It is a process used to treat a condition called Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) which causes irregular heartbeats. The condition can lead to blood clot in your heart, heart failure or a stroke. Ablation is used a mode of treatment when procedures like cardioversions don’t give desired results. It is for people for whom Atrial Fibrillation makes day'to'work difficult or those who have had blood clot or a stroke.
Cardiac ablation scars or destroys heart tissues that cause an irregular heartbeats.There are two types of ablation: catheter ablation and surgical ablation. Your doctor will decide the type of ablation to be performed on various factors like the cause of your AFib and your risks of developing a heart disease.
Your doctor is likely to ask you to stop eating or drinking the night before ablation. You will have to take special precautions if you have already had a major heart surgery before. Your doctor will tell you whether or not to continue with any medicines that you might have been taking. They will also allay your fears and clear your doubts.
There are two types of ablation and procedure depends on which type you have been asked to go through.
Catheter ablation is a less invasive process than a surgery. A tube flexible enough is put through your leg or neck and then moved towards your heart. The doctor then proceeds to destroy the tissues that are causing the irregular heartbeat through the use of heat or extreme cold temperature, or radio energy.
Surgical ablation is a procedure used usually on people who have already gone through a heart bypass surgery. This type of surgery involves cutting open your chest. Although, nowadays, a modified form of the surgery where doctors put a video camera or a tiny robot into your chest that helps guide the creation of a scar tissue to get the heartbeat to normal.
In both the processes you are given anaesthesia or sedatives through an intravenous line. You will be asleep through the procedure.
After the cardiac ablation you will be moved to an ICU where you will stay for close to 6 hours under observation. How soon you are allowed to go home will depend on your condition. You might feel soreness for a week or so, but within a few days of the surgery you should be back to your usual living.