Ablation FAQs

  • failed medication treatment in the past
  • are still experiencing symptoms
  • have had adverse reactions to medications
  • chose to not use medication therapy
  • have failed cardioversions in the past


Your cardiologist will require some routine tests such as an ECG, X-rays, blood and transesophageal echocardiogram prior to your ablation. In general, you will be asked to not eat or drink anything after midnight prior to your procedure. Your cardiologist will also advise you about continuing or stopping any medications you are taking.

An electrophysiologist (EP), a cardiologist who specializes in heart rhythms, performs the one- to three-hour catheter ablation. During the procedure, you’ll receive fluids and any necessary medication through an intravenous (IV) line inserted in your arm.


A local anesthetic will be applied to the site where the ablation catheters will be inserted. In most cases, the major blood vessel in your groin is used for catheterization. Blood vessels in your arm, chest or neck area may also be used for catheterization.


Our electrophysiologist will carefully maneuver the catheter(s) through the blood vessel to your heart to map the abnormal electrical pathways in the heart tissue. When the targeted area is located, the catheter delivers either radiofrequency or cryoenergy to destroy the abnormal electrical pathway that is causing the atrial fibrillation.


When the procedure is completed, the catheters are removed and pressure is applied to the catheter insertion site to prevent bleeding. 

You may feel some minor soreness in your chest or bruising or soreness at the insertion site. When you return home, you may have to limit your activity for a couple of days, but most patients return to their normal routines quickly.