Catheter Ablation

Catheter Ablation

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Duke’s electrophysiology program uses advanced catheter ablation techniques to treat more than 700 patients with arrhythmia, including atrial fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia, each year. With four EP labs located in Durham and Raleigh, we are one of the Southeast’s highest volume programs. We successfully treat some of the most complex cases with below-average complication rates. Our goal is to reduce the debilitating side effects and minimize the risks associated with heart rhythm disorders so you can return to optimum health.

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Catheter Ablation Techniques

Catheter ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that uses energy to destroy tiny areas of the heart muscle that produce an arrhythmia, or abnormal heart rhythm. It has become one of the go-to solutions for the treatment of atrial fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia, and other arrhythmias. Depending on your condition and circumstances, your Duke electrophysiologist may recommend one of these catheter ablation techniques:

Irrigated Radiofrequency

A widely used ablation technique that uses heat to create a larger lesion in the heart tissue more safely. Our four fully equipped electrophysiology laboratories have actively cooled radiofrequency ablation technologies that give electrophysiologists greater control and greater success.


A relatively new approach that uses extreme cold, or cryo energy, to freeze heart tissue when creating a lesion that interrupts errant signals in the heart.

Epicardial Ablation for Ventricular Tachycardia

We are one of the few centers with substantial experience in this complex procedure, which involves mapping and ablation of the epicardium (area outside of the heart) for the 15 to 20 percent of patients whose ventricular arrhythmia occurs on the heart’s outer surface.

Our Locations
Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.

Why Choose Duke

Excellent Outcomes the First Time
We have achieved some of the lowest complication rates associated with catheter ablation. Fewer than 10 percent of our patients in the past two years have needed a repeat ablation -- a rate less than half the average.

Access to Clinical Trials
Our involvement in the latest ablation research means you have access to the most recent treatment advances. For example, we performed one of the region’s first laser balloon ablation procedures, which uses a laser to ablate an arrhythmia like atrial fibrillation. In our clinical trials, we constantly test new techniques and devices that aim to shorten procedures, reduce complications, and improve long-term cure rates.

Novel Mapping Technology, Greater Precision
Computerized catheter mapping combined with sophisticated imaging helps us determine exactly which locations in your heart are causing the arrhythmia, so we can more accurately target them for ablation and increase the accuracy of the procedure. We have expertise in several novel computer-based mapping and navigation systems, which helps enhance precision and shorten procedure times.

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An Experienced Team Dedicated to Your Needs
Your team may include electrophysiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, nurse practitioners, cardiovascular pharmacists, nurses, and others who are dedicated to diagnosing and treating atrial fibrillation and other arrhythmias. Our team understands how these conditions and their treatments affect your body and help you manage the effects.

Latest Catheter Ablation Techniques
We continually refine current practice and seek out new approaches, such as epicardial ablation for ventricular tachycardia and surgical ablation. This ensures you receive the most current technologies, including procedures not widely available elsewhere.

Best Heart Hospital in NC
When it comes to your heart care, you want the very best. Duke University Hospital's nationally ranked cardiology and heart surgery program is ranked the best in North Carolina by U.S. News & World Report for 2019–2020.