CATHETER ABLATION for ATRIAL FIBRILLATION
Normal heart rhythm (sinus rhythm – SR)
An electrophysiology study (EP study) is a invasive procedure which tests the electrical conduction system of the heart to assess the electrical activity and conduction properties of the heart. Indications can include palpitations or blackouts. This type of study is performed by an electrophysiologist. It is often performed immediately prior to a radiofrequency ablation, but may be performed as a stand alone procedure.
Atrial fibrillation (AF)
Atrial fibrillation is due to the development of multiple electrical short circuits inside the top chambers of the heart. Usually these short circuits begin in the top chamber on the left (left atrium).
These rapid short circuits have several consequences:
1. The short circuits drive the pumping chambers (ventricles) very rapidly and erratically. This produces palpitations, shortness of breath, and tiredness. In some people it can also cause dizziness and chest pain.
2. The short circuits result in ineffective pumping of the upper chambers. This leads to slow blood flow in both of these upper chambers (the left and right atria). This can rarely cause blood clots and is one possible mechanism for increased stroke risk seen in AF.