Cardiac Ablation Surgery

Cardiac ablation surgery at NSMC

North Shore patients considering cardiac ablation for atrial fibrillation (AFib) or another type of arrhythmia treatment find excellent options for cardiac ablation surgery at the NSMC Heart Center of North Shore Medical Center.

The NSMC Heart Center was developed in close collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. It is the only heart center on the North Shore with comprehensive cardiac services, including advanced cardiac surgery and the cardiac electrophysiology program. Cardiac ablation surgery is performed by our cardiac electrophysiologists, who evaluate and treat a full range of heart rhythm disturbances such as rapid and slow heart rates, palpitations, lightheadedness and blackout spells.

The cardiac ablation procedure is often recommended for patients experiencing heart arrhythmia – abnormal rate or rhythm of heartbeat. Cardiac ablation for AFib is now a viable alternative to long-term medication, and is revolutionizing management of cardiac arrhythmias.

How cardiac ablation surgery works

During cardiac ablation surgery, a catheter is inserted through small incisions in the arm, neck or groin and guided through blood vessels to the heart.

Once in place, electrodes at the end of the catheter are used to stimulate the heart and identify the area of heart tissue that is causing the abnormal rhythm. Then, using a mild radio frequency heat energy (called radiofrequency ablation) or very cold temperatures (cryoablation), doctors destroy the problem tissue.

This is typically a very small area – usually about one-fifth of an inch. Once the ablation surgery is completed and the problem tissue is eliminated, the abnormal electrical signals that caused the arrhythmia should be longer be present.

Cardiac ablation surgery may take anywhere from 3 to 6 hours. While most people do not feel pain during a cardiac ablation surgery, physicians usually provide patients with intravenous medication to help them relax.

Additional electrophysiology treatments and procedures

In addition to cardiac ablation surgery, patients may come to NSMC Heart Center for a full spectrum of arrhythmia treatments, including:

  • Antiarrhythmic medication therapy
  • Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) placement
  • Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT) or also known as Bi-ventricular pacemaker implant and or ICD placement
  • Defibrillator or Pacemaker Surgery
  • Cardioversion
  • Implantable loop recorders
  • Head-up-tilt-table testing
  • Electrophysiology Study (EPS)
  • Single and dual chamber permanent pacemaker implants
  • Non-invasive Programmed Stimulation
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