Catheter Ablation and AV Node Ablation in Treating Atrial Fibrillation

Dr. Marc Gerdisch pic
Dr. Marc Gerdisch

Dr. Marc Gerdisch practices thoracic and cardiovascular surgery in Indianapolis, offering care for a full range of complex conditions at Franciscan Health. Among Dr. Marc Gerdisch’s areas of focus is atrial fibrillation, and he participated in a landmark 2012 FDA study related to ABLATE Continued Access.

Catheter ablation is a minimally invasive way of treating atrial fibrillation, which is also known as arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat, and can lead to heart failure and blood clots. It typically involves the insertion of thin, flexible wires into the neck or groin area. The catheters are then threaded up to the heart, with the electrode at the tip generating heat. This heat effectively eliminates the heart tissue responsible for the arrhythmia. Alternatively, the catheters may employ below freezing temperatures for a similar purpose.

One variation on this procedure is AV node ablation, which is typically used when catheter ablation is either unsuitable or has proved unsuccessful. This involves the destruction of the atrioventricular node, which is sending irregular impulses to the heart’s lower chambers. Following such a procedure, a permanent pacemaker must be set in place as a heart rhythm regulator.