Heart arrhythmia can be a stressful condition, but advanced, modern technology makes treating this problem relatively simple and minimally invasive. Radiofrequency ablation is one such option that may be recommended by your cardiologist. But before you undergo the treatment, here are some things you should learn about radiofrequency ablation.
What is Radiofrequency Ablation?
Radiofrequency ablation is a type of procedure that corrects heart rhythm abnormalities, or arrhythmias. Energy is delivered from the tip of a catheter which is inserted into the heart, resulting in disruption of abnormal electrical circuits.
What Can Radiofrequency Ablation Treat?
Radiofrequency ablation treats patients with irregular heartbeats called arrhythmias. Arrhythmias can lead to a variety of symptoms. These include fainting, weakness or fatigue, heart fluttering, or dizziness. Patients experiencing these symptoms should schedule an appointment with a doctor who can screen them for arrhythmias.
How Does Radiofrequency Ablation Work?
Radiofrequency ablation uses radiofrequency energy to destroy and remove areas of heart tissue that may be responsible for an irregular or rapid heartbeat. The procedure is performed under anesthesia or sedation. A small needle will be used to access a vein in the groin. Through this needle, a wire is placed and the needle is removed. A small sheath is then placed over this wire allowing for access where a catheter may be inserted.
Using an x-ray, this catheter is then guided into the heart and the location of the abnormal circuit is located. Once the area of interest is found, the catheter is then used to deliver radiofrequency energy to the abnormal heart cells, scarring or destroying them. This treatment typically takes about 2-4 hours to complete.
Recovering After Radiofrequency Ablation
Most patients experience only mild symptoms as they recover from radiofrequency ablation. It’s typical to feel some discomfort or aching in the chest as well as bruising where the catheter was inserted. Patients will likely need to rest for a few days before returning to work or their usual routine.
Schedule an Appointment
If you’re experiencing palpitations, irregular or rapid heartbeat, or any related symptoms such as shortness of breath or dizziness, you should schedule an appointment with a trusted, educated, and experienced physician. Dr. Beshai is an experienced electrophysiologist who can evaluate your symptoms and recommend the most effective treatment plan for you, including radiofrequency ablation if necessary.