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Overview of catheter ablation of cardiac arrhythmias

Leonard I Ganz, MD, FHRS, FACC
Section Editor
Samuel Lévy, MD
Deputy Editor
Brian C Downey, MD, FACC


Pharmacologic therapy of arrhythmias, while frequently effective, is limited by high failure rates, potential for proarrhythmia, and drug toxicity. Nonpharmacologic therapy for symptomatic and life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias includes the use of catheter ablation, the implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) for ventricular arrhythmias, and, at times, cardiac surgery. The clinical role of catheter ablation in the treatment of arrhythmias will be reviewed here. A discussion of invasive cardiac electrophysiology studies and cardiac mapping, both precursors to catheter ablation, is presented separately. (See "Invasive cardiac electrophysiology studies".)


Catheter ablation using radiofrequency or cryothermal energy has become an important therapy in the management of patients with various types of tachyarrhythmia (table 1), including [1-5]:

Atrioventricular reentrant tachycardia (AVRT) associated with the WPW syndrome or a concealed accessory pathway (see "Treatment of symptomatic arrhythmias associated with the Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome", section on 'Treatment to prevent recurrent arrhythmias')

AV nodal reentrant tachycardia (AVNRT) (see "Atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia", section on 'Catheter ablation')

Atrial tachycardia (see "Focal atrial tachycardia", section on 'Catheter ablation')

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Jan 23, 2017.
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