Pulmonary vein ablation, also called pulmonary vein antrum isolation or PVAI, is a treatment for atrial fibrillation (afib). Afib is the most common irregular heart rhythm. It starts in the atria, or the upper chambers of the heart.
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When afib occurs, many different electrical impulses rapidly fire at once. These impulses cause a very fast, chaotic rhythm in the atria. Because the electrical impulses are so fast and chaotic, the atria cannot contract and/or squeeze blood effectively into the ventricles, or the bottom chambers of the heart. Afib usually begins in the pulmonary veins. These veins carry oxygenated blood from the lungs to the left atrium of the heart.
In this white board session, Walid Saliba, MD, Director of Cleveland Clinic’s Electrophysiology Lab and Co-Director of the Ventricular Arrhythmia Center, explains how ablation, a minimally invasive procedure, delivers energy through the tip of a narrow tube called a catheter. This energy destroys the tissue causing inappropriate electrical activity in a pulmonary vein. Blockage of the electrical activity then helps restore the normal heart rhythm.