Atrioventricular node ablation is a medical procedure used to correct certain heart rhythm problems such as atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter.

What is an atrioventricular node ablation?

An ablation is a medical procedure done to correct certain heart rhythm problems such as atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter. It is not surgery and is done as day procedure. It takes about an hour. This is done by a cardiologist who specializes in heart rhythm problems (electrophysiologist).

An atrioventricular node (AV) ablation uses heat (radiofrequency energy) to create a scar. This scar stops abnormal electrical signals from the top of the heart (atria) from effecting the bottom chambers. This stops the rapid irregular pulse. The procedure is done by threading a thin tube called a catheter through a vein at the top of the thigh and up to the heart.

Before an AV node ablation is performed, a person must have a permanent pacemaker implanted. The heart will rely on the pacemaker to keep a steady pulse after the ablation.

What is the AV node?

The atrioventricular (AV) node is the electrical connection between the upper heart chambers (atria) and the lower heart chambers (ventricles).

What is atrial fibrillation?

Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm problem. A lack of electrical coordination in the upper chambers of the heart (atria) cause a rapid irregular heartbeat. Atrial fibrillation is not usually life threatening but it can increase the risk of stroke.

Medication is usually the first treatment, but if it is not effective or causes side effects, ablation may be recommended.

Resources

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