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 him or her where to position the ablation catheters to burn or freeze the abnormal areas.
Where Is an Ablation Performed?
In most cases, the procedure is 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 men and women of all ages seeking to improve cardiovascular health or living with a heart condition.
Our cardiac rehabilitation providers are leaders in developing and applying innovative techniques that can help you recover and resume your life.
The group provides education and support to men and women after a heart attack, living with a heart condition or at risk for cardiovascular disease.
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.
Norton Heart & Vascular Institute offers classes about once a week on a broad range of heart health topics including cooking classes, atrial fibrillation (A-fib) and heart failure education workshops, and more.
About Norton Heart & Vascular Institute
Norton Heart & Vascular Institute specialists treat more people for heart and vascular care — about 250,000 every year — than any other provider in Louisville and Southern Indiana.
- Norton Healthcare’s four adult-service hospitals are American College of Cardiology accredited Cycle VI Chest Pain Centers — the highest level of expertise to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack.
- We have more than 45 board-certified cardiovascular physicians and 30 advanced practice providers. Through training and years of experience, they specialize in areas such as cardiology, interventional cardiology, cardiothoracic surgery, electrophysiology, advanced heart failure and vascular surgery.
- We offer same-day new patient appointments.
- We have 27 locations in Louisville and Southern Indiana. Telecardiology is offered at more than 30 clinical sites in the region.
- We have the experience, expertise and easy access you’d expect from the largest cardiovascular care provider in Kentucky.
- Norton Healthcare is the only health care system in Kentucky to receive the prestigious Mission Lifeline: Regional Trailblazer Award from the American Heart Association for being an innovator in creating a system of care for ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) heart attacks — the most severe type of heart attack.