HF 8278

Atrial Fibrillation (A-Fib) Ablation Procedure

An ablation is a procedure that treats an abnormal heart rhythm. Atrial fibrillation (A-Fib) is a type of abnormal heart rhythm. You do not need to be in A-Fib at the time of the procedure.

How Ablation Works

Ablation uses heat or cold energy to create small scars in the heart to reduce the amount of A-Fib. This may not cure or completely get rid of your A-Fib.

Getting Ready for Your Procedure

  • Tests: You may need blood work and/or imaging of your heart such as an MRI or CT scan.

  • Medicines: We may make changes to your medicines and have you take a blood thinner medicine for a month or more before the procedure.

  • Diet: We will tell you when to stop eating before the procedure.

Day of Procedure

When you arrive at University Hospital, take the F elevators to the 3rd floor and go to the Heart and Vascular Procedure Center (F6/3). Once there, you will meet your health care team who will care for you until you go home. The procedure takes several hours including recovery time.

During the Procedure

You will be monitored the entire time. We will place patches on your chest to watch your heart rhythm and a clip on your finger to check your oxygen levels. You will then receive medicine to put you to sleep.

Once you are asleep, a tube will be placed down your throat to help you breathe. The doctor will place long, thin tubes called catheters, into veins in your neck and/or groin. The tubes are then guided into the top areas of the heart to burn or freeze many areas that cause A-Fib.


Once complete, the tubes will be removed and you will be moved to the Recovery Room. Some patients may go home after the procedure, while others may have to stay in the hospital.

When to Call

For questions about your upcoming procedure, call the UW Health Heart and Vascular Clinic during normal business hours.

Who to Call

UW Health Heart and Vascular Clinic

Monday-Friday, 7:30 am - 5:00 pm

(608) 263-1530 or 1-800-323-8942

If you are having a medical emergency, go to the nearest emergency room or call 911.