Cardiac Catheter Ablation
Cardiac catheter ablation is a medical procedure that doctors use as one of the primary treatments for arrhythmias, which are defined as abnormal heartbeats. The heart's electrical system controls the rate and rhythm of your heartbeat. Cardiac catheter ablation is a minimally invasive procedure performed in a special hospital room called an electrophysiology laboratory, or EP Lab. The ablation is performed by a heart doctor who specializes in treating problems of the heart's electrical circuitry. In the ablation procedure, thin wires called catheters are inserted into a large blood vessel in the arm, neck, or upper thigh and guided into the heart, where they are temporarily placed to first identify the cause of the arrhythmia. Once the doctors determine the location where abnormal heartbeats are causing an arrhythmia to start, they destroy (ablate) the abnormal heart tissue with radiofrequency energy delivered by a special machine. Patients often go home the same day or spend one night in the hospital and go home the next morning. This type of catheter ablation offers a cure for many arrhythmias including Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome and AV nodal reentrant tachycardias. It is increasingly used for the treatment of atrial fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia.
Watch animation of catheter ablation procedure
UAB Heart & Vascular Services delivers optimal patient care for heart rhythm disorders. You will be cared for by regional and world leaders in the treatment of heart arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, ventricular tachycardia, Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, atrioventricular re-entrant tachycardia, and other heart rhythm abnormalities.
Our physicians evaluate the newest treatments and technologies and author professional publications that advance the field of arrhythmia treatment. Their extensive experience and academic backgrounds ensure that they are familiar with all types of heart rhythm disorders. Our academic medical center performs more than 600 heart rhythm-related procedures each year, and our success in treating all types of complex arrhythmias is well-documented. Our electrophysiologists have access to the UAB Heart and Vascular Center, one of the largest of its kind in the Southeast. It features the most advanced technology available, including four procedural suites dedicated to electrophysiology (the electrical signals in the heart). At UAB Medicine you are part of a program that carries out pioneering work in atrial fibrillation and advanced pacemaker and cardioverter defibrillator design.
Images and Videos
Understand the risk factors and symptoms of heart arrhythmias, and when it is important for you to see a doctor.
Arrhythmia Risk Factors, Symptoms, & Treatments
If you've ever felt your heart skip a beat, you may have an arrhythmia. Tom McElderry, MD, an arrhythmia specialist at UAB, talks to Daytime Alabama on WVTM-TV, Channel 13, in Birmingham, Ala., about the symptoms and risk factors of arrhythmia, and what to do if you or a loved one experiences this condition.
UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials for the diagnosis and treatment of paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.View Clinical Trials