Catheter Ablation: What to Expect Before, During, and After the Procedure?

Catheter ablation is a procedure meant to eliminate atrial fibrillation (AF) or reduce its symptoms. Before a doctor recommends this procedure, a patients’ care team must confirm they are ideal candidates for the procedure. If you are a good candidate and you decide to undergo the procedure, your team will tell you how to prepare for catheter ablation in Houston as well as what to expect during the procedure and during recovery.

What to Know Before the Procedure?

Your care team will tailor the information about your procedure to your condition. They may guide you on what you can and cannot eat or drink 24 hours before the procedure. Also, they will tell you if you could continue taking medications before catheter ablation and whether you have to be in the hospital before it. The procedure must be done in a hospital. Your doctor may give you a sedative first to help you relax. Then, your care team will take you to an electrophysiology laboratory for the insertion of catheters.

What to Expect During the Procedure?

As the catheter ablation procedure starts, catheters will be inserted by your electrophysiologist into your blood vessels and heart to determine the cause of your irregular heartbeat. The specialist will deliver low-level energy to every hot spot in the heart muscle to kill the tissue that causes the AF.

The procedure concentrates on tiny areas of your heart tissue, so your heart will continue to pump blood during the procedure. Indeed, your doctor may let you return to your normal activities after your care team the success of the procedure. Once the procedure is completed, your doctor will give you advice on when you can start exercising and the amount of exertion you can do.

The majority of catheter ablation takes 2-4 hours or longer. Sometimes, those people who undergo this procedure may get a pacemaker to help their heart breathe as it should.

What to Do After the Procedure?

You may need to stay in the hospital overnight after the procedure. After you are discharged from the hospital, your doctor will tell you not to drive. Also, you must avoid strenuous exercise and physical activity until you get your doctor’s approval. If you are planning to have catheter ablation, ensure someone you know will stay with you for a few days at home following the procedure. Apart from driving you home, a friend or family member can drive you to your follow-up appointments.