Ablation of Cardiac Arrhythmias
(including atrial fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia)
Cardiac ablation is a procedure performed to cure an arrhythmia (an abnormal heart rhythm). The cardiac ablation procedure uses small wires called catheters, which are placed inside the heart through the groin to measure your heart’s electrical activity. Cardiac ablation prevents abnormal electrical signals from traveling through the heart, which can cure an arrhythmia. These catheters use heat (or cold) to get rid of abnormal tissue in your heart that is triggering your abnormal heart rhythm. Cardiac ablation is often used to treat certain heart rhythm problems that have not responded to medication.
Direct Current Cardioversion
A direct current cardioversion is a medical procedure used to convert an irregular heart rhythm (atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter) back to your heart’s normal rhythm (sinus rhythm). A cardioversion helps restore a normal heartbeat through a noninvasive procedure. You are first made comfortable using a small amount of sedation, and then an external defibrillator is used to pass a synchronized amount of energy through two pads (or paddles) across your chest. This carefully planned and delivered energy immediately stops your irregular heart rhythm. Most people can go home after the sedative wears off. Most patients need to take blood thinners and antiarrhythmic drugs to help maintain normal rhythm. If the medications don’t work then Dr. Ahuja can discuss an ablation to help maintain normal rhythm.
An electrophysiology study examines the heart’s electrical activity to diagnose, evaluate and treat arrhythmia (an abnormal heart rhythm), which can be a sign of various heart problems. Performed by Dr. Ahuja in an electrophysiology lab, an electrophysiology study involves running approximately 3 to 4 electrode-tipped catheters through veins or arteries to a patient’s heart. Small electrical signals are sent via the catheters to the heart to make it beat faster or slower. The catheters pick up the electrical signals produced by the heart, and record them so they can be evaluated.
Balloon Angioplasty or Stent placement
Balloon angioplasty and stent placement is a minimally invasive procedure performed to open blocked arteries and improve blood flow. Interventional cardiologists commonly perform these procedures to the arteries of the heart (for treatment of chest pain or shortness of breath) or the arteries of the legs (for treatment of leg pain or numbness). When a blockage is found it can be opened by carefully inflating a small balloon inside the blockage (angioplasty). Next a stent can be placed in the area of the fixed blockage in order to minimize the chance of the blockage happening again. After angioplasty and stent placement, the patient will need to lie still for several hours to prevent bleeding. Aspirin plus another medication will likely be used after the procedure to help keep the stent open.
Peripheral laser atherectomy uses a catheter that emits high energy light (laser) to unblock an artery. The catheter is maneuvered through the artery until it reaches the blockage. Laser energy is used to essentially vaporize the blockage inside the vessel. This results in increased blood flow to the leg.
Cardiac Catheterization (Angiograms)
A coronary angiogram, also called cardiac catheterization, is an X-ray image of the inside of the heart’s arteries using a contrast dye. The imaging is performed to detect the approximate location of an aneurysm or a blockage that may be causing your chest pain or shortness of breath. A thin tube called a catheter is inserted through an IV into an artery in either the wrist or leg, and then carefully positioned near the heart. The contrast dye is injected and X-rays pictures are taken. If there is a blocked or damaged artery, treatment for the condition can be done at the same time with an angioplasty or stent.
For more information or to make an appointment for a cardiac evaluation. it’s about time!