Ablation is a procedure used to treat abnormal heart rhythms, or arrhythmias. The type of arrhythmia and/or the presence of other heart disease will determine whether ablation can be performed surgically or non-surgically.
Non-surgical ablation, used for many types of arrhythmias, is performed in a special lab called the electrophysiology (EP) laboratory. During this non-surgical procedure a catheter is inserted into a specific area of the heart. A special machine directs energy through the catheter to small areas of the heart muscle that causes the abnormal heart rhythm. This energy “disconnects” the source of the abnormal rhythm from the rest of the heart. It can also be used to disconnect the electrical pathway between the upper chambers (atria) and the lower chambers (ventricles) of the heart.
Catheter Ablation of Supraventricular and Ventricular Arrhythmias
Some patients with heart rhythm irregularities (arrhythmias) may not respond adequately to treatment with medication, and for other arrhythmia patients, therapy with medications is not as safe or appropriate as more definitive treatment.
Catheter ablation is a procedure used to selectively eliminate the specific heart cells causing the arrhythmia. While many energy sources are being investigated to perform catheter ablation procedures, radiofrequency (RF) electrical energy is most commonly used today. RF energy consists of high frequency radio waves and has been used safely during surgical procedures for many years to cauterize (burn) tissue and prevent bleeding. When delivered by catheters that are positioned inside the heart, RF energy can selectively cauterize the heart cells responsible for an abnormal heart rhythm. Catheter ablation is designed to permanently cure your arrhythmia, or if that is not possible, to make them less frequent, slower, and better tolerated.
How Can Catheter Ablation Help You?
Your heart has its own natural electrical system which makes it beat. Changes in the heart’s electrical system can cause periodic episodes of an abnormal heart rhythm. When this occurs, the heart can beat very rapidly and cause symptoms of palpitations, lightheadedness or dizziness, shortness of breath, a feeling of fullness in the throat, chest pain/pressure, fatigue, or fainting.
Heart rhythm irregularities that originate in the upper heart chambers are referred to as supraventricular tachycardias or SVT. As a group these are the most common type of arrhythmias. These arrhythmias are generally considered benign and are not life threatening. There are five major types of rhythm disturbances that arise in the upper heart chambers:
- AV nodal reentrant tachycardia
- AV reentrant tachycardia
- Atrial tachycardia
- Atrial flutter
- Atrial fibrillation
Dr. Khoo will discuss with you the suspected mechanism of your SVT.
Heart rhythm irregularities can also originate in the lower pumping chambers of the heart or ventricles, the most common being ventricular tachycardia (VT). Ventricular arrhythmias tend to be more serious than supraventricular arrhythmias and are generally life threatening. VT most often arises from areas of scar tissue in the ventricle, which is the result of a heart attack. However, VT can also occur in a normal, healthy heart. Ablation can be used to treat VT in some instances.
We encourage you to ask as many questions as necessary until you are confident that you understand your heart condition, medications or procedures you may be considering.
In her practice as a top heart doctor in Albuquerque, Dr. Michelle Khoo wants you to be informed, comfortable and confident about your treatment plan.
Quality Healthcare is at the Heart of Everything We Do.
To schedule a consultation with Dr. Khoo call 1-505-248-1802 or click here to request an appointment online.
Khoo & Associates Cardiology and Wellness is a boutique Cardiovascular Health & Wellness practice that is focused on delivering outstanding, comprehensive and ethical cardiovascular care to patients in Albuquerque and the surrounding counties of Bernalillo, Sandoval, Torrance and Valencia in New Mexico.
Our experienced and dedicated team offers our patients the combined collective experience and knowledge necessary to ensure the highest level of patient care in two convenient office locations – Downtown Albuquerque and Rio Rancho.