Cardiac Ablation for Arrhythmia

Cardiac (heart) ablation is a non-surgical treatment for children who have abnormal heart beats, called arrhythmias. At Lurie Children’s, we perform cardiac ablation on young children and teenagers with great success.

Not all children who have abnormal heart beats need ablation. But for those who need it, it’s a safe and effective way to treat pediatric arrhythmia.

Our electrophysiologists (EPs) — doctors with special training in heart rhythm problems — are the ones who perform cardiac ablation. Lurie Children’s EPs have a great deal of experience with ablation and have the latest technology.

What Is Cardiac Ablation?

Cardiac ablation helps get rid of heart beats that are too fast, called tachycardia arrhythmias.

These fast heart beats happen because there is a problem with the heart’s electrical system. With ablation, we can eliminate the electrical signals that are causing the arrhythmia. Once the signals are gone, the arrhythmia is gone.

Ablation uses catheter technology. A catheter is a thin tube that goes into a vein and is carefully threaded to the heart. The EP can see the catheter the whole time by using imaging technology.

The EP can pinpoint where the arrhythmia is coming from by doing something called a pacing test. Once the EP finds the exact location, they can use the catheter to either burn or freeze the abnormal circuit. The EP will then do the pacing test again, to make sure the arrhythmia is gone.

Conditions We Treat With Cardiac Ablation

EPs most commonly use cardiac ablation to treat children with arrhythmias such as:

Why Choose Lurie Children’s for Cardiac Ablation?

We provide world-class care for children with arrhythmia, offering:

  • Highly-ranked heart care: U.S.News & World Report ranks us among the top hospitals for pediatric cardiology and heart surgery.
  • Dedicated electrophysiology team: Our EP team is nationally known for excellence in diagnosing and treating arrhythmia in children.
  • Latest ablation techniques: The standard is radiofrequency ablation, which uses heat to burn tissue causing the arrhythmia. But we also offer cryoablation therapy. This uses cold to freeze the tissue and is safer for treating some types of arrhythmia.
  • Low complication rate: Our rate of complications from cardiac ablation is lower than the national average.
  • State-of-the-art heart care unit: Children recover from cardiac ablation in our 44-bed Regenstein Cardiac Care Unit, where cardiology attending physicians are available 24/7. This means the most senior expert is always there.

Heart Center Family Resource Guide

To help prepare families for their care with Lurie Children's Heart Center, we have compiled a list of resources about treatment and recovery. Learn how to get ready for an inpatient stay or outpatient visit, and read about our support services for patients and families.

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