Electrophysiology sounds over-complicated but is working with the heart-rhythm and is a branch of cardiology that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of heart rhythm disorders. Heart rhythm problems can be non-acquired (congenital) problems or where the heart’s rhythm is affected by environmental factors, both cardiac and non-cardiac. For instance, hardening of the arteries and heart attacks cause heart rhythm problems, as does long-standing high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep disorders and bad lifestyle choices.
Catheter ablation is a procedure in which a small catheter is placed inside the heart (via a leg vein). The catheter has a 4-8 mm metal tip through which radio-frequency (or cryothermal) energy is delivered to selected parts of the heart. The area to ablate is selected primarily by two simple strategies: vector analysis of the how the arrhythmia activates the heart (ie…north-south, east-west) and secondly, by moving the ablation catheter in a “warmer-colder” trial-and-error manner. The 4-8 mm ablation lesions can eliminate rogue cells that have electrically run amok, or in the case of AF, isolate areas of the heart.