Cardiac Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation
Cardiac ablation for atrial fibrillation at Salem Hospital
Patients in need of cardiac ablation for atrial fibrillation (AFiB) come to the Heart Center at Salem Hospital, a member of Mass General Brigham, for world-class cardiac care. The Heart Center provides comprehensive cardiac care on the North Shore, including angioplasty, electrophysiology, catheterization, cardiac testing, as well as cardiac ablation for atrial fibrillation and other arrhythmia treatments.
What is cardiac ablation for atrial fibrillation?
Atrial fibrillation is a common type of cardiac arrhythmia, a condition where a patient’s heart beats too quickly or irregularly.
Atrial fibrillation may involve no symptoms, or it may be associated with:
- chest pain
- shortness of breath
- decreased blood pressure
Individuals with atrial fibrillation also have a higher risk of stroke.
Cardiac ablation for AFib is a minimally invasive and relatively painless procedure that destroys or “ablates” the tissue in the heart that is producing the irregular electrical signals causing fibrillation.
How cardiac ablation for atrial fibrillation is performed.
During a cardiac ablation procedure, a surgeon makes small incisions in the arm, neck or groin, through which thin wires and a small catheter can be guided to the heart (through the blood vessels). The wires and catheters include technology to perform the ablation, as well as imaging devices that help surgeons monitor their work. When the catheters are in place, doctors stimulate the heart and locate the problem area that is responsible for the atrial fibrillation. Usually this area is very small – about half a centimeter in size. Doctors then use mild heat (radiofrequency ablation) or intense cold (cryoablation) to destroy the tissue causing the irregular heartbeat.
Because cardiac ablation for atrial fibrillation is a minimally invasive, many patients are able to go home the same day. Several days after cardiac ablation surgery, most people are able to return to their normal activities. Some patients experience mild symptoms after surgery, including discomfort in the chest or bruising around the area where the catheters were inserted. The success rate of catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation can be as high as 95%.
Get comprehensive medical care at Salem Hospital.
In addition to cardiac ablation for atrial fibrillation, North Shore residents receive world-class care for a range of medical conditions. View our departments and services >>
Available procedures and specialists include treatment for hyperhidrosis, cardiothoracic surgeons and thoracic surgeons who can provide thoracic outlet syndrome treatment.