The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued full guidance to the NHS in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on percutaneous (non-thoracoscopic) epicardial catheter radiofrequency ablation for atrial fibrillation.


Atrial fibrillation is a condition that affects the heart, causing an irregular heartbeat. It increases the risk of blood clots in the heart and stroke. Electrical impulses (originating from the atria, the small chambers of the heart) control the heartbeat. In atrial fibrillation these impulses become disorganised, so that the heart beats irregularly and too quickly. When this happens, the heart cannot efficiently pump blood around the body. This may cause symptoms such as palpitations, chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness and fainting. In percutaneous (non-thoracoscopic) epicardial catheter radiofrequency ablation, selected areas of the heart are destroyed using heat, with the aim of preventing the abnormal electrical impulses responsible for atrial fibrillation. The procedure is carried out through a special catheter which is inserted into the lower chest area and guided to the outer part of the heart.

Coding recommendations

K64.1 Percutaneous radiofrequency ablation of epicardium

Y53.4 Approach to organ under fluoroscopic control

In addition the ICD-10 code I48.X Atrial fibrillation and flutter would be recorded.

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