This is an invasive procedure used to treat an abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia).
It is performed in the Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory (Cath Lab) by a Cardiologist and cardiac team specialising in Electrophysiology. It takes 2 to 4 hours. The patient is able to go home the following day. An IV (intravenous line) is inserted into the arm or hand and the patient is given either sedation or general anaesthetic.
Several catheters are inserted into the patient’s groin and guided with the aid of x-ray equipment to the heart. The doctor is able to view the structure inside the heart and the position of the catheters using ultrasound technology. The sites around the abnormal pulmonary veins areas are detected and energy is transmitted there through the catheters. Scar tissue forms in time around the area, which blocks the electrical signals from the veins. The pulmonary veins are therefore “isolated”. In specific cases other ablations are also performed to help increase the success of the procedure.