A radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive heart ablation surgery performed to correct abnormal heart rhythms known as arrhythmias. There are several types of cardiac arrhythmias that can be treated with a radiofrequency ablation:
- Idiopathic ventricular tachycardia
- Ventricular tachycardia associated with cardiomyopathy
- Premature ventricular contractions (PVCs)
A radiofrequency ablation (or cardiac ablation) is performed simultaneously with an electrophysiology study. Small catheters are inserted through blood vessels in the upper legs and connected to the heart. These catheters help physicians evaluate and characterize the heart’s electrical activity.
If an abnormal electrical circuit causing an arrhythmia is identified, physicians can cauterize it (ablation) through a specialized catheter that emits heat (radiofrequency energy) or cold (cryoblation). Once cauterized, the abnormal circuit is eliminated and can no longer produce the abnormal rhythm causing the patient’s arrhythmia.
Additional patient information
- The procedure is performed under general anesthesia.
- Patients are required to lay flat for 4 hours immediately following the procedure.
- In some cases, patients remain overnight in the hospital for observation.
- For shorter procedures, patients may be discharged and go home 4-6 hours after waking up from anesthesia.
- Patients may experience soreness in their groin area where the catheters are inserted in the legs to reach the heart. If the pain doesn’t improve over time, patients may be prescribed medication before being discharged to go home.