Radiofrequency Catheter Ablation

Radiofrequency catheter ablation (RCA) of ectopic myocardial foci is another treatment performed on children with cardiac arrhythmias (DeMaso et al. 2000). This procedure involves the removal of ec-topic electrical heart pathways during cardiac cath-eterization (DeMaso 2004). In the only study of children and adolescents, patients who underwent RCA resembled a healthy population without elevated rates of anxiety and depression (DeMaso et al. 2000). Youngsters who underwent curative ablation (i.e., no recurrence of arrhythmias) showed better emotional functioning than those who did not show any improvement in cardiac status following ablation.

In sum, the emotional functioning of children and adolescents with pediatric heart disease generally is not in the psychopathology range (DeMaso 2004). These youngsters appear to have the capacity for healthy psychological functioning even though they face exceptional challenges. Although many of these children display a level of vulnerability to emotional and behavioral difficulties, they generally have confounding risk factors, such as poor cognitive or family functioning (DeMaso et al. 1990). Psychological intervention and treatment are warranted to prevent emotional and adjustment difficulties that may arise (DeMaso et al. 2004).

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