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Catheter ablation, also known as cardiac ablation, is a hospital-based procedure we perform to treat arrhythmias if medication fails to control them. It is usually performed in conjunction with an electrophysiology study to identify and characterize the arrhythmia.
For the ablation, we use the same types of catheters as for an electrophysiology study, but in addition, we use a special catheter that delivers the actual energy with which we perform the ablation. Sophisticated computer software systems are used to reconstruct the shape of the cardiac chambers and create a map that helps us identify the origin of the arrhythmia where we perform the ablation.
We use different types of energy such as radiofrequency (localized heating) or cryoenergy (freezing) of tissue and create small and controlled scars. These scars destroy the short circuits or the group of cells that produce the arrhythmia.
Our team treats all types of simple and complex arrhythmias, and we are supported by an excellent group of nurses, anesthesia professionals, and technicians, as well as the most state-of-the-art technology in the field of arrhythmia mapping systems.
In a unique approach to complex ablations that you can find only at The Valley Hospital, we team up two electrophysiology attending physicians to perform your ablation. This unique approach has been proven many times to increase the safety and success rate of the procedure.
Conditions Treated with Ablation
Here are some of the types of arrhythmias that we treat with ablation:
- AV Nodal Reentrant Tachycardia (AVNRT): Arrhythmia due to a short circuit at the level of the AV node (connection between the atria and ventricles). We cauterize one limb of the circuit and cure the arrhythmia with a high success rate.
- AV Reentrant Tachycardia using an Accessory Pathway and Wolf Parkinson-White Syndrome: Up to 30% of patients might have an abnormal extra connection between their atrium and ventricle (accessory pathway). Most times this is silent, and patients don’t know they have it. In certain situations, a circuit between the atria and ventricles can be formed using this accessory pathway. We perform ablation of the accessory pathway with a high success rate in curing the arrhythmia.
- Atrial tachycardia: This condition is characterized by different short circuits in the atria or groups of cells that abnormally fire and provoke tachycardia. Using the mapping system, we can identify and successfully ablate this type of arrhythmia.
- Atrial flutter: This is caused by a circuit that forms around the tricuspid valve (the valve between the right atrium and right ventricle.) We create a line of scar tissue that interrupts the circuit, and this leads to a high success rate in curing the arrhythmia.
- Atrial fibrillation: Knowing that the impulses that initiate atrial fibrillation originate from the pulmonary veins, we use either radiofrequency or cryoballoon technology to create a scar around the entrance of the pulmonary veins. This scar tissue electrically isolates the veins from the heart, leading to pulmonary vein isolation, which has come to be regarded as one of the cornerstones of interventional treatment of atrial fibrillation.
- Premature ventricular contractions (PVCs): These occur when a group of cells fire electrical impulses in the ventricles independent of the normal rhythm. Using the mapping systems, we will be able to identify the origin of these PVCs and ablate them with high success rate.
- Ventricular tachycardia (V-tach): V-tach is a rapid, potentially life-threatening rhythm originating from impulses or short circuits in the ventricles. Ablation for this type of arrhythmia is complex and might require additional mapping on the surface of the heart. Our team is trained to expertly handle these types of arrhythmias.