How successful is cardiac arrhythmia ablation?

Almost 90% of patients who have atrial arrhythmias who undergo ablation have their normal heart rhythm restored and remain free of arrhythmia at 10 years. The mini-Maze procedure has had similar success in eliminating atrial fibrillation, but because these procedures are newer, long-term follow-up is lacking.

Ablation of ventricular arrhythmias is less successful (50% to 70% at 10 years). In the case of ventricular tachycardia in patients who also have congenital heart disease, the patient may also need to have a defibrillator implanted to correct the heart rhythm.

How long do arrhythmia patients stay in the hospital?

The hospital stay for patients who have surgery is typically 5 to 7 days; for patients who have catheter ablation, the stay is one day.

What is the prognosis (outlook) for patients who have an arrhythmia procedure?

The patient may have some chest pain and fatigue for up to 2 months. Recovery is usually complete in 6 months.

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

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