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What is the ablation of atrial fibrillation?

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Quick Answer

The ablation of atrial fibrillation is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat atrial fibrillation, an irregular and often rapid heart rate. During an ablation, tiny areas of the heart that fire abnormal electrical impulses, which cause atrial fibrillation, are destroyed, according to WebMD.

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Full Answer

The ablation of atrial fibrillation involves inserting a thin, flexible wire, or catheter, into the groin or neck and directing it to the heart. An electrode at the tip of the catheter creates heat or extreme cold that destroys heart tissue causing atrial fibrillation, states WebMD.

Symptoms of atrial fibrillation include weakness, reduced ability to exercise, fatigue, lightheadedness and dizziness. Other symptoms include confusion, shortness of breath, chest pain and palpitations, which are sensations of a racing, uncomfortable, irregular heartbeat or a flip-flopping in the chest. Atrial fibrillation may be consistent, persistent or permanent, according to Mayo Clinic.

A heart-healthy lifestyle helps to prevent atrial fibrillation and to reduce risk of heart disease. This may include eating a healthy diet, increasing physical activity, avoiding smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and limiting or avoiding caffeine and alcohol. It also includes reducing stress and anger, using over-the-counter medications with caution, controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and maintaining follow-up care, adds Mayo Clinic.

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