Ablation for AFib
What to Expect During Ablation Procedures for Atrial Fibrillation
One of the most recommended atrial fibrillation treatments is likely to be catheter insertion. Although the thoughts of more incisions and the process of recovering from surgery might fill you with discomfort, the truth is that the procedure is a minimally invasive one.
That said, you might have concerns or questions regarding the procedure, in terms of what to expect before the procedure, during it, and once it has been completed. Here is a guide to what to expect when undergoing catheter ablation.
How to Get Ready for the Process of Catheter Insertion
It is possible that your doctor will have some tests scheduled for you, including blood tests, X-rays, and ECGs, as well as transesophageal echocardiograms. These tests may be scheduled for you when your procedure is set to be done if they have not been run ahead of time. In the majority of situations, you will not be allowed to eat or drink food or liquids past midnight on the day of your procedure.
Your physician will also provide you with advice regarding whether you should start or stop any current medications. Of course, if you have any changes in health before your medical procedure is set to begin, let your doctor know.
What to Expect During the Procedure of Catheter Ablation
An electrophysiologist, or EP, is the person who will be leading your catheter ablation. This is a cardiologist who has a specialty in working with heart rhythms. When the procedure is underway, you will obtain fluids as well as the medication you need via an intravenous, or IV, line in your arm. You will either be put to sleep, which involves anesthesia, or you will have some kind of sedation for the procedure.
You will receive a local anesthetic when the EP plans on inserting the catheters. The majority of the time, your groin's major blood vessel is that which will be used for the insertion of the catheter. However, you might also be able to use the blood vessels found in your neck, arm, or chest.
Your EP will work the catheter or catheters carefully from your blood vessel all the way to the left atrium of the heart. Your left atrium is where the catheter will be placed so your heart's unusual electrical pathways can be mapped out.
This will let the EP know what's going on in the heart, electrically speaking, and assess how it's affecting your health. When the targeted area has been found, the distal part of the catheter will be used to send either radio or cryo energy to find out where the abnormal electrical pathway is located. This will be the source of the atrial fibrillation.
Once the procedure has been finished, the catheters will be taken out and there will be pressure placed on the insertion site of the catheter to keep bleeding from occurring. This represents the end of the procedure for most people, as long as no complications are present.
What about Recovery?
In the majority of situations, you will remain at the hospital overnight so you can be observed. It is possible that you will have a bit of soreness in the chest, as well as soreness or bruising where the insertion occurred. When you get back home, you might not be able to do as much as you normally would for a few days.
However, the majority of patients are able to get back to their normal activities before too long. Your doctor will let you know if there is anything in particular that you should not do while you are on the mend.