Cardiac catheterization septal ablation is a procedure used to treat a thickening and stiffness (hypertrophic myopathy) of the muscle (septum), which divides the walls of the heart. This condition obstructs proper blood flow out of the heart, making it work harder, resulting in further thickening of the walls over time and the development of symptoms such as shortness of breath.

If you have hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy with symptoms, such as chest pain, pressure, shortness of breath, fainting, and abnormal heart rhythms, you may benefit from septal ablation.

The procedure involves an injection of a type of alcohol (ethanol ) through a long, thin, hollow tube (catheter) into a blood vessel in the heart. The alcohol kills the muscle cells, and the thickened tissue shrinks to a more normal size. This allows blood to flow more freely.

The Cooper Heart Institute has a vast and renowned team of physicians who offer world class cardiac care and have extensive experience performing cardiac catheterization septal ablation.

Understanding the procedure

A person is lightly sedated before the procedure. An interventional cardiologist from the Cooper Heart Institute inserts a long thin hollow flexible tube (catheter) in a blood vessel in the inner thigh that leads to the heart. Using an X-ray camera, the catheter is led to a small, specific coronary artery that supplies the thickened muscle. A small amount of pure alcohol is injected into the vessel through the catheter. The alcohol kills the cells on contact, causing the muscle (septum) to shrink back to a more normal size over time.

Indications for the procedure

Septal ablation may be recommended for people with hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy when symptoms, such as chest pain, pressure, shortness of breath, fainting, and abnormal heart rhythms progress and worsen as the heart muscle thickens.

For an appointment with a Cooper interventional cardiologist, please call 800.8.COOPER (800.826.6737).