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What happens during ablation for atrial fibrillation?

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Your doctor puts long, thin tubes called catheters into blood vessels in your leg or neck, and then guides them to your heart. One catheter has an ultrasound at the end -- a device that uses soundwaves to let the doctor see an image of your heart. During the procedure, energy from radio waves or lasers travels through the catheter. It burns the parts of your heart that cause the messed-up electrical signals that trigger your rhythm problems. After a few weeks, scars form in those spots, which stop the faulty signals and bring back a steady heart rhythm.

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. , July 2014. European Heart Journal

January, Craig T. , 2014. Circulation

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, 2017

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. , July 2014. European Heart Journal

January, Craig T. , 2014. Circulation

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, 2017

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