Radiofrequency ablation

    Radiofrequency ablation is the most common type of ablation technique used by electrophysiologists.

    Energy is delivered to the heart tissue via an electrode-tipped catheter, which is introduced through an intravenous access placed in the patient's leg. The catheter is advanced to the heart under x-ray guidance, and usually advanced GPS-like mapping systems are used to pinpoint the location of the catheter within the heart. As the electrical energy transfers to the heart muscle, heat damages a very small amount of tissue enough to render it unable to sustain arrhythmia.

    The amount of heart tissue involved in ablation typically does not affect the mechanical (pumping) function of the heart. Thus, radiofrequency ablation is generally a very safe, effective means of eradicating rhythm problems.