Minimally Invasive Surgery to Correct Heart Arrhythmia

Heart rhythm problems (heart arrhythmias), are conditions where your heart beats too fast, too slow, or irregularly. Although this “fluttering of the heart” may cause mild symptoms, it can also be associated with more serious symptoms like chest pain, breathing difficulties, and even blackouts. They can be fatal in some cases, particularly if the heart is abnormally weak or weak. In certain cases, your doctor might recommend catheter ablation, which is a minimally invasive percutaneous procedure.

What is catheter ablation?

Catheter ablation, also known as “lasering”, is a minimally invasive procedure to treat heart arrhythmia. This involves the delivery of thin wires (or catheters) to the heart via small tubes or “sheaths” placed in the groin. It is a minimally invasive procedure that requires only small needle punctures and does not leave any open wounds. Catheter ablation can be performed in a single day with minimal hospitalization.

When is catheter ablation a good idea?

Your doctor will often recommend medication to manage your heart arrhythmia. Your doctor will recommend catheter ablation if the medication fails to work or you have side effects.

What is cardiac ablation?

The procedure can usually be done in one day. It takes approximately 1 to 2 hours for standard arrhythmia. The procedure may take 3-4 hours for some complex arrhythmia. The majority of patients are discharged the next day.

Your surgeon will administer a sedative to relax you while numbing the entry point with local pain medication in the groin. After you have been sedated, your surgeon will insert flexible wires (catheters), into your veins or arteries and then thread them to your heart. A mapping system (like an inner GPS system) and Xrays are used to guide catheter movements and positions in the body.

Your surgeon will perform electrical testing to determine if there are any abnormal electrical signals in your heart. Radiofrequency energy is then delivered precisely via catheters to the area to remove the abnormal signals. This causes tissue heating and is known as ablation or “lasering”. Your doctor might also recommend cryoablation. This uses freezing to remove abnormal electrical signals.

How long does it take for the recovery process to begin?

After the operation, you will be monitored over night. You may be discharged the next day if all goes well. Within a few days, you can resume your normal activities.

Is there any risk of cardiac ablation?

Every surgery comes with risk, including infection or bleeding at the site. Catheter ablation has its own risks that you should discuss with your doctor. Although the risk of surgery is low, it’s important to be aware that complications can occur.

  • It is possible that blood vessels are damaged, causing bleeding.
  • A pacemaker might be necessary if your normal electrical system has been damaged, which could lead to a slow heart rate ( 1%).
  • The risk of serious complications like stroke, heart attack or perforation, as well as death, are extremely low ( 0.5%).

What are your options after the surgery?

Most people will be able to resume their daily lives after a successful catheter ablation procedure. You may need to repeat the procedure.

Your doctor may also recommend lifestyle changes that will improve your heart health and manage blood pressure. You can make the following changes:

  • Salt reduction
  • Reduce or avoid alcohol consumption
  • Healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels can be maintained by eating a heart-healthy diet
  • Quitting smoking
  • Regular exercise
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Management of stress and strong emotions like uncontrollable anger

Consult a cardiologist if you are interested in catheter ablation. They will assess your condition to determine if it is suitable for you.