ardiac ablation is a type of therapy performed on the heart muscle to correct heart rhythm. One of the most common heart abnormalities is called cardiac arrhythmia. Heart rhythm disorders can occur in the upper chambers of the heart, known as atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter, or the lower chambers of the heart, known as ventricular fibrillation and tachycardia, or accelerated heartbeat. The atrium are the upper chambers of the heart, and the ventricles are the lower and larger portions of the heart.
The ventricles, or larger lower portions of the heart, are responsible for pumping blood into and out of the heart muscle. Any type of heart rhythm abnormality can affect health, cardiac function, and organs throughout the body that require oxygen-rich and nutrient-filled blood for optimal function.
A variety of ablation therapies may be utilized to help treat heart arrhythmias. These therapies can be nonsurgical eat or surgically based. One of the most common techniques for ablation therapy is called radiofrequency ablation, similar to other forms of ablation therapies distinguished through its use of heat for treatment, though the approach is the same in other nonsurgical forms of ablation.
Nonsurgical ablation is performed as an outpatient in an electrophysiology, or EP, laboratory setting. During the procedure, a wire or catheter is inserted into the heart where the heart rhythm abnormality is located. Energy is directed through this catheter to the heart muscle, which interrupts abnormal electrical pulse pathways, thereby removing the source of the arrhythmia. In essence, the ablation therapy disconnects the electrical current originating from a damaged or malfunctioning portion of the heart to encourage the heart to beat at its normal pace.
Surgical ablation takes on several different forms:
Minimally invasive surgical ablation doesn't require an incision in the chest or heart, as special tools are utilized that require only very small and precise incisions in the chest wall. An endoscope, which is a type of surgical instrument with a camera attached to one end, is inserted into the incision point, and the operating field is viewable on a monitor or screen in the operating room.
The Maze procedure is an open heart surgery. The cardiac surgeon opens the chest cavity and then makes very small incisions into the heart muscle that serve to disrupt abnormal electrical impulses that send out poor or bad signals that tell the heart to create in an abnormal heart rhythm, leading to rhythm abnormalities. The focus of this surgery is to encourage the heart muscle to return to normal sinus rhythm via an electrical node located between the atria and the ventricles, called the atrioventricular node. The AV node is located between the upper right and lower right chambers of the heart and is responsible for controlling the heart rate. Electrical impulses produced by the AV node conduct the impulses through the heart muscles and stimulate the contraction and pumping action of the cardiac muscle.
The Modified Maze Procedure utilizes a energy-emitting catheter that literally causes scars or legions directly on the heart muscle, which are utilized to block irregular or abnormal electrical impulses. Several sources can be utilized to create such scar tissue including microwave, laser, radiofrequency, and cryothermy. This type of procedure involves one small incision in the left atrium, or upper left portion of the heart muscle.
Radiofrequency ablation is typically used to treat super of ventricular tachyarrhythmia, also known as on coordinated, irregular, and rapid heartbeat.
In the United States, the cost of cardiac ablation can cost anywhere between $10,000 and $45,000. Radiofrequency cardiac ablation averages around $6,000. Costs may vary depending on geographic location, hospital, and surgeons performing the procedure. Cost may also be determined by the type of technique utilized in modified Maze procedures.
Travelers to India, Turkey and Mexico may enjoy savings of thousands of dollars by undergoing radiofrequency ablation procedures in some of the best cardiac care hospitals around the world, paying as little as $2,000 for the same procedure.
A cardiologist trained in noninvasive as well as invasive cardiac procedures may perform a cardiac ablation procedures. Cardiologists are not surgeons. Your cardiologist should be a fully trained physician certified to treat various cardiovascular problems and issues. He or she should have graduated from an approved and accredited medical school or college, have at least 2-3 years experience in providing patient care and several years of specialized cardiovascular education and experience. Make sure that the cardiologist you choose is certified and accredited in his or her country of origin.
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