Ablation for atrial fibrillation: A guide

Atrial fibrillation ablation is a surgical procedure to treat atrial fibrillation. It is a condition that makes heart to beat irregularly. This treatment technique is also known as Catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation.

Atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation:

It is one of the most common cardiac Arrhythmia. Arrhythmia means irregular heart beat in rhythm and difference in the rate of heart beat. About 2.7 million Americans live with atrial fibrillation. The poor blood flow is the main outcome of Arrhythmia. During Atrial fibrillation the upper chambers of heart beat randomly and chaotically.

Symptoms of atrial fibrillation:

Some patients might feel the symptoms while the other might not feel any discomfort till the stage advances. The common symptoms are:

Heavy palpitations or sensations of flip-flop in the chest
Reduced ability to exercise
Uncertainty problems
Shortness of breath
Chest/upper body pain

The people who do not feel the above symptoms could not diagnose atrial fibrillation until they undergo a medical examination.

Treating atrial fibrillation via ablation:

The term ablation means ‘to remove’or ‘to destroy’. This term is apt for the procedure used for treating Arrhythmia as it uses a surgical removal or destruction of the area in the heart that is causing the irregular heart beats. Ablation includes a surgical modus operandi wherein a very small area of heart tissue is scarred.
The scarred area is the source of the irregular electrical impulses which are responsible for atrial fibrillation. When the target tissue is damaged or destroyed, the  electrical signals leading to cause arrhythmic attacks are stopped.

The procedure of ablation is also known as:

 Catheter ablation
Pulmonary vein ablation
Radio-frequency ablation

If the patient is not able to find relief from the irregular heart beats through drugs then he may choose ablation method for Arrhythmia. This treatment has more chances of reduction of the symptoms and making the condition better for the patient. However there are some ablation atrial fibrillation risks and the process if too expensive.
Here are the pros and cons of atrial fibrillation ablation to help you get well versed with the treatment procedure before you opt for it:

Pros of catheter ablation:
Catheter ablation or atrial fibrillation ablation procedure uses a catheter to invade the target tissue that is producing turbulent electrical signals and then destroy the tissue with a painless radio-frequency energy to correct the irregular heartbeats.

1.  High success rate of atrial fibrillation ablation:

The success rate can reach up to 95 percent. In those persons who don’t have any other heart problems, but the average success rate in others is about 70-80 percent. A few highly reputable centers and qualified practitioners may also define the rate of success of the atrial fibrillation ablation.

2.  Low complication risks due to atrial fibrillation ablation:

With the ablation technique there is very low risk of developing other heart problems like stroke, infection or bleeding

3.  Quick rates of ablation recovery:

The procedure ends in about 2-4 hours and the patient is discharged the same day or the next morning as there is very less effect of anesthesia and sedation.

Cons of catheter ablation:

1.  May need repeated procedures:
Some patients might not get positive results in the first attempt, infact they may need repeated attempts get success. This is due to missed tissue or burned tissue healing etc.
2.  Won’t work for everybody:
The procedure is not good for every one as the patients who are getting the treatment repeatedly for five to ten years might not be able to get the success by the process in comparison to the patient having no other heart ailment.
3.  Taking medications might also be required simultaneously:
The procedure might take 2-3 months to show the results due to the time taken by the heart tissues to heal and work. Till then the patient may feel the symptoms of Arrhythmia and might be prescribed to continue the medications.
4.   Generation of new Arrhythmia:
The scarred tissue that heals after some time may give rise to new Arrhythmia and act as new sites of Arrhythmia heart beats.


Atrial fibrillation ablation is an increasingly popular heart surgery technique all over the world. Some of the pros and cons of the technique that is an utmost important information to obtain being a patient, are explained in this article to help the patients.

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