Ablation Therapy: A procedure that destroys the specific area of the heart that begins the abnormally fast signals. Endocardial mapping is first done which locates the area of the heart that is causing the abnormal signals. Once the abnormality is found, either radiofrequency waves or small incisions are used to destroy or stop that heart tissue from sending any signals. Ablation therapy can be done by using a catheter or during open heart surgery.
With the catheter approach, a small catheter is inserted into a vein and guided into the heart.
When the specific heart tissue is located, the tissue is destroyed--either by heat (resulting from short bursts of radiofrequency or laser energy) or by small cuts that create scars. This procedure is done in the outpatient setting and is painless requiring local anesthesia.
Ablation therapy most of the time, cures arrhythmias. This is the only treatment for patients with ventricular tachycardia or some arrhythmias.