Catheter Ablation

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Catheter Ablation Treatment for Heart Arrhythmias

If you’ve been diagnosed with a heart arrhythmia, you may feel like your heart is skipping a beat or fluttering in your chest. You’re not alone. Millions of Americans are diagnosed with heart arrhythmias. If medications do not help you once you have a diagnosis, your provider may suggest a catheter ablation procedure to treat your heart arrhythmia.

Catheter Ablation Treatment

Catheter ablation is a procedure in which flexible wires (catheters) are inserted into a blood vessel in the groin and guided to the heart. An electrophysiologist (a cardiologist with a specialization in the diagnosis and treatment of arrhythmias) then carefully scars small areas of the heart tissue using radiofrequency (heat) or cryotherapy (cold). Either treatment scars the tissue areas that generate and conduct abnormal electrical activity, causing the irregular heart rhythm.

 Benefits of a Catheter Ablation

There are many benefits of having a catheter ablation with the Norton Heart & Vascular Institute team. They include:

  • Performed by a board-certified electrophysiologist whose training includes three years additional training beyond board certification in cardiology
  • May reduce or even eliminate the symptoms of your heart arrhythmia
  • Does not require stitches
  • For many patients, long-term reduction in the number of symptomatic episodes and severity of symptoms
  • Typically, return to normal life and activities after the procedure
  • For many patients, reduced medications following a successful catheter ablation
  • No chest incisions or ports
  • Short hospital stay (overnight) or go home the same day

How Do the Specialists Know Where to Do an Ablation?

An electrophysiologist will conduct an electrophysiology (EP) study to determine approximately where the abnormal tissue is in your heart that is causing the arrhythmia. Once the origin of the arrhythmia is known, the physician will create a more precise electrical map of your heart with a 3D mapping system. This map gives the doctor an electrical view of your heart and tells them where to position the ablation catheters to burn or freeze the abnormal areas.

Where Is an Ablation Performed?

In most cases, catheter ablations are done in an electrophysiology lab, in a hospital setting, and can take approximately one to three hours for the procedure. Sometimes it may take longer.

Norton Heart & Vascular Institute has two state-of-the-art electrophysiology labs where catheter ablations are performed located in Norton Audubon Hospital and Norton Hospital. We use 3D imaging to map your heart and identify the spot of tissue that’s causing the irregular heartbeat. Then we complete minimally invasive ablation procedures to treat the issue.

Who Is a Good Candidate for a Catheter Ablation?

You may be a candidate if you:

  • Have symptoms associated with your arrhythmias
  • Have not tolerated or are unable to take medications to control your arrhythmia
  • Have other health conditions that are being worsened by your arrhythmia
  • Have addressed lifestyle factors that influence your arrhythmia and still experience symptoms

Heart and Vascular Care for the Whole Person

Norton Heart & Vascular Institute offers patient resources to support you and your family, including free classes for people of all ages who are seeking to improve cardiovascular health or living with a heart condition.

Cardiac Rehabilitation Program

Our cardiac rehabilitation providers are leaders in developing and applying innovative techniques that can help you recover and resume your life.

Connecting Hearts Support Group

The group provides education and support to individuals who have had a heart attack, are living with a heart condition or are at risk for cardiovascular disease.

Heart Health Screenings

Prevention is the best way to manage heart disease, and screenings are available to detect early signs of cardiac and vascular disease and identify risk factors.

About Norton Heart & Vascular Institute

Every year, more than 137,000 people in Louisville and Southern Indiana choose Norton Heart & Vascular Institute specialists for their heart and vascular care. That’s more than any other health care provider.

  • Norton Healthcare’s adult-service hospitals in Louisville all have received Chest Pain Center accreditation from the American College of Cardiology (ACC). This is the seventh consecutive accreditation for all four hospitals, which ensures quality for the treatment of heart attack.
  • Norton Audubon Hospital, Norton Brownsboro Hospital and Norton Hospital all are recognized as having ACC Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI accreditation.
  • Norton Healthcare has the most facilities across the city of Louisville with the ability treat a life-threatening heart attack.
  • You have access to more than 100 physicians and advanced practice providers with specialized training and experience in a comprehensive range of conditions and treatments.
  • Patients can make appointments at 28 locations in Louisville and Southern Indiana. Telecardiology is offered at more than 30 sites in the region.
  • Norton Audubon Hospital, a key location for Norton Heart & Vascular Institute services, has been recognized with a HeartCare Center National Distinction of Excellence year after year by the American College of Cardiology. This is the only hospital in Louisville to be recognized for this distinction.
  • U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals ranked Norton Healthcare adult-service Louisville hospitals high performing in heart attack and heart failure 2022-23.
  • Norton Audubon Hospital earned ventricular assist device (VAD) accreditation from DNV – Healthcare and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
  • Communicate with your health care provider, renew prescriptions, get lab results and more through your free Norton MyChart account.

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