Complications with Cardiac Ablation

Cardiac ablation procedures are performed to correct arrhythmias or rhythm problems in the heart. These procedures are performed by medical doctors who specialize in electrophysiology. During a cardiac ablation procedure, an electrophysiologist generally threads a catheter through a vessel in the patient’s groin up to the heart. During the procedure, the electrophysiologist first should take time to map out where the arrhythmia is in the heart. He or she will then use the catheter to deliver energy (whether by burning the tissue or using extreme cold) to either destroy or scar the tissue that is causing the abnormal rhythm.  A cardiac ablation procedure is typically not the first step. Usually, the electrophysiologist will discuss various options available to the patient including the use of medications to control the arrhythmias.

Cardiac ablation procedures are done in children and adults.  Before you or a loved one undergoes a cardiac ablation procedure, you should be prepared to ask the doctor performing the procedure many questions including his or her level of training and experience performing cardiac ablation procedures in general as well as the level of training and experience with the particular type of arrhythmia in your case.  Studies have shown that the level of experience of the physician performing the cardiac ablation procedure can play a large role in the success of the procedure and can impact a patient’s risk of complications including death. In one article published in the journal, Circulation, when the annual operator’s (physician performing the ablation) volume of cases was less than 25 and the annual hospital volume was less than 50, it was associated with a higher rate of complications.

In another national study involving atrial flutter ablations published in the Heart Rhythm Journal, atrial flutter ablation patients from 2000 to 2011 were studied. The overall complication rate was 3.17 percent. Complications included cardiac (heart) perforation, lung and vascular problems and death.  In hospitals where the annual volume was more than 100 procedures per year, the study found few complications.

The Illinois medical malpractice lawyers at Mossing & Navarre, LLC are very experienced in handling cases involving adult and pediatric cardiac ablations.  If you or a loved one has been injured or if a family member has died as a result of a cardiac ablation procedure, you may have many questions. Our caring and compassionate attorneys will meet with you at no charge to discuss your case. We are ready to assist you in the investigation of the facts of your case to determine whether the doctor properly informed you of the risks of the procedure; whether the doctor was negligent in performing the cardiac ablation procedure; and whether the follow-up care was appropriate.  We will help you find answers and fair compensation for any injuries and damages caused by a negligent physician or hospital staff member. Call us today to discuss your case in more detail.

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