Radiofrequency Ablation

Radiofrequency (RF) ablation is a widely performed non-surgical procedure used to treat some types of arrhythmia, most often for supraventricular tachyarrhythmias. It’s a popular treatment method because of its high success rate and low risk of complications.

Your physician will determine the exact location of the arrhythmia source during an electrophysiology study (EPS) and, when possible, he or she will perform the RF ablation right after the study.

Radiofrequency ablation in cancer

For inoperable tumors in the liver and elsewhere, radiofrequency ablation (RFA) offers a nonsurgical, localized treatment that kills the tumor cells with heat while sparing the surrounding healthy tissue. This treatment is easier on the patient than systemic therapy or surgery. Radiofrequency ablation can be performed without affecting the patient's overall health and most people can resume their usual activities within a few days.

In this procedure, the interventional radiologist guides a needle through the skin of the sleeping patient into the tumor, using CT scan or ultrasound imaging for guidance. From the tip of the needle, radiofrequency energy (similar to microwaves) is transmitted to the surrounding tumor, where it produces enough heat to cook the tissue. The dead tumor tissue shrinks slowly and forms a scar after weeks or months. The FDA has approved RFA for the treatment of liver and other tumors.

RFA is palliative and can extend patients' lives. RFA is particularly effective for smaller tumors that can be completely and permanently eradicated. Because it is a local treatment with minimal harm to surrounding healthy tissue, the treatment can be repeated if new tumors appear. Even if a tumor can not be completely eradicated by RFA, decreasing the size of a large tumor using RFA may improve a patient's quality of life by decreasing pain and disability. It is a very safe procedure, and has been available since the 1990s.