Benefits and Risks Catheter Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation


Catheter ablation may treat atrial fibrillation. In combination with a complete program of treatment, catheter ablation may improve your quality of life and eliminate or reduce the unpleasant symptoms of atrial fibrillation like shortness of breath, fatigue, or weakness. Be sure to speak with your doctor about your condition.

The procedure may be an effective way to treat atrial fibrillation, improving patients’ quality of life.


As with any medical procedure, there are benefits and risks with catheter ablation. Some of the risks include stroke, pericardial tamponade, narrowing of pulmonary veins, phrenic nerve injury, damage to the blood vessels in your groin area, and a serious but rare risk of atrio-esophageal fistula. Other risks include irritation, infection, or bleeding occurring where the catheter was inserted; the heart could be punctured; fluid may build up around the heart, or in rare cases death may occur.

Remember to talk to your doctor about all benefits and risks that are specific to your condition and any concerns or questions you have. Although many patients benefit from catheter ablation, results may vary. Your doctor can help you decide if it is right for you.

Catheter Ablation Risks

The following video discusses some of the possible risks of catheter ablation.

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.