Explaining heart ablation surgery

November 12, 2012

Explaining heart ablation surgery

If you suffer with an irregular heartbeat, you may need to have a heart ablation procedure.

Heart ablation surgery is a medical procedure used to resolve the problems of irregular or abnormal heartbeats; or heartbeats that are too fast or too slow. This procedure is generally extremely successful. During a heart ablation procedure the surgeon will remove abnormal tissue from the heart which maybe generating the abnormal electrical impulses which are interfering with the hearts normal impulses.

Why does an abnormal rhythm matter?

If a full regular heartbeat is not produced, for whatever reason, the blood will not be pushed fully out of the heart’s upper chambers, any blood that is left behind may develop clots which increases the risk of a patient experiencing a stroke or heart attack.

Treatment options

Many adults experience the symptoms of an irregular heart beat as palpitations or feel as if their heart has skipped a beat; both of which may indicate that medical intervention is necessary. Once you are correctly diagnosed, your medical practitioner will decide which of the four possible heart ablati0n procedures you require. Three of these procedures are surgical and are generally done as an outpatient, the fourth, non-surgical, can be performed in the doctor’s office. All four procedures have a success rate of over 90%.

The Maze procedure

This is the most invasive heart ablation surgery, it is an open heart procedure and has the longest recovery period. The heart is temporarily stopped to allow the surgeon to enter the heart chamber and make tiny incisions in the muscles. These incisions will then prevent irregular impulses from causing the abnormal heartbeat. This treatment will require a hospital stay of a few days and limited activity for a week or so after discharge.

The modified Maze procedure

The modified Maze procedure is a less invasive process using a catheter to administer a shock wave which will then destroy the path of the irregular electrical impulses. The catheter enters the heart via the groin area. This heart ablation surgery is very popular, it may be carried out on an outpatient basis and the patient may be discharged after only a few hours and will only need to limit activity for several hours.

Heart ablation surgery with scopes

The use of scopes during heart ablation surgery is the third option. Small incisions are made in the chest through which the scope is passed, the surgeon uses the scope to make the tiny incisions in the heart which will then interrupt the irregular impulses. This procedure requires an overnight hospital stay.

Non-surgical procedure

It is possible to have treatment for heart ablation in the doctor’s office under a light anesthetic. This procedure involves the attachment of electrodes to the body which will then send electric impulses to the heart in order to jolt it into a regular beat. The patient will be allowed straight home to rest although will not be able to drive.

Benefits and risks

Generally speaking procedures to correct irregular or abnormal heartbeats are very successful. Your medical practitioner will consider your overall health and the severity of your condition before deciding which procedure is best for you. Whilst having the procedure eliminates the risk of clots or stroke, any surgery is not without risk, it is important to discuss all your options with your doctor and make a fully informed decision on how to proceed.

Category: Articles