Cardiac Catheter Ablation

What is Cardiac Catheter Ablation?

Cardiac Catheter Ablation is a specialised procedure used to treat various heart rhythm disorders, including supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) and atrial fibrillation (AF). During this procedure, a thin, flexible tube called a catheter is inserted into a blood vessel in the groin and guided to the heart. Once positioned, the catheter delivers targeted energy, such as heat or freezing, to create scar tissue in specific areas of the heart’s electrical system. This scar tissue disrupts abnormal electrical pathways, restoring normal heart rhythm.

Your Specialist will provide detailed instructions on preparation, which may include fasting and adjusting medications. The procedure takes place in a cardiac catheterization laboratory (Cath Lab) and is performed either under sedation or general anaesthetic (GA) depending on the specific case. Local anaesthetic is applied to the catheter insertion site to minimise discomfort.


Throughout the procedure, your vital signs will be closely monitored by a team of skilled healthcare professionals including an Anaesthetist. The duration of the procedure varies between 1 and 3 hours depending on the complexity of the condition being treated.

Although Cardiac Catheter Ablation is generally safe, there are potential risks, including:

  • Bleeding or bruising at the catheter insertion site
  • Infection
  • Allergic reaction to medications or contrast dye
  • Damage to other heart structures
  • Rarely, more serious complications such as stroke or heart attack


Your Specialist will take precautions to minimise these risks and promptly address any complications that may arise.

After Cardiac Catheter Ablation, you will be monitored in a recovery area for a period of time to ensure your stability. Usually, you will remain in hospital overnight and be discharged home the following day. You may experience some discomfort in the groin at the catheter insertion site, but this is typically manageable with pain medication. Your Specialist will give you specific post-procedure instructions, which may include:

  • Limiting physical activity for a specified period
  • Taking prescribed medications as directed
  • Monitoring for signs of complications, such as excessive bleeding or irregular heart rhythm
  • Attending follow-up appointments to assess your progress and discuss any concerns