The catheter ablation procedure is a minimally invasive procedure and, in some cases, you can undergo the procedure and go home on the same day.
Your doctor may request some routine tests prior to your procedure or on the day of your procedure. These may include an ECG, X-rays, blood tests, and transoesophageal echocardiogram. In most cases, you will be asked not to eat or drink anything at least 6 hours before attending the procedure (you will receive clear instructions from the hospital prior to attending).
Your doctor will advise you about continuing or stopping any medications you are taking. Be sure to notify your doctor if you have any health changes before your procedure.
Catheter ablation is performed by an electrophysiologist (EP), a heart doctor who specialises in heart rhythms. The procedure is carried out in a catheter lab and you will be sedated.
During the catheter ablation procedure
You will have an intravenous (IV) line inserted in your arm where you will receive fluids and any necessary medication. A local anaesthetic will be applied to the groin where the ablation catheters will be inserted. Your electrophysiologist will carefully maneuver the catheter(s) through the blood vessel in your groin to your heart.
The catheter will be placed in the top-left chamber of your heart and is used to map the abnormal electrical pathways in the heart tissue. When the targeted area is located, the tip of the catheter delivers either the freezing (cryoablation) or heat therapy (radiofrequency) to eliminate the abnormal signals that are causing the AF.
When the procedure is completed, the catheters are removed and either a stitch or pressure application is applied to the groin incision to prevent bleeding.
Recovering from catheter ablation
You may return home on the day of the ablation procedure or be kept in the hospital for one or two nights for observation. You may feel some minor soreness in your chest or bruising/soreness at the insertion site. When you return home, you may need to limit your activity for a couple of days but most patients return to their normal routines quickly and experience improved quality of life. Your doctor will talk to you about any activities you may have to avoid while you are healing.
This information is intended only for users in markets where Medtronic products and therapies are approved or available for use as indicated within the respective product manuals. Content on specific Medtronic products and therapies is not intended for users in markets that do not have authorisation for use.
See the device manual(s) for detailed information regarding the instructions for use, indications, contraindications, warnings, precautions, and potential adverse events.