What is Cardiac Ablation?

September 20, 2021 Heart Diseases 28 Views


What is the meaning of Cardiac Ablation?

Cardiac ablation is a procedure done to correct heart rhythm problems, also known as arrhythmias. The procedure of cardiac ablation is done by using energy to make small scars in the heart tissue. These scars stop the faulty electrical signals moving through the heart that cause arrhythmia or uneven heartbeat.

This procedure is performed by a cardiologist (doctor specializing in the treatment of heart-related conditions). In today’s article, we will be discussing in detail cardiac ablation:

  • What are the symptoms that require Cardiac Ablation?
  • What are the conditions that need Cardiac Ablation?
  • What are the tests for Cardiac Ablation?
  • What is the preparation before Cardiac Ablation?
  • What is the procedure of Cardiac Ablation?
  • How to care after Cardiac Ablation?
  • What are the risks of Cardiac Ablation?
  • What is the cost of Cardiac Ablation in India?

What are the symptoms that require Cardiac Ablation?

Cardiac ablation may be required depending on the following symptoms-

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Fainting
  • Chest pain  ( Know more about- Home remedies for Chest Pain )
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Skipped heartbeats
  • Dizziness
  • Excessive sweating
  • Rapid breathing
  • When medications for arrhythmias are not successful
  • When medications for arrhythmias have side effects
  • When there is a high risk of complications from arrhythmias

What are the conditions that need Cardiac Ablation?

Cardiac ablation is used in the treatment of the following conditions-

  • Atrial fibrillation or Atrial flutter: When extra signals originating from the different parts of the atrium (upper two compartments of the heart) causes the atria to quiver (atrial fibrillation) or beat fast (atrial flutter).
  • AV nodal reentrant tachycardia (AVNRT): This condition occurs when there is an extra pathway in or near the AV node (an electrical relay system between the upper and lower chambers of the heart) causing an impulse to move in a circle and re-enter the same areas it had already passed through.
  • Accessory pathway: There are extra pathways present from birth connecting the atrium and the ventricles. This causes signals to travel back to the atrium, making the heart beat faster.
  • Ventricular tachycardia: A quick, life-threatening rhythm that originates from the impulses in the ventricles. This prevents enough blood from filling the heart, and less blood can circulate through the body.

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What are the tests for Cardiac Ablation?

Before a cardiac ablation procedure, the doctor can perform the following tests for an accurate diagnosis-

  • Physical Examination– Firstly, the doctor performs a physical examination, where he asks some questions about the health status and symptoms.
  • ECG (Electrocardiogram): It is a test done to check the electrical activity and rhythm of the heart.
  • Echocardiogram: In this procedure, high-frequency sound waves are used to take the images of the valves and the chambers of the heart and for the evaluation of the pumping action of the heart.
  • Fluoroscopy: It is a type of imaging test that helps in obtaining a continuous X-ray image on the monitor.
  • Cardiac catheterization/ Coronary angiogram: It is an invasive imaging procedure done for the confirmation of any valve disease, coronary artery disease, or disease of the aorta (main artery carrying blood away from the heart to the rest of the body).

( Know more about- What is Coronary Angiography? Purpose, Procedure and Risks)

What is the preparation before Cardiac Ablation?

  • The patient needs to give a proper history of all ongoing medications or supplements, and follow the revised prescription by the doctor religiously.
  • The doctor may discontinue any blood-thinning medications like warfarin or aspirin a couple of days before the procedure, as these medications cause increased bleeding during the procedure.
  • The doctor advises stopping any food or water intake from midnight the day before the surgery.
  • Smokers need to quit smoking at least two weeks before the surgery.

What is the procedure of Cardiac Ablation?

Cardiac ablation can be performed as follows:

  • Firstly, sedatives and painkillers are given. This is followed by the administration of fluids and medications via an intravenous (IV) line.
  • The skin on the neck, arm, or groin is then cleaned and made numb using an anesthetic.
  • A small incision (cut) is made by the doctor on the clean, numb area.
  • The doctor then passes catheter/catheters (thin, flexible wire) through the blood vessel to the heart.
  • Sometimes, a dye may be used for a clear view of the X-Ray images.
  • Some catheters have electrodes that record your heart’s activity and detect abnormal heartbeats. The area causing the arrhythmia is identified.
  • Once the source of the problem is identified, one of the catheter lines is used to send radio-frequency waves (known as radiofrequency ablation), extremely cold temperatures (known as cryoablation), or laser light to ablate or scar the tissue, to form an ablation line that checks for abnormal electrical signals and stop the heart rhythm problems.
  • The movement of the catheters may cause slight discomfort. If you feel severe discomfort, pain, or shortness of breath, inform your doctor immediately.
  • The procedure may take about 3-6 hours to complete.

Laser Cardiac Ablation Treatment– In this method, endoscopy is used to treat patients suffering from abnormal heart rhythms, where in an infrared diode laser is used for ablating the lesions connected to the patient’s pulmonary veins ( which is the root cause of atrial fibrillation (AF) that causes heart palpitations and other symptoms ). This is said to be highly effective and patients undergoing this mode of treatment are known to have good prognosis and least repeated episodes of cardiac symptoms. 

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How to care after Cardiac Ablation?

  • The patient is advised to avoid driving 24 hours after leaving the hospital.
  • The patient is prohibited from consumption of alcohol for at least 24 hours after leaving the hospital.
  • Any kind of heavy physical activity should be avoided for at least three days after the surgery.
  • A small bruise may be seen at the puncture site. If the site begins to bleed, it is advisable to lie down and firmly press on top of it. The doctor should be immediately contacted in such a case.
  • After cardiac ablation, the patient may feel tired for at least 2 to 3 days. Sometimes, however, there may be irregularities in the heartbeat for which your doctor may prescribe some medication.
  • At times, symptoms may persist post cardiac ablation as scar formation takes time.
  • There is a possibility of irregular heartbeats recurring after cardiac ablation. In this case, a re-surgery of cardiac ablation can be done, or other methods of treatment may be given.

The doctor should be consulted immediately in case of any complications.

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What are the risks of Cardiac Ablation?

Cardiac ablation involves the following risks and complications-

  • Clotting of blood
  • Bleeding
  • Damage to the heart valve
  • Heart attack
  • Nerve damage
  • Damage to other nearby structures
  • Narrowing of pulmonary veins, which carry blood between the lungs and the heart
  • Damage to the kidneys from the dye
  • New arrhythmia
  • Death (a rare condition)\

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What is the cost of Cardiac Ablation in India?

The total cost of cardiac ablation in India can range from around 70,000 INR to 1,00,000 INR. However, there are many highly skilled doctors in Indian hospitals who specialize in cardiac ablation. But the cost varies across different hospitals. 

If you are coming from abroad, in addition to the cost of cardiac ablation, there will be the cost of staying at the hotel, the cost of traveling, etc. After the procedure, the patient is kept in the hospital for two to three days for recovery, so the total cost of cardiac ablation comes to be around INR 90,000 to INR 1,30,000. 

We hope that we could answer all your questions regarding Cardiac Ablation through this article.

If you want to get more information about Cardiac Ablation, you can contact a Cardiologist.

We only aim to give you information through this article and do not recommend any medication or treatment in any way. Only a doctor can give you good advice and the correct treatment plan.

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