Cardiac Ablation

Cardiac Ablation

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Duke’s electrophysiologists perform cardiac ablation to treat atrial fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia, and other arrhythmias. We treat more than 700 people each year, including people with complex cases, and achieve below-average complication rates. Our EP labs are located in Durham and Raleigh. Our goal is to reduce the side effects and minimize the risks associated with arrhythmias so you can return to optimum health.

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Cardiac Ablation Techniques

Cardiac ablation, which is also referred to as 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. Depending on your condition, 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 fully equipped EP labs 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 have substantial experience in this complex procedure, which involves mapping and ablation of the epicardium (the area outside of the heart) for the 15 to 20 percent of people whose ventricular arrhythmia occurs on the heart’s outer surface.

Our Locations
Duke Health electrophysiologists see people at cardiology clinics 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. In the past two years, fewer than 10 percent of our patients 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.

Duke University Hospital is nationally ranked in 10 adult specialties
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.