Overview of Ablation

Ablation (also called catheter ablation or radiofrequency ablation) is a technique used to treat abnormalities of the heart's electrical system that has caused the heart to beat fast, irregularly, or with too many extra beats. It involves ablating (destroying) a very small, targeted area of the heart muscle. By destroying the area responsible for the abnormal rhythm, ablation restores a normal heartbeat. Ablations are performed in a hospital's specialized cardiac catheterization laboratory by highly trained electrophysiology cardiologists.

Ablations are done using radiofrequency energy (similar to microwave heat). During radiofrequency ablation, a catheter with an electrode at its tip is guided through a blood vessel into your heart. The electrode sends out radiofrequency energy that burns away the cells that are causing the fast or irregular heartbeat. The catheter is then removed from your body.

This image shows the ablation catheter in the heart. The sino-atrial (SA) node and the atrioventricular (AV) node are the natural pacemakers of the heart.

Ablation Video with Dr. John Day

© 2018 Intermountain Healthcare. All rights reserved. The content presented here is for your information only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, and it should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.