Cardiac ablation surgery

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Cardiac ablation surgery

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Your heart beats because it makes little electrical impulses that follow a certain path. Like lights going on and off in a normal, sequential manner.

A heart arrhythmia (abnormal beating pattern) can happen when one part of your heart has an extra electrical impulse where it’s not supposed to be, throwing things off. So think of an extra light switch being put in that makes everything go wild, turning on and off a bunch of new light switches in ways that don’t follow that normal path anymore.

An ablation is basically when they find that little switch that’s making all the other lights go wonky, and turn it off so the rest of the electricity goes back to normal.

Your heart is essentially an electrical circuit, the electrical pulse triggering chamber contractions in sequence as it moves through the pathway in the heart.

Sometimes people develop additional pathways that can cause ‘shortcircuits’, leading to irregular heart behaviour.

Cardiac ablation surgery, wires are passed through a catheter in the thigh into the femoral artery, and make their way up to the heart. These wires are used to ablate (burn/scar) the faulty areas of heart tissue so they stop conducting and causing problems.

In some circumstances cryoablation is done – freezing instead of burning.
This is slightly less effective however it allows the surgical team to ‘test’ the effect before the point of no return, and is normally done if the target area is deemed too close to critical tissues.