In the early stages of COVID-19, hospitals and medical practices postponed many procedures out of an abundance of caution. Now, doctors, nurses and other care staff are working tirelessly to implement more effective safety protocols. This will allow patients to attend regular appointments and receive the care they need.

AFib catheter ablation is a time-sensitive procedure and should be scheduled in a timely manner. Postponement can lead to worse outcomes, including longer hospital stays and a higher risk of complications. Learn more about the benefits and risks of having a catheter ablation during COVID-19.

What Is a Catheter Ablation?

Catheter ablation is a non-surgical procedure for people with an abnormal heart rhythm, sometimes referred to as cardiac ablation. It is performed by an electrophysiologist or EP doctor in which they make a 3D cardiac map of your heart in real-time. The electrophysiologist then places a catheter into your heart to pinpoint the source of abnormal electrical signals.

When the source of the AFib is located, therapeutic catheters transmit radiofrequency waves. These waves generate enough heat to produce a small scar on the targeted part of heart tissue. This process blocks abnormal electrical impulses causing a heart rhythm disorder.

Risk for COVID-19

People over the age of 60 are more susceptible to both atrial fibrillation and COVID-19. However, there is no data suggesting that those with AFib are more likely to develop a severe case of COVID-19. Healthcare professionals recommend that AFib patients take extra care in reducing their exposure to infected people. AFib is considered a chronic heart disease, so added precautions are necessary to keep AFib patients safe. However, visiting the hospital is safe for patients with AFib who need to have important procedures like a catheter ablation.

The Importance of Timing on Catheter Ablation Success

Because catheter ablation is mostly considered an elective procedure, many patient procedures were delayed in the early stages of the pandemic. These delays put many patients at risk of clinical decompensation, or the worsening of their conditions.

This is what makes careful patient selection and close coordination with physicians, lab coordinators, and other professionals critical. Without ablation for AFib, some patients can be at risk for prolonged heart failure and hospitalization. Prolonged hospitalization can lead to cardiac complications and unnecessary exposure to COVID-19.

Catheter Ablation Safety During the Pandemic

Not all catheter ablation procedures should be considered elective in nature. Your cardiologist will help you determine how quickly you need to have this procedure. The risks of delaying urgent heart care can be far greater than the risks of COVID-19.

This is why hospitals and medical practices have implemented many new safety protocols to ensure patients receive the care they need. For example, a same-day discharge protocol for ablation procedures has been shown to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 in patients. More intense cleaning practices, separate intake areas, and reduced exposure to staff and patients help keep your doctor’s office safe. This makes the hospital or your doctor’s office the safest place to be when you need heart care.

If you believe you may be suffering from a heart rhythm disorder, speak to your doctor about visiting a cardiac electrophysiologist. The care coordinators at Heart Rhythm Consultants can give you more information about testing and treatment options, including ablation therapy.

We value your health and wellbeing above all else. Our experienced team always stands ready to assist you with any questions about your heart health. Speak with a care coordinator today and schedule an appointment with Heart Rhythm Consultants.

About Heart Rhythm Consultants, P.A.

The experienced electrophysiologists of Heart Rhythm Consultants, P.A. have been serving West Florida including Sarasota, Venice, Tampa, Port Charlotte, and Sun City Center for over 15 years. Our specialty cardiologists, or EP doctors, help patients manage their abnormal heart rhythm conditions, whether they suffer from arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation (AFib), or other irregular heartbeats. Dr. Dilip J. Mathew, Dr. Antonio Moretta, and Dr. Rajesh Malik perform arrhythmia treatments like cardiac ablation, cryoablation, and implanting pacemakers or defibrillators. Dr. Mathew has performed nearly 5,000 complex cardiac ablations. View our office locations in Sarasota and Venice, Florida.