By Dr. Anand N Yannawar, Pulmonology
Pulmonary Vein Isolation is a process to stop arrhythmias in the heart which cause rhythmic heart problems. The Pulmonary Vein Isolation process involves the removal of cardiac tissue. It is a type of Cardiac Ablation that helps reduce the signs and symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation.
Pulmonary Vein Isolation works by destroying or scarring the tissue in the heart that catches up to the abnormal rhythms of the heart. This process is used to improve the quality of life. It is also helpful in reducing the reasons through which one can risk other Atrial Fibrillation problems. It is not the primary treatment that doctors will advise, he will ask the person to go for some other treatment first. However, if those primary treatments fail, then he would probably recommend Pulmonary Vein Isolation.
The doctor will have the person under observation and will offer several tests to evaluate the Atrial Fibrillation. The night before the operation, one has to stop eating and drinking. If the person is taking any kind of medicine, consult the doctor whether he/she should take the medicine before the procedure or not.
This procedure has the following steps:
● Before the procedure begins, an intravenous line (sedative) will be inserted with the help of a specialist in the forearm, to relax the patient.
● After sedative starts working, the area near the vein in the neck or shoulder is made numb with the help of a specialist.
● The tube (catheters) is inserted through a protective covering, and it guides the doctor to several places within the heart.
● Doctors may inject dye into the Catheters, which helps to see the heart and blood vessels using X-Ray imaging.
● These tubes have electrodes at the end of tips which are used to send electrical signals to the heart and it records the electrical activity of one’s
● A catheter is moved from place to place within the heart where pulmonary veins connect. Cold (Cryoablation) or Heat (Radiofrequency Ablation) energy travels through the tip of the tube and will create scars to the targeted area and destroy the tissue.
● One can feel a little discomfort when the dye is injected or when the energy passes through the tips.
● It usually takes 5-6 hours but when the procedure is complicated the time can get longer, depending on the situation.
After the procedure, the patient will be shifted to a recovery room where he/she will be under observation for 5-6 hours. The heart rate and blood pressure will be monitored regularly in order to see whether one is fine or not. If the condition is stable, the person may be discharged the same day or else he/she have to stay for more observation.
This process can reduce the signs and symptoms and definitely can improve the quality of life. However, this isn’t something that can be fixed, the doctor will ask the person to take regular medicine which helps in thinning the blood. And with all these, improving the diet and eating healthy will also play an important role.