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Alcohol septal ablation is a non-surgical procedure that is used to treat hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This is an inherited disease in which your heart muscle becomes abnormally thick.
This thickening may partially block the blood flow from your heart and out to your body. This places extra pressure on your heart. It also contributes to many symptoms of the disease. These may include fatigue and shortness of breath.
Alcohol septal ablation requires a thin, flexible tube called a catheter. It has a balloon at the tip. Your doctor threads the tube through a blood vessel in your groin all the way to the artery that carries blood to your septum.
Your doctor then injects alcohol, through the tube, into the area where the heart is too thick. The alcohol causes some of your heart muscle cells to shrink and die. The remaining scar tissue is thinner than the heart muscle. This "thinning" of the heart muscle improves blood flow.
Presbyterian’s Pediatric and Congenital Cardiology team has many different options to help you manage your or your child’s heart condition. The team performs various diagnostic tests and procedures to help form an accurate diagnosis and create individualized treatment plans. Depending on the type of heart condition your child has and its underlying cause, the team can recommend a wide variety of treatment options. Our pediatric cardiologists, pediatric interventional cardiologists, and pediatric cardiovascular surgeons work closely together for cardiac repair or surgery cases is the best treatment option.
For many people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, medicines are enough to treat the condition. However, some people don't respond well to the medications and may benefit from alcohol septal ablation.
Septal myectomy is another option for many people considering alcohol septal ablation. Both procedures decrease the thickness of the septum.In septal myectomy, a surgeon removes muscle from the thickened septum. Because septal myectomy is open-heart surgery, it takes longer to recover. However, alcohol septal ablation may bring other problems, such as the need for a pacemaker.
Your doctor can help you decide about each technique's risks and benefits and what will work best for you. Alcohol septal ablation is usually better for older people and in those whose thickening is less severe.
If you have other heart abnormalities that require repair, you may need a septal myectomy instead.
Alcohol septal ablations are used to treat hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a thickening of the heart muscle.
Make sure your healthcare provider knows all the medicines you take. You may need to stop taking certain medicines before the procedure, such as beta-blockers. Do not drink or eat anything after midnight the day before your procedure.
You may have the following tests before your alcohol septal ablation:
These tests will help your healthcare provider know what your heart looks like. Testing also may detect other potential conditions that can affect the procedure.
The procedure may take one to two hours or more, depending on your case. It is usually done in a cardiac catheterization lab. A heart doctor and a special team of nurses and technicians will do the ablation.
During the procedure:
After the procedure:
Most people who have an alcohol septal ablation note immediate improvement of their symptoms.
After you leave the hospital, it is important to follow all the healthcare provider's instructions for medicines, exercise, diet, and wound care. Be sure to keep all your follow-up appointments.