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Septal Alcohol Ablation

Septal alcohol ablation is a procedure for people who have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HOCM). This condition makes a heart muscle abnormally thick.

What are symptoms of HOCM?
When a heart muscle (called the septum) gets too thick, it can reduce the flow of blood out of the heart, causing extra pressure within the heart. When this happens, you can have symptoms that include:

  • Severe shortness of breath with activity (most common)
  • Reduced activity tolerance
  • Fatigue
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fluid overload (also known as heart failure)

If these symptoms become severe, you may need an evaluation for a procedure known as septal alcohol ablation.

How do I know if I need septal alcohol ablation?

You will need imaging of your heart, possibly with an echocardiogram (an ultrasound of your heart) or MRI. If the tests show you have severe septal hypertrophy, your cardiologist may ask for further testing to determine if symptoms are due to this condition or something else. He or she will discuss treatment options with you as not everyone is a candidate for septal alcohol ablation.

What is septal alcohol ablation?

Septal alcohol ablation is minimally invasive procedure that attempts to reduce the size of the septum.
This procedure puts alcohol in an artery that supplies blood to the septum. Doing so will shrink the size of the artery and reduce blood flow so that the septum can retract and shrink. Sometimes this procedure can result in electrical disturbances to the heart, which could require a need for a pacemaker.

The results of this procedure are not immediate and sometimes it can take weeks to see improvement. Your cardiologist will develop a plan for monitoring the pressures in the heart and the size of the septum after your procedure to ensure success.

If you have questions about our program, we would be happy to assist you. Please call us at 320-293-0750 or email us.