Alcohol Septal Ablation

Certain forms of cardiomyopathy can make your heart muscle abnormally thick. As a result, your heart may work harder to pump blood. In some people, this condition can be life threatening if not treated. Alcohol septal ablation is a nonsurgical treatment that brings nearly immediate and lasting relief. 

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center is one of few hospitals in North Carolina offering this procedure. 

Treatment for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy 

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a condition that causes a heart muscle, known as the septum, to enlarge or “hypertrophy.” HCM treatment decreases the thickened muscle, restoring normal blood flow. Many patients get better with surgery. However, if you are not a candidate for surgery, the specialists at the Heart & Vascular Clinic offer a full spectrum of cardiac care, including alcohol septal ablation. 

Alcohol septal ablation is a nonsurgical procedure in which we inject a small amount of pure alcohol directly into your heart muscle. This causes that part of the muscle to shrink, allowing blood to flow more freely. 

Alcohol Septal Ablation at Wake Forest 

We perform alcohol septal ablation in a hybrid catheterization lab dedicated solely to heart and vascular care procedures. The first of its kind in the Piedmont region, this unique setting combines sophisticated imaging technology with surgical suite capabilities. A catheter-based procedure, our experts perform alcohol septal ablation using highly specialized instruments inserted through a tiny incision in one of your veins.

Here’s how it works: 

  1. You will be awake for this procedure. We use medicine to numb the skin around your incision area so you won’t feel any pain. 
  2. We insert a small needle into your vein. Next, using catheters (thin tubes), we access the arteries near your heart. 
  3. Using a special dye, we make your arteries visible using special imaging equipment such as an echocardiogram. 
  4. Our interventional cardiologist pinpoints the blood vessel within your septum responsible for the enlarged tissue. 
  5. We thread a catheter with a balloon tip through your arteries to this site. 
  6. We inflate the balloon to temporarily block the septal artery and make sure the alcohol remains in the correct area. 
  7. We inject a small amount of pure alcohol and wait five to 10 minutes to prevent any leakage to other parts of your heart. 
  8. Your procedure is now complete, and we remove the catheter. 
  9. You should expect to feel better immediately. However we’ll need to monitor your heart for the next few days using a temporary pacemaker. 
  10. You may need to stay at the hospital during this time. 

Contact Us 

Request an appointment online. Or, for more information, please call: 

  • 336-716-WAKE or 
  • 888-716-WAKE (toll-free) 

 

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Toll-free 888-716-WAKE

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Last Updated: 05-26-2014
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Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.