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An electrophysiologic cardiac procedure called a cardiac ablation can be used to correct certain heart rhythm abnormalities. Usually, the heart rate is too fast or irregular. Some arrhythmias are life-threatening.
A catheter (long, thin tube) is inserted into a large blood vessel, usually in the groin. It is then threaded through the blood vessels until it reaches the heart. Through the catheter, specially trained pediatric electrophysiologists at Norton Children’s Heart Institute, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, use highly technological equipment to gather information from inside the heart and “map” the right atrium, the chamber where the signals for the heart to beat originate.
The pediatric electrophysiologist then pinpoints the area of heart tissue that the arrhythmia is coming from. At this point, a cardiac ablation, a short burst of heat or cold to the area of troublesome tissue, can be used to destroy the area and fix the abnormal rhythm. Radiofrequency ablation refers to radio waves being used to heat the tip of the catheter, and cryoablation refers to cooling the end of the catheter to sub-zero temperatures to destroy the tissue.
The board-certified and fellowship-trained cardiologists at the Norton Children’s Heart Institute pediatric catheterization lab typically perform ablations on children age 4 and older. However, our pediatric electrophysiologists also perform ablations on babies when necessary.
Your child will be sedated (asleep) and won’t feel any pain during the procedure. Your child may be able to go home the same day.
Medication can help arrhythmias, but ablation can fix the issue permanently.
Norton Children’s Heart Institute is the leading provider of pediatric heart care in Louisville and Southern Indiana. Our pediatric cardiologists and pediatric electrophysiologists will know when it is best to treat your child’s arrhythmia with medications, and when it is best to proceed to cardiac ablation.
Norton Children’s has a network of outreach diagnostic and treatment services conveniently located throughout Kentucky and Southern Indiana.