Cardiac ablation, also known as catheter ablation or radiofrequency ablation, uses radio waves to destroy a small area of heart tissue that is causing rapid or irregular heartbeats. The American Heart Association states that cardiac ablation is used to treat abnormal heart rhythms, including atrial fibrillation and supraventricular tachycardia.
During a cardiac ablation, the doctor uses a needle to puncture the skin and access a vein, usually in the groin area, states the American Heart Association. A small tube called a sheath is inserted into the vein. The doctor uses this sheath to guide small catheters into the heart. These catheters are used to locate the abnormal cells and deliver radio energy to the tissue. According to the American Heart Association, cardiac ablation usually takes two to four hours and has a 90 percent success rate.