Catheter-Based Ablation Procedures for Atrial Fibrillation

A minimally invasive procedure called ablation can help the heart achieve and maintain a normal rhythm.

Ablation removes or destroys (ablates) a small amount of tissue responsible for the abnormal heart rhythm of atrial fibrillation.

Specialists at the Center for Atrial Fibrillation are experts at ablation techniques and have authored book chapters and research publications on the subject.

Types of Ablation

  • Radiofrequency ablation uses radio energy to apply heat to the tip of the catheter to cauterize the heart tissue.
  • Cryoablation uses extreme cold to freeze and scar the heart tissue.

What to Expect During an Ablation Procedure

During ablation therapy, the doctor:

  • Inserts a small tube or thin wire (catheter) in the veins to gain access to your heart's electrical conduction system.
  • Uses advanced imaging techniques to observe and guide the procedure.
  • Applies either heat (radiofrequency ablation) or cold (cryoablation) to the heart tissue.

Contact the Center for Atrial Fibrillation

Call us at 1-855-UPMC-HVI (876-2484), email us, or request an appointment online.

Additional Resources

From our Health Library:

EMMI patient education videos:

©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

Pittsburgh, PA, USA