Q:

What is AV node ablation?

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Quick Answer

Atrioventricular node ablation is a procedure that modifies the AV node in order to restore normal heart rhythms, according to the University of Southern California. The procedure destroys the AV node in order to block electrical conduction through this part of the heart.

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Full Answer

During the AV node ablation procedure, a doctor inserts a catheter through an area of the groin and positions it close to the AV node, according to the Frankel Cardiovascular Center. Radiofrequency energy passes through the catheter to destroy the AV node.

Ablation destroys the electrical pathways and stops electrical signals from traveling through the AV node, explains the Boston Medical Center. This drops the pulse rate to about 30 beats a minute, according to the Frankel Cardiovascular Center.

After ablation of the AV node, doctors implant a permanent pacemaker to establish a normal heart rhythm, explains Mayo Clinic. A pacemaker is an electronic device that doctors implant on the upper chest under the skin, notes the Frankel Cardiovascular Center. It is connected to two wires that pass through a vein and sit in the heart. The pacemaker delivers painless electric pulses that stimulate the heart to beat. AV node ablation and the subsequent implantation of a pacemaker are advantageous procedures, as they eliminate the need for medication to treat atrial fibrillation.

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