Saturday, April 27, 2013

Cardiac Ablation

Ablation uses a catheter inserted through a vein in the groin which is then guided through the vasculature to the area of problematic cardiac tissue. At this point, radiographic frequency is used to destroy the tissue that are causing electrical disturbances {arrhythmias}.

There are many risks associated with ablation. Such as bleeding, sudden cardiac arrest, damage to the heart's electrical system, blood clots leading to stroke or heart attack, narrowing of the vein and kidney damage from the dyes used in the procedure. Therefore, it is not the first line of treatment. Typically, the physician must have used less invasive treatment options first to correct the arrhythmia. Patients who have not responded to cardiac medication or who have had serious side effects from the medications are candidates for ablation. For these patients, ablation will be the next treatment option.

Cardiac ablation may take up to 6 hours to complete. Procedural complications may make the procedure run longer. It is important to make lifestyle changes post-procedure to keep your heart healthy. Avoid caffeine. Decrease sodium intake. Exercise. Lose weight. Eat heart healthy foods. Quite smoking. Continue to take medications as prescribed. You have just been given a lease on life.

Good health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN