Ablation for atrial fibrillation (AFib) is a procedure used to treat the irregular heartbeats associated with AFib.
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It involves minor burns or freezes to induce some scarring on the inside of the heart to help break up the electrical signals that cause irregular heartbeats.
During ablation, a catheter which is a thin, hollow tube, is inserted into a blood vessel in the groin and threads it up to the heart blood artery to allow access to the heart's chamber.
The doctor uses the catheters to make minor burns or freezes on a small portion of the heart to scar a small area.
During the burning process, a form of energy called radiofrequency energy utilizes heat to scar the tissue.
The freezing process involves a technology named cryoablation.
Scarring helps in the prevention of conducting abnormal electrical signals that cause atrial fibrillation.[JohnsHopkins Medicine]
Ablation is considered a safe procedure with a low risk of complications.
Ablation is considered to be an effective treatment for AFib, with success rates ranging from 50-90% depending on the type of AFib and other factors. [National Library of Medicine]