What is alcohol septal ablation?
Alcohol septal ablation is a percutaneous, minimally invasive procedure to relieve symptoms and improve functional status in severely symptomatic patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. In hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the walls of your ventricles and septum may thicken abnormally. The septum may bulge into your left ventricle and partially block the blood flow 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 on exertion or at rest, as well as possible syncopal spells.
How does it work?
By use of a catheter, a small amount of pure alcohol is injected into the area where the heart is too thick. The alcohol causes some of your heart muscle cells to shrink and die. Remaining scar tissue is thinner than the heart muscle. This improves blood flow through your heart and out to your body.
Results and Expectations
Following the procedure, patients typically are maintained in the hospital for three to four days to monitor for any complications. Relief of obstruction is noted immediately in the majority of patients. For many people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, this procedure is very effective at reducing symptoms, including improved shortness of breath, lightheadedness and chest pain.