narrowing of the veins that carry blood between your heart and lungs (pulmonary vein stenosis)
damage to your kidneys
and death, in rare cases
Furthermore, your risks of having these complications may increase significantly if you have diabetes or kidney disease.
4 Preparing for your Procedure
In order to prepare for a cardiac ablation procedure, the doctor will make an evaluation of you and proceed to order several tests to evaluate your heart's condition.
He or she will also explain the potential risks and benefits of cardiac ablation.
You are required to stop eat and drinking for a period of about six to eight hours before your procedure.
If you are already under medication, ask you doctor if you should continue taking them before your procedure.
Your doctor will inform you if you need to follow any other instructions before or after the procedure.
In some situations, you will be ordered to stop taking medications to treat a heart arrhythmia several days before your procedure.
If you have an implanted heart device, such as a pacemaker or an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, talk to your doctor to see if you require any special precautions.
5 What to Expect
Read on to learn more about what to expect before, during, and after your cardiac ablation procedure.
During the procedure
Cardiac ablation is performed in the hospital. Before the procedure is initiated, a specialist will insert an intravenous line into your forearm or hand, and a sedative will be administered to you to help you relax.
After your sedative has taken effect, your doctor will proceed to numb a small area near a vein in your neck, groin or forearm. He or she will then insert a needle into the vein and place a tube through the needle.
Your doctor will then proceed to thread the catheters through the sheaths and guide them to several places in your heart. Your doctor may also inject dye into the catheter, which helps your doctor see the blood vessels using x-ray imaging.
The catheters have electrodes at the tips that will be used during the procedure. Once in place, the electrodes will send electrical impulses to your heart and further record the electrical activity of your heart.
This will assist the doctor to find the abnormal cardiac tissue causing the arrhythmia.
Once the abnormal heart tissue causing the arrhythmia is identified, your doctor will aim the catheter tips to create a scar or destroy the tissue that triggers your arrhythmia.
In some situations, ablations block electrical signals travelling through your heart to prevent the abnormal rhythm and allow signals to traverse over a normal pathway.
The energy utilised in your procedure can originate from:
lasers and extreme cold (cryoablation).
In most scenarios, cardiac ablation takes two to four hours to complete, but complex procedures may take longer. During this procedure, if possible, you will feel some minor levels of discomfort when the dye is injected into your catheter or when energy is run through the catheter tips.
If you experience any type of severe pain or shortness of breath, you should alert the cardiologist performing the procedure.
After the procedure
After the procedure has been performed, you will be a move to another area to recover. There, you will need to lie still for four to six hours to prevent bleeding at your catheter site.
Your heart beat and blood pressure will also be monitored continuously to check for any complications. You may be able to go home the same day as your procedure, or stay longer in the hospital, this solely depends on your condition.
If you go home the same day, have someone drive you home. It is normal to feel a little sore after the procedure. However, this soreness does not last for more than a week. You will be able to return to you daily routine a few days after the procedure.
6 Procedure Results
Understanding the results of your cardiac ablation will be made possible by your doctor.
Although cardiac ablation can be a success, some individuals need repeat procedures.
You may also need to take medication even after the ablation.
To keep your heart healthy, you must make lifestyle changes that can improve its overall health.
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