If you suffer from a heart rhythm problem or (atrial fibrillation – afib), you must have heard your cardiologist talk about catheter ablation for afib. This process is quite invasive but one of the best methods to treat your condition.
What is Catheter Ablation For Treating Afib?
Catheter ablation is an invasive process to treat atrial fibrillation (Afib), a type of arrhythmia affecting the upper chambers of your heart.
Cardiologists insert thin, flexible tubes – catheters into your vein or artery in the groin during the procedure. They are then guided through the bloodstream toward your heart.
Once they place catheters in, it delivers high-frequency radiofrequency waves or laser energy to specific heart areas causing abnormal electrical activity.
This force gets rid of the tissue causing your heart to have an abnormal rhythm, thereby effectively “ablating” it.
Tests to Determine When Catheter Ablation is Needed For Afib
The doctors are equipped with several tests that can easily determine whether catheter ablation is needed to treat your arrhythmia. These tests help doctors diagnose what type you have to choose the best course of treatment.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG): Electrical activity of your heart is recorded to identify abnormal rhythms.
- Holter monitor: This device is portable. It records your heart’s electrical activity for 24 to 48 hours to identify the arrhythmia type.
- Echocardiogram: An ultrasound test that creates a detailed image of your heart. Doctors evaluate the size and shape of your heart. This helps them determine whether any structural abnormalities may be causing an arrhythmia.
- Electrophysiology study (EPS): This specialized test uses electrodes to record the activity of your heart and identify the specific location of arrhythmia. It is often used to help plan catheter ablation procedures.
How to Prepare Yourself for Catheter Ablation?
If you are to have a catheter ablation procedure for afib, there are a few things you can do to prepare:
- Start with following your doctor’s instructions.
Your cardiologist will provide you with a detailed manual of specific instructions on how to prepare for the procedure. This will include all the medications you should take or avoid, dietary restrictions you should follow, etc.
- Inform your doctor of any existing medical conditions.
Let your healthcare giver know about any medical conditions that you already have or are taking any medications for it. This will be of great help in determining whether catheter ablation is appropriate for your afib or not.
- Arrange for transportation.
Talk to a close person, a friend, or a family member and tell them about your procedure. You will need someone to drive you home after it’s done. Make sure to arrange for transportation in advance.
- Stop smoking.
If you are a smoker, stop at least a week or two before the catheter ablation process for afib. This is because smoking increases the risk of complications during and after the procedure.
- Wear comfortable clothing.
Loose-fitting, comfortable clothing for the procedure can help get your mind off a lot of things.
- Plan your recovery
It will feel more like your life has hit a reset button. After the procedure, adequate resting is a must. First, in the hospital for a few hours or even overnight. Then, take it easy for a few days after.
To Sum It Up
The ablation success rate is quite high and one of the most appropriate treatments for arrhythmia. You can always get in touch with the heart specialists from the Atrial Fibrillation Center of America at (832) 478-5067.