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Atrial Flutter (A-Flutter) Ablation

What are the Goals of the Atrial Flutter Ablation Procedure and What is the Success Rate?

The goal of this procedure is to eliminate your atrial flutter. By stopping your arrhythmia your symptoms will improve. The success rate of this procedure is approximately 90-95%.  

What are the Risks Associated with the A-Fluter Ablation Procedure?

An A-flutter ablation is generally considered a safe procedure, however like any invasive procedure, there are risks associated with it. Risks include bleeding, infection, damage to the blood vessels, damage to the heart structures/valves, recurrence of arrhythmia, stroke, blood clots, and in very rare incidences death. Some of the major risks associated with a flutter ablation are described in more detail below:  

 It is important to note that these risks are low. However, the specific risks and their likelihood can vary depending on many factors including your age and other medical comorbidities. Your provider will discuss your risks with you prior to the procedure. 

Why should I have this procedure with South Denver Cardiology?

Dr. Sundaram , Dr. Choe, Dr. Alyesh, and Dr. Palmeri  routinely do this procedure. Our EP providers, who specialize in these procedures, perform a significant number of these procedures annually. Our center has consistently maintained a lower rate of complications compared to the averages seen the literature. 

What happens during the procedure?

Your provider places a catheter into a blood vessel in the groin and threads it up to the heart giving access to the inside of the heart. The catheter is used to burn (radiofrequency energy) the area in the heart where the A-flutter is coming from. This creates very small amounts of scar tissue but most importantly corrects the circuit such that the abnormal heart rhythm cannot occur.  

What happens right after the procedure?

Anticipate same-day discharge or staying the night?  

Depending on what time your procedure starts, you typically can go home that same night. However, if your procedure starts later in the day, or if there are concerns from your doctor, it might be recommended to stay in the hospital 1-2 nights after your procedure.  

Will I need someone to drive me home?

Yes, plan for someone to drive you home from the hospital. Ride services (Taxi, Uber, Lyft) are not allowed.  

How will I feel after the procedure?  

Everyone’s experience varies, however some common and expected symptoms after an ablation include soreness, fatigue, and chest discomfort. 

Soreness and discomfort: You may experience some soreness, bruising, or tenderness at the catheter insertion site, typically in the groin area. This discomfort should subside gradually over a few days. 

Fatigue: Feeling tired or experiencing fatigue is common. The body needs time to recover from the procedure and to adjust to the changes made in the heart’s electrical system.  

Chest discomfort: Some individuals may have mild chest discomfort or tightness for a few days following the procedure. This typically improves within a few days.  

Remember that everyone’s experience can differ, and it’s essential to communicate any concerns or unusual symptoms to your healthcare provider. They will be able to provide personalized guidance and support throughout your recovery. 

What is my expected recovery course? 

After the procedure you will be taken to the recovery area where you will be continually monitored until you are OK for discharge. Your medical team will provide you with specific aftercare instructions. You can drive 24 hours after your procedure. Your medications might be adjusted before discharge. Your activity restrictions aim to prevent groin incision bleeding. Any activities that involve a lot of movement in the groin region, or those that increase pressure in the abdomen, will put pressure on the blood vessels where the incision(s) were made. Therefore, during the first 4-7 days after the ablation, avoid heavy lifting (more than 10 lbs), straining during bowel movements, excessive bending over, stooping, walking long distances, running, or climbing many flights of stairs. You may resume normal activity 1 week after the ablation. Your specific follow up will be discussed with you at discharge.  

Note on Pre-Op and Post-Op instructions:  The most up-to-date pre- and post-operative instructions will be the ones provided to you during your pre-op visit & on your hospital DC instructions given to you when checking-out of the hospital.

Helpful Resources


Preoperative Instructions

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Postoperative Instructions

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