What risks are involved in a Radiofrequency Ablation Procedure?
Radiofrequency ablation procedures are performed on a daily basis at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. It is a common and very low-risk procedure. However, should a complication arise, it will be dealt with at once.
The world wide complication rate for Radiofrequency ablation procedures is less than 0.5%.
Although most people undergoing Radiofrequency ablation do not experience any complications, you should be aware of the following risks:
- Local bleeding, blood clot or haematoma (blood collection) - this may occur at the catheter insertion site.
- Rapid abnormal heart rhythm - this may actually cause you to pass out for a very short period of time and in some cases a small electric shock may be required to restore your normal rhythm.
- Perforation or damage - very slight chance that this may occur to either a heart chamber or to the wall of one of the arteries.
- Heartblock - depending on the location and type of your abnormal rhythm being ablated, there is a chance of damage occurring to the heart’s normal electrical system (the AV node). This may be temporary, but permanent damage would result in a permanent pacemaker being inserted. This would have to be performed immediately at the time of the procedure.
Major complications - stroke, heart attack, death are very rare. More than 1200 patients with supraventricular tachycardia have been successfully treated at The Royal Melbourne Hospital during the last ten years by radio-frequency ablation, and no major complications have occurred.
Radio-frequency ablation is an effective and safe way to cure patients suffering from Supra-ventricular tachycardia.
Please do not hesitate to discuss any aspect of the procedure including potential complications with your doctor.