Catheter Ablation to Treat Atrial Fibrillation
The most common form of arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation occurs when certain areas in the heart—usually located the left atrium—emit erratic signals that interfere with the heart's normal rhythm. Catheter ablation therapy involves threading a thin tube into the veins of the left atrium, and recording signals from multiple areas to produce a detailed map of their electrical flow. The map pinpoints the area causing the abnormal signals. Doctors then send barely noticeable surges of energy through the tube to scar the problematic tissue so its chaotic signals cannot travel to the rest of the heart.
There is a growing number of ablation procedures that perform this basic process in different ways: Some use radio waves to scar the problematic tissue, some use intense freezing, and some new therapies use lasers. Many of these therapies had been pioneered by Vivek Reddy, MD, Director of the Cardiac Arrhythmia Service, as well as Mount Sinai electrophysiologists, who are skilled in performing the following procedures.
This procedure involves guiding a catheter to the source of the arrhythmia and using radio waves to scar the problematic area of tissue, preventing its erratic impulses from traveling to the rest of the heart.
Cryoballoon Catheter Ablation
This procedure involves guiding a catheter tipped with a balloon to the source of the arrhythmia, then inflating the balloon against the problematic area, where it applies a cryo-refrigerant to freeze the tissue.
Because Mount Sinai is the lead center in many Mount Sinai and multi-national clinical trials for new therapies, we offer patients a number of emerging treatment options. Two new ablation technologies use "force-sensing" catheters, which help the electrophysiologist know how much pressure to apply to the tissue. Another promising technology is called visually guided laser ablation, which uses a catheter tipped with a tiny camera (called an endoscope) that allows electrophysiologists to see the target tissue and deliver a surge of laser energy.
Ventricular Tachycardia Ablation
Ventricular tachycardia is a life-threatening form of arrhythmia, and the ablation procedure used to correct it is performed by very few centers in the United States. Mount Sinai elecrophysiologists are skilled in performing this delicate procedure.