Radiofrequency catheter ablation is a procedure that is performed to correct a disturbance in heart rhythm. A brief review of how a normal heart rhythm occurs and a description of some of the rhythm problems that are treated with this procedure will help in the understanding of radiofrequency catheter ablation.
How does the heart normally work? : Heart muscle cells are stimulated by electrical impulses that cause them to contract in a uniform way and with a regular rate. This contraction produces the heartbeat, which causes blood to be pumped out of the heart into arteries and then to all parts of the body. The flow of blood into arteries can be measured by feeling the pulse, which corresponds to the heartbeat.
Sometimes, the electrical impulses “short circuit” the normal pathway and travel across the heart in an abnormal way. Abnormal pathways, or routes, for the impulses can develop, causing irregularities in the heartbeat, or arrhythmias. In other cases, arrhythmias arise when areas other than the sinus node become active and begin to send out impulses that either compete with or take over the pacemaker function of the sinus node. Typically, the result of these abnormalities is a heartbeat that is too fast. This may develop in any location within the atria, AV node, or ventricles. When the fast rhythm requires tissue from the upper part of the heart, it is known as supraventricular tachycardia. When it requires tissue from the lower chambers only, it is known as ventricular tachycardia.
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is much less invasive than open surgery when treating primary or metastatic lung tumors. Side effects and complications are less frequent and less serious when RFA is carried out.
Radiofrequency ablation is a procedure that can cure many types of abnormal heart beats. Using a special wires or catheters that are threaded into the heart, radiofrequency energy (low-voltage, high-frequency electricity) is targeted toward the area(s) causing the abnormal heart rhythm, permanently damaging small areas of tissue with heat. In some cases, cryoablation, which damages tissue by freezing rather than heating, may be used rather than radiofrequency energy.
The damaged tissue is no longer capable of generating or conducting electrical impulses. If the procedure is successful, this prevents the arrhythmia from being generated, curing the patient. An important advantage of RF current is that it does not directly stimulate nerves or heart muscle and can therefore often be used without the need for general anesthesia. RFA has become increasingly accepted in the last 15 years with promising results. RFA procedures are performed under image guidance (such as X-ray screening, CT scan or ultrasound) by an interventional radiologist or a cardiac electrophysiologist, a subspecialty of cardiologists.
Radio frequency catheter ablation is a procedure that is performed to correct a disturbance in heart rhythm (cardiac arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat).
It is most often used to treat supraventricular tachyarrhythmia which are rapid, uncoordinated heartbeats starting in the heart`s upper chambers (atria) or middle region (AV node or the very beginning portion of the heart`s electrical system).
In cardiology, RF ablation is used to correct:
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