Also referred to as ‘cardiovascular diseases’, heart disorders have become one of the major concerns nowadays. They account for a massive range of life-threatening complications such as arrhythmias. Arrhythmias can be simply defined as a health condition that gives rise to irregular heartbeat pattern in an individual. They may even lead to death if proper treatment is not given to patients in early stages. Fluttering sensation in chest, intense chest pain, dizziness, sweating and racing or slow heartbeats are the most prominent symptoms of arrhythmias. Patients suffering from such conditions must consult well-qualified cardiac surgeons for availing suitable medical treatments.
What is Heart Radiofrequency Ablation?
Heart radiofrequency ablation is a medical intervention that is mainly used for treating uneven heartbeat problems. It is clinically termed as ‘cardiac catheter ablation’ as it involves the use of a sophisticated thin device – ‘catheter’. This procedure precisely destroys abnormal tissues that are responsible for the development of arrhythmias with the help of radiofrequency energy.
Good Candidates for Heart Radiofrequency Ablation Procedure
Patients who fulfill the following criteria are considered to be good candidates for undergoing heart ablation surgery.
- Failure of Medications – Patients who have already tried medicines to cure their arrhythmias without any significant results can opt for radiofrequency ablation surgery.
- Medicinal Side-Effects – Medicines may prove beneficial in treating arrhythmias. However, they may cause serious side-effects on patient’s overall health. In such cases, doctors may recommend heart ablation surgery.
- Severe Arrhythmia-Related Issues – Patients struggling with certain arrhythmias like supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), atrial fibrillation or Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome can largely get benefited by undergoing cardiac ablation procedure. In addition to this, doctors may suggest this surgery to patients who are extremely prone to getting a sudden cardiac arrest.
- Medical Status – It is important for patients to be in a good general health. Patients suffering from severe chronic ailments like kidney failure or liver problems may have to undergo a complete medical inspection before the main procedure.
Diagnosing Heart Conditions
Choosing a well-qualified cardiac surgeon is very crucial. It will considerably boost the chances of successful results following the radiofrequency ablation surgery. Doctors may request patients to tell them the symptoms and its severity. After that, respective cardiac surgeons may suggest the following medical tests for diagnosing underlying condition of patient’s heart.
- Electrocardiogram Test (ECG) – This painless test involves recording the electrical as well as muscular activity of patient’s heart. Doctors use a specialized machine which is capable of measuring heartbeat of patients. ECG can easily detect the presence of arrhythmias as well as their severity.
- Echocardiography (Echo) – This test involves the use of sound waves for generating high-resolution as well as real time images of patient’s heart. It helps doctors in evaluating internal condition of patient’s heart and nearby structures.
- Stress Test – During this procedure, doctors ask patients to run on a treadmill or perform any physical task while they simultaneously monitor their heartbeat pattern. This test helps respective cardiologist to understand the heart condition of patients.
- Blood Evaluation Test – Doctors may advise patients to undergo some blood tests. They may collect a sample of blood for checking any additional health complications.
Preparing for Heart Ablation Surgery
- Cardiac surgeons may ask patients to follow the below-mentioned guidelines in order to stay healthy and get desired outcomes following heart ablation procedure.
- Medicines – Cardiac surgeons may ask patients to stop or begin consuming certain medicines and herbal supplements before few weeks of their surgery.
- No Smoking – It is utmost important to quit smoking before undergoing radiofrequency treatments and surgeries because it may adversely impact healing process in future.
- Healthy Routine – Patients should follow a healthy daily routine in order to ensure good health condition.
Doctors will likely request patients not to eat or drink anything 8 to 10 hours prior to their cardiac ablation procedure. Furthermore, patients should ask someone to accompany them during their surgery because they will not be allowed to drive while going back to home.
Cardiac Ablation Procedure
Cardiac ablation is a bit complex procedure and takes six to eight hours for its completion. It can be performed with the help of following steps.
- Sedative or General Anesthesia – Doctors may either give sedatives or general anesthesia to patients before beginning the operation. It will help them feel relaxed and reduce the uneasiness.
- Insertion of Catheter – Respective cardiac surgeons may make an incision in patient’s arm, neck or groin and insert a catheter device for accessing their damaged hearts. Catheter has a high-resolution camera that guides respective doctor throughout the operation. Cardiac surgeons are likely to inject a dye-like material into catheter so as to figure out presence and location of underlying abnormality. In addition to this, they also record the electrical activity of patient’s heart.
- Identifying and Destroying Abnormal Tissue – As soon as doctors trace the location of abnormal tissue, they direct radiofrequency (heat energy) for destroying it completely. In some cases, lasers can also be used to serve the purpose.
Doctors may monitor patients for some time following cardiac ablation surgery in order to reduce post-surgical problems.
Risks and Complications Associated with Radiofrequency Ablation Surgery
The given points give out some major risks and complications associated with radiofrequency ablation surgery.
- Heavy Bleeding – Patients may have to encounter problem of heavy bleeding at catheter incision site.
- Swelling and Infection – In some instances, complications such as swelling and severe infection may occur. Patients must contact respective doctors immediately on observing these issues.
- Damage to Blood Vessels – Patient’s healthy blood vessels may get damaged during cardiac ablation procedure.
- Rapid Heartbeats – Heartbeat problem may get worse if surgery is not performed properly.
Patients must strictly select cardiac surgeons who have expertise in performing this surgery in order to minimize health risks and complications.
Recovery Following Heart Ablation Surgery
Patients may need staying in the hospital for a couple of days following heart ablation surgery. Patients may feel pain and swelling around operated region. Doctors may prescribe medicines to them for overcoming such issues. Patients should stay active and eat fresh fruits and vegetables in order to maintain a good heart health for a long time. They must not forget to visit respective cardiac surgeons for follow-up care. These steps will definitely speed up their recovery.
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