Is catheter ablation effective?

In many cases, patients who have received an ablation procedure either experience a long-term reduction in the number of symptomatic episodes and severity of symptoms, or a permanent return to normal heart rhythm.¹

This also means that medicines for controlling the arrhythmia may be reduced or stopped following successful catheter ablation. Complications from medicines used to manage arrhythmias may include fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness and drug toxicity as well as more serious complications.¹

The complication rate for catheter ablation is comparatively low, 1.6%, as seen in a large, single-center retrospective study.²

As with any procedure, there are catheter ablation risks that may include bleeding, swelling or bruising at the catheter insertion site and infection. More serious complications are rare, which can include damage to the heart or blood vessels; blood clots (which may lead to stroke); heart attack, or death.

Will catheter ablation improve my quality of life?³

A recent study confirms that quality of life significantly improves after catheter ablation. The CABANA Trial results show that ablation provided incremental, clinically meaningful and significant improvements in Afib-related symptoms and Quality of Life compared to drug treatment for Afib.

At the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) 2018 Congress, results from the CABANA Trial regarding Health-related Quality of Life improvements after catheter ablation were released. The study used 5 different Quality of Life surveys to assess several areas such as Afib symptoms, general health perception, physical functioning, psychological well-being, role and social functioning.

If you are ready to speak to an Electrophysiologist about whether you are a good candidate for catheter ablation, use the Find A Doctor feature to the right to locate an Electrophysiologist in your area.

¹Wilber DJ, Pappone C, Neuzil P et al. Comparison of Antiarrhythmic Drug Therapy and Radiofrequency Catheter Ablation in Patients with Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation: A Randomized Controlled Trial. JAMA, 2010.

²O’Hara GE, Philippon F, Champagne J, et al. Catheter ablation for cardiac arrhythmias: A 14-year experience with 5330 consecutive patients at the Quebec Heart Institute, Laval Hospital. Can J Cardiol 2007; 23 (Suppl B): 67B-70B.

³Packer, MD, D.; Lee, K., Mark, MD, MPH, D. and Robb, PhD, R. (2018). Catheter Ablation vs. Antiarrhythmic Drug Therapy in Atrial Fibrillation (CABANA) Trial. Pending formal publication.

Caution: US law restricts this device to sale by or on the order of a physician. Important information: Prior to use, refer to the instructions for use supplied with this device for indications, contraindications, side effects, warnings and precautions.

The NAVISTAR® THERMOCOOL®, EZ STEER® THERMOCOOL® NAV, THERMOCOOL® SF NAV, and THERMOCOOL SMARTTOUCH® Catheters are FDA approved for the treatment of drug refractory recurrent symptomatic paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, when used with compatible three-dimensional electroanatomic mapping systems. Catheter ablation for AF may not be an option for you if you have any of the following conditions: certain recent heart surgery; prosthetic valves; active systemic infection; certain cancers; intracardiac thrombus, or an interatrial baffle or patch. Consult your physician to find out if catheter ablation is right for you.

As with any medical treatment, individual results may vary. Only a cardiologist or electrophysiologist can determine whether ablation is an appropriate course of treatment. There are potential risks including bleeding, swelling or bruising at the catheter insertion site, and infection. More serious complications are rare, which can include damage to the heart or blood vessels; blood clots (which may lead to stroke); heart attack, or death. These risks need to be discussed with your doctor and recovery takes time.

THERMOCOOL® Navigation Catheters are indicated for the treatment of recurrent drug/device refractory sustained monomorphic ventricular tachycardia (VT) due to prior myocardial infarction (MI) in adults.