Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) has become a popular treatment choice for specific rhythm disturbances. In RFA, high-frequency radio waves use thermal heat to burn and eliminate the precise location of the heart from which the arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat, originates. RFA also is used in many other medical treatments and is not specific to just heart care.
The minimally invasive procedure is conducted via a catheter inserted into the heart, which delivers the therapeutic radio frequency. The procedure is performed similarly to a traditional electrophysiology study. Read about what to expect during and after an electrophysiology study.
A physician may recommend electrophysiology (EP) studies if a patient has symptoms suggesting problems with heart rhythm. An EP study can help determine the nature of heart rhythm problems and outline what treatment option may be available to correct the problems. During the study, heart rhythm and vitals signs are closely monitored.
During the study, a catheter is inserted into blood vessels in either the neck or the groin. The catheter is then moved through the blood vessels to the heart where it records electrical activity in the heart. Once the catheters are inserted into the heart, the surgeon will conduct several tests and attempt to identify any problem with the heartbeat. The EP study typically takes one to four hours.
After conducting the EP study, the physician may recommend further testing or treatment.
What to expect during this test or treatment
- During the study, your heart rhythm and vitals signs will be closely monitored.
- A catheter – a narrow, flexible tube – will be inserted into blood vessels in either the groin or the neck.
- The catheter will then move through the blood vessels to the heart, where it will record electrical activity in the heart.
- Once the catheter is inserted into the heart, the surgeon will conduct several tests and attempt to identify any problems with the heartbeat.
- The EP study typically takes one to four hours.
What to expect after this test or treatment
- EP studies are less invasive and pain is minimal.
- After conducting the EP study, your cardiologist may recommend further testing or treatment.
If you have any questions about your care after you return home, call your physician’s office.
This test or treatment is offered at these facilities:
Read more about electrophysiology studies.
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