Heart Ablation Procedures
The rhythm problems of the heart are often caused by abnormal electrical activity inside the heart. During an ablation procedure the spots that generate the abnormal electrical activity can be inactivated. This is done by either by heating the tissue with radiofrequency ablation or cooling it excessively using cryoablation. This procedure is performed with catheters placed through the groin. A typical procedure lasts 2-3 hours and is done under general anesthesia. The patient is a usually discharged within 24 hours. Recovery from the procedure is quick and oftentimes people are able to resume their normal routine within 2-3 days.
More About Cryoablation
If you have atrial fibrillation, we can perform cryoablation to restore normal heart rhythm by disabling heart cells that create an irregular heartbeat. During this minimally invasive procedure, a thin flexible tube called a balloon catheter is used to locate and freeze the heart tissue that triggers an irregular heartbeat.
We have found that using cold, rather than heat, to disable damaged tissue reduces the chances of impacting healthy heart tissue and surrounding structures. Recent studies have found cryoablation to be significantly more effective than medication, and patients generally experience less pain than with radiofrequency ablation.
How is Cryoablation Performed?
A balloon catheter is inserted into a blood vessel, which threads though the blood vessel until it reaches the heart. This tube is attached to an inflatable balloon. Once the balloon is in proper position an extremely cold gas flows through the catheter to cool and destroy this small amount of tissue and restore a healthy heart rhythm.
What Is the Difference Between Heat-Based Ablation and Cryoablation?
These procedures produce similar results by either heating or cooling small amounts of tissue in the heart. Based on your specific circumstances we could recommend one of these procedures.
How Safe and Successful Is Cryoablation for Atrial Fibrillation?
The success rate of the procedure is generally very good, and depends on many factors, such as the duration of the condition, the presence of valve disease or coronary artery disease, the type of atrial fibrillation (paroxysmal or persistent) and the size of the atria.
However, like any other medical procedure, rare complications can occur. These complications include perforation of the heart, stroke, heart attack, narrowing of the pulmonary veins and bleeding at the entry site in the leg. We will discuss all of these topics with you during your pre-procedure office visit.