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Cardiac Ablation in Waco, TX

Cardiac Ablation in Waco, TX

Cardiac Ablation in Waco, TX

If you have been diagnosed with a heart arrhythmia that can’t be controlled by medication, your doctor may recommend cardiac ablation to restore normal heartbeat. 

Continue reading to learn more about cardiac ablation and how it helps to restore normal heartbeats.  

Cardiac Ablation as a Heart Arrhythmia Treatment 

Cardiac ablation, also known as catheter ablation, is a procedure used to restore normal heartbeat in patients with arrhythmias. Heat or cold energy is used to create tiny scars in the heart to block irregular electrical signals to restore a normal heartbeat. 

What conditions does Cardiac ablation treat?

Conditions that cardiac ablation can treat include:

Supraventricular arrhythmias such as;

  • Atrial fibrillation (AFib)
  • Atrial flutter
  • Atrial tachycardia
  • Atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia (AVNRT)
  • Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT)
  • Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome

Ventricular arrhythmias such as;

  • Ventricular fibrillation (VFib)
  • Ventricular tachycardia (VT)

Why is the Procedure Performed?

Why Cardiac ablation Procedure Performed

Why Cardiac ablation Procedure Performed

Cardiac ablation is performed to restore a normal heartbeat. It is used to correct irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias).

Cardiac ablation may be ordered by your doctor if you:

  • Have heart arrhythmia that can’t be controlled with medications. 
  • Have had serious side effects or complications from the use of medications to treat arrhythmias
  • Have the type of arrhythmia that responds well to ablation.
  • Have a high risk of developing complications from arrhythmias.

Types of Cardiac Ablation Procedures

  • Radiofrequency Ablation

This is the most commonly used type of cardiac ablation for the treatment of atrial fibrillation (AFib) and a few other arrhythmias. 

Atrial fibrillation is an irregular, often rapid heartbeat. In atrial fibrillation, the heart’s upper chambers, known as the atria, beat out of coordination with the lower chambers, known as the ventricles.

Radiofrequency ablation can help restore a regular heartbeat by disrupting the abnormal electrical pathways in the heart that are causing the arrhythmia using mild radiofrequency energy to destroy the area of the heart tissue, triggering the arrhythmia.

  • Cryoablation 

This is another cardiac ablation method used for the treatment of atrial fibrillation. It involves using extreme cold to freeze the heart cells, causing the arrhythmia. 

  • Epicardial Ablation

Epicardial ablation is also known as the ablation of cells outside the heart muscle. It is used when standard cardiac ablation from the inside of the heart is not successful, and the critical region of heart tissue is found outside of the heart.

  • Atrioventricular Node Ablation

This is commonly used for the treatment of atrial fibrillation. Radiofrequency energy is used to destroy a small amount of tissue between the upper and lower chambers of the heart (AV node).

  • Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT) Ablation

This is used for the treatment of irregularly fast or erratic heart rhythms that affect the upper chambers of the heart. It involves using heat or cold energy to create tiny scars in the heart which help to block faulty electrical signals and restore normal heart rhythm. It may be recommended for conditions such as atrial flutter, atrial tachycardia, atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia (AVNRT), or atrioventricular reentrant tachycardia (AVRT).

  • Ventricular Tachycardia Ablation

This is used for the treatment of irregularly fast or erratic heart rhythms that affect the lower chambers of the heart. It involves using heat or cold energy to create tiny scars in the heart, which help block faulty signals that cause arrhythmia and restore regular heart rhythm. 

Life Expectancy After Cardiac Ablation

Untreated arrhythmia can lead to heart attack and heart failure, which could shorten your life expectancy. Having cardiac ablation can help restore regular heart rhythm and increase your life expectancy. You can live for as long as possible with a successful cardiac ablation procedure and follow-up appointments with your doctor. 

Cardiac Ablation Success Rate

Cardiac Ablation Success Rate

Cardiac Ablation Success Rate

Cardiac ablation has a high success rate. It can have a success rate of more than 90%, depending on the type of arrhythmia being treated. 

What tests are done before cardiac ablation? 

Tests that may be done before cardiac ablation include:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG): This test records the electrical activity of the heart to check for the heart rate and rhythm. 
  • Echocardiography: This test uses ultrasound to examine the heart and to check its structure and function of the heart. 
  • Electrophysiology (EP): This test assesses the electrical system or activity of the heart. It is used to diagnose and know the cause of abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmias). 

Preparation for Cardiac Ablation  

Before undergoing a cardiac ablation, your doctor may order some tests to get more information about your heart condition and to know if the procedure is suitable for you. Your medical history will be reviewed, and you will also need to inform your doctor about the medications that you’re currently taking. 

You will need to stop taking blood-thinning medications such as aspirin or warfarin. Your doctor will inform you of the medications that you can continue taking and those you should stop taking. 

You shouldn’t eat or drink anything the night before the morning of your procedure. 

Arrange for a ride to take you home because you won’t be able to drive right after the procedure.

What to Expect During the Procedure

First, an IV sedation will be administered into your forearm or hand to help you relax throughout the procedure. You may be fully awake or lightly sedated. In some cases, you may be given general anesthesia to put you completely asleep. 

After the sedation has taken effect, an area in your groin will be numbed, and a small hole where the catheter will be passed through will be created. 

Next, three or four catheters will be passed through blood vessels in your groin to your heart. Contrast dye may be injected through the catheter so that the blood vessels can display more clearly on X-ray images.

After the catheters have been placed in your heart, electrodes at the ends of the catheters are used to stimulate your heart to locate the area causing the arrhythmia and to know where the ablation will be applied. 

After the area where the ablation will be applied is located, mild radiofrequency heat energy is passed through to destroy (ablate) the area of the heart tissue, triggering the arrhythmia. In some cases, extreme cold (cryoablation) may be used to freeze and destroy the area of the heart tissue, triggering the arrhythmia. Once the area of the heart tissue triggering the arrhythmia is destroyed, the abnormal electrical signals can no longer be sent to the rest of the heart, thereby normalizing your heart rhythms. 

In some cases, small radiofrequency heat or extreme cold may be used to create tiny scars in the heart to block irregular electrical signals and restore normal heart rhythms. 

After the ablation is done, the catheters will be removed, and the small hole will be closed. 

What to Expect After the Procedure 

After the procedure, you will be taken to a recovery room and made to lie down still for two to six hours. Slight pressure may be applied to the site where the catheter was inserted to reduce bleeding. 

You will be closely monitored to ensure that there are no complications. Special machines will be used to monitor your heart rhythm and function while in the recovery room. 

Your doctor may prescribe medications that you need to take to facilitate quick recovery while at home. You may go home the same day or spend a night or two in the hospital, depending on your condition. 

Recovery and Results

Your recovery might take several days or weeks, but you can return to work in 2 days. Avoid physical labor or any work that requires physical energy. 

Avoid lifting heavy objects and strenuous exercise for at least three days until your doctor says it’s safe. 

While your heart tissue heals, you may still continue to experience arrhythmias. You can expect your arrhythmias to completely stop within 3 months. 

What kind of doctor does cardiac ablation?

Cardiac ablation is performed by heart specialists known as cardiologists, who have special training in heart rhythm disorders.

How long does a heart ablation take?

How long a heart ablation procedure takes varies, but it usually takes three to six hours to complete. 

What kind of surgery is an ablation?

Heart ablation is a minimally invasive surgery. 

Can you live a normal life after ablation?

Yes, you can live a normal life and even experience improvement in your quality of life after a successful cardiac ablation. 

Which is better, cardiac ablation or pacemaker?

A pacemaker is an implantable device used to treat slow heart rhythms (bradyarrhythmias). This device monitors the heart rhythm, and when it senses that the heart is beating too slowly, it sends a signal to the heart that makes it beat at the normal rhythm.  

A pacemaker is powered by a battery, which you need to change after some years. 

If you have a pacemaker implanted, you may not be able to go through metal detectors. You may also need to avoid electronic interference. 

On the other hand, cardiac ablation can be used to treat slow, fast, and irregular heart rhythms. A successful cardiac ablation can permanently help treat arrhythmia. 

If you have to choose between cardiac ablation and a pacemaker, we would advise that you choose cardiac ablation as it can be used to treat slow, fast, and irregular heart rhythms, unlike a pacemaker that is used only for slow heart rhythms. Also, it is a minimally invasive procedure that doesn’t require the use of any implantable device. 

Can ablation lead to heart failure?

A successful cardiac ablation doesn’t lead to heart failure. It helps to prevent heart failure. 

Is your heart stopped during ablation?

A cardiac ablation doesn’t require your heart to be stopped. However, some types of surgical ablation may require that the heart be stopped during the procedure. In this case, the patient will be placed on a heart-lung machine. 

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