Atrial fibrillation (Afib) ablation is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat atrial fibrillation. The goal of this procedure is to change the tissue in the heart that is responsible for causing AFib. AFib ablation is usually performed using a catheter (a thin, flexible tube) that is inserted through a vein in the leg and threaded to the heart. Once in place, the catheter delivers energy (heat or cold) to areas of the heart, which destroys the tissue and prevents it from sending abnormal electrical signals.

The most common benefit of AFib ablation is a significant reduction in AFib symptoms. In some cases, AFib may be cured completely. Other benefits of AFib ablation include reduced risk of stroke, improved quality of life and reduced need for medications. As with any medical procedure, there is a low risk of complications associated with AFib ablation. These risks include infection, bleeding, blood clots, damage to the heart or surrounding tissue, heart attack and stroke. 

If you are considering AFib ablation, your doctor will likely perform a number of tests to see if the procedure is right for you. These tests may include an electrocardiogram (EKG), echocardiogram, stress test and outpatient heart monitor. Your doctor will also review your medical history and medications.

You may be asked to stop certain medications for a period of time before the ablation. Be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking. 

AFib ablation can be performed as an outpatient procedure, which means you can go home the same day. In some cases, you may need to stay in the hospital overnight for observation. You will likely have some bruising and soreness where the catheter was inserted. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for the insertion site. You will also need to take it easy for a few days after the procedure. You should avoid strenuous activity and heavy lifting for at least a week.

It is important to follow up with your doctor after AFib ablation. You will need to have regular checkups to make sure the procedure was successful and that your heart is functioning normally. You may also need to take blood thinners for a period of time after the procedure to reduce your risk of stroke.

Most people who have AFib ablation experience a significant decrease in their symptoms. In some cases, AFib may be cured completely. If you are considering AFib ablation, be sure to discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. AFib ablation is a safe and effective procedure, but it is not right for everyone.

In general, AFib ablation is a treatment for atrial fibrillation, a heart condition. If you’re experiencing the symptoms of atrial fibrillation (AF), it’s important to seek medical attention right away. An AFib ablation may be the best treatment option for you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and find out if an AFib ablation is right for you.

Join the team at Virginia Arrhythmia Consultants as we recognize Atrial Fibrillation Awareness month during September! CLICK HERE