Catheter ablation therapy for arrhythmia

ALSO REFERRED TO AS A CARDIAC OR HEART ABLATION, THIS MINIMALLY INVASIVE TREATMENT HELPS MANAGE HEART RHYTHM PROBLEMS


Catheter ablation therapy is a specialised cardiac procedure to prevent areas of the heart from causing an abnormal beat​

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What is a catheter ablation?

A cardiac ablation can correct a range of abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmia), including atrial fibrillation. These conditions are caused by abnormal electric signals sent by the heart muscle.

Radiofrequency energy or freezing (cryoablation) is used to destroy the heart tissue that's causing the abnormal heart rhythm.

Need to know

The procedure usually takes about an hour but may take longer if you’re having an ablation for atrial fibrillation. You’ll be given local anaesthetic to numb your groin area. You may also be given a light sedative or general anaesthetic. If you have general anaesthetic, you’ll be asleep throughout the procedure.

Your consultant will insert a small flexible tube into a vein (or veins) at the top of your leg and guide fine wires (catheters) through the tube and into your heart. Once they’ve identified the tissue in your heart that’s causing the arrhythmia they'll destroy it with a beam of radiofrequency energy or by freezing it. This corrects your heartbeat.

 

Your consultant will tell you how to prepare. It’s important to let us know if you’re taking any medication as you may need to stop taking it before your procedure. You’ll be asked to stop eating and drinking a few hours beforehand. Like all procedures, there may be some risks and side effects involved. Your consultant will explain these to you and answer any questions you have.

You may be able to go home on the day of your procedure and it is advised you should arrange for someone to travel home with you. However, if you had a long procedure or an ablation for atrial fibrillation, you may need to stay in hospital overnight.

You should rest for three to four days after the procedure to allow time for the top of your leg to heal. If you had your ablation for atrial fibrillation you may need to rest for up to two weeks. Your consultant will discuss the procedure with you and let you know when you can get back to your usual routine and activities. They’ll also give you advice on medication, exercise, travel, diet and alcohol.

Hospital stay and procedure

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Catheter ablation Consultants

Dr Oliver Guttmann

Dr Oliver Guttmann

Cardiology

Dr Oliver Segal

Dr Oliver Segal

Cardiology

Dr Martin Lowe

Dr Martin Lowe

Cardiology

Dr Anoop Shetty

Dr Anoop Shetty

Cardiology

Our Catheter ablation locations

The Harley Street Clinic

The Harley Street Clinic

35 Weymouth Street W1G 8BJ London
The Shard Outpatients

The Shard Outpatients

The Shard, 32 St Thomas Street SE1 9BS London
London Bridge Hospital

London Bridge Hospital

27 Tooley Street SE1 2PR London

Patient stories

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.