Cardiac Ablation

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.

Why Choose Norton Children’s Heart Institute

The Adult Congenital Heart Association has recognized Norton Children's Heart Institute for its expertise treating adult congenital heart disease.

  • Norton Children’s Hospital has been a pioneer in pediatric cardiothoracic surgery, performing Kentucky’s first pediatric heart transplant in 1986 and becoming the second site in the United States to perform an infant heart transplant.
  • The American Board of Thoracic Surgery has certified our cardiothoracic surgeons in congenital heart surgery.
  • The Adult Congenital Heart Association has accredited Norton Children’s Heart Institute’s Adult Congenital Heart Program as the only comprehensive care center in Kentucky and Indiana treating adults born with a heart defect.
  • More than 5,000 children a year visit Norton Children’s Heart Institute for advanced heart care.
  • Norton Children’s Heart Institute has offices across Kentucky and Southern Indiana to bring quality pediatric heart care closer to home.
  • The Jennifer Lawrence Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) at Norton Children’s Hospital is the largest dedicated CICU in Kentucky, equipped with 17 private rooms and the newest technology available for heart care.
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