Muscle Pain

Alcohol Septal Ablation (ASA)


Alcohol Septal Ablation (ASA) is a non-surgical procedure to treat hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, an inherited condition in which your heart muscle is thicker than usual. This process (ASA) decreases risks and future complications. In hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the walls of your ventricles and septum (a muscular wall that separates the lower heart’s ventricles) become abnormally thick. The septum may bulge in the left ventricle and interfere with the flow of blood out of the body. It causes extra pressure on the heart and results in shortness of breath and body fatigue.

Alcohol septal ablation  requires a thin, flexible tube called a catheter attached to a balloon. The doctor inserts the tube threaded with the blood vessel into the groin to the artery that carries blood to your septum. Alcohol is injected through the tube into the area of the thick heart muscle. It is toxic and causes the muscles to shrink and die. This procedure increases the blood flow through your heart and body. The balloon is then deflated, and the tube is moved back out of your body.

Benefits of Alcohol Septal Ablation (ASA)

This procedure relieves the primary symptoms of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. It is minimally invasive, has a fast recovery and fewer complications than a septal myectomy. It is a good treatment option for patients who cannot survive open-heart surgery.

Symptoms of Alcohol Septal Ablation (ASA)

In hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, there is an abnormal thickness of the ventricular septum. Normally HCM has no symptoms, but if the septum bulges into the left ventricle and partially blocks the blood flow, the heart pumping is slowed down. It can result in various symptoms;

  • Breath shortness
  • Body fatigue
  • Chest pain

Evaluation of Alcohol Septal Ablation

There are the following procedures to evaluate alcohol septal ablation ;

  • Chest X-ray: It is used to obtain heart imaging.
  • Blood tests
  • Echocardiogram: A heart ultrasound is obtained to visualize the thicker area of the heart.
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG): The electrical activity of the heart can provide information about heart damage, the size of heart chambers, and their positions.

Risks & Challenges of Alcohol Septal Ablation (ASA)

For many people, alcohol septal ablation is an effective and reliable treatment. Complications and risks are not usually common. As with every procedure, there are certain risks as well, such as;

  • Bleeding or infection from where the catheter is entered in your arm, neck, or leg. You may ask your provider about incision care at the end of the procedure.
  • Development of gel-like blood collection in your blood vessels called blood clots.
  • Tears or damage to your heart during the procedure may require surgical repair to heal.
  • Heart blocks may occur associated with malfunctioning of the heart’s electrical signals. This problem can cause too slow or too fast your heartbeat and can be treated with a pacemaker.
  • A condition where fluids accumulate around the heart is called pericardial effusion.

These complications require tests or treatments. People suffering from heart block after an alcohol septal ablation must use a permanent pacemaker for a lifetime.

After effects of Alcohol Septal Ablation (ASA)

After the alcohol septal ablation procedure, you need to see your consultant if you face the following problems;

  • Heart palpitation or abnormal pulse or heart rate
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea), difficulty in breathing, or rapid breathing
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Fever, redness, or bleeding at the site of the incision
  • Body fatigue
  • Nausea or vomiting


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