Heart Institute Encyclopedia

Heart Ablation Procedure

Look up a term in The Heart Center glossary.

An ablation procedure is a non-surgical treatment for people with an abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia). A long, flexible wire (catheter) is passed into the heart to get rid of (ablate) the precise area of the heart causing the arrhythmia.

This area can be removed using either radiofrequency (RF) ablation or cryoablation. Radiofrequency uses a high-energy source to get rid of the area, and cryoablation uses very cold temperature to do the same. Depending on the area of the heart where the arrhythmia is located, the electrophysiologist may choose to use either radiofrequency ablation or cryoablation for the procedure.

An arrhythmia can at times be controlled by medications, but if these are unsuccessful, or if the side effects of the medicine or taking the medicine itself become troublesome, ablation may be recommended.

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Reasons for an Ablation Procedure

Description of an Ablation Procedure

Medications and an Ablation Procedure

After an Ablation Procedure

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Last Updated: 09/2012