What happens during the Radiofrequency Ablation procedure?
Usually this procedure takes place at your hospital's Electrophysiology
Lab. In the lab you will find television screens, heart monitors,
a blood pressure machine and other various instruments and devices.
You will lie on an x-ray table and a camera will be placed near,
but not touching your body.
Electrodes will be applied to your chest and back to monitor
your heart rhythm at all times. A blood pressure cuff will be
placed on your arm to monitor your blood pressure. You will be
shaved and cleansed with antiseptic solution in the areas where
the catheter will be inserted. These steps are taken to prevent
infection.. You will be covered with sterile sheets.
A local anesthetic will be injected into the skin to numb the
insertion areas. Then a small incision will be made in the skin.
The doctors will use a special needle to puncture the blood vessel
(vein or artery), into which the catheter. will be introduced.
You will feel some pressure but no pain, If you do feel pain,
please let the doctor know, so more numbing medication can be
given to you.
The catheters are then guided into your heart. You will not feel
the catheters inside your body.
During the actual ablation (application of heat), you may feel
some minimal chest pain. . You are allowed to talk to the staff
during the procedure. Let the doctor know how you feel.
When the procedure is completed, the doctor will remove the catheters
and apply firm pressure on the insertion site for 10-20 minutes
to stop the bleeding. A light dressing is then applied to the
How long does the procedure take?
The procedure, including preparation and ablation, will take 2
to 6 hours.
After the procedure, you will be taken to a bed where you will
rest with your head slightly elevated for 4-5 hours. You must
lie flat in the bed and keep your legs straight. You may roll
onto your side, but don't bend your knees. You can wiggle your
feet and toes to avoid stiffness.
After a while you will be able to eat and drink.
How long will I stay in the hospital?
Usually, you will stay overnight in the hospital, for observation
and monitoring of your heart rhythm. Before you are discharged,
you may have a repeat echocardiogram.
What should I do when I get home?
You may be advised to take one aspirin every day for 6 weeks.
Do not strain or lift heavy objects. You should change the dressing
daily. Your doctor or nurse will tell you when it's all right
It is common to see a bruise or a small lump at the insertion
site.. This is temporary.
Call your doctor if you have a fever or if the insertion site
is painful or warm. Call her if you have palpitations, dizziness,
chest pain or shortness of breath.
You can usually stop taking your heart rhythm medications after
a successful ablation. You will probably be able to resume your
normal activities within a day or two at home.