Main content

    FAQs: Before the Ablation Procedure

    Are there any risks?  |  How successful is PVAI in treating atrial fibrillation?  |  Before PVAI, what tests are performed?  |  Shoud I take my medications?  |  Can I eat?  |  What should I wear?  |  What should I bring with me?  |  What happens when I arrive?


    Are there any risks?

    The PVAI procedure is generally very safe. However, as with any invasive procedure, there are risks. Special precautions are taken to decrease these risks and your doctor will discuss this with you before the procedure.

    Back to top

    How successful is PVAI in treating atrial fibrillation?

    Success rates for PVAI are defined as restoring normal sinus rhythm and freedom from medication to control the heart rhythm one year after the ablation. The Pulmonary Vein Isolation procedure has an ultimate success rate of 90 percent…sometimes requiring more than one procedure.

    Back to top

    Before PVAI, what tests are performed?

    The following tests will be performed before your procedure date:

    1. Spiral computed tomography (CT Scan) of the chest. This CT scan involves the use of an intravenous contrast material. If you are allergic to contrast material, dye, iodine or shellfish, please notify us immediately, so we can arrange for a medication to take before the test.

    2. Transesophageal echo (TEE) may be needed the day of the procedure if your ProTime/INR result was not therapeutic (ie. less than 2.0)

    3. Results of your ProTime (INR) tests for the 4-6 weeks before the procedure.

    Back to top

    Shoud I take my medications?

    You will be instructed to continue taking Coumadin (Warfarin) before and through the procedure. You may be asked to stop taking other medications, such as those that control your heart rate.

    If you have diabetes, ask the nurse how you should adjust your diabetes medications and/or insulin for the day of the procedure.

    Do not discontinue any of your medications without first talking to your health care provider. Ask your doctor which medications you should stop taking and when to stop taking them.

    Back to top

    Can I eat?

    Eat a normal meal the evening before your procedure. However, DO NOT eat or drink anything after 12 midnight the evening before your procedure. This includes gum, mints, water, etc. If you must take medications, take them with a small sip of water. When brushing your teeth, do not swallow any water.

    Back to top

    What should I wear?

    Remove all makeup and nail polish before coming to the hospital. Wear comfortable clothes. You will change into a hospital gown for the procedure. Please leave all jewelry (including wedding rings and watches) and other valuables at home. The clothing you are wearing that morning will be returned to the person who accompanies you or be placed in a locker for you.

    Back to top

    What should I bring with me?

    You will not need a robe or toiletries when you first arrive. Your family member can keep these items to give you after the procedure. Bring your prescription medications with you, but do not take them without first talking to your health care provider. You may bring your own music or guided imagery tapes and the appropriate player to listen to before the procedure.

    Back to top

    What happens when I arrive?

    Before the procedure begins, a nurse will help you get ready. You will lie on a bed and the nurse will start an IV (intravenous line) in a vein in your arm. The IV is used to deliver medications and fluids during the procedure. A medication will be given through your IV to make you feel drowsy. Your neck, upper chest, arm and groin will be cleansed with an antiseptic solution. The catheter insertion site(s) will be shaved. Sterile drapes will be placed to cover you from your neck to your feet.

    Back to top