofrequency ablation or catheter ablation.
Cardiac ablation is a catheter-based procedure used to destroy the section of heart tissue triggering the abnormal heart rhythms, helping to prevent abnormal electrical signals from traveling to the rest of the heart.
Our Approach to Treating Arrhythmia Using Cardiac Ablation
Our interventional cardiologists at Houston Methodist are experts in the various catheter-based procedures used to treat heart and vascular conditions, including cardiac ablation to treat arrhythmia.
If your arrhythmia is not responding to medications, your cardiologist will work closely with our interventional cardiologists to determine if cardiac ablation is an option to effectively treat your condition.
How Cardiac Ablation Is Performed
Cardiac ablation is performed in a special operating room called a cardiac catheterization laboratory, or cath lab.
After receiving sedatives and local anesthetic, a small incision is made in your arm and groin and a sheath is inserted. Several catheters are then inserted into this sheath.
Guided by an imaging method called fluoroscopy, these catheters are navigated to your heart through a blood vessel. The tip of some of these catheters contain electrodes, which are used to help identify the section of your heart in which the abnormal electrical signals are originating.
Once this section is identified, a special machine delivers radiofrequency energy (heat) through a catheter, creating a scar line. This scar line creates a barrier between the tissue causing the arrhythmia and healthy heart tissue — preventing the abnormal electrical signals from traveling to the rest of the heart.