Cardiac ablation can provide a cure for many people with arrhythmia. By using heat or cold, we can precisely treat a range of abnormal heart rhythms, from the straightforward to the complex.
What is cardiac ablation?
During an ablation procedure, we target areas of your heart tissue responsible for causing the arrhythmia. Ablation safely creates a small scar that blocks abnormal electrical signals in your heart. Doing so can restore your heart’s normal rhythm.
We use the latest ablation methods available:
- Radiofrequency ablation: This procedure uses heat to burn away the tissue.
- Cryoablation: This technique uses extreme cold to freeze the tissue.
Why choose the Henry Ford Heart & Vascular Institute for cardiac ablation?
With minimally invasive techniques and advanced technology, we can safely access your heart and stop abnormal rhythms where they start.
Our doctors perform ablation procedures in our dedicated EP (electrophysiology) labs. These labs feature high-tech equipment that lets us test the electrical activity of your heart.
Real-time 3D imaging for ablation
3D imaging technology allows us to create highly detailed pictures of your heart during your ablation procedure. We create these images using special mapping software. These real-time images allow us to find exactly where an arrhythmia begins and apply treatment in that location.
Robotic magnetic navigation
We use robotic magnetic navigation to perform some cardiac ablations. This highly specialized technique uses robotically controlled magnets that guide the ablation device to your heart.
Robotic magnetic navigation helps us pinpoint and treat the arrhythmia with even greater precision and safety. Find out more about robotic magnetic navigation.
Why do I need cardiac ablation?
Ablation is a treatment for erratic or rapid heartbeats. Arrhythmias we treat with ablation include:
- Atrial fibrillation (AFib)
- Atrial flutter
- Premature ventricular contraction (PVC)
- Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT)
- Ventricular tachycardia (VT)
- Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome (WPW)
We discuss your treatment options with you so you can decide if ablation is the right choice. We often recommend ablation:
- After someone has tried arrhythmia medication to control their heart rhythm, without success
- If someone has side effects from medication
- As a first choice (and potential cure) for supraventricular tachycardia
What to expect from an ablation procedure
During your ablation, we:
- Give you a sedative to help you relax or sleep through the procedure
- Make a small incision in your groin, arm or neck
- Thread a thin tube called a sheath up to your heart
- Insert catheters with tiny electrodes into the sheath and send them to your heart using X-ray guidance
- Insert mapping catheters that create 3D images of your heart
- Use the electrodes to locate the exact cause of the arrhythmia and record your heart’s rhythm
- Burn or freeze the area causing the arrhythmia
After your ablation
Your procedure may take two to four hours. Following your ablation, you need to lie still for a few hours. You can go home later that day or the next day.