Infographic: Cardiac Ablation

Fixing heart rhythm problems when other treatments fail.

When the heart beats out of rhythm, sometimes the best way to correct it is through cardiac ablation targeting specific heart tissue.

Many heart rhythm disorders begin appearing as people grow older. Some irregular heart rhythms are harmless. Others may lead to serious problems including heart attack, stroke, organ failure or even death.

An electrophysiologist, a cardiologist specializing in heart rhythm disorders, may be needed to determine the best treatment option for an individual. Often, lifestyle changes or medications are effective treatment for heart rhythm conditions. Another option, cardiac ablation, is a procedure which often cures abnormal heart rhythms, and may be recommended to correct the misfiring electrical impulses in the heart.

More than 4 million Americans live with recurrent heart rhythm problems.

  • Each day the average heart beats 100,000 times and pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood through the body.
  • In an adult, a normal heart beats 60-100 times per minute.

Cardiac ablation can be safe and effective.

Some arrhythmias can be cured with ablation; some arrhythmias can be controlled but may need more than one treatment over time.

>95% free of supravenricular tachycardia, one kind of heart rhythm problem, following ablation.

Cardiac ablation restores rhythm:

  1. Insert ablation catheter

    Long, flexible wires are threaded through a blood vessel to the heart.

  2. Detect electrical signals

    An electrophysiology study pinpoints the exact location of abnormal electrical impulses.

  3. Scar or destroy abnormal tissue with heat or cold

    An electrophysiologist with special training in heart rhythm disorder aims the tip of the wire to the abnormal heart tissue, directing energy to fix the tissue causing the rhythm problem. Cardiac ablation uses heat (radiofrequency or microwave ablation) or cold (cryoablation) depending on the arrhythmia.

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