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A-fib Ablation

Pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) is a specific type of catheter ablation performed to treat atrial fibrillation (A-fib).

What is PVI?

A-fib is caused by abnormal electrical impulse formation in top chamber of the heart (Atrium), which often originate in the pulmonary veins. Your pulmonary veins carry blood from your lungs to your heart.

PVI treats abnormal electrical signals that originate in your pulmonary veins by creating scar tissue near where your pulmonary veins connect to the left atrium of your heart. The scar tissue stops the abnormal electrical signals from traveling from your pulmonary veins to your heart. PVI can be performed with RF energy (Radio frequency) or Cryo balloon.

Who needs Atrial fibrillation ablation procedure?

A-fib ablation can reduce the symptoms of A-fib. If your A-fib has is not well controlled with medication or you are having side effects of medications, your doctor may recommend catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation.

How do I prepare for A-fib ablation?

To prepare for A-fib ablation, you should:

  • Tell your doctor about any medications that you take.
  • Ask your doctor if you should stop taking any of your medications before your procedure.
  • Have routine tests that your doctor recommends.
  • Refrain from eating or drinking anything after midnight on the night before your procedure.
  • Tell your doctor if you are allergic to any medications.

What happens during A-fib ablation?

A specially trained doctor called an electrophysiologist performs the procedure in an electrophysiology lab. You will be given general anesthesia so you are comfortable and remain still for the procedure. Specially designed catheters are inserted into your veins, usually in your groin, and guided through your body to the upper left chamber of your heart. The catheters record the electrical activity of your heart and create scar tissue in the appropriate area. Other procedures, such as electrical cardioversion and defibrillation, may be done at the same time as The procedure usually takes 3-4 hours.

What can I expect after A-fib ablation?

After the catheters are removed, as you recover from general anesthesia, you must remain lying down for 4-6 hours and refrain from moving the limb where the catheter was inserted. Your medical team will need to monitor your blood pressure and check the insertion site frequently, so you will stay in hospital overnight. It is very important that you follow your discharge instructions. The small incision ( < ½ cm) generally heals itself in one week.

How long does it take to recover after PVI?

Talk to your doctor about when you can resume normal activities or return to work. You may be instructed not to drive for a certain amount of time after the procedure, so you may need to arrange for someone to drive you home. It also is very important that you see your doctor for follow-up visits as recommended. You should call your doctor if you are experiencing any unusual symptoms, including:

  • Pain, redness, bleeding, drainage or increased swelling at the insertion site
  • Burning or pain in your chest
  • Rapid or pounding heartbeat
  • Severe pain, coldness, numbness or discoloration in the limb where the catheter was inserted
  • A fever of more than 100.0°F
  • New or increasing shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing, throat pain or bloody cough
  • Redness or rash on your chest or back

If any of these symptoms are severe, you should dial 911 immediately.


Need more information?

Cumberland/Dauphin/Franklin/Perry/Lebanon Counties: 717-731-0101
Pediatric Cardiology : 717-761-0200
Adams/York Counties: 717-637-1738 or 717-849-5576
Lancaster County: 717-299-5000

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UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
Located at UPMC Outpatient Center
1251 East Main Street
Suite 3
Annville, PA 17003

Adult Cardiology: 717-731-0101
Pediatric Cardiology: 717-761-0200

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
360 Alexander Spring Road
Carlisle, PA 17013

Adult Cardiology: 717-243-6557
Pediatric Cardiology: 717-761-0200
Fax: 717-243-0102

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
2020 Technology Parkway
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050

Adult Cardiology: 717-731-0101
Pediatric Cardiology: 717-761-0200
Fax: 717-731-8359

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
900 Century Drive
Suite 100
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055

Phone: 717-591-3660 or 800-248-0257
Fax: 717-591-3661

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
Located at Medical Professional Center of Newport
300 Bretz Court
Newport, PA 17074

Phone: 717-567-7246 or 800-248-0257
Fax: 717-567-2621

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
2808 Old Post Road
Harrisburg, PA 17110

Adult Cardiology: 717-920-4400
Pediatric Cardiology: 717-761-0200
Fax: 717-920-4401

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
12 Saint Paul Drive
Suite 205
Chambersburg, PA 17201

Adult Cardiology: 717-217-6881
Pediatric Cardiology: 717-761-0200
Fax: 717-217-6889

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
Located at Commerce Park Professional Center
20 Expedition Trail
Suite 203
Gettysburg, PA 17325

Phone: 717-637-1738
Fax: 717-646-7430 

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
16324 Mount Airy Road
Lower Level
Shrewsbury, PA 17361

Phone: 717-849-5576
Fax: 717-718-9972

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
1600 6th Avenue
Suite 105
York, PA 17403

Phone: 717-849-5576
Fax: 717-718-9972

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
1555 Highlands Drive
Suite 100
Lititz, PA 17543

Phone: 717-299-5000
Fax: 717-431-1205 

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute (formerly Cardiac Consultants)
1697 Crown Avenue
Suite 100
Lancaster, PA 17601

Phone: 717-299-5000
Fax: 717-431-1205

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