Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT) Ablation

What are the goals of the procedure and what is the success rate?

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

 What are the risks?

An SVT 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, requiring a pacemaker, and in very rare incidences heat attack, stroke, and death. Some of the major risks associated with a SVT ablation are described in more detail below:

  1. Bleeding: during the procedure, there is a risk of bleeding, both at the catheter insertion site and within the heart. In rare cases, significant bleeding may require blood transfusion or surgical intervention.
  2. Infection: There is a risk of infection at the catheter insertion site and within the heart. Precautions are taken to minimize this risk, but it can still occur. Infections may require antibiotics or, in rare cases, additional procedures to address the infection.
  3. Damage to blood vessels or heart structures: The catheters used in the ablation procedure are threaded through blood vessels to reach the heart. In rare instances, there is a risk of injury to the blood vessels or heart structures during the catheter insertion process.
  4. Stroke: Manipulating catheters within the heart carries a small risk of dislodging blood clots, which can then travel to other parts of the body, potentially causing a stroke or other injuries.
  5. Arrhythmia recurrence: There is still a small possibility of recurrent SVT after the ablation.

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

Why should I have this procedure with South Denver Cardiology?

Dr. Sri Sundaram, Dr. William Choe, Dr. Nicholas Palmeri, and Dr. Daniel Alyesh, routinely do this procedure. Our EP providers, who specialize in these ablations, perform a significant number of these procedures annually. Our center has consistently maintained a complication rate that is comparable to or lower than the national average.

What happens during the procedure?

A catheter is placed into a blood vessel in the groin and threaded to the inside of the heart.  The doctor will then do an electrophysiology study  to determine the origin of the SVT. Tiny burn lesions are made in this area of the inside of the heart muscle using radiofrequency energy. This creates a small area of scar tissue. The scar tissue prevents the heart from conducting the abnormal electrical signals that cause SVT.

 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 a night after your procedure.

Will I need someone to drive me home?

Yes, you will need someone to drive you home. After receiving general anesthesia driving is not recommended for at least 24 hours.

What about traveling home if from out-of-state?
We recommend staying in the local area 1-2 nights after discharge from the hospital.

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.


Helpful Resources


Preoperative Instructions

View PDF

Postoperative/Discharge Instructions

View PDF

Additional discharge instructions

View PDF