What is arrhythmia treatment for congenital heart disease?

An arrhythmia—an abnormal heart rhythm, or irregular heartbeat—in a child can be treated in many cases with a technique called a catheter ablation. During a catheter ablation, a high-frequency electrical energy is delivered through a catheter (a small, thin tube) to a small area inside the heart that causes the abnormal heart rhythm. (The catheter is placed through a vein in the leg and advanced into the heart.) In this way, the abnormal electrical pathway that is causing the arrhythmia is removed.

When catheter ablation fails or when the patient also has a congenital heart condition (he or she is born with it), it may be necessary to perform surgery to ablate (remove) the arrhythmia. In the case of congenital heart disease, surgical ablation can be done at the same time as surgery to correct the heart defect.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/27/2011.

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