The average heartbeat of a person per minute typically ranges between 60-100 beats. But there are instances when our heart beats faster than the normal range — such as after exercising, which can be normal.  But occasionally a very fast heart rate is caused by a heart arrhythmia, which is a condition wherein the electrical signals to the heart responsible for the heartbeat are working improperly. People with heart arrhythmias may experience fluttering of the heart or a racing heart. This condition can be managed by various treatments, including a procedure called cardiac ablation. 

Cardiac ablation, or catheter ablation, is a medical procedure that helps correct heart rhythm problems. The procedure is done through identifying and destroying abnormal electrical impulses in the heart that trigger or sustain an abnormal heart rhythm.  In this way, we can stop the arrhythmia. Cardiac ablation is done by guiding small catheters into the heart of the patient usually via small punctures in the groin.

Who can benefit Cardiac Ablation?

Cardiac ablation can often be the first treatment option for heart arrhythmias.

This medical procedure will benefit people who have:

  • Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) is caused by a short circuit in the heart and is characterized by abnormally fast heartbeat.
  • Atrial fibrillation or irregular and fast beating of the heart starting in the two upper chambers
  • Ventricular tachycardia which is a dangerously fast heartbeat starting from the two lower chambers
  • Tried medications in treating arrhythmia but are not successful
  • Started feeling the adverse effects of taking arrhythmia medications

What to expect during Cardiac Ablation procedure?

Before the procedure, your doctor will require a series of tests to evaluate the condition of the heart and your overall condition for cardiac ablation. Your doctor will also explain further the purpose of getting cardiac ablation, its benefits, as well as the risks. During this time, you need to inform your physician if you are taking other medications and your medical history.

During the procedure, you will be under sedation. Then the doctor will start to insert a needle with a tube or sheath into the vein. Cardiac ablation may take 1-4 hours; you can either go home on the same day or stay longer for recovery depending on how your body reacts to the procedure. 

What happens after Cardiac Ablation procedure?

It is normal to feel sore after the procedure, but it will eventually go away after a week and you can return to your usual daily activities. While the success rate of cardiac ablation is relatively high, there are still instances when patients are required to repeat the procedure. In order to prevent this from happening, it is important to keep your heart healthy.  It will be important to continue medications as recommended by your doctor.  It will also be important to make sure your blood pressure and blood sugars are under good control. Refrain from doing activities and consuming foods that may harm your heart. You may need to:

  • Cut down your salt
  • Be proactive
  • Quit smoking and drinking alcohol
  • Focus on a heart-friendly diet
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Reduce stress and negative emotions

For more information on Cardiac Ablation, contact us at Virginia Arrhythmia Consultants – 804-410-9749.