Your heartbeat is controlled by your heart's electrical
system. An electrical signal spreads from the top chambers of
your heart to the bottom chambers. This triggers a normal
heartbeat and blood is then pumped out of the heart to the
rest of the body. Abnormalities of the heart's electrical
system can result in abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias).
Examples of abnormal heart rhythms include supraventricular
tachycardia, atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter.
Some abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) can be controlled
with medication or lifestyle changes. In some instances, your
doctor may recommend a procedure to correct the abnormal
Ablation by definition means to remove and is a procedure
used to treat an abnormal heart rhythm, also known as an
arrhythmia. An arrhythmia can cause the heart to pump less
effectively. The condition can be treated either surgically
or non-surgically, depending on the type of arrhythmia
classified and localized by a specialist.
Nonsurgical ablation is performed in an electrophysiology
laboratory by an electrophysiologist (a cardiologist trained
in the treatment of abnormal heart rhythms). A catheter (a
thin, hollow tube) is inserted into a specific section of the
heart through a vessel in the groin or arm. Radiofrequency
energy is sent through the tube; this process results in
disconnecting the electrical pathways leading to the
Gary - Robotic Surgery Patient
Surgical ablation, is performed by a cardiac surgeon and
involves one of the following:
- The MAZE procedure is performed during open-heart surgery
for coronary artery bypass surgery or valve surgery. The
surgeon makes small incisions in the heart that interrupt the
electrical impulses causing the abnormal heart rhythm. As the
heart heals, scar tissue forms, effectively blocking the
harmful impulses from reaching the heart.
- The minimally invasive procedure is similar to the Maze but
performed through small incisions with robotic endoscopic
techniques. Robotic endoscopic surgery uses small mechanical
arms that have a camera and instruments attached, which are
controlled by the cardiac surgeon.