To treat ARVD/C with catheter ablation, the areas of the heart causing arrhythmias are located and cauterized (burned) to destroy the tissue. This invasive procedure is performed in an electrophysiology laboratory and can reduce the frequency of arrhythmic episodes.
Traditional catheter ablation, called endocardial ablation, treats the muscle in the inside surface of the heart. Catheters are sent through veins in the legs and followed up into the heart where an arrhythmic area is located and destroyed. Recently, a promising ablation technique called epicardial ablation has been developed. In this technique, the outside of the heart is treated. Many ARVD/C arrhythmias come from the outside of the heart. In epicardial ablation the catheter goes under the breast bone and into the sac around the heart. While an epicardial ablation can be very effective at treating arrhythmias in ARVD/C patients, this is a complicated procedure. We recommend having the procedure performedat a center with experience in treating patients with ARVD/C using this epicardial approach.
Catheter ablation is not a final cure for ARVD/C, because it is a progressive condition. Catheter ablation can help reduce the need for ICD therapy. It is important for patients to have a careful discussion with their physicians about the risks and benefits of catheter ablation before undergoing this procedure.