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What are the cons of ablation for atrial fibrillation?

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Ablation is generally safe, but it does have some risks. Some of the things that can go wrong are:

  • Bleeding around your heart or where the catheter is inserted
  • Hole in the heart
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Narrowing of the pulmonary vein
  • Damage to the esophagus, the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach

Also, your atrial fibrillation can come back in the first few months after you have ablation. In that case, you may need to have the procedure again, or take heart rhythm drugs.

SOURCES:

AHRQ: "Radiofrequency Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation: A Guide for Adults."

American Heart Association: "Non-surgical procedures for atrial fibrillation," "What is Atrial Fibrillation (AFib or AF)?"

Cleveland Clinic: "Pulmonary vein isolation ablation."

Haegeli, Laurent M. European Heart Journal, July 2014.

January, Craig T. Circulation, 2014.

Massachusetts General Hospital: "Catheter Ablation for the Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation."

Mount Sinai St. Luke's: "A patient guide to atrial fibrillation and catheter ablation."

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: "How Does a Pacemaker Work?" "How Will a Pacemaker Affect My Lifestyle?" "What are the Risks of Pacemaker Surgery?" "What to Expect During Pacemaker Surgery."

The Society of Thoracic Surgeons: "HRS/EHRA/ECAS Expert Consensus Statement on Catheter and Surgical Ablation of Atrial Fibrillation: Recommendations for Personnel, Policy, Procedures, and Follow-Up."

The University of Chicago Medicine: "Surgical Treatment for Atrial Fibrillation."

Reviewed by James Beckerman on December 4, 2019

SOURCES:

AHRQ: "Radiofrequency Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation: A Guide for Adults."

American Heart Association: "Non-surgical procedures for atrial fibrillation," "What is Atrial Fibrillation (AFib or AF)?"

Cleveland Clinic: "Pulmonary vein isolation ablation."

Haegeli, Laurent M. European Heart Journal, July 2014.

January, Craig T. Circulation, 2014.

Massachusetts General Hospital: "Catheter Ablation for the Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation."

Mount Sinai St. Luke's: "A patient guide to atrial fibrillation and catheter ablation."

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: "How Does a Pacemaker Work?" "How Will a Pacemaker Affect My Lifestyle?" "What are the Risks of Pacemaker Surgery?" "What to Expect During Pacemaker Surgery."

The Society of Thoracic Surgeons: "HRS/EHRA/ECAS Expert Consensus Statement on Catheter and Surgical Ablation of Atrial Fibrillation: Recommendations for Personnel, Policy, Procedures, and Follow-Up."

The University of Chicago Medicine: "Surgical Treatment for Atrial Fibrillation."

Reviewed by James Beckerman on December 4, 2019

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