Supraventricular Tachycardia Ablation


What Risks Are Involved In A Radiofrequency Ablation Procedure?

Radiofrequency ablation procedures are performed on a daily basis. It is a common and very low-risk procedure. However, should a complication arise, it will be dealt with immediately. The worldwide complication rate for Radiofrequency ablation procedures is less than 0.5%. Although most people undergoing Radiofrequency ablation do not experience any complications, you should be aware of the following risks.

  • Local bleeding, blood clot or haematoma (blood collection) - this may occur at the catheter insertion site.
  • Rapid abnormal heart rhythm - this may actually cause you to pass out for a very short period of time and in some cases a small electric shock may be required to restore your normal rhythm.
  • Perforation or damage - very slight chance that this may occur to either a heart chamber or to the wall of one of the arteries.
  • Heart block - depending on the location and type of your abnormal rhythm being ablated, there is a chance of damage occurring to the heart's normal electrical system (the AV node). This may be temporary, but permanent damage would result in a permanent pacemaker being inserted. This would have to be performed immediately at the time of the procedure.
  • Major complications - stroke, heart attack, and death are rare.
  • Other rare complications (reported in the literature) include: haemo or pneumothorax (blood or air in the chest wall requiring tube drainage) and damage to the phrenic nerve (the nerve supplying the diaphragm).
  • Radio-frequency ablation is an effective and safe way to cure patients suffering from Supra-ventricular tachycardia.

Special Note

If there is any chance you may be pregnant, please notify the Cardiovascular Centre and the staff at the hospital before your procedure. There are additional risks associated with undertaking the procedure if you are pregnant.

  • Professor Sanders says...

    Atrial fibrillation is a consequence of several reversible risk factors - high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, sleep apnoea, and excessive alcohol. Your management of atrial fibrillation must include strict control of these risk factors.