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Atrial Fibrillation: Should I Have Catheter Ablation?

You may want to have a say in this decision, or you may simply want to follow your doctor's recommendation. Either way, this information will help you understand what your choices are so that you can talk to your doctor about them.

Atrial Fibrillation: Should I Have Catheter Ablation?

Get the facts

Your options

  • Have catheter ablation.
  • Don't have catheter ablation.

Key points to remember

  • Catheter ablation might be done for atrial fibrillation if you have symptoms that won't go away, if your medicine hasn't brought back a normal heartbeat, or if your medicine causes side effects that are hard to live with.
  • Ablation can relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life in people with atrial fibrillation. But it doesn't work for everyone.
  • If atrial fibrillation happens again after the first ablation, you may need to have it done a second time. Repeated ablations have a higher chance of success.
  • Catheter ablation is thought to be safe. It has some serious risks, such as stroke, but they are rare.
FAQs

What is catheter ablation?

Normally, the heart has a strong, steady beat. That beat is controlled by the heart's electrical system. Sometimes that system misfires, causing atrial fibrillation.

Catheter ablation is a way to treat atrial fibrillation. Your doctor can get into your heart—without surgery—and fix the misfiring. It's like working on the spark plugs in your car without having to open the hood.

  • It's done in a hospital. You'll get medicines to make you sleepy and comfortable during the procedure.
  • The doctor inserts thin, flexible wires called catheters into a vein, usually in the groin or neck. Then the doctor threads the catheters up into your heart.
  • X-rays and other images of the heart help the doctor see where to move the catheters.
  • The catheters use very hot or very cold temperatures to destroy the areas in your heart that are causing the misfiring problem.

It may seem like a bad idea to destroy parts of your heart on purpose. But the areas that are destroyed are very tiny and don't affect your heart's ability to do its job.

When is catheter ablation done?

Ablation might be done if you have symptoms that won't go away after you take an antiarrhythmic medicine to control your heart rhythm. Either your medicine did not bring back a normal heartbeat, or your medicine caused side effects that are hard to live with.1, 2

Catheter ablation does have some serious risks, but they are rare. Many people decide to have ablation because they hope to feel much better afterward. That hope is worth the risks to them. But the risks may not be worth it for people who have few symptoms or for people who are less likely to be helped by ablation.

Certain people shouldn't have ablation

Ablation isn't a choice for some people, including those who:

  • Aren't able to lie still or cooperate with the doctor doing the test.
  • Have a history of bleeding problems.
  • Have a blood clot in the left atrium of the heart.
Taking anticoagulants (blood thinners)

Many people think that having ablation means they'll be able to stop taking an anticoagulant (also called a blood thinner), such as warfarin, every day to prevent stroke. But that is only true if your risk of stroke is low. Studies haven't proved that ablation for atrial fibrillation lowers your risk of stroke. So you'll still need to take an anticoagulant if your risk of stroke remains high. Your doctor can tell you about your stroke risk.

How well does catheter ablation work?

Catheter ablation can stop atrial fibrillation from happening and can relieve symptoms.

Catheter ablation works better in people who have atrial fibrillation that comes and goes (paroxysmal) than in people who have atrial fibrillation that is persistent (lasts longer than 7 days and doesn't go away on its own). Ablation might be less likely to work the longer a person has persistent atrial fibrillation.2

Other things that limit how well catheter ablation works include older age, other heart problems, obesity, and sleep apnea.2 Your doctor can help you decide if ablation is a good choice based on your health.

Catheter ablation is still being studied to see how well it works and how safe it is in the long term.

Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation
  • Research shows that ablation helps more than 70 to 80 out of 100 people.3 That means it does not help in about 20 to 30 out of 100 cases.
  • In a worldwide survey, ablation helped 84 out of every 100 people.4
Persistent atrial fibrillation
  • Research shows that ablation helps about 50 out of 100 people.2, 5 That means it doesn't work in about 50 out of 100 cases.
  • In a worldwide survey, ablation helped about 65 out of every 100 people.4
Repeated ablation procedures

If the first procedure doesn't get rid of atrial fibrillation completely, you may need to have it done a second time. Repeated ablations have a higher chance of success.

Research shows that a second ablation is needed in 20 to 40 people out of 100. This means that 60 to 80 out of 100 people don't need another ablation.2

What are the risks?

Catheter ablation is considered safe. Most people do well afterward.

Your doctor can help you decide whether the possible benefits of ablation outweigh these risks:

Problems during the procedure

If problems happen during the procedure, your doctor is prepared to fix them right away. In studies and a worldwide survey, serious problems happened in about 4 out 100 people.6, 4 These problems include an accidental hole in the heart, the need for emergency surgery, and nerve damage in the chest.

Rare problems include cardiac tamponade and stroke. They happen in about 1 out of 100 people.3 This means that they do not happen in about 99 out of 100 people. Another serious problem affects the pulmonary vein and happens in about 1 to 6 people out of 100 people.3, 6 This means that it does not happen in about 94 to 99 people out of 100.

Death from the procedure is very rare. It happens to about 1 out of 1,000 people.3 This means that 999 out of 1,000 people don't die from the procedure.

Problems after the procedure

Problems after the procedure can be minor (such as mild pain) or serious (such as bleeding). Your doctor will check you closely after the procedure. He or she can fix most of these problems.

The most common problems are related to the catheter that was inserted in a vein. Most of these vein problems aren't serious. They include minor pain, bleeding, and bruising. Vein problems happen in 0 to 13 people out of 1002. This means that they don't happen in 87 to 100 people out of 100. In a worldwide survey, serious vein problems happened in 1 out every 100 people.4

Serious problems aren't common. These problems include stroke and new heart rhythm problems. A rare problem is a life-threatening problem with the esophagus (atrio-esophageal fistula) that happens to about 1 out of 1,000 people.3 This means it doesn't happen to 999 out of 1,000 people.

Weighing the risks and benefits of catheter ablation

The benefits may outweigh the risks if:

The risks may outweigh the benefits if:

  • You have symptoms that bother you a lot.
  • Heart rhythm medicines aren't helping.
  • Medicines help, but their side effects bother you a lot.
  • You can't take the medicines because of other health problems.
  • You have only mild symptoms that don't really bother you.
  • You aren't bothered by side effects of heart rhythm medicines.

Compare your options

Compare

What is usually involved?









What are the benefits?









What are the risks and side effects?









Have catheter ablationHave catheter ablation
  • The treatment is done in a hospital and takes 2 to 6 hours.
  • You probably will not be fully awake during the treatment. You may be lightly sedated or completely asleep.
  • You may have some discomfort, either from having to lie still or from the ablation itself. Talk to your doctor if you are worried about this.
  • You will probably stay in the hospital for 1 or 2 days.
  • Many people feel a lot better after this treatment.
  • If the treatment works, you won't need heart rhythm medicine anymore.
  • Ablation has serious risks, although they are rare. They include stroke and death.
  • If ablation doesn't work the first time, you may need to have it done again.
Don't have catheter ablation Don't have catheter ablation
  • You keep taking heart rhythm medicine to treat atrial fibrillation.
  • You don't have to worry about the rare but serious risks of ablation.
  • You will likely continue to have symptoms of atrial fibrillation.
  • Heart rhythm medicines may increase your risk of getting a more serious heart rate problem. You will need frequent checkups so your doctor can watch you closely while you take these medicines.
  • If you also have heart disease, your risk of serious side effects from these medicines may be higher.

Personal stories

Are you interested in what others decided to do? Many people have faced this decision. These personal stories may help you decide.

Personal stories about considering catheter ablation

These stories are based on information gathered from health professionals and consumers. They may be helpful as you make important health decisions.

Medicines have helped my symptoms a little, but not completely. My doctor talked to me about catheter ablation, but I really don't want to have a procedure on my heart. I can live with my symptoms for now.

Candace, age 58

My doctor has been treating my atrial fibrillation with medicines. But taking them is worse than the palpitations. I'm tired all the time, and I have dizzy spells so often that I can't work. I'm ready to try catheter ablation.

Sophie, age 54

I've already tried one medicine to treat my atrial fibrillation. I still had symptoms that bother me a lot, so my doctor prescribed a different medicine. I think I'll try this one before I think about having an ablation. If my new medicine still doesn't help, I can try ablation later.

George, age 60

My doctor said the risks of ablation are pretty rare. I just want to get this problem fixed so I feel better. I'm going to have the procedure.

Wei, age 49

What matters most to you?

Your personal feelings are just as important as the medical facts. Think about what matters most to you in this decision, and show how you feel about the following statements.

Reasons to have catheter ablation

Reasons not to have catheter ablation

I'm not worried about having a procedure that involves my heart.

I'm very worried about having a procedure that involves my heart.

More important
Equally important
More important

The side effects of my heart medicines are bothering me a lot.

The medicine side effects don't bother me that much.

More important
Equally important
More important

I'm bothered a lot by my heart rhythm symptoms.

My symptoms don't bother me.

More important
Equally important
More important

I'm not happy with my quality of life, either because of my symptoms or because of medicine side effects.

My quality of life is pretty good.

More important
Equally important
More important

The risks of ablation don't bother me as much as the risks of continuing to take my medicines.

I prefer the risks of taking my medicines over the risks of having catheter ablation.

More important
Equally important
More important

My other important reasons:

My other important reasons:

More important
Equally important
More important

Where are you leaning now?

Now that you've thought about the facts and your feelings, you may have a general idea of where you stand on this decision. Show which way you are leaning right now.

Having catheter ablation

Not having catheter ablation

Leaning toward
Undecided
Leaning toward

What else do you need to make your decision?

Check the facts

1.

Does catheter ablation work well for everyone with atrial fibrillation?

  • YesSorry, that's not right. Catheter ablation helps many people who have atrial fibrillation. But it doesn't work for everyone. It works best for people with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation.
  • NoYou're right. Catheter ablation helps many people who have atrial fibrillation. But it doesn't work for everyone. It works best for people with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation.
  • I'm not sureIt may help to go back and read "Get the Facts." Catheter ablation helps many people who have atrial fibrillation. But it doesn't work for everyone. It works best for people with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation.
2.

Is catheter ablation the first treatment to try for atrial fibrillation?

  • YesSorry, that's not right. Medicine is usually tried first. Ablation might be done if a person has symptoms that won't go away, if medicines have not brought back a normal heartbeat, or if medicines cause side effects that are hard to live with.
  • NoThat's correct. Medicine is usually tried first. Ablation might be done if a person has symptoms that won't go away, if medicines have not brought back a normal heartbeat, or if medicines cause side effects that are hard to live with.
  • I'm not sureIt may help to go back and read "Get the Facts." Medicine is usually tried first. Ablation might be done if a person has symptoms that won't go away, if medicines have not brought back a normal heartbeat, or if medicines cause side effects that are hard to live with.
3.

If ablation doesn't work the first time, can it be done again?

  • YesThat's right. You may need to have it done a second time. Repeated ablations have a higher chance of success.
  • NoSorry, that's not correct. If the first ablation doesn't get rid of the problem completely, you may need to have it done a second time. Repeated ablations have a higher chance of success.
  • I'm not sure.It may help to go back and read "Get the Facts." You may need to have it done a second time. Repeated ablations have a higher chance of success.

Decide what's next

1.

Do you understand the options available to you?

2.

Are you clear about which benefits and side effects matter most to you?

3.

Do you have enough support and advice from others to make a choice?

Certainty

1.

How sure do you feel right now about your decision?

Not sure at all
Somewhat sure
Very sure
3.

Use the following space to list questions, concerns, and next steps.

Your Summary

Here's a record of your answers. You can use it to talk with your doctor or loved ones about your decision.

Your decision 

Next steps

Which way you're leaning

How sure you are

Your comments

Your knowledge of the facts 

Key concepts that you understood

Key concepts that may need review

Getting ready to act 

Patient choices

Credits and References

Credits
Author Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Specialist Medical Reviewer John M. Miller, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology

References
Citations
  1. Fuster V, et al. (2011). 2011 ACCF/AHA/HRS focused update incorporated into the ACC/AHA/ESC 2006 guidelines for the management of patients with atrial fibrillation: A report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Circulation, 123(10): e269–e367.
  2. Calkins H, et al. (2012). 2012 HRS/EHRA/ECAS expert consensus statement on catheter and surgical ablation of atrial fibrillation: Recommendations for patient selection, procedural techniques, patient management and follow-up, definitions, endpoints, and research trial design. A report of the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) Task Force on Catheter and Surgical Ablation of Atrial Fibrillation. Heart Rhythm, 9(4): 632–696.e21.
  3. Tedrow UB, et al. (2011). Electrophysiology and catheter-ablative techniques. In V Fuster et al., eds., Hurst's The Heart, 13th ed., vol. 1, pp. 1058–1070. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  4. Cappato R, et al. (2010). Updated worldwide survey on the methods, efficacy, and safety of catheter ablation for human atrial fibrillation. Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology, 3(1): 32–38.
  5. Morady F, Zipes DP (2012). Atrial fibrillation: Clinical features, mechanisms, and management. In RO Bonow et al., eds., Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine, 9th ed., vol. 1, pp. 825–844. Philadelphia: Saunders.
  6. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (2009). Comparative Effectiveness of Radiofrequency Catheter Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation (AHRQ Publication No. 09-EDC015-EF). Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Also available online: http://www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/ehc/products/51/114/2009_0623RadiofrequencyFinal.pdf.
You may want to have a say in this decision, or you may simply want to follow your doctor's recommendation. Either way, this information will help you understand what your choices are so that you can talk to your doctor about them.

Atrial Fibrillation: Should I Have Catheter Ablation?

Here's a record of your answers. You can use it to talk with your doctor or loved ones about your decision.
  1. Get the facts
  2. Compare your options
  3. What matters most to you?
  4. Where are you leaning now?
  5. What else do you need to make your decision?

1. Get the Facts

Your options

  • Have catheter ablation.
  • Don't have catheter ablation.

Key points to remember

  • Catheter ablation might be done for atrial fibrillation if you have symptoms that won't go away, if your medicine hasn't brought back a normal heartbeat, or if your medicine causes side effects that are hard to live with.
  • Ablation can relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life in people with atrial fibrillation. But it doesn't work for everyone.
  • If atrial fibrillation happens again after the first ablation, you may need to have it done a second time. Repeated ablations have a higher chance of success.
  • Catheter ablation is thought to be safe. It has some serious risks, such as stroke, but they are rare.
FAQs

What is catheter ablation?

Normally, the heart has a strong, steady beat. That beat is controlled by the heart's electrical system. Sometimes that system misfires, causing atrial fibrillation.

Catheter ablation is a way to treat atrial fibrillation. Your doctor can get into your heart—without surgery—and fix the misfiring. It's like working on the spark plugs in your car without having to open the hood.

  • It's done in a hospital. You'll get medicines to make you sleepy and comfortable during the procedure.
  • The doctor inserts thin, flexible wires called catheters into a vein, usually in the groin or neck. Then the doctor threads the catheters up into your heart.
  • X-rays and other images of the heart help the doctor see where to move the catheters.
  • The catheters use very hot or very cold temperatures to destroy the areas in your heart that are causing the misfiring problem.

It may seem like a bad idea to destroy parts of your heart on purpose. But the areas that are destroyed are very tiny and don't affect your heart's ability to do its job.

When is catheter ablation done?

Ablation might be done if you have symptoms that won't go away after you take an antiarrhythmic medicine to control your heart rhythm. Either your medicine did not bring back a normal heartbeat, or your medicine caused side effects that are hard to live with.1, 2

Catheter ablation does have some serious risks, but they are rare. Many people decide to have ablation because they hope to feel much better afterward. That hope is worth the risks to them. But the risks may not be worth it for people who have few symptoms or for people who are less likely to be helped by ablation.

Certain people shouldn't have ablation

Ablation isn't a choice for some people, including those who:

  • Aren't able to lie still or cooperate with the doctor doing the test.
  • Have a history of bleeding problems.
  • Have a blood clot in the left atrium of the heart .
Taking anticoagulants (blood thinners)

Many people think that having ablation means they'll be able to stop taking an anticoagulant (also called a blood thinner), such as warfarin, every day to prevent stroke. But that is only true if your risk of stroke is low. Studies haven't proved that ablation for atrial fibrillation lowers your risk of stroke. So you'll still need to take an anticoagulant if your risk of stroke remains high. Your doctor can tell you about your stroke risk.

How well does catheter ablation work?

Catheter ablation can stop atrial fibrillation from happening and can relieve symptoms.

Catheter ablation works better in people who have atrial fibrillation that comes and goes (paroxysmal) than in people who have atrial fibrillation that is persistent (lasts longer than 7 days and doesn't go away on its own). Ablation might be less likely to work the longer a person has persistent atrial fibrillation.2

Other things that limit how well catheter ablation works include older age, other heart problems, obesity, and sleep apnea.2 Your doctor can help you decide if ablation is a good choice based on your health.

Catheter ablation is still being studied to see how well it works and how safe it is in the long term.

Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation
  • Research shows that ablation helps more than 70 to 80 out of 100 people.3 That means it does not help in about 20 to 30 out of 100 cases.
  • In a worldwide survey, ablation helped 84 out of every 100 people.4
Persistent atrial fibrillation
  • Research shows that ablation helps about 50 out of 100 people.2, 5 That means it doesn't work in about 50 out of 100 cases.
  • In a worldwide survey, ablation helped about 65 out of every 100 people.4
Repeated ablation procedures

If the first procedure doesn't get rid of atrial fibrillation completely, you may need to have it done a second time. Repeated ablations have a higher chance of success.

Research shows that a second ablation is needed in 20 to 40 people out of 100. This means that 60 to 80 out of 100 people don't need another ablation.2

What are the risks?

Catheter ablation is considered safe. Most people do well afterward.

Your doctor can help you decide whether the possible benefits of ablation outweigh these risks:

Problems during the procedure

If problems happen during the procedure, your doctor is prepared to fix them right away. In studies and a worldwide survey, serious problems happened in about 4 out 100 people.6, 4 These problems include an accidental hole in the heart, the need for emergency surgery, and nerve damage in the chest.

Rare problems include cardiac tamponade and stroke. They happen in about 1 out of 100 people.3 This means that they do not happen in about 99 out of 100 people. Another serious problem affects the pulmonary vein and happens in about 1 to 6 people out of 100 people.3, 6 This means that it does not happen in about 94 to 99 people out of 100.

Death from the procedure is very rare. It happens to about 1 out of 1,000 people.3 This means that 999 out of 1,000 people don't die from the procedure.

Problems after the procedure

Problems after the procedure can be minor (such as mild pain) or serious (such as bleeding). Your doctor will check you closely after the procedure. He or she can fix most of these problems.

The most common problems are related to the catheter that was inserted in a vein. Most of these vein problems aren't serious. They include minor pain, bleeding, and bruising. Vein problems happen in 0 to 13 people out of 1002. This means that they don't happen in 87 to 100 people out of 100. In a worldwide survey, serious vein problems happened in 1 out every 100 people.4

Serious problems aren't common. These problems include stroke and new heart rhythm problems. A rare problem is a life-threatening problem with the esophagus (atrio-esophageal fistula) that happens to about 1 out of 1,000 people.3 This means it doesn't happen to 999 out of 1,000 people.

Weighing the risks and benefits of catheter ablation

The benefits may outweigh the risks if:

The risks may outweigh the benefits if:

  • You have symptoms that bother you a lot.
  • Heart rhythm medicines aren't helping.
  • Medicines help, but their side effects bother you a lot.
  • You can't take the medicines because of other health problems.
  • You have only mild symptoms that don't really bother you.
  • You aren't bothered by side effects of heart rhythm medicines.

2. Compare your options

  Have catheter ablation Don't have catheter ablation
What is usually involved?
  • The treatment is done in a hospital and takes 2 to 6 hours.
  • You probably will not be fully awake during the treatment. You may be lightly sedated or completely asleep.
  • You may have some discomfort, either from having to lie still or from the ablation itself. Talk to your doctor if you are worried about this.
  • You will probably stay in the hospital for 1 or 2 days.
  • You keep taking heart rhythm medicine to treat atrial fibrillation.
What are the benefits?
  • Many people feel a lot better after this treatment.
  • If the treatment works, you won't need heart rhythm medicine anymore.
  • You don't have to worry about the rare but serious risks of ablation.
What are the risks and side effects?
  • Ablation has serious risks, although they are rare. They include stroke and death.
  • If ablation doesn't work the first time, you may need to have it done again.
  • You will likely continue to have symptoms of atrial fibrillation.
  • Heart rhythm medicines may increase your risk of getting a more serious heart rate problem. You will need frequent checkups so your doctor can watch you closely while you take these medicines.
  • If you also have heart disease, your risk of serious side effects from these medicines may be higher.

Personal stories

Are you interested in what others decided to do? Many people have faced this decision. These personal stories may help you decide.

Personal stories about considering catheter ablation

These stories are based on information gathered from health professionals and consumers. They may be helpful as you make important health decisions.

"Medicines have helped my symptoms a little, but not completely. My doctor talked to me about catheter ablation, but I really don't want to have a procedure on my heart. I can live with my symptoms for now."

— Candace, age 58

"My doctor has been treating my atrial fibrillation with medicines. But taking them is worse than the palpitations. I'm tired all the time, and I have dizzy spells so often that I can't work. I'm ready to try catheter ablation."

— Sophie, age 54

"I've already tried one medicine to treat my atrial fibrillation. I still had symptoms that bother me a lot, so my doctor prescribed a different medicine. I think I'll try this one before I think about having an ablation. If my new medicine still doesn't help, I can try ablation later."

— George, age 60

"My doctor said the risks of ablation are pretty rare. I just want to get this problem fixed so I feel better. I'm going to have the procedure."

— Wei, age 49

3. What matters most to you?

Your personal feelings are just as important as the medical facts. Think about what matters most to you in this decision, and show how you feel about the following statements.

Reasons to have catheter ablation

Reasons not to have catheter ablation

I'm not worried about having a procedure that involves my heart.

I'm very worried about having a procedure that involves my heart.

             
More important
Equally important
More important

The side effects of my heart medicines are bothering me a lot.

The medicine side effects don't bother me that much.

             
More important
Equally important
More important

I'm bothered a lot by my heart rhythm symptoms.

My symptoms don't bother me.

             
More important
Equally important
More important

I'm not happy with my quality of life, either because of my symptoms or because of medicine side effects.

My quality of life is pretty good.

             
More important
Equally important
More important

The risks of ablation don't bother me as much as the risks of continuing to take my medicines.

I prefer the risks of taking my medicines over the risks of having catheter ablation.

             
More important
Equally important
More important

My other important reasons:

My other important reasons:

   
             
More important
Equally important
More important

4. Where are you leaning now?

Now that you've thought about the facts and your feelings, you may have a general idea of where you stand on this decision. Show which way you are leaning right now.

Having catheter ablation

Not having catheter ablation

             
Leaning toward
Undecided
Leaning toward

5. What else do you need to make your decision?

Check the facts

1. Does catheter ablation work well for everyone with atrial fibrillation?

  • Yes
  • No
  • I'm not sure
You're right. Catheter ablation helps many people who have atrial fibrillation. But it doesn't work for everyone. It works best for people with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation.

2. Is catheter ablation the first treatment to try for atrial fibrillation?

  • Yes
  • No
  • I'm not sure
That's correct. Medicine is usually tried first. Ablation might be done if a person has symptoms that won't go away, if medicines have not brought back a normal heartbeat, or if medicines cause side effects that are hard to live with.

3. If ablation doesn't work the first time, can it be done again?

  • Yes
  • No
  • I'm not sure.
That's right. You may need to have it done a second time. Repeated ablations have a higher chance of success.

Decide what's next

1. Do you understand the options available to you?

2. Are you clear about which benefits and side effects matter most to you?

3. Do you have enough support and advice from others to make a choice?

Certainty

1. How sure do you feel right now about your decision?

         
Not sure at all
Somewhat sure
Very sure

2. Check what you need to do before you make this decision.

  • I'm ready to take action.
  • I want to discuss the options with others.
  • I want to learn more about my options.

3. Use the following space to list questions, concerns, and next steps.

 
Credits
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Specialist Medical Reviewer John M. Miller, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology

References
Citations
  1. Fuster V, et al. (2011). 2011 ACCF/AHA/HRS focused update incorporated into the ACC/AHA/ESC 2006 guidelines for the management of patients with atrial fibrillation: A report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Circulation, 123(10): e269–e367.
  2. Calkins H, et al. (2012). 2012 HRS/EHRA/ECAS expert consensus statement on catheter and surgical ablation of atrial fibrillation: Recommendations for patient selection, procedural techniques, patient management and follow-up, definitions, endpoints, and research trial design. A report of the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) Task Force on Catheter and Surgical Ablation of Atrial Fibrillation. Heart Rhythm, 9(4): 632–696.e21.
  3. Tedrow UB, et al. (2011). Electrophysiology and catheter-ablative techniques. In V Fuster et al., eds., Hurst's The Heart, 13th ed., vol. 1, pp. 1058–1070. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  4. Cappato R, et al. (2010). Updated worldwide survey on the methods, efficacy, and safety of catheter ablation for human atrial fibrillation. Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology, 3(1): 32–38.
  5. Morady F, Zipes DP (2012). Atrial fibrillation: Clinical features, mechanisms, and management. In RO Bonow et al., eds., Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine, 9th ed., vol. 1, pp. 825–844. Philadelphia: Saunders.
  6. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (2009). Comparative Effectiveness of Radiofrequency Catheter Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation (AHRQ Publication No. 09-EDC015-EF). Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Also available online: http://www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/ehc/products/51/114/2009_0623RadiofrequencyFinal.pdf.

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Atrial Fibrillation: Should I Have Catheter Ablation?