How Cardiac Ablation Surgery is Performed - Southlake Regional Health Centre

Dr. Atul Verma, MD, FRCPC, Cardiologist, talks about how ablation therapy is performed in order to treat atrial fibrillation. Southlake Regional Health Centre

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Dr. Atul Verma, MD, FRCPC, Cardiologist, talks about how ablation therapy is performed in order to treat atrial fibrillation. Southlake Regional Health Centre
Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Atul Verma, MD, FRCPC, Cardiologist Southlake Regional Health Centre

Duration: 3 minutes, 13 seconds

So atrial fibrillation is due to triggers, abnormal triggers that are developing usually in the left atrium of your heart. And these triggers then set off the irregular and rapid heart beating, which you know as atrial fibrillation.

So when we talk about ablation, we’re talking about a minimally invasive procedure that allows me to go into your heart, identify where these abnormal electrical triggers are coming from, and then basically to either to burn them away or freeze them away. And that in a nutshell is what ablation is all about.

To give you a little bit more detail, we perform the ablation by inserting small little tubes into the veins of both of your legs, as well as potentially into a small vein in your neck. Through those little tubes, we can insert special wires, as well as special catheters, which are basically small little devices that allow us to record your heart rhythm, identify the abnormal areas and then deliver energy to eliminate them.

So this is an example of one of the catheters that we would be inserting through your veins and into the heart. And you can see that the tip of the catheter is metal, so it can record electrical signals from the heart, but at the same time this connects into an energy source which allows us to burn those abnormal signals away. The catheters are also capable of moving, and this is the way we control where in the heart the catheters are going.

The ablation procedure on average takes about two to three hours to perform, and you are usually very heavily sedated during the procedure. Sometimes it can be done under a full general anesthetic. During the procedure we then insert the tubes, place the catheters in your heart and complete the procedure. And after the procedure is finished, you’ll go to our recovery area, where the nurses will then pull the tubes out of your leg and out of your neck. At this point you’ll have to be in bed rest for four to six hours, and usually we’ll keep you in one night after the procedure, and then you go home early the next morning.

If you have any more questions about your atrial fibrillation or whether you may be a potential candidate for ablation for your atrial fibrillation, feel free to contact your local health professional, your cardiologist, or have them refer you to the heart rhythm program here at Southlake Regional Health Centre, where we’ll be happy to do a consultation.

Presenter: Dr. Atul Verma, Electrophysiologist, Newmarket, ON

Local Practitioners: Electrophysiologist

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.