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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
A cardiac ablation is a procedure to treat an arrhythmia, or abnormal heart rhythm. Your heart rhythm is controlled by electrical pathways in your heart. During cardiac ablation, energy is sent to the area of your heart that has an electrical problem. The energy causes a tiny area of the heart muscle to scar. This stops the electrical problem and allows your heart to beat regularly.
You may need any of the following:
- Pain medicine takes away or decreases pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine.
- Blood thinners help prevent blood clots. A clot can cause a life-threatening problem, such as a stroke or heart attack. You will need both injections and pills. Once your blood tests show that the pills are working, you may be able to stop the injections.
- Antiarrhythmics help slow your heartbeat and make it more normal.
- Steroids decrease inflammation.
- Antiulcer medicine helps decrease the amount of acid that is normally made by the stomach. You may need to take this medicine to help the lining of your stomach heal or prevent an ulcer.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your primary healthcare provider or cardiologist in 7 to 10 days or as directed:
You will need regular blood clotting tests to monitor your blood thinner medications. You will also need EKGs to check your heart rate and rhythm. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Carefully wash your catheter insertion site as directed. Dry the area and put on new, clean bandages. Change your bandages when they get wet or dirty. You may bathe 24 hours after your procedure, or as directed.
You may need to use a Holter monitor to check your heart rate and rhythm at home. Ask how and when to use it. If you have questions, ask your primary healthcare provider for more information about Holter monitors.
Do not lift anything heavier than 20 pounds or climb stairs for up to 2 days after the procedure, or as directed.
Contact your primary healthcare provider or cardiologist if:
- You have a fever or chills.
- Your catheter site is red, swollen, or draining pus.
- You have a cough that does not go away.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- Blood soaks through your bandage.
- The bruise at the catheter site starts to get bigger, or the area has new swelling.
- Your heartbeat is fast or irregular.
- Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
- You feel lightheaded or faint.
- You cough up blood.
- You have a seizure.
- You have trouble thinking or speaking clearly.
- You become weak on one side of your face or body.
- You feel short of breath or have chest pain.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.