Radiofrequency Ablation

Q & A

What is Radiofrequency Ablation?

Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally-invasive procedure that uses a very thin tube called a catheter to introduce a special probe into the damaged vein or the heart. The probe is used to deliver radiofrequency energy to the inside of the vein or the malfunctioning part of the heart. Radiofrequency ablation does not stimulate nerves or the heart muscle and does not cause significant collateral damage to any tissue.

How is radiofrequency ablation used in cardiology?

Radiofrequency ablation is used to treat heart or to eliminate abnormal electrical pathways that contribute to a variety of conditions including:

  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Atrial flutter
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Supraventricular, atrial, and multifocal atrial tachycardia
  • Some of the symptoms which can lead to a diagnosis of any of the conditions listed above may include chest pain, fainting, slow or fast heartbeats, dizziness, shortness of breath, or excessive sweating

What happens during treatment?

The treatment is administered intravenously. This means that a catheter is fed through a vein to the heart or vein that needs to be treated. This is usually performed with anesthesia to keep the patient comfortable and relaxed. The patient is also fitted with electrodes which allow Dr. Suri to monitor the procedure. Once the catheter reaches the intended area for treatment, medium frequency alternating currents are released which burns out the malfunctioning tissue and creates scar tissue. This should stop the problem from continuing. There is no sensation to the patient. The procedure can take over 4 hours, and is performed with a local anesthetic while the patient is under sedation. According to the American Heart Association, this treatment has a 90% success rate in treating rapid heartbeats.

Dr. Siri provides extensive consultation on irregular heartbeats and will answer any questions regarding his patients' conditions and discuss any treatments, including radiofrequency ablation which may help the patient to lead a healthy and fulfilling life.