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Cardiac ablation is used to treat many heart rhythm disturbances, including:

  • Atrial fibrillation (AFib)
  • Atrial flutter
  • Atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia (AVNRT)
  • Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome
  • Atrial tachycardia
  • Ventricular tachycardia

The procedure involves a Summa Health cardiothoracic surgeon placing a specialized catheter (a long, flexible plastic tube) containing a wire and electrode into a vein in the groin and is carefully threaded through blood vessels and into the heart. Once in the heart, it emits heat/cold to scar or destroy the tissue responsible for causing the abnormal heart rhythm.

Cardiac ablation can take from 3 to 6 hours, and is usually done in an electrophysiology lab or operating suite. You will be given medications to help you relax. In some complex cases, you may be put to sleep by anesthesiologist.

After the procedure, you’ll need to lie still for 4 to 6 hours to decrease the risk of bleeding. Some patients are discharged the same day as the ablation, while others may need to stay in the hospital for observation one or more nights. In the days following the procedure, you may experience mild symptoms such as an achy chest and discomfort or bruising in the area where the catheter was inserted. You might also notice skipped heartbeats or irregular heart rhythms. Most people can return to their normal activities within a few days.

Summa Health heart rhythm specialists (electrophysiologists) have extensive expertise in cardiac ablation and conduct the procedure using the most advanced technologies. To learn more about the procedure or for more information on Summa Health’s excellence in cardiac care, call for an appointment today.


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If your situation is an emergency, call 911.