Atrial Fibrillation Ablation

Atrial fibrillation ablation involves threading a long, thin, flexible tube called a catheter into the heart through a blood vessel in the arm, upper thigh, or neck. Live X-ray images are used to carefully guide the catheter into the heart. Several flexible tubes with electrodes on the tips are run through the catheter and placed in different small blood vessels in the heart. Sections of the heart are then mapped to locate abnormal tissue.

Energy is applied to destroy targeted tissue that has been identified as causing the irregular heartbeat. Two types of energy that can be used in the procedure are radiofrequency to generate heat or liquid nitrogen to freeze the targeted area of the heart. The resulting scar line then acts as a barrier between affected tissue and the rest of the healthy heart, stopping abnormal electrical signals that cause an irregular heartbeat.