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Catheter Ablation

The Arrhythmia Center at Missouri Baptist Medical Center provides interventional treatments for arrhythmias including catheter 
ablation.

What is Catheter Ablation?

Catheter ablation is a surgical procedure done in the electrophysiology lab, where catheters (thin, flexible wires) are inserted through a vessel in the groin and threaded to the heart using X-rays to guide its course.

The cause of the arrhythmia is then determined, and radiofrequency waves are applied to the abnormal area to block the path of the arrhythmia by scarring or damaging the tissue that triggers the arrhythmia.

Catheter Ablation can be used to treat any of the following conditions:

  • Atrial Fibrillation
  • Atrial Flutter
  • Tachycardia
  • Wolff-Parkinson White syndrome
  • Ventricular tachycardia

The following are catheter ablation procedures performed at the Electrophysiology Lab at Missouri Baptist:

  • Radiofrequency ablation: Heat is used to remove abnormal cells in the heart
  • Laser ablation: Laser energy is used to remove damaged heart tissue
  • Cryoablation: Damaged heart cells are frozen and removed
  • Septal ablation: An alcohol solution is injected into the heart tissue
  • Stereotaxis robotic ablation: Doctors use magnetic guidance to remove damaged heart tissue

What to Expect During Catheter Ablation

Before having catheter ablation surgery, your doctor will advise you on pre-surgery instructions. The day of surgery you will be given anesthesia and an IV. During the surgery, the electrophysiologist will make an incision in the groin and insert a catheter in the artery and guide it to the area in the heart where the arrhythmia happens. A dye will then be injected so the doctor can get a better view of the heart structure. When the doctor finds the part of the heart that is causing the arrhythmia, radiofrequency energy, cryotherapy, alcohol solution or other types of medical procedures will be used to destroy and scar the area so the arrhythmia stops occurring. Once the arrhythmia is corrected, the doctor will take out the catheter and close up the incision. The procedure can take anywhere from three to six hours.

After a catheter ablation procedure, you will be sent to a recovery room where your heart and blood pressure will be monitored to check for complications from surgery. Your doctor will advise you when you can go home and when you can return to normal activities.

For more information on catheter ablation or to schedule an appointment, call 314-996-3627 or contact us online.

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