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Doctor with Files

Catheter Ablation

Offering a cure for arrhythmia

Catheter ablation offers a minimally invasive way to restore your heart's rhythm and improve your quality of life. As a consultant cardiologist, I provide this advanced procedure for a wide range of arrhythmias, with a particular focus on day-case ablation for atrial fibrillation (AF), a common and concerning condition.

What does catheter ablation involve

Think of your heart's rhythm like an orchestra. In arrhythmias, the electrical signals get mixed up, causing the heart to beat too fast, too slow, or erratically. Catheter ablation acts like a conductor, using thin, flexible tubes (catheters) to pinpoint and eliminate the problematic electrical pathways. It's a minimally invasive approach, usually requiring only a tiny incision and offering much faster recovery compared to traditional open-heart surgery. Most procedures take less than an hour-and-a-half, and patients are up and about within a couple of hours and home the same day.

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Ablation Technologies

I believe in utilising the most advanced technology to ensure optimal outcomes. My clinic is equipped with state-of-the-art tools, including:

  • PFA (pulsed-field ablation): A precise method to target the main triggers of AF. This involves using very high-voltage and incredibly short electrical pulses to selectively target just the heart tissue causing problems.

  • 3D mapping systems: Creating a detailed map of your heart's electrical activity for pinpoint accuracy, this is often coupled with very precise radiofrequency ablation.

  • Cryoablation: Utilizing extreme cold to create scar tissue and block abnormal electrical signals, typically in the treatment of atrial fibrillation.

After the procedure

Some mild side effects and discomfort is common after a heart procedure or ablation, and this would be no exception. Minor bleeding or bruising at the top of the leg is pretty common, and although almost always this is a hassle rather than a major problem, it can be worrying. Direct pressure on the bleeding area is usually effective, but pressure sometimes needs to be maintained for a significant period of time, and for half-an-hour at least in many cases. 


Lots of people find they are left with a tiny lump or pea-sized bump under the skin where the tubes went in which is a tiny haematoma. This slowly settles and is absorbed over months and is completely normal. If it is very painful or pulsing, that would be an indication to get in touch.  


Some chest pain or discomfort is normal and taking simple paracetamol 1g four times a day usually sorts this out completely.


After an ablation procedure the throat can be a little sore, this can be due to the transesophageal probe, the anaesthetic tube or the ablation itself. We give Lansoprazole or Omeprazole to many patients just to settle this, which reduces the stomach acid. Normally things recover fully within a week or so.  


After ablation, it is extremely common to have some short recurrences of arrhythmia. This is due to the ablated tissue firing off extra beats, and it can even lead to episodes of atrial fibrillation. This is a different cause than the original AF, and always settles down. As the heart takes about 6 weeks to heal fully, in research, we call this period a "blanking period" and can't really tell whether the procedure has been a success or not until after this time has passed. I like to keep people on their medication during this period as that helps damp down those extra beats. 


Most people find themselves feeling pretty sore and tired for a few days after their procedure, and then feeling back more and more to normal. About two weeks after the procedure it is safe to return to full exercise. 

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