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Atrial Fibrillation Ablation

Atrial Fibrillation Ablation

St. Mary is one of the first hospitals in the region to offer catheter ablation as a treatment for atrial fibrillation, the most common abnormal heart rhythm and also the most difficult to treat. The first atrial ablation was performed at St. Mary in April 2006.

In this minimally invasive procedure done in advanced electrophysiology labs at St. Mary, an interventional electrophysiologist guides a slender catheter into the heart.

 

 
Ablation catheter used to deliver radiofrequency energy
 

Once the catheter is positioned, tiny sensors in the tip read the catheter's location using triangulation methods similar to global positioning systems. At the same time, precise electrical activity is gathered and fed into a computer creating color-coded maps of the heart's electrical pathways allowing these highly skilled physicians to pinpoint the abnormal tissue causing the heart to beat too rapidly or at irregular intervals. The electrophysiologist then precisely positions an ablation catheter to deliver radiofrequency energy to modify the abnormal electrical pathways and restore the heart's normal rhythm.

More information about atrial fibrillation